Blogger *Buzz* for engage!08::the encore

The reviews are in and we are so touched by the incredible response to engage!08::the encore!  On Tuesday, October 14th an incredible group of {80} wedding industry professionals representing gathered at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes to meet, educate and inspire each other.

We are preparing a post with many of the highlighted responses and will post that shortly.  In the meantime, take a look at some of the wedding bloggers who took the time to post about their experience at engage!08:: the encore:

If you attended and blogged and I have not listed your post here please let us know and I will update immediately!

And to those of you you took the time to craft these amazing posts - thank you - we are all just thrilled with your kind words!!!!

More soon...!

[photo credit: an edited image of the gift bag from emilie sommers of emilie inc.]


One Week to Go!

Hard to believe that there is just 1-week to go before engage!08:the encore!!  

We are busy making final preparations and plans for this event and are so excited to spend the time with such amazing luxury wedding professionals representing so many different facets of the wedding industry.  As an update, we have 80 attendees coming from 25 different states and 5 countries - unbelievable!

Of course, with the economy at the top of everyone's mind, we will be sure to address this throughout the day's sessions...it will be interesting to get the attendees unique perspective on this pressing issue facing each and every one of us in the luxury wedding industry.

We are looking forward to having everyone gather informally in the lobby of The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes beginning at 6pm next Monday.  If you have ANY questions at all - be sure to get in touch with us via email at kathryn@engagingconcepts.com or at the office at 407.566.2298.

We have some wonderful surprises in store for everyone and just cannot wait to greet old friends and new for what promises to be another one-of-kind wedding business-to-business symposium!

Travel safe!

Rebecca + Kathryn


Attendee UPDATE!

Wow!  We are so excited with the response to date for this encore event!  Just today we heard from and registered many luxury wedding professionals from all different facets of the wedding industry.  That is one of the most exciting aspects of these unique events - bringing together like-minded wedding professionals representing a variety of segments of the industry.

We will have high end wedding planners {many who specialize in destination weddings}, amazing wedding cake designers, 5-star luxury hotel and resort wedding/social event managers, top wedding photojournalists, cutting edge invitation designers, floral/design professionals, advertising/marketing/television executives and more!  

To date - we have confirmed multiple attendees who will be joining us from: Costa Rica, Canada, Napa, Santa Barbara, Michigan, Savannah, Minnesota, Arizona, New York City, Atlanta, the Dominican Republic, the Cayman Islands, Delaware, Indiana, Los Angeles, Grand Bahama, Miami, Ohio, Orlando, Virginia, Washington DC and more coming in every day! 

What a dynamic group representing so many perspectives of the industry - we cannot wait to welcome many new friends and re-connect with others who will be returning again!

More updates to follow soon - so be sure and check back in!


Speaker Spotlight: Sean Low, President of Preston Bailey Designs

We are delighted to be sharing an industry FIRST with the attendees of engage!08: the encore.

For the first time ever, Sean Low, President of Preston Bailey Bailey Designs will be sharing his unique perspective on the BUSINESS behind the magic of one of the most recognizable wedding industry names - the one and only Preston Bailey. 

We were so honored to have Preston join us to speak at the first engage event - Sean attended as well and many attendees had the chance to get to know him and were able to talk with him about how to take their successful, creative businesses to the next level and beyond. When I approached Sean to see if he would be interested in participating in this next event he agreed on the spot - turns out he was also inspired by everyone who he met and has a TON of advice, insights and ideas to share from the business-side of the ultra-high end wedding industry.

A bit of background on Sean Low:

  • A Magna-Cum Laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with both an economics degree and as an attorney who was admitted to the bar in both New York and Ct.
  • He spent many years on Wall Street as an investment, real estate and finance attorney and walked away from it all to follow his dream by founding his own successful Manhattan-based catering company called "Red Wine with Fish?"
  • In 2003 he was offered the incredible opportunity to become the first President of Preston Bailey Designs and what success followed is legendary in the global wedding industry. In the past 5 years he has masterminded the unprecedented rise of Preston's brand around the world.  From New York to Dubai - Arkansas to Jakarta - Los Angeles to the Grenadines - Cartegena to Paris and beyond, Preston Bailey is now known around the globe as one of the premiere wedding designers of our time.
  •  Sean has been the business brain behind the creative genius and as Preston openly shares with other colleagues in the wedding industry, has transformed every aspect of his operation to ensure maximum efficiencies, uncover new and diverse opportunities, establish significant financial strength - all while providing exceptional service to some of the most demanding clientele in the world.
  • He has negotiated licensing deals, partnerships, book deals, speaking engagements and further diversified Preston's brand with companies like Sandals Resorts, 1-800 Flowers, Bulfinch Press, Macy's, Waterford, Bloomingdales, Style Network, Oxygen Network and more.
Sean will share specific strategies on how to take any wedding business to the next level, uncovering and negotiating partnerships and licensing opportunities, the importance and opportunities of diversifying your business, elevating your level of clientele - and getting paid what you are really worth {and beyond!}.

His session promises to be one of the most powerful and truly impactful of the entire event and will deliver content and insight that is unparalleled in the wedding industry!

Speaker Spotlight: Sylvia Weinstock

No introduction is needed of course for our amazing friend and engage!08: the encore speaker Sylvia Weinstock!  

