HAUTE Conference

Hello ALL! As many of you are aware I had the extreme privilege of attending the Association of Bridal Consultants Annual Business of Brides Conference in Phoenix, Arizona from Nov 6th-10th. The annual conference provides valuable continuing education and training information for wedding professional with mini-seminars, trade shows, and networking opportunities. Consultants and vendors come from all over the world to attend the show! It was such a wonderful experience, it was the first annual conference that I have attended and will not be the last that is for sure. It was so wonderful meeting new faces and getting the opportunity to get re-acquainted with some familiar faces. I re-connected with a few people from my trip to Jamaica last year for sandals training, as well as some local planners that I met previously at other training seminars that I attended throughout the year. Lia (a fellow planner from Michigan and owner of Full Circle Eventi) and I had a wonderful time together, it was so nice having someone in the industry to share stores with :) especially over a glass of wine or two :) Well without further adieu the overview of my trip!

Lia and I arrived on Saturday roughly around 7:30pm Arizona time. A friend of mine was so nice to come and pick us up from the airport, and take us to our hotel the beautiful Arizona Grand Resort. We checked in and were starving so we made our way to a Mexican restaurant on the premises. We were both very tired with the time change so we were not up to venturing out to far, and we knew that we had to get up early in the morning. We ate a quick Mexican dinner accompanied by a very overpriced and very small pitcher of margaritas, then headed back up to the room to call it a night :)

We woke early and went straight to the trade show:) We had to check in a and pick up any books that we pre-ordered. Of course I didn't pre-order anything but wanted everything when I got there so I ended up carrying around what felt like 50lbs of books! ugh...oh well at least i had my books for David Tutera and Sasha Souza to sign! The trade show was nice. I was introduced to several new vendors which I have not used before and was very excited at the possibility of using them in the future. I also found some FABULOUS linens! Which I WILL be using this year!!! I was beyond excited, i have been looking for a particular linen and there before my eyes it was being displayed in a vendors booth! Lucky me :) Another fabulous surprise Mary Dann was there. Turns out she was also speaking briefly at the conference. I am a HUGE fan of hers as well, I'm sure most of you have seen her work before and never even realized it. She is a Wedding Planner based of of southern California (imagine that :)) whose work has been featured on such shows as Platinum weddings! She was delightful to meet in person! After we made our rounds at the show we got our hair and make up done, another free service offered to us at the show :) and had some head shots done! Hey why not! Now that we were all dolled up we went up to our room to change,and to head off to The Red Haute Couture opening reception!
Monday came Early, and we had a full day! First there was the Eco chic Breakfast, which was decorated beautifully, then we attended
  • Hott gadgets, gizmos, and great little ideas ;)
  • Floral Sense and Cents
  • Wedding tech
Haute Water Luncheon
  • 10 commitments to networking
  • using traditional and new media to build your brand among brides
  • Weddings by design! Sasha Souza!
Although I LOVE David Tutera, meeting and getting the opportunity to hear Sasha speak was the highlight of my trip! I am and have been a HUGE fan of her designs. her events are so inspiring. Her attention to detail is impeccable, and listening to her speak about her design process from inspiration to completion was beyond inspiring and motivating. It solidified some of my design ideas, as well as inspired me to do a few new things! She is such a creative and down to earth person. One of my favorite parts of her discussion: someone asked her what she feels is the biggest issue facing the industry. her reply..."you people do not change what you are worth, and you apologize for what you do charge!" YES Sasha you are spot on! There will be people who value your services and others that do not, and she is absolutely right, this is one thing that will stay in my head for a long time! What we as event DESIGNERS do is HARD work, and is very time consuming, and if you want an event to look like something you saw on Platinum weddings or My Fair Wedding, it is going to take A LOT of TIME and EFFORT and we deserve to be paid according :) enough babbling:) after Sasha's wonderful session it was off to her book signing and photo op! Book signed, check...picture with sasha check....now it was time to eat and hit the hay for another busy day!

Tuesday! Woke early, had to check out because Lia and I were both departing after the conference at the end of the day. Breakfast was a haute chocolate delight with our Masters. We were handed delicious brownie packages from Fairytale brownies as we entered the room that allowed us to select any table with the same name to sit at with a master bridal consultant and pick their brain while we snacked on chocolate croissants, spinach, artichoke and sun dried tomato quiche, chocolate stuffed french toast and a chocolate pot de creme and fresh fruit. It was delightful and defiantly got your engine going with all of that sugar!

After breakfast we headed over to the tented pavilion for 2 more break out sessions!
  • Powerful Transformations using pipe and drape and lighting
  • HOTT structures, tents, canopies, chuppahs, and mandaps
I had the pleasure of sitting next to Suzanne Dement who runs Sasha's Tennessee Office! It was nice being able to chat with her a bit, and pick her brain a little as well :)

After the sessions we attended The International luncheon, in which I had the pleasure of sitting next to and getting acquainted with Nikki Begg the owner of Bermuda Bride, Petals, and elements! First we were laughing that we had the same name, same astrological sign, same interested and motivation. It was so nice speaking with her. She has been in the industry a bit longer than myself and her advice was monumental, both professionally and personally. Anyone in this industry knows how demanding it is, and the affect it can have on your family if you let it. Its important to keep your priorities in order and remember that a career is great but you cant cuddle up to it at night! (I love you hubby) and any brides interested in destination weddings Bermuda is GORGEOUS! We love to travel!

After the wonderful lunch we attended one more break out session
  • too busy to do it all
Then we hurried over and I mean HURRIED to get Great seats for DAVID TUTERA! Listening to David was amazing. He is exactly like you would imagine him to be, the person who he is on TV is the same person you get in person! It was nice to hear his story of how her started, and his advice to other designers and planners, it is something that I will definitely remember forever. Meeting him was also something that I will never forget. He is such a icon. The events that he creates are so OVER THE TOP and breath taking I would be honored to attend one of his events let alone assist in designing one of them. He is also very down to earth which was very refreshing. And Girls he signed one of his books The Big White Book of weddings for one of you lucky ladies to have. I figure I will do some type of promotional contest with it, but haven't decided what as of just yet! David, Sasha, and Mary are all such different designers, yet all provide such wonderful and different incite to the industry. I feel so grateful that my business has grown to what it has in such a short time and that I have such an amazing support system that encourages and supports me, it because of all of you that Elite Events is what is is today and is constantly evolving. It is so exciting. Thank YOU!