As I go off to watch the solar eclipse, I keep thinking about how one cannot underestimate the role of science and education in one’s life.
I think about indigenous people and the fear they probably had in similar situations during an eclipse. How many of them must have gone blind by watching the eclipse directly!
Thankfully, social media did well by instructing us on details of where to watch the eclipse, special glasses were sold across the country and, for those who were late to get a pair, a video tutorial was published explaining how to make your own “camera obscura”.
Education plays an enormous role in our lives and is essential for professional development and growth.
One might think that the wedding industry is a low-tech one – but this is simply wrong! Not only is the technological progress in such areas as lighting and photography huge (think drones and gif photo booths), but there is also an enormous need to be technologically savvy with social media to stay in sync with the millennial generation, which represents 80% of those getting married today.
Having been a research scientist and innovation specialist in my previous life, I was delighted to attend a 2-day educational conference organized by WeddingWire in Washington DC. It was such a great investment for my business!
During the two days I was there, I was able to learn a ton of new and useful things.
The conference started with insightful presentations by the WW executive team, Timothy Chi and Sonny Ganguly, the CEO and CMO, both of whom are young, energetic, charismatic, funny, and great presenters.
We heard about the highlights of modern technology and innovation, how it shapes the world, the young generation and the businesses serving this generation that want to stay afloat.
We learned how to get rid of the habits we grew up with, when a phone call was the most natural way to get in touch. Not with millennials! They email and text instead, and for them this is perfectly normal.
WeddingWire is striving to provide a meaningful user experience for the vendors who advertise with them, and I give them huge credit for this work. Not only does it help vendors and couples to connect in the most efficient way, but it also greatly facilitates communication and connection among vendors, allowing for the creation of successful teams and new collaboration. The company constantly looks for improvements, some of which were highlighted by their product specialist Sara Zalowitz.
The WeddingWire Customer Success Team organized very useful training sessions that focused on how to improve the look of wedding store-fronts and guided businesses on the design of their own websites.
Several successful external entrepreneurs from different areas of the wedding business were invited to share with us their tips and tricks, which I found extremely useful.
The only regret I have is that I wasn’t able to split myself into many parts to attend all the sessions that were happening in parallel!
I very much enjoyed the talk given by Vanessa Joy, a talented wedding photographer from NJ, about making promotional videos – it was very practical, easy to follow and full of useful references to the apps one can use to create professional-looking videos to showcase one’s work.
I was deeply touched by the talk by Kathryn Hamm, from the GayWeddings’ part of the WeddingWire, which opened my eyes more to the wedding situation for gay couples. Yes, they are a minority, but an important one, and until now have for some reason been neglected. I was under the naïve impression that since same-sex weddings are now legally allowed, everything goes as smoothly as for straight couples. I learned that we are still far from that and that we have to make more effort to become inclusive of the LGBT community, as well as of ethnical minorities.
Another highlight of the conference for me was the talk given by Alan Berg, a charming, smart and brilliant speaker, who gave us practical advice on how to advertise our businesses, talk about pricing, and to make sales. I liked it so much that I ended up at his seminar the day after the conference, which was indeed quite useful.
Finally, how could I not mention that the wedding industry is one where nothing can happen without good entertainment – and we’ve got it big time! We were entertained by a very cool and engaging MC, Rob Ferre, and a bright and enigmatic DJ, Jason Jani, who played for us during the breaks and at the networking reception. To top it off, we had an unparalleled performance by Monte Durham! I had so much fun!
Overall, this was a great experience, and left me with the feeling of having learned a lot of new and valuable information and gave me strong motivation to improve my business – thank you so much to the WeddingWire team!
Photos courtesy of: Tania Hossain Photography @ www.taniahossainphotography.com; Alan Berg @ https://alanberg.com/ and Luba Gankin @ www.primaveradreams.com