Thursday, June 16, 2011

Engage 11 Wedding Summit San Diego - Day 2

If Day 1 was just the start, Day 2 was clearly the day where we got our feet wet.

It was apparent how everyone was rearing to go and meet Day 2  full on. We  all rose up early to enjoy a scrumptious breakfast prepared by the fabulous The Grand Del Mar . The details were impeccable and the service exceptional. Again, The Grand Del Mar  surpassed my expectations.

With a hearty and healthy breakfast we were prepped for the exciting day ahead! Check out these specially cut fruits and the omelet station!

photo by: Jessica Claire
Photo by: Jessica Claire
Here's a few more eyecandy from breakfast.
Photo by: Mel Barlow and Co.

Photo by: Mel Barlow and Co.

The setting for the General Opening Session was in one word -- LUXURIOUS. The red, noire, and ivory theme for this summit certainly made its statement in this room. With a beautifully set stage and each one of our seats laden with all sorts of trimmings and goodies, it was easy to say that we were in for a very special day of learning!

Photo by: Mel Barlow and Co.

Photo by: Mel Barlow and Co.

Photo by: Mel Barlow and Co.

Upon reaching my designated seat, I was more pleasantly surprised with all the stationery laid out in front of me. From the LetterPress "Schedule of Speakers" to the matching notebooks to the itinerary of events, all so thoughtfully designed and complimentary of each other,  credit must be given to the highly talented team of Chariot. For the creative design elements throughout the conference and for all the printed materials, signages and whatnots, again, Kristy Rice of Momental Designs did an astounding job. Kudos also goes to Two Paper Dolls for their unparalleled quality, they are a league of their own.

Photo by: Mel Barlow and Co.
Photo by: Mel Barlow and Co.

To kick start the General session Rebecca and Kathryn of Engaging Concepts gave a summary of the Wedding Industry. Rebecca  is always so informative and her energy is just so infectious, she practically breaths energy into everyone's soul.

Photo by: Jessica Claire

The man of the moment, my super hero, Todd Fiscus of Todd Events was the first among the speakers. His topic was FIREwork!  Todd is so easy to listen to  that you forget you are in a room with 270 other wedding professionals. He is so down to earth and clearly passionate about weddings. He reminded us that wedding planning and design is a job and  that we need to make a  living out of what we love to do.  It is  a passion as it is a business. Creativity + Business Sense= Success! Great business insight from a man who is an  incredible designer to boot!

Photo by: Mel Barlow and  Co.

Next to speak was classy Cindy Novotny.  I've had the fortunate opportunity to hear her speak for the first time last year in Cayman at Engage!10 and I was truly inspired by her no-nonsense-get-on-with-it message. With her wit and wisdom on the wedding biz she certainly turned on some fires, especially in me! Cindy made me realize that in our daily lives we oftentimes lose ourselves and forget the influence  we have on others. It is imperative that we cultivate our passion to influence others and that we get a grip of what we really want and do everything in our powers to claim that dream!  Cindy really drove these messages home!  Her key message points - 1. Focus on just ONE thing; 2.What do you really want?, 3. Excellence is not optional, 4. Clear the mental clutter. Cindy is simply phenomenal!

Photo by: Mel Barlow and Co.

After such an inspiring morning, we were treated to a mystical luncheon on the lawn of The Grand Del Mar. The sight of that spectacular tent provided by  Raj Tents  just blew me away. Walking inside, I felt like I was transported to a chic Morrocan marquee fit for a king! I couldn't help gush at  all the lovely details that were meticulously laid out for us inside -- from the linens- to the menus-and down to the florals.
Photo by: Mel Barlow and Co.
Photo by: Mel Barlow and Co.
Photo by: Mel Barlow and Co.
Photo by: Mel Barlow and Co.
At lunch, the legendary, cake diva Sylvia Weinstock gave us a few lessons on cake decorating. 

Photo by: Mel Barlow and Co.
Afternoon sessions started with Marcy Blum, -- a classic lady with amazing insights on life,on being grounded and on how to  reach for the stars! Marcy was brimming with knowledge on the wedding industry and on  how we can make each occasion a momentous event.
Photo by: Mel Barlow and Co.

Carley Roney, Editor in Chief of The Knot,  always poised and elegant, eloquently delivered a really informative talk on Luxury Weddings. Carley gave us mind blowing statistics highlighting the huge percentage of the market place that is deemed to be luxury weddings!!! Listening to her brought me back to 2008 when Carley and my Celebrations team worked together for a Knot TV Destination Wedding filmed mostly in Little Cayman, Cayman Islands!
Photo by: Mel Barlow and Co.

Having never heard Mindy Weiss speak in person prior to Engage11, I was obviously really looking forward to her speech. Like in any instances where you a chance to meet famous and highly successful people, you tend to have extremely high expectations. However, to my sheer delight , Mindy was so down to earth that  it wasn't hard for me to relate to her views and opinions on the wedding industry. Her message was clear, concise and very targeted!  She reminded us that if we are in the wedding event business, we have a gene that we are born with and it is THAT gene that rules!  She warned us also about staying with what you know, and doing it to the very best of your ability. Mindy further reminded us not take ourselves too seriously, and never send out negative energy!

Photo by: Mel Barlow and Co.
Check out the yummy treats for our afternoon coffee break!

Photo by: Mel Barlow and Co.
Photo by: Mel Barlow and Co.
The ending of the general session was an intimate conversation with Bride's Magazine Millie Bratten and Monique Lhuillier -- a treat that cannot be imagined! What an amazing young woman Monique is, and Millie as usual was superb. We could not have asked for a better ending to a fantastic day of information, collaboration, and pizzazz!

