On the final morning of the conference we each chose four breakout sessions to attend. I chose Todd Fiscus of todd.events, Maria McBride from BRIDES Magazine, and Tara Guerard and Liz Banfield. My last session was the editors panel with Lara, Shira from Martha Stewart Weddings, Susan from Destination Weddings Magazine, Marilyn from Inside Weddings, Brooke from Weddings Unveiled, and Carol from The Bride & Bloom. It was moderated by Michelle Rago (whom I now love) and they all did a fabulous job! On a side note, it was so cool to see V3 out and about and in the hands of all of our industry buddies! Though a little crazy, it was also a really neat experience to release the issue while we were at Engage!
After a social media panel by Lienne of Think Splendid, we had the afternoon to ourselves. I spent mine by the pool :) Soon enough, however, it was time to get gussied up, because the gala was about to begin! To say that The Breakers culinary and design staff pulled out all the stops is really not doing it justice. When we entered the ballroom, there was a chandelier of hanging champagne glasses about twelve feet up in the air. Oh yes, and there were waiters on STILTS waiting to cut one down for you! I know this phrase is used a lot, but we all really couldn’t stop ooohing and aaaahing.
Pictured below :: Lara, me and Harmony Walton; Jessica Lorren, Yesim Insel, Lara, and Sara Kauss; Lara and Sharon Alexander of Sweet Sensations; Lara, Todd Fiscus, and Xoua Vang of Preston Bailey Designs
Isn’t the decor just stunning? Again, The Breakers staff truly outdid themselves. Every table was different, but each was equally as fantastic. As a paper nerd, I also loved the stationery — menus by CECI New York and calligraphy escort cards by Laura Hooper. I was also thrilled to finally have a chance to connect with Tara Guerard and Charleston photographer Gayle Brooker the final evening. I also sat next to Carol Poon of Bride & Bloom at dinner, and she was wonderfully friendly!
Dinner consisted of an individual raw bar, the choice of lamb or Chilean sea bass (the lamb was delicious!), and individual giant sundae bars. We were also entertained at different times by a jazz band, dueling violinists, and STOMP-esque performers, all courtesy of Elan Entertainment.
Pictured below :: me, Jeff from The Breakers, and Lara; Anthony Luscia from Martha Stewart Weddings, Lara, and Randy from Say Yes to the Dress; our table — Brian Callaway of Callaway Gable, Laura Hooper, Beth Helmstetter, Alexandra Rembac of Sterling Engagements, Leslie Maynor of Fantasy Frostings, Carol Poon, Harmony, and Vanessa Van Wieren of Alchemy Fine Events & Invitations
The night ended with dancing, break dancing, mingling, some more eating in the adjoining ballroom-turned nightclub. We also had the pleasure of screening Cloud Nine Creative’s GORGEOUS films from Days 2 + 3 of the conference. Bruce and his team are so, so talented!
Watching the film really reminded everyone, I think, of what an amazing experience Engage! is. This was my first time attending, and I was definitely nervous — would people like me? Would I have anyone to talk to? I needn’t have worried. Unlike some other conferences I’d been to, it was SO easy to introduce yourself to anyone and to talk to everyone, even though some attendees were quite famous. Others have said the same thing, but it’s so true — there really are no egos at Engage! Everyone is there to learn and to teach, which makes for a magical experience all around.
To end, then, HUGE kudos to Rebecca and Kathryn, the geniuses behind Engage! They do such an amazing job planning everything, and Lara and I are so thankful you allowed us to attend (and Lara to speak!).
On that note, if any vendor is thinking about attending a future Engage!, I would be more than happy to answer any of your questions. Between me (first time attendee) and Lara (five-time attendee), we have all the bases covered!
Laura Hooper is a Southern Weddings sponsor.