Sylvia Weinstock is the grande dame of cake design, one of the first to use imaginative forms for wedding cakes—introducing butterflies and bees, for example, to brides who had previously known only flowers. Her 25-year-old company, located in New York City, has created cakes for the Clinton White House as well as numerous celebrity weddings. Weinstock’s cakes have been featured in publications ranging from Modern Bride to the New York Times.

We are beyond thrilled that she will be joining us for a candid conversation about starting her business at age 50, juggling family and an all-consuming passion, competing {and winning} in the cut-throat world of the Manhattan wedding world, building and staying true to her brand {before anyone even knew what the word meant!}, flying around the world with her wedding cakes for celebrities, presidents, dignitaries, royalty and high end brides and grooms who would not dream of getting married without cutting into her spectacular wedding cake creations.

Straight off multiple appearances on the super hot show "Gossip Girl," Sylvia will also give an exclusive look at her latest book "Sensational Cakes"which will not be available for purchase until November and share details of her 'sweet' partnership with GODIVA Chocolatier.


Speaker Spotlight: Jill Meister-CBS The Early Show

As a producer for CBS's The Early Show for over six years, Jill Meister has traveled all over the country working on both live and taped pieces for the popular morning program. Producing a variety of pieces including lifestyle, beauty, fashion entertainment, and wedding segments, she books guests, structures the segment's talking points, writes questions/scripts for the anchors, and maps out her vision for each segment's set design.  

Jill is the producer for Event Planner, Colin Cowie, who is a regular contributor on the broadcast.  She was one of a group of producers who created and executed with Colin Cowie the successful series, "Wedding in a Week" in which an engaged couple was introduced to viewers on Monday and married on Friday.  Throughout the week Jill produced several segments including the latest trends in bridal/groom fashions, flowers, and food.  Attending to every detail, she booked and coordinated elements for the rehearsal dinner at the Central Park Boathouse, the ceremony on The Early Show Plaza, and the reception at the Hudson Hotel in NYC.  

Jill was a part of a team of producers who coordinated the series, "Modern Bride of the Year" with Modern Bride Magazine, and she has worked on the latest trends in wedding cakes with Carley Roney from The Knot.  

Jill, a newlywed herself, is known around the office as the producer who planned her own Manhattan wedding in just eleven weeks. Jill also covers red carpet events in New York City and Los Angeles.  Prior to working for The Early Show, Jill worked for NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw. She graduated Cum Laude from Tulane University with a Bachelor Of Science in Management with a Marketing major. 

Jill receives hundreds of story pitches every week (sometimes even more) and as part of her session will give advice on what pitches translate best on TV, how to stand out and get noticed, the best way to work with television producers and more.

We look forward to having Jill join us for engage!08: the encore and are thrilled with the unique perspective and insight she will bring!

Speaker Spotlight: Bee Kim, Founder of WeddingBee.com

Adding to our 'all-star' roster of speakers is the one and only "Queen Bee" herself, Bee Kim, founder and editor of ground-breaking wedding blog WeddingBee.com will share her story on her meteoric rise from bride-blogger to wedding industry innovator and include:
  • Tips on blogging for your business, 
  • How to find your authentic blogging 'voice'
  • Developing {and growing} your audience
  • What vendors need to understand about the power of Blogs
  • Getting featured on other blogs 
  • and, the real deal on monetizing what you have created.
Having Bee here for engage!08: the encore is very fitting for both Kathryn and me - as WeddingBee was the first blog we ever read and Bee herself taught us of the power and opportunity of blogs...we cannot wait to hear her unique perspective on blogs and the 'next big thing' in the world of wedding social media!

Sponsor Spotlight: La Tavola Linen

Breaking engage!08:the encore news...the amazing talent behind Napa, CA-based fine linen rental company la tavola have agreed to provide all of the linen for the event!

Attendees will have a chance to experience the la tavola difference - and see, touch and feel the incredible, cutting edge fabrics available for shipping world-wide.

Masters in wedding branding - we will also review their impressive marketing campaign and roll-out strategy...love it!

Keep checking back for engage08!: the encore updates and news - things are heating up as October 14th fast approaches!

engage!08: the encore UPDATE!

There is so much to share about the upcoming engage!08: the encore event taking place at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes on October 14, 2008...where to even begin!?!

First of all - once again - we are thrilled with the response from luxury wedding professionals from all over the US, Canada and the Caribbean who have confirmed their registration already!  

So far, we have wedding industry leaders from NYC, LA, Costa Rica, Calgary Alberta Canada, Ohio, Minneapolis, Chicago, Virginia, Atlanta, DC, Delaware, Napa Valley, the Bahamas, Miami, the Dominican Republic, Arizona, Savannah and more!

Another surprise is that many of the attendees for 'the encore' are repeaters...they joined us for the first engage!08 event in June and thought so much of it that they are making the trip {and the investment of time and money} to be here for 'the encore' and for that we are so honored. 

We have a number of amazing sponsors lined up that we will be sharing with you in the coming weeks - so stay tuned.

Also - be on the lookout for speaker profiles on each of our accomplished speakers in the days to come.

It is still not too late to register - check out the engage!08 website for all the details or email us at engage @ engagingconcepts dot com.

More to follow...so check back often or better yet - add to your RSS feed!

See you soon - Rebecca & Kathryn


Announcing: engage!08: the encore

Following a SOLD OUT event in June 2008 with 85 luxury wedding professionals attending from 17 states and 5 countries, leading wedding industry expert Rebecca Grinnals of Engaging Concepts presents engage!08: the encore.  