Photo by: Mel Barlow and Co.

Engage11- San Diego General Session for me, in a nutshell, was the most empowering of all the wedding summits I have been to. I say this not to undermine the past summits I've attended ( because they were all good too!)  but  to give recognition to Rebecca and  Kathryn of Engaging Concepts for doing such an amazing job in putting together such a powerful line-up of speakers.  Each and everyone of the speakers and their presentations were riveting and inspiring. We were practically glued to our seats listening to the wedding industry experts share their wonderful insights and funny anecdotes! You could see how passionate everyone is about weddings and all its nuances judging from the glimmer in our eyes.

In the evening, we were once again spoilt to the hilt with dinner at designated special restaurants in San Diego. We were divided into groups with  various speakers actings as hosts.  I was very fortunate to dine with Mindy Weiss at an extraordinary restaurant Cal A Vie.

This dinner  was such a treat, to say the very least. The restaurant's ambiance, the gastronomic delight we devoured and the free-flowing and inspiring conversation within  our  group made this night a memorable one.


Check us back for Day 3 Recap!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Engage 11 Wedding Summit San Diego - Day 1

Where do I begin?  It is a week since attending Engage!11 in San Diego, and I am still bubbling I cannot begin to say how much I enjoyed being; what an incredible experience!  I have so much to share.   I feel like I have been a part of this entire conference from its very inception when that unbelievable lady, Rebecca Grinnals, Engaging Concepts discussed the idea with me at my office in the Cayman Islands!   And look at where this conference is now!  This is without question the paramount wedding summit in the world.  This conference is world class, and with Rebecca and Kathryn's innovative and pioneering steadfastness, they are taking the attendees and participants of  this conference to a stratosphere that no other industry conference could ever deliver or has ever delivered.   This conference is indelible in my mind; the networking collaberation, friendships, have changed the way I conduct myself and my business.

Rebecca Grinnals & Kathry Arce of Engaging Concepts, the brains ( and beauty!) behind Engage11

The location of the conference, the host The Grand Del Mar in San Diego was not a resort or hotel, it was a destination.  Service, cuisine, and friendliness of staff impeccable, to feel at home and welcome in these pristine surroundings was remarkable.

There was not a detail left out, from the incredible swag bags that we received, to the ingredients inside, thoughtful, trending ideas, and just showing great craftsmanship.  
The swag bag brimming with goodies!
Love these Tejani Bangles!
Yummy treat from Fantasy Frostings.
Check out of this breathtaking bridal gown of flowers made by the uber-talented Karen Tran.
Karen Tran, Rebecca Grinnals & I at the registration. Photo compliments of Karen Tran.

More Karen Tran. magic!
Stylish decor for the welcome session

 We were so fortunate to have incredible speakers, that not only inspired, but were so willing to share, I am so lucky, indeed my entire team are so lucky to be part of this incredible industry.

The enigmatic David Beahm during the Opening Session
Top wedding designer, David Beahm  and motivational speaker Simon T. Bailey did presentations that were beyond informative, they were enlightening, inspiring and thought provoking.
Simon T. Bailey doing what he does best -- Inspire
Later that night, we were all invited to the Welcome Party overlooking the San Diego Valley. It was truly a feast, food and decor wise.
"Grazing" stations and food trucks gave an informal feel to this outdoor party. Yet were spoilt all through out with scrumptious nibbles ranging from grilled seafood to mini burgers to popcorn.I knew right then that we were going to have a night to remember.
Gorgeous decor to complement the amazing view!

The night's entertainment was provided by Elan Artists. The Earth Harp, which I have never seen ever before, was the heartbeat of the party. It didn't take long for everybody to get up on their feet and start dancing the night away!

What a great way to start Engage11!!!!

Recap of Day 2 of Engage11 ... soon come!

All Photos by : Mel Barlow and Co, except when indicated otherwise.

The History of Father's Day

Father's Day, in the United States, is a holiday (third Sunday in June) to honour fathers. Credit for originating the holiday is generally given to Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington, whose father, a Civil War veteran, raised her and her five siblings after their mother died in childbirth. She is said to have had the idea in 1909 while listening to a sermon on Mother's Day, which at the time was becoming established as a holiday. Local religious leaders supported the idea, and the first Father's Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910, the month of the birthday of Dodd's father. In 1924 President Calvin Coolidge gave his support to the observance, and in 1966 President Lyndon B. Johnson officially proclaimed it a national holiday. Observance on the third Sunday of June was decreed by law in 1972.

Although it was originally largely a religious holiday, Father's Day has been commercialized with the sending of greeting cards and the giving of gifts. Some observe the custom of wearing a red rose to indicate that one's father is living or a white rose to indicate that he is deceased. Other males—for example, grandfathers or uncles who have assumed parenting roles—are often also honoured on the day. Some Roman Catholics have continued to observe the feast day of Saint Joseph, on March 19, as a tribute to fathers.

Copyright © 1994-2009 Encyclop√¶dia Britannica, Inc. For more information visit


Check out our gift ideas for Father's Day!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Canadian Cayman Destination Wedding Promo

Our fabulous Canadian partners, Platinum Events Group, is  doing a great promo for a free Cayman Destination Wedding!

Check out the contest details:

What an exciting prize give-away! A wedding in paradise planned by Canada's top destination wedding company, you and your closest friends and family...what more can you ask for?
If you are Canadian, and you'd like to be married in the Cayman Islands, email them your entry now! You know never know, this must be your chance to realize your dream destination wedding, right here at the very shores we call home.