My love of conferences comes from my previous life as a research scientist and consultant when I used to attend them all the time. It always feels great to see many people who work in the same field as you, to exchange news, ideas, trends, to meet new people and, obviously, to learn.
The learning part is especially fun when we are talking about weddings and other joyous events.
And it felt just like that at the Wedding MBA in Las Vegas!
It helps that most of the speakers are great presenters, each has a unique personality and skills, and the day, while long and intensive, flies by.
The opening day’s highlights were two great talks by Alan Berg and Vanessa Joy. They spoke about the challenges faced by the wedding industry, as well as about opportunities in the era of millennials and technology. What is the best way to engage with your couples to help them in their decision to work with you? There were many practical tips and hints in each talk.
I also enjoyed the specialty talks dedicated to wedding planning and design. It’s always inspiring to listen to knowledgeable professionals in your industry. The Q&A at the end of each presentation gave a good understanding of problems other professionals face, some of which resonated with me.
I really liked and have found relevant these talks:
By Sasha Souza: impossible requests from couples, and how they ignite creativity and resourcefulness. I felt: I want to do it!
By Andrea Eppolito: luxury wedding and clients. I felt: I was born for that!
By Anja Winikka: how to self-promote yourself. I felt: I love doing this but probably need to put in a bit more effort.
By Anya Benbarak: Millenial mindset. I felt: I am a millennial born before my time!
The expo featured many vendors for every aspect of the industry. Photo booths are clearly in high demand, as there was a great variety of them across the floor. Rental companies presented new linens, china, and glass chandeliers. There were flowers, stationery, gifts, multiple beauty products, etc. etc. I was especially interested in new technology: how to utilize modern tools to facilitate better organization, how to post more effectively on social medial, and how to get your work published after so many months of planning.
I met with the company I use and love Aisle Planner, who helps me organize all the information I need about my couples and to be on top of things. I spoke with the company Two Bright Lights, who streamlines the submission of your weddings to different publications/on-line sources. Thanks to Vanessa Joy, I enrolled in Animoto services and am eager to start making my promotional video using their amazing platform.
I fell in love with the work of an LA-based photographer, Michael Anthony. I myself love photography and enjoy taking pictures. So I decided to skip a talk for the planners and to listen to the pro in a different specialty. I was amazed by Michael’s presentation and the quality of his work.
Here are a couple of examples of what he does. One photo was taken in Italy, my specialty. I am sure that some of my couples who decide to tie the knot there would love his style.
I must mention the great speakers who gave the plenary presentations: Sonny Ganguly, CMO of the Wedding Wire, who has excellent talks about new technology trends and what it means for our industry – I always listen to his webinars. I was even allowed to drive in an automatic car after his talk!
The talk by the famous wedding planner and designer David Tutera was simply brilliant and his personality was so powerful and positive, that I ended up by signing up for his exclusive 3-day training in Bermuda right after!
Many talks for scheduled at the same time, targeting different areas of wedding business, and I missed some I wanted to attend. However, if you missed something (or weren't able to attend at all), there is a great way to get the information: thanks to Clint Hufft, you can listen to the Wedding MBA podcast (there are 80+ of them!) on