Set for October 14th, 2008 at the spectacular Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes this high-impact b2b luxury wedding business symposium will include appearances by The Knot founders Carley Roney & David Liu, cake diva Sylvia Weinstock, WeddingBee founder Bee Kim, CBS The Early Show producer Jill Meister, Sean Low-President of Preston Bailey Designs and wedding PR guru Eda Kalkay and will include discussions on:
  • Building a global wedding brand
  • Diversifying your business
  • Targeting [and managing!] the affluent bride and groom
  • Insights into the mindset of millennial matrimony
  • Blogging and leveraging new media
  • 'Romancing' the bridal and lifestyle media
  • Turning your passion into profit
Real, honest and interactive including an "Inside the Wedding Studio" style Q & A session with Carley & David on building the most powerful wedding brand in North America while balancing it all as a husband and wife team and parents of 3 young children! 

A candid discussion with wedding cake diva Sylvia Weinstock, fresh off the set of hot show "Gossip Girl" will 'dish' on starting her company at age 50, going global, and the real story behind those signature glasses!

President of Preston Bailey Designs, Sean Low, the business mastermind behind one of the most successful global wedding names in the world will share specific strategies on how to take your wedding business to the next level, elevating your level of clientele - and getting paid what you are really worth {and beyond!}.

Special guest speaker, Simon T. Bailey is back by overwhelming demand. Internationally reknowned author of "Release Your Brilliance" will lead an inspiring and motivating session guaranteed to examine your potential, insight, genius, innovation and ideas - just waiting to be released.  Truly transformational!


"Queen Bee" herself, Bee Kim, founder and editor of ground-breaking wedding blog WeddingBee will share her story on her meteoric rise from bride-blogger to wedding industry innovator and include tips on blogging for your business,  how to find your authentic blogging 'voice,' developing an audience, what vendors need to understand, getting featured on other blogs and the real deal on monetizing what you have created.

CBS The Early Show  lifestyle, entertainment and weddings producer Jill Meister will share the inside scoop of working with mainstream media, TV pitches that cut through the clutter, what makes a compelling wedding television segment and how to position yourself as a repeat guest. 

Celebrity publicist Eda Kalkay {David Tutera, Emeril Lagasse, GetMarried, The Marings and more} will provide secrets to creating authentic *buzz* to get the attention of bridal and lifestyle media  and how to make PR really pay.

Not to mention an incredible opportunity to network and 'engage' with the who's who of the luxury wedding industry!

Visit the engage!08 website for more details on the event and to register today - space is limited by design to maintain an intimate experience - this event is not to be missed!


*Magic* + Rave Reviews

It was *Magic*. That is the best word that I can use to describe what the premiere ofengage!08 was last week.  And while we are blown away at the rave reviews pouring in from attendees far and wide - the credit really goes to each and every speaker and attendee who came to the event with their hearts and minds fully engaged to participate, network, learn, share and grow their wedding business.

Many have blogged about their experience and we thank them profusely and invite you to visit their posts [linked] to read about their impressions: Shelby O'Connell of SO Chic Events; Liene Stevens of The Smart Planner; Christine Boulton on the Wedding Dish; Savannah Cake Designer extraordinaire Minette Rushing; Laura Marcusse onAdornBrides and more to follow!

