Wow, this past week we had a busy couple of days. 

 Mark, Kristin and I all attended the Association of Bridal Consultants international conference in Phoenix, Arizona.

 It’s much closer to home next year so we’re hoping the rest of the team will be able to join us in Baltimore for the 2011 Conference.

 As members of this organization, each year we are invited to attend and meet with fellow members from around the world at the international conference.

 Mark was also asked to present a session titled “We Are Not The Enemy” regarding the relationship between wedding consultants and catering managers. 

 He was also asked to participate in a panel that evaluates consultants who are applying to become master bridal consultants. See Mark’s blog post on how he attained this prestigious designation.   

The conference is a great opportunity for us to meet professionals from across the country as well as several foreign countries, network  with other chapters, find out about new products at the trade show, and learn about new trends and designs that we can bring home to our clients. 

 This conference also helps us as we seek to attain higher levels of designation within the organization.  All in all it’s a good opportunity for us to learn and grow as professionals. 

 We touched down in Arizona on Saturday to absolutely gorgeous weather. We walked around the Arizona Grand Resort a bit, taking in our surroundings and looking at the amazing grounds and property.  That evening we had some fun at the Rustler’s Rooste, a restaurant at the resort that had a live bull, a slide into the dining room, live country music, rattlesnake (on the menu) and really good ribs and steak…

 On Sunday, Mark sat on the Master Bridal Consultants’ review panel so Kristin and I went to registration and checked in with some of our professional partners and visit with the exhibitors at the trade show too. 

One really cool booth was the Rent The Runway booth. You can rent designer dresses for big events at 10% of the retail cost.  So if a dress costs $900 you only end up paying $90.  How awesome is that!?!? 

 We also checked in at Mary Dann’s booth (Wedding Consultant in California) to say hello, her presentation on Gizmos and Gadgets on Monday was super fun.

The opening “Red Haute” reception was just fabulous, there’s no other way to describe it. Everyone was asked to wear red and black so we were thrilled to see everyone wearing our signature color, and Mark looked Oh so fab in his red tuxedo.  

 The space was lined with palm trees lit up and strung with lighting.  Splashes of red adorned the tables, furniture and stations.  Speaking of, the food stations were so yummy, (especially the mini cones of creamy gelato) and the DJ had everyone dancing.

 Each day we were treated to an amazing breakfast and lunch featuring incredible décor and really tasty menus.  We love to taste and try new things so it’s nice to be able to sample food from different areas of the country when we attend these conferences. 

 

 Over the course of Monday and Tuesday we attended many sessions.  One, on floral design, demonstrated how to create beautiful arrangements on a tight budget while also reviewing some of the latest trends in floral design and arranging for everything from centerpieces to hand tied bouquets. 

 With invitations and paper becoming such important pieces in comprehensive event design the “paper and personalization” session offered attendees the chance to learn about distinctive papers and ways to personalize an invitation suite while also discussing trends and etiquette. 

 The Chinese weddings session discussed the Chinese culture and elements of a traditional Chinese wedding and the modifications in the modern day Chinese wedding.  Many Chinese wedding elements are rooted in history and tradition so it was really interesting to see how it has evolved over time.

 The “HOTT structures” session informed attendees about the various structures you will find at a wedding like a Mandap, chuppah, tent or canopy while the “transformations using drape and lighting” session showed us some great design technique using lighting and draping and different ways to transform a blank canvas. 

 I couldn’t talk about the sessions without telling you about Mark’s.  He spoke about the relationship between a planner and venue or sales manager.  Mark questioned over 30 local catering sales managers to find out in what ways a wedding consultant could improve their relationship with a catering sales manager. We have really great relationships with area venues and Mark shared some advice with our fellow attendees.  The session was packed and I know everyone came away with some valuable information. 

It was also a great opportunity for Mark to talk with a bunch of local chapters who are interested in having him speak to their members on the same or similar subjects. 

 The keynote speakers for the conference were celebrity planners Sasha Souza and David Tutera (a world renowned event designer who you’ve probably seen on “My Fair Wedding” ).  Sasha’s presentation delved into a few of her weddings, taking us from her initial inspiration to the final design.  It was really interesting to hear about her thought process when producing each of these weddings and we left with some new ideas, tools, and tips that we can share with our clients.  David Tutera’s session was so much fun.  He has so much energy and passion for the industry and you can really see it when he speaks about his work.  We all know how amazing his work is but we all had the opportunity to do what many don’t, ask him questions one on one about just about anything.  Both of these presenters shared a wealth of knowledge and I can’t wait for the next opportunity to hear them speak.

 

What was really great was they also joined us for lunch and dinner before and after their sessions.  From dinner and dancing to goofing off in the photobooths, we all had a really lovely time with them and can’t wait to see them or hear them speak at our next event or conference. 

 We had a really great time at the Conference.  We all don’t get to just kick back and spend some time together without working so it was really nice to get some time to have fun together, outside of work.  I met so many amazing people from across the country and learned so much at the sessions and the keynote presentations, can’t wait for next year in Baltimore.   

Check out our facebook page for all of our pictures from the conference!

 http://www.facebook.com/QueenofHeartsWeddingConsultants

-Rebecca

.