You saw my post with all the pretty details from Engage!14 Bachelor Gulch, but Engage! is so much more than that. I’ve been to 12(!) conferences and every time I get a new perspective on life and business.
This one was no different. The whole thing kicked off with a shot of Colorado whiskey (in pink Engage! shot glasses, of course). And in true Engage! fashion, there were a few surprise appearances: Wolfgang Puck and the original Bachelorette Trista Sutter. My favorite speakers hit on a recurring theme: Come from a place of happiness and truth, work really hard, and the rest will follow.
The lovely Randy Fenoli shared his personal story of triumph over rough beginnings, proving there’s no such thing as “overnight success.” Dallas events impresario Todd Fiscus talked about running his business from a place of joy instead a place of fear, and top planners Michelle Rago, Colin Cowie and Debbie Geller shared where they get passion. And NYC rock-star planner Jes Gordon proved that if you stay true to who you are, your career will follow. So it wasn’t just business advice but life lessons. After all, how can you devote your lives to other people’s happiest moments without coming from a place of joy yourself?
Of course I loved the panel on destination weddings by Harmony Walton of LA’s Bridal Bar and Jet Fete, and Jennifer Stein, founder and editor of Destination I Do , smart, inspiring women who love travel as much as I do. It was great to get more insight on LGTBQ weddings from Bernadette Coveney Smith of 14 Stories, who literally wrote the book on the subject (two, actually). Vanessa Kreckel of Two Paper Dolls gave a great talk on websites, alongside Jeremy Schwartz from Squarespace. And I was honored to represent Modern Luxury Brides on the media panel, talking real weddings alongside editors from Martha Stewart Weddings, Brides and The Knot. We finished by hitting the Gifting Lounge, where we got to see (and get!) goodies from some of the industry’s hottest companies, including chic registry Newlywish, Plum Pretty Sugar, Artifact Uprising and SBG Designs.
The last night is always the highlight of Engage! and this one may have capped them all, thanks to a surprise flash mob themed to Dirty Dancing. The wonderful Brian Worley of top Hollywood event company yourBASH and Paige Chenault of The Birthday Party Project practiced for hours with LA-based Dance Follies to get their dance moves right, and a lucky group (including me) joined for a surprise flash mob in the middle of the event. I don’t know who had more fun, the people watching or those of us dancing! Want to do this at your own wedding? Get details (and a link to the fun) here.
And of course, the décor at the gala blew me away, from the retro-style Drinks sign to the over-the-top entryway and floral arrangements. Prepare to drool.
Engage!14 is the brainchild of Rebecca Grinnals and Kathryn Arce of Engaging Concepts, who started it back in 2007. I was lucky enough to be at the first one, and to know them and watch it grow has been nothing but inspiring. A huge, teary-eyed thank you to them for starting on this path, and taking me along as it’s grown. You have changed my life, and through that you change the lives of everyone I impact with the gift of travel.