We also wanted to share many of the heartfelt comments sent our way following the event:
  • “You produced a professional event with tremendous following and you delivered! The best part of the day was the networking opportunity!  Wow, what a great room of industry pros.  I met several people I will definitely keep in contact with!    It was awesome, high-impact, and relevant to just about everyone in the room. You left me wanting more….much more!”   -- Warren Dietel, Owner/CEO of Puff ‘n Stuff Catering
  • “Home run!!!  I'm engaged!!” -- Ed Culp, The CVP Experience
  • Engage '08, was the best money I have spent EVER in TEN years. Rebecca Grinnals and Kathryn Arce put on one heck of a business conference. I am moved, inspired and have met so many new friends. It was worth every penny and the 3 days away from home and business. -- Donna von Bruening, DVB Photography and Founder/President of Savannah Wedding Professionals, Savannah GA
  • “THANK YOU for such an enlightening, energetic, entertaining and “engaging” symposium!  Somehow, you managed to strike an intangible and difficult cord between what could possibly have been a “novice” attendee {one relatively new to the industry} and a veteran and those of us who fall somewhere in between.  I honestly don’t see how you can hit it out of the park a second time, but you set the precedent and we are counting on you!  I don’t even consider this money spent; it was such a wise investment and the perfect shot in the arm for this upcoming season. Many, many thanks once again!” -- Lisa Konecny, E Events, Winter Park, FL
  • “THANKS FOR AN INCREDIBLE EXPERIENCE!  My head is still spinning, with the amount of information, ideas, knowledge and networking that happened at Engage!08.  I am at a loss for words to truly express how incredible, uplifting and extraordinarily ‘WOW!’, Engage!08 was! It was far beyond my high expectations and I am sure all of the attendees will agree with me.  Never have I attended a conference, symposium, trade show, whatever you want to call it, (and I have been attending them for over 15 years) and come away feeling like I did.” -- JoAnne Brown, Owner/President Celebrations Ltd. Grand Cayman
  • “Thank you again for producing this incredible event. It was such a phenomenal day to be inspired, connect with wedding industry professionals and network. I especially loved the adorable touches such as the well-branded gift bags and your apron!! You need not conduct a topic on the power of branding when the entire day was an example!!” --  Lisa Aballo – National Director of Marketing, The Knot and WeddingChannel
  • “Wow. My head is still spinning from this week! What an amazing event. This was by far the most inspirational, information, interesting, engaging, invigorating...event I've been to. (in any industry!) The size and quality of attendees and speakers was a huge plus. I felt like I could learn and connect with everyone there.” -- Laura Marcusse; Vice President & Director of Marketing, ADORN Brides
  • “Wow! What an event! The event was SO incredible and you are so, so, so inspiring to all of us that is was clearly a big hit!  Such a great time was had by all! Preston Bailey was of course, gracious and lovely as usual, but Rebecca was so inspiring that she left us wanting more. ” --  Harmony Walton, Editorial Director Get Married TV and owner of The Bridal Bar LA, Los Angeles CA
  • “It was a pure pleasure to have attended Engage 08!!  I found the event to be a great motivator...Every aspect of the event was fabulous and I applaud all your hard work. Word will definitely get out that the event was valuable and fun. I’m sure you can expect the next one to be bigger and better!” -- Sue Gilman, Publisher Destination Weddings & Honeymoons Magazine and Caribbean Travel & Life
  • “Engage!08 was fantastic!  What a great opportunity to meet new contacts and learn new things.  I am completely blog-challenged, so it was great to learn about what is out there. It was a pleasure to hear the stories and insights from Preston and Marcy and I LOVED Simon Bailey.  I’ve already started reading the book!   Thank you again for including me in the premiere event!” -- Cynthia Boyett, Director of Catering Sales, Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman
  • “Going into engage!08 I didn’t know what to expect, but I cannot give you enough kudos on pulling off such a fabulous 2-day event. It was all just wonderful! Worth every penny spent to be there for this first event!” -- Stacie Francombe, Founder and CEO of Get Married TV
  • “Congrats for putting together such a successful event.  It was long overdue.  Thanks for having “no excuses” and making it happen.  I know some people said they could not afford to come, however I say if one truly wants to be in the know you can’t afford not to come! -- Robert T. Williams, Robert T. Williams Photography, Washington D.C.
  • “So happy for you - I knew you would ROCK - it was great!” – Joann Delgin, Chief Romance Officer, Sandals and Beaches Resorts, Miami, FL
  • “Just wanted to say a heartfelt thanks for making Engage 08 such a success.  I really enjoyed the day and thought that you both did a fabulous job.” -- Natalie John, Dreamy Weddings Inc., St. Kitts + Nevis 
  • “How wonderful and indeed engaging to be at engage08!  Engage08 was amazing!  The encouragement and stimulation gleaned from Simon’s, Preston’s and Marcy’s (amongst others) talks were amazing.  Loved the way everything was themed.  And, I loved the bags we all received … The networking was brilliant … Social both evenings was terrific, too!  All in all, everything flowed beautifully and presentations were very timely.  Can’t wait for the next engage!”  -- Marva Munroe, Pelican Bay Hotel, Grand Bahama, Bahamas
  • “Thank you so much for such a wonderful event!  I had a great time meeting everyone but I also took so much away from the sessions that I am applying to our work at The Original Runner Company.  The unique setting allowed easy networking and the sessions were extremely informative.  Not only did I have fun and make friends, but I was able to create mutually beneficial business relationships.  It was such a pleasure to attend an event that was not only educational, but intimate and candid as well.  I cannot wait for the next engage!  Great job ladies!” – Emily Zurner, Wholesale Sales Manager, The Original Runner Company, New York, NY
  • “Thank you - it was fabulous!  Looking forward to the next one!” -- Jennifer Sharpe, Senior Catering Sales Manager, The Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes
  • “You have no idea how wonderful and timely the event was for me.  It was really enriching both personally and professionally.  I learn so much from the both of you that I cannot begin to thank you enough. I made so many great contacts and have not ever had a such a successful networking experience.” --Nicole Cozier, Director of Catering, Celebration Hotel
  • “THANK YOU, THANK YOU, for a fabulous conference!!! It was exactly what I needed to take me to the next level, personally and in my business. I didn't want to leave, I just wanted to continue soaking up all the great information that was being shared!!” --  Renee Maddison, National Marketing Director/Simplicity Gourmet
  • “It was a pleasure to be able to participate in Engage 08! And it was especially great meeting you.” -- Maria Victoria Gomez, Corporate Romance Manager, Paradisus Resorts, Dominican Republic | Mexico | Costs Rica
