The Celebrations Blog

Engage 11 Wedding Summit San Diego – Day 2

If Day 1 was just the start, Day 2 was clearly the day where we got our feet wet.

It was apparent how everyone was rearing to go and meet Day 2  full on. We  all rose up early to enjoy a scrumptious breakfast prepared by the fabulous The Grand Del Mar . The details were impeccable and the service exceptional. Again, The Grand Del Mar  surpassed my expectations.

With a hearty and healthy breakfast we were prepped for the exciting day ahead! Check out these specially cut fruits and the omelet station!

photo by: Jessica Claire
Photo by: Jessica Claire

Here’s a few more eyecandy from breakfast.

Photo by: Mel Barlow and Co.
Photo by: Mel Barlow and Co.

The setting for the General Opening Session was in one word — LUXURIOUS. The red, noire, and ivory theme for this summit certainly made its statement in this room. With a beautifully set stage and each one of our seats laden with all sorts of trimmings and goodies, it was easy to say that we were in for a very special day of learning!

Photo by: Mel Barlow and Co.
Photo by: Mel Barlow and Co.
Photo by: Mel Barlow and Co.

Upon reaching my designated seat, I was more pleasantly surprised with all the stationery laid out in front of me. From the LetterPress “Schedule of Speakers” to the matching notebooks to the itinerary of events, all so thoughtfully designed and complimentary of each other,  credit must be given to the highly talented team of Chariot. For the creative design elements throughout the conference and for all the printed materials, signages and whatnots, again, Kristy Rice of Momental Designs did an astounding job. Kudos also goes to Two Paper Dolls for their unparalleled quality, they are a league of their own.

Photo by: Mel Barlow and Co.
Photo by: Mel Barlow and Co.

To kick start the General session Rebecca and Kathryn of Engaging Concepts gave a summary of the Wedding Industry. Rebecca  is always so informative and her energy is just so infectious, she practically breaths energy into everyone’s soul.

Photo by: Jessica Claire

The man of the moment, my super hero, Todd Fiscus of Todd Events was the first among the speakers. His topic was FIREwork!  Todd is so easy to listen to  that you forget you are in a room with 270 other wedding professionals. He is so down to earth and clearly passionate about weddings. He reminded us that wedding planning and design is a job and  that we need to make a  living out of what we love to do.  It is  a passion as it is a business. Creativity + Business Sense= Success! Great business insight from a man who is an  incredible designer to boot!

Photo by: Mel Barlow and  Co.

Next to speak was classy Cindy Novotny.  I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to hear her speak for the first time last year in Cayman at Engage!10 and I was truly inspired by her no-nonsense-get-on-with-it message. With her wit and wisdom on the wedding biz she certainly turned on some fires, especially in me! Cindy made me realize that in our daily lives we oftentimes lose ourselves and forget the influence  we have on others. It is imperative that we cultivate our passion to influence others and that we get a grip of what we really want and do everything in our powers to claim that dream!  Cindy really drove these messages home!  Her key message points – 1. Focus on just ONE thing; 2.What do you really want?, 3. Excellence is not optional, 4. Clear the mental clutter. Cindy is simply phenomenal!

Photo by: Mel Barlow and Co.

After such an inspiring morning, we were treated to a mystical luncheon on the lawn of The Grand Del Mar. The sight of that spectacular tent provided by  Raj Tents  just blew me away. Walking inside, I felt like I was transported to a chic Morrocan marquee fit for a king! I couldn’t help gush at  all the lovely details that were meticulously laid out for us inside — from the linens- to the menus-and down to the florals.

Photo by: Mel Barlow and Co.
Photo by: Mel Barlow and Co.
Photo by: Mel Barlow and Co.
Photo by: Mel Barlow and Co.
At lunch, the legendary, cake diva Sylvia Weinstock gave us a few lessons on cake decorating.

Photo by: Mel Barlow and Co.

Afternoon sessions started with Marcy Blum, — a classic lady with amazing insights on life,on being grounded and on how to  reach for the stars! Marcy was brimming with knowledge on the wedding industry and on  how we can make each occasion a momentous event.

Photo by: Mel Barlow and Co.

Carley Roney, Editor in Chief of The Knot,  always poised and elegant, eloquently delivered a really informative talk on Luxury Weddings. Carley gave us mind blowing statistics highlighting the huge percentage of the market place that is deemed to be luxury weddings!!! Listening to her brought me back to 2008 when Carley and my Celebrations team worked together for a Knot TV Destination Wedding filmed mostly in Little Cayman, Cayman Islands!

Photo by: Mel Barlow and Co.

Having never heard Mindy Weiss speak in person prior to Engage11, I was obviously really looking forward to her speech. Like in any instances where you a chance to meet famous and highly successful people, you tend to have extremely high expectations. However, to my sheer delight , Mindy was so down to earth that  it wasn’t hard for me to relate to her views and opinions on the wedding industry. Her message was clear, concise and very targeted!  She reminded us that if we are in the wedding event business, we have a gene that we are born with and it is THAT gene that rules!  She warned us also about staying with what you know, and doing it to the very best of your ability. Mindy further reminded us not take ourselves too seriously, and never send out negative energy!

Photo by: Mel Barlow and Co.
Check out the yummy treats for our afternoon coffee break!

Photo by: Mel Barlow and Co.
Photo by: Mel Barlow and Co.

The ending of the general session was an intimate conversation with Bride’s Magazine Millie Bratten and Monique Lhuillier — a treat that cannot be imagined! What an amazing young woman Monique is, and Millie as usual was superb. We could not have asked for a better ending to a fantastic day of information, collaboration, and pizzazz!

Photo by: Mel Barlow and Co.

Engage11- San Diego General Session for me, in a nutshell, was the most empowering of all the wedding summits I have been to. I say this not to undermine the past summits I’ve attended ( because they were all good too!)  but  to give recognition to Rebecca and  Kathryn of Engaging Concepts for doing such an amazing job in putting together such a powerful line-up of speakers.  Each and everyone of the speakers and their presentations were riveting and inspiring. We were practically glued to our seats listening to the wedding industry experts share their wonderful insights and funny anecdotes! You could see how passionate everyone is about weddings and all its nuances judging from the glimmer in our eyes.
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In the evening, we were once again spoilt to the hilt with dinner at designated special restaurants in San Diego. We were divided into groups with  various speakers actings as hosts.  I was very fortunate to dine with Mindy Weiss at an extraordinary restaurant Cal A Vie.

This dinner  was such a treat, to say the very least. The restaurant’s ambiance, the gastronomic delight we devoured and the free-flowing and inspiring conversation within  our  group made this night a memorable one.

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Check us back for Day 3 Recap!

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