A Grand Experience…Engage!11 The Grand Del Mar

Last week, I had the honor of attending Engage!11 at The Grand Del Mar in San Diego, CA. For those of you that don’t know what Engage! is, allow me to explain. Engage!11 is a bi-annual luxury wedding business summit put together by the dynamic duo of Rebecca Grinnals & Kathryn Arce over at Engaging Concepts. The summit brings together the best of the best of the wedding industry. It’s 3 days of intense networking, learning and sharing. Oh, and let’s not forget, partying! I have been fortunate enough to attend several times and each time I leave with a new perspective, new ideas and new friends!

Our week started off with a bang! At registration, we were greeted with an AMAZING floral piece by Karen Tran Florals and were welcomed with the cutest swag bags I’ve ever seen, chock full of goodies! Just an FYI, Engage! is known for having THE best swag bags (lots of thanks to Cindy Folak of Tullabelles) of any conference! Opening day sessions included oh-brilliant-one Simon T. Bailey and my friend of Zen, David Beahm. What a way to start a conference!

Of course, you can’t kick-off a meeting without a party! And a party it was! Food trucks came out to serve some yummy food, while Rhythm Collective & Earth Harp of Elan Artists cranked out some amazing music and played on these RIDICULOUS strings (see the pictures below). And of course, the event was perfectly decorated with amazing floral design by Eddie of tic-tock couture  florals.

Over the next two days, we had the pleasure of listening to speakers that were not only fabulous, but on fire with all their insight, content and data sharing. We had the good fortune of being able to hear Todd Fiscus, Cindy Novotny, Marcy Blum, Carly Roney, Mindy Weiss, Ellen Black of Lehr & Black, Sean Low and Monique Lhullier. Not to mention an in-depth media panel hosted by Michelle Rago, consisting of some media greats like Susan Moynihan of Destination Weddings & Honeymoon Magazine, Marilyn Oliviera of Inside Weddings, Christy Weber of Junebug Weddings, Abby Larson of Style Me Pretty, Angela Desveaux of WedLuxe Magazine and Jill Meister.  We also enjoyed lunch on the lawn under a gorgeous Raj Tent while watching Sylvia Weinstock decorate a cake with sugar flowers, while showing us how they are made.

No detail was left untouched by Rebecca & Kathryn; from the linens, to the flowers, to the menus (created by Lehr & Black) to the decor and even down to the breaks. Yes, typically boring break food was brought to life! We enjoyed coffee and strawberry breaks that were so pretty to look at, you almost felt bad for devouring all the delicious goodness.

The closing gala was the Pièce de résistance, with a team like Mindy Weiss, Revelry Event Designers, Mark’s Garden and Lehr & Black, how could you go wrong?! The conference color story of Crimson, Noir and Cream was incorporated throughout; from the escort cards, to the linens, to the flowers and the lighting. The amazing meal by The Grand Del Mar was also a huge delight!

For the after party, we were brought into another room with MORE amazing decor, to listen to tunes by DJ Nahchey and enjoy some late-night treats from Fat Burger. Yes, I said Fat Burger. What is better than good music and good food? Um – NOTHING!

All in all, it was an amazing week! I can definitely say I walked away from this experience with some new ideas, some great insight, some AMAZING new friends and 10 pounds. If you are in the business of weddings, and serious about taking your business to the next level, and have never been to one of the Engage! conferences, you must plan on attending in the near future.  If you are planning a party and you’re looking for inspiration, I hope these images gave you some great ideas. To see more images from Engage!11 please visit my facebook page or take a trip over to Mel. & Co’s facebook page!

All of these amazing images are from the AWESOME folks over at Mel. & Co! Yes that’s them below.

See you in Cayman!!