  • Wow!  I've hear so many superlatives about Engage08 from Stacie, Harmony and blogs - you did a FABULOUS job. Thank you so much for the opportunity to have Harmony speak and Stacie attend.  Stacie learned a lot from the speakers and has come back with lots of new ideas.  It was worth every penny and more - those are Stacie's words.  She had no idea what to expect and is so glad that she attended.  Count us in for the next one! -- Lorraine Rennie; Director, Sales & Marketing; Get Married & GetMarried.com
  • “All I can say is WOW! Your magic touch was evident by the synergy in the room;  you put together a network of fabulous people. Thank you for allowing me to be part of Engage!08; it was truly amazing!!!” -- Dianna Fletcher, Publicist, Fletcher Media, Maine
  • “Once again, I must thank you for putting together such a wonderful day!   It was just what I needed to get me re-charged! Terrific conference! I can't wait til the next one!” -- Elisa Delgardio CSEP, PBE, Principal, A Flair for Affairs, Orlando, FL
  • “WOW!  Now THAT was a symposium!  It was everything you promised and more.  I couldn’t even begin to tell you what I enjoyed the most.  Between Simon, Marcy and Preston and all the other speakers I was engaged.  Kudos and sign me up for next year!  -- Susan Smith, Simply Elegant Weddings, Fairfax, VA
  • “Thank you for a wonderful seminar on Tuesday.  It was so well organized and presented. I came back with a ton of information to share with my team and area professionals.” -- Kerry Castillo, President, Uniquely Yours Wedding + Event Specialist, Vero Beach, FL
  • “It was such a wonderful experience and I am so happy that I stepped out of my comfort zone and went. Not only did I meet new friends, I can now say that I have gained valuable knowledge from the best of the best. It was well worth the money, the time away from my family, and the less than enjoyable traveling. Please keep me on the list for next year because I wouldn't miss it for the world!” --  Shelby O’Connell, SO Chic Events, Boston MA
  • “Thank you so much for being such gracious hosts. I learned so much and look forward to working with you in the near future.” --Jay Casiano, Owner/Designer, Flowers of Winter Park, Winter Park, FL
  • “I cannot express my gratitude for putting together engage!08, it was an amazing experience. As being newer in the industry, on the hotel end of everything and a Bride myself, I took away more than I would have ever expected! I feel rejuvenated and encouraged. I feel as though the sky is the limit and it is getting the tools together to reach it! I came away with some great friendships and a mind full of ideas that I keep rattling off and writing down in my green polka-dot journal! It is hard to stay focused at work with wanting to only work on new ideas and concepts, and read everyone’s blogs!  I hope one day we can host it here at Casa Monica!! Thank you for your unconditional support and friendship and for inviting amazing people from all over the spectrum to join in a great event!” -- Erin Poticny, Exceptional Events Manager, Casa Monica Hotel, St Augustine FL
  • “YOU ROCK and I am so blessed to know you not only professionally but also as a friend.  Great, great, great....kick a$$ job you did.”  -- Stacey Kane, Stacey Kane Wedding Photojournalism, Scarborough, Maine 
  • “Thank you, thank you, thank you for a wonderful seminar!  I can't wait to put into place the things I've learned.  I think my clients will be happy too!” -- Minette Rushing, Minette Rushing Custom Cakes, Savannah, GA
  • “Oh my goodness... I had such a fine time and such an amazing experience attending.  I am beyond grateful!” -- Amber Nelson Pert, Styled Events, Celebration, FL
  • “The program was very nice, the gift bag really nice, the networking was great…I thought the whole day was great.  Seriously fabulous job!!!!” -- Heather Snively, Weddings Unique, Winter Park, FL 
  • “I loved the seminar and am so happy I went.  I am eager to put into practice doing the blog more, getting certain photos, marketing myself and more.  I so want to get out there and shoot like mad : )  I have my three crystal balls in front of me, they remind me of the seminar and going for my dreams.  That’s what the seminar was to me...to take courage and just go for it!  I can’t wait to organize my thoughts, ideas, aspirations and goals and then DO IT!  I have been dreaming of BIG things and I know I will achieve them because the seminar truly reminded me to do what I love and what my gut has been calling me to do all along.  It was well organized, exciting, inviting, had great speakers with much experience, motivating and informative.   Overall, I loved the seminar, it made me think a lot and it humbled me.  I realized how I have been sleeping too much!!!!!!!  I have much to change and grow in.  I need to spend more time doing my homework (knowing who my competition is, understanding the brides, and knowing more about the wedding industry!!!!!)  I need to meet more people, travel more, and study more.   Like I said, the seminar really woke up my brain cells!  THANK YOU SO MUCH for inviting me to the seminar, I felt so honored and privileged to be there!”  -- Darice Michelle, Darice Michelle Photography, Jacksonville, FL
  • “Engage was fantastic! Being very new to the industry, it was such a wonderful introduction. I really enjoyed how small it was; there were lots of opportunities to network with people. I really appreciated the time you took in the beginning to introduce everyone. . .made it feel a lot more personal; like each attendee was important, not just the speakers. The mix of perspectives from each of the speakers was really good, too…all in all, an incredible event!” – Trisha Hay, Owner/Designer, Trisha J Hay Graphic Designs + black.white.bliss Blog
  • “Every time I read something else about engage!08 I get a little giddy! What I want to know is when is the next one?!” – Shelby O’Connell, SO Chic Events, Boston, MA
  • “Engage!08 was an amazing and very motivational experience.  You made us feel welcome and excited about the symposium from the beginning to the end. I personally think that Engage !08 was a great success and an remarkable experience for many of us. I look forward to seeing you again!” -- Anayda Garcia, Director of Catering, Sundy House, Delray Beach, FL
  • “The Engage08 Event far exceeded my expectations.  As a wedding and event planner, I heard the name Preston Bailey and was 100% SOLD.  After hearing the other speakers, I found each of them to be just as beneficial and inspirational.  I was also really impressed with the caliber of my fellow attendees.  It is very rare to attend an event where you could learn so much from each person surrounding you.  I am ready to take my company to the next level!  It was completely thought-out and well planned.  I really look up to both you and Rebecca after hosting such a successful event.  Thank you and I am looking forward to the next Engage!” -- Ashly A. Olivier, Owner/Coordinator, Olivier Events, Inc., Orlando, FL 
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you to one and all for putting your faith in us and supporting this very first event. It was an honor and privilege to spend precious time with each of you.  We learned so much along the way.  Rest assured, based on the response there will be more engage! events - more details to follow SOON!


