Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Recap | engage!09 :: the encore

Completely in heaven at The Wynn Encore, our fabulous hotel.

Beautiful letterpress itinerary, copyright Garrett Nudd Photography

Some of the details, copyright Garrett Nudd Photography

Kathryn & Rebecca of Engaging Concepts, copyright Garrett Nudd Photography

Simon T. Bailey & Marcy Blum - Two of the four speakers

Christy Weber of Junebug Weddings, a fellow Michigan lady at heart!

Lara from Southern Weddings, Jenn from Modern Day Floral, Rebecca from Engaging Concepts

There is no way to miss the fact that Rebecca Grinnals and Kathryn Arce have planned, to date, four of the most talked about wedding industry conferences in the United States. Attending engage!09 :: the encore was a huge decision that I did not make lightly. I talked to former attendees Heather of Outstanding Occasions and Lara of Southern Weddings before making the decision to plunk down $1953 (conference = $1500, flight = $168, room = $285) to attend the conference in Las Vegas.

Lindsey & I arrived late Sunday evening and settled into our beautiful room for the night. Monday we woke up late and walked The Strip for a while, enjoying the afternoon sunshine. We popped into a few shops, but neither of us wanted to spend too much time indoors. After our stroll, I went down to the pool solo for a bit, to relax and enjoy the views, and ended up running into Lara in the middle of a photo shoot.

That evening we attended the welcome party at the spa. It was lovely to meet & greet many of the wedding professionals in attendance, as well as tour the world-class spa. I admit that I was worried I would be tired on Tuesday, so I retired to my glorious bed quite early instead of enjoying the Las Vegas nightlife.

Tuesday I was one of the few attendees to be at breakfast by 7:30a. The entire day was thought-provoking. The speakers were dynamic and the conversations between the speakers & attendees was fascinating. I began thinking about what I do, what I want to do, who I want to work with, and why I do what I do. The best way to share the entire day is to link you to Julianne's live blogging, which was done during the conference. She gives a play-by-play of the day if you're interested in reading about each speaker in detail.

After the 11-hour day, I was ready to go back to our room and unwind before the evening cocktail party. We arrived right on time and nibbled on all the food the Wynn had prepared for us. It was a great evening to meet & greet more attendees, and enjoy the everyone in attendance.

Wednesday morning we enjoyed breakfast in the Wynn Wedding Courtyard. It was fabulous to chat with everyone one last time before packing up. I ended up spending the entire unplanned afternoon with Jenn from Modern Day Floral. We digested the conference with one another and enjoyed dinner together before my red eye flight back to Detroit with Lindsey.

I know I can never learn enough when it comes to running my business. This year I've had the opportunity to attend three educational events - Blogging Bootcamp, Eventology, and now Engage!09. So, the big questions...

1. Was it worth the investment & time away from work & family? Yes.
2. Will I be going back next year? I'm not certain.
3. Would I recommend this conference? Yes.
4. What is the biggest/best thing I learned? Be authentic. Learn to say no. Charge what you're worth. This is, after all, a business and not a hobby.

And my final 2¢ about engage!09 :: the encore...if you have a chance to experience it, go. I don't think it will change your business instantly, however after you digest what you've been learned, (which I'm still working on!) you will see things differently. I have already made small changes, which are actually working for me. And it has only been a week!

4 lovely comment(s):

Dooby Design Oct 20, 2009, 5:08:00 AM  

Great post, Aletha!!

Lindsey Nartker Oct 20, 2009, 1:03:00 PM  

Brilliant Post! Can I agree with everything you said? Haha... you hit the nail on the head with your 2 cents! (Where the heck is that cent symbol?!?)

brit Oct 20, 2009, 1:47:00 PM  

So glad the conference was worthwhile. I'm looking forward to picking your brain :)

Charlene @ Sweetchic Oct 20, 2009, 8:28:00 PM  

Thanks so much for the great post! I would love to go next year, and glad to hear that you thought it was worth it!

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