Engage!10 Conference : Cayman Islands

Personal

A few months ago, I saw a documentary about kids and the national spelling bee competition. It wasn’t about the competition, per say, but, rather, about the kids’ lives leading up to the event. One scene, however, struck me. And I have yet to forget it. It’s when all the kids gather at the competition and they, somehow, all just mesh. They’re not the so-called nerds studying the Germanic origin of a word instead of playing baseball, they were all kids who spoke the same spelling language. Germanic roots and all.

Last week I had a similar experience. I went to the Engage!10 Conference in the Cayman Islands and I felt like I reached mecca. A sanctuary for wedding professionals who work hard, gasp at the denial of chivari chairs, and discuss the 288 shades of pink. Seriously. When my good friend Harmony Walton of the Bridal Bar encouraged me to attend, I couldn’t really understand why. Her response was simply I had to attend to understand. She was right.

The Engage!10 Conference was a mix of wedding professionals (magazine editors, wedding planners, designers, etc) and we spent three days discussing wedding industry, things we love about it, and how to make ourselves better. Okay, and there was a plethora of neon drinks with fruit garnishes down by the beach as well, but it was all in a day’s work. Promise. At least that’s what I told JD.

Every corner was filled with amazing details and nothing was overlooked…

Rebecca Grinnals and Kathryn Arce of Engaging Concepts open the conference with a bang…

I learned SO much from The Knot‘s Editor-in-chief, Carley Roney…her presentation was insightful and full of information I can use for my business…loved it!

Editor-in-chief of Brides Magazine, Millie Martini Bratten, hosted a panel with Sylvia Weinstock and famed event planner Marcy Blum

And then…then…Colin Cowie took the stage. Honestly, there was a collective swoon from every girl in the room. Maybe it’s his Australian accent, his insane talent, or the fact that his pants don’t crease, but he definitely rocked the platform. Colin designs multimillion dollar events for Hollywood stars and A-listers, but he’s one of the nicest industry leaders I’ve ever met…

Without a shadow of a doubt, my experience was impacted by the ever amazing Lara Casey and Harmony Walton. They were the best roommates I could have ever asked for and I’m a better person having spent so much time with them.

…and then I fainted after the following picture…

Rebecca Grinnals and Kathryn Arce of Engaging Concepts and their uber fab cohort Trisha Hay…these ladies hosted such a spectacular event and I’m smitten with them. They also think I’m funny…which makes them AWESOME.

Some of my best memories from the trip was spending countless hours in the Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman hotel room…for five days I spent time talking, thinking, and dreaming with Lara and Harmony…and it was something I’ll cherish forever. We also meshed so well and it was so nice being able to swap issues of US Weekly and Wired magazines, sunblock, and email organization tips. Epic times.

While I was talking pictures of the girls (you know, so I wouldn’t forget), Harmony grabbed my camera and turned it on me. She’s now convinced she’s destined to become a photographer.

Later that night attendees were broken into small groups and placed with a host of honor…which happened to be famed baker Sylvia Weinstock. I can’t fully express how perfect this dinner was. Sylvia is one classy lady…she’s full of life and wisdom!

I was lucky enough to sit next to Maria Cooke of The Ritzy Bee…who’s an incredibly talented DC-based wedding planner and blogger…we also danced our feet off at a party later during the trip, but those details are better left offline! 😉

I loved my fellow dinner attendees and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for everyone…

I’m already looking forward to next year’s Engage Conference and I can’t wait to implement the many things I learned on my trip. I feel so blessed to have visited the Cayman Islands, but I’m also thrilled to be home again and excited to start this week anew!

Happy Sunday!