More recaps!

Thanks to the amazing speakers Liene Stevens of The Smart Planner and Blue Orchid Designs and Harmony Walton of The Bridal Bar and Get Married television for their comprehensive recaps of their engage!08 experiences...enjoy!!!:

Liene's Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3

Harmony's recap.

We are so humbled by the amazing responses and comments and promise we are hard at work planning our next program! We loved each and every minute of getting to know everyone and were just as inspired by you all!!!!!!


More Blog Love for engage!08

The "blog love" for engage!08 continues!! It is so fun to see the photos from the different perspectives of the attendees!  Be sure to visit the blogs below - lots and lots of photos included from the event!!!  Thanks for documenting this and sharing these images Darice and Donna!!!! 

And attendees, in case you missed it in Darice's post - she took pictures of almost everyone with Preston as he signed your book - so be sure to email her {see her email in her post} to have her send you yours!!!!


We did it!! Engage!08 a success!!

WOW! We are blown away by the past two days!  We are wrapping up loose ends and saying final goodbyes to old friends and new and will blog all about it very soon I promise.  In the meantime, we have to share this AMAZING blog post from the incredible Savannah-based photographer Donna Von Bruening:

Education is a big part of my commitment to my profession. I invest time and money attending conferences and workshops to expand my business and my photography skills. I'll be point blank honest with you. I usually, no almost 99% of the time, walk away thinking I wasted money or trying to pull a few nuggets (which there always are some nuggets) away to rationalize the $2,000-$3,000 dollars I just spent. Don't get me wrong --it isn't that I am so wonderful that I know everything --it's just that I have been in business 10 years and so many conferences are geared toward newbies. Much of the time the information is basic and I could teach the class (which I have done). 

God, that sounds awful. But it is the truth. When I go to a conference I am looking to be inspired and take my business to the next level. I want to be moved. I want to walk away a better person and photographer than I was when I showed up. Some of my photographer friends tell me my expectations are too high. I tend to disagree. If I am paying you $2000 for 2 days, nevermind taking time away from my famly and business, -you best have me rave about you from morning to night.

So, Engage '08, was the best money I have spent EVER (perhaps the Hasselblad Wedding Institute rival it) in TEN years. Rebecca Grinnals and Kathryn Arce put on one heck of a business conference. I am moved, inspired and have met so many new friends...I cannot wait to tell you all about it. It was worth every penny and the 3 days away from home and business.

I am dying to tell you all about it --but I have got to get on the road home. I will blog the images and and the dish later today. I just needed to fill in my wedding colleagues who are dying to hear. DVB 

We are humbled by this and the response from so many other industry friends who joined us for this special event. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts Donna. I promise to blog LOTS more as soon as the dust settles...!



It is official!  The first engage!08 luxury wedding symposium has SOLD OUT!!  Thank you to all who will be joining us --   we are busy putting together all of the final details to produce a high-impact event.  We cannot wait to see old friends and make new ones - and the anticipation and excitement is at an all time high.

For those of you who are not able to join us - based on the overwhelming response and interest in this premier event we are sure there will be more - so stay tuned!

Cheers!  Rebecca + Kathryn


Latest Update!

We cannot believe that so far there are attendees coming to engage!08 from countries and 17 states!!  Everyone is so excited about meeting each other and sharing in a day filled with education, inspiration, ideas, networking and more.

We will be sending out one final email blast tomorrow with a 'last call' for registrations in case there are still some out there who have not yet committed to the event.

If you are one of those or know someone who is, please do not delay as there are only a limited number of spots still available.

You can register on the 'register' section of engage08.com, call us at 407.566.2298 or email engage@engagingconcepts.com with any questions.

Looking forward to an amazing and 'engaging' day!!

We've Been Blogged!

It is always exciting when others blog about you!  We were so happy that in the past week, engage!08 has been blogged about not one, not two but THREE times!

"I know many of my blog readers are in the wedding industry or thinking about getting into it, if you are definitely check out the site below.

I believe it is the first of its kind, a business to business consulting for the wedding industry on a global scale
. They say it best so I am going to steal their quote:"

“Quite simply – no one understands the "ins and outs" of this lucrative but constantly changing and super competitive market better than we do.”

Which is absolutely the truth; just take a look at who the founder is! Rebecca Grinnals! That woman is a genius!

Rebecca has set up her first B2B conference which I am thrilled to be a part of along with Rebecca and other experts. Check out the details on engage08.

Hope to see you there. I guarantee it will be worth your time.

I am really so impressed by Rebecca and her goldmine of knowledge and willingness to share to with others, where was she when I first started!"

Liene Stevens blogged and so did Harmony Walton!

Thanks to all for sharing with your blog audiences...we cannot wait for June 3rd to arrive!!!

Speaker Update:

We are so thrilled that the incredible Marcy Blum will be joining us for engage!08 -- she is a wedding planning guru, an industry legend and someone who has taught us SO much over the years.  Few are on the pulse of the *hottest* trends and as 'in the know' and connected as Marcy -- we are honored that she will be joining us to share some of her wisdom and perspective on this quirky industry we all love on June 3rd!


Friday update for engage!08

The excitement continues to grow!  So many of you have told us in your on words that the concept for engage! is "Exactly what I have been looking for!" 

We have added wedding professionals from Dallas, Virginia, St. Augustine, Vero Beach, Jacksonville, Delray Beach and more! The mix of attendees is what is really great - where else do so many DIFFERENT types of related professionals from all over get to come together in a boutique-style setting to interact and focus for a day on their personal and professional growth?!  

The other night Kathryn and I had the chance to catch up with the fab Susan Moynihan, editor in chief of Destination Weddings & Honeymoons Magazine.  She is planning to join us for the entire day and we can't wait for her session!  She brings such a unique perspective to the business of destination weddings and will share her insights on shifts in the market, what her readers [your brides!] are really looking for and and asking along with how to get noticed and stand out in a sea of editorial/Real wedding pitches. 

Questionnaire: We really want to target the content for YOU.  We have developed a short questionnaire to send out to confirmed attendees to understand the most important and relevant topics and takeaways from your perspective.  Look for this early next week and thank you in advance for taking a few minutes to share your thoughts so that we can ensure a customized program for those joining us!

Event Size: Many have asked just what "intimate" means...which is totally valid! As this is the first of its kind, we are learning as we go what the response is.  Judging from the past 2 weeks - pretty positive!!  We want to create a balance of intimacy and at the same time allow for a good cross-section of professionals to promote quality networking.  That being said - we can say it will be less than 100...which compared to the many professional industry events and conferences we have attended - is a nice number to accomplish what we set out to do! Please feel free to contact us directly with specific questions - we are happy to answer anything or share more details with you.

Room: So many are traveling in to join us.  A reminder to book your rooms as soon as possible at Celebration Hotel as they are limited!  Special rates are $169.00 per night.  Call 1-888-499-3800 or email info@celebrationhotel.com to reserve.

Getting Together: In keeping with the super-fun group that is coming together, a few attendees have expressed interest in planning an informal 'pre-event' Happy Hour the night of June 2nd in Celebration.  A great way to get to know some of the other professionals coming on for the event and to get to explore our little 'town!'  We will share more details closer in but if this is of interest to you - make flight arrangements accordingly!

That's it for now - keep checking back often for the latest and greatest on how engage!08 is coming together!!!! We can't wait to meet everyone in person!


Quick Update:: Response

We are so, so excited with the response to engage!08 so far!  In just a week and a half - the *buzz* is amazing!! 

So far, we have confirmed attendees coming from: NY, Miami, Grand Cayman, St. Kitts, the Bahamas, Seattle, Chicago, Maine, Arizona, LA, Savannah, Orlando, Nashville, Atlanta, Tampa and of course, all over Central Florida!!

Even more interesting is the range of industry professionals who will be there including Ritz-Carlton and other luxury hotel executives, high end wedding cake designers, "Get Married" television executives, a number of celebrity wedding planners, top wedding photojournalists and videojournalists whose work appears regularly in In-Style and Grace Ormond, award-winning catering companies, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and wedding publishing execs...to name just a few!!! 

It is far reaching and will make for an interesting mix of wedding 'insiders' all coming with a unique point-of-view but for the same reason:: furthering their knowledge of marketing to the wedding industry and taking their businesses to the next level!

Thank you to all who have embraced engage!08 so far -- we are thrilled that you will be joining us...look for more updates next week!


New Speaker Added: Harmony Walton, Editorial Director of Get Married TV & The Bridal Bar

One more amazing speaker has been added to the roster for engage!08: Harmony Walton; recently named editorial director of "Get Married" on Lifetime and the founder of The Bridal Bar in LA and San Diego!! 

I am so thrilled that Harmony has agreed to join us.  She brings the perspective of a unique and very *hot* business model in The Bridal Bar, a roster of [major!!!] celebrity wedding experience and a fully-integrated media presence with Get Married.  

Her popular blog was recently featured in USA Today as one of a very few elite wedding blogs hand-selected by the editorial team at Martha Stewart Living to be added to their new vertical ad network.

As if that was not enough, she is also on the editorial team at the gorgeous Your Wedding Day Magazine which has recently gone national.

So glad that you are joining us Harmony!!


A quick update on the response so far for engage!08.  Quite simply, we are overwhelmed with the interest from the industry!!  We are thrilled to already have attendees coming from New York, LA, Savannah, Grand Cayman, Maine, Miami, Nashville, St. Kitts, Atlanta, Seattle, Arizona and of course all over Central Florida! And that is in less than a week since our official announcement.

The other interesting point to note is that the type of wedding professionals planning to join us is quite varied and represents many different perspectives in the industry including:  a number of 5- star, 5-diamond luxury resorts and hotels, high-end wedding planning professionals, award-winning photojournalists, wedding cake designers, catering professionals, magazine publishers, television producers, sales + marketing executives and public relations professionals!

Not only do we have an all-star lineup of amazing speakers, but the attendees themselves are the tops in their fields and will bring wonderful insights, ideas and experiences to add to the dynamic.

Thank you to all who have embraced this 'engaging concept' - and told us that it is "exactly what you have been looking for..." and it "promises to be a really fun and enlightening day with the speakers you have lined up..." and "sign me up - this program looks fantastic!" to "Oh WOW!  How uber-fabulous!!!". Keep the notes and calls coming - we love to hear your feedback!!

A reminder, space is limited in order to maintain an intimate setting, so if you'd like to be a part of this industry first  - make sure to register soon!

Registering Update

Thank you to the many wedding industry professionals who have embraced the concept of engage!08 and signed up already!  So exciting - it is shaping up to be an amazing day!

A few quick updates to the registration process:

  • Of course, you can always call us at 407.566.2298 or email at engage@engagingconcepts.com with ANY questions or if you simply prefer to register that way.
  • You will then receive a confirmation email and under separate cover an invoice for $899.00 [per attendee] from PayPal.  Note: Be sure to check your spam box as sometimes PayPal invoices end up there.
  • You may pay using Visa, Mastercard, Amex or Check.  
  • Checks may be sent to: PO 470236, Celebration, FL 34747
  • Your payment confirms your participation.
  • If you are traveling in for the conference, you should reserve your hotel room as soon as possible as there are only a limited number of rooms in the block.  The special engage!08 room rate at the Celebration Hotel is $169.  Call 1-888-499-3800 to reserve.  More information on this 'delightfully charming' boutique hotel is available on their website www.celebrationhotel.com.
  • We will be sending you a brief questionnaire in the coming weeks to allow us to customize the program and content to your unique business - so be on the lookout!
Again, if you have any questions do not hesitate to contact us!!


It's Official!!! {Or, a Solution for the Square Pegs...}

Background on engage!08 {warning::long but worth it I promise!!!}:

After many, many years of dreaming, planning, researching and just plain talking [incessantly!] about this concept - we are finally doing it and taking the plunge! The official 'emma-powered' email blast has gone out and so there is no turning back -- engage!08 is here!

We are thrilled to finally make this happen. Why? Quite simply - in my 17+ years in the wedding industry there has never been anything like engage!. Never. And I have tried - with so
me better experiences than others - I have tried, mostly in vain, to attend wedding events and shows and conferences over the years to make them 'work' for me. But it always seems as if I am trying to put a square peg in a round hole!

Either the events are really focused for the consumer and I am there to try and network, learn about new trends and generally educate myself but in reality taking up valuable time and attention that should be spent on the real target - the bride. Or, they are related 'industry events' for catering or event or photography professionals with a [very] minor focus on marketing to the wedding industry as a whole. Some are targeted to the wedding professional but are too broad in scope and focus on the novice or mass-market professional. Or they are hospitality or travel sales and marketing conferences - and don't even get me started on those...weddings are truly the 'black sheep' of that group....sigh!

I have tried it all - and so have many, many other amazing and talented and successful wedding professionals looking to educate themselves on the tricky art of marketing, selling and servicing the wedding industry. I have met countless other luxury wedding professionals in all aspects of the business who are dying to learn more, meet more and do more with 'like colleagues' who are focused on the high-end weddings in this crazy, fun, "glamorous" field that we have all chosen.

One of the focuses of this first engage! event will be to help wedding professionals have their 'passion meet profit.' Because if there is one thing that this industry has no shortage of - it is PASSION! Passion at every level.
And the profit part - well I know that as creative professionals at our core - we could all use a bit of focus on that...*wink!*

I want to celebrate that passion and really help the best get even better! The power of collaborating, sharing ideas and partnering together is priceless.

I am honored and beyond thrilled that my long-time friends and industry legends, Preston Bailey and Marcy Blum have graciously agreed to come down to Celebration to be a part of this first engage! - words cannot even express how excited I am about that. The president of Preston Bailey Designs and one of the most brilliant minds in wedding marketing and brand building today, Sean Low, will also be on hand which is very cool.

Over the years, whenever we are together, we discuss our businesses and the industry as a whole endlessly. I always come away from these exchanges re-energized, motivated, inspired and renewed - thinking about things in a whole new way. I want to try and capture the essence of some of those conversations and share the insights from them with others.

Special guest speaker Simon T. Bailey - a former Disney colleague of mine and now international best selling author of "Release Your Brilliance" published by Harper-Collins - will lead an inspiring and motivating session guaranteed to examine your potential, insight, genius, innovation, and ideas – just waiting to be released. Truly transformational!

Susan Moynihan, editor-in-chief of "Destination Weddings & Honeymoons" magazine [and former Travel Editor of Modern Bride!] is on board bringing invaluable insight into the mind of today's destination wedding bride and also sharing some insider tips on getting the attention of editors in this overcrowded environment!

And 'new' cyber-friends who I personally am really excited about meeting in person, Liene Stevens of BlueOrchidDesigns and new blog TheSmartPlanner and Christine Boulton of ThinkLikeaBride.com will be joining us as well for what is sure to be a lively and highly informative panel discussion on leveraging new media and blogging to build your wedding business!

And of course - if you know me, read my Blog or have ever heard me speak...you are aware that I am NEVER at a loss for words regarding the business of the wedding industry. It has been my passion and my life for almost 18 years and I have SO MUCH to share - the hardest part for me is going to be decide what topics get covered and what concepts are included!! No easy feat for sure!

Wow - it is going to be an amazing, energizing and impactful day. And it will be special because it will be the first of its kind - so those of you who can take the [precious] time to join us will not be sorry.

Kathryn Arce [who is going to make this all happen!!!] and I invite you to call 407.566.2298 or email us at engage@engagingconcepts.com
with any and all questions. One of the best aspects of engage!08 is going to be how intimate it is - how up close and personal, how interactive and how customized the messages and topics are going to be for YOU - the participant. That being said - space is limited by design - so if you are thinking about signing up - don't delay!!

Looking forward to an 'engaging' day together and to the square peg FINALLY fitting in the square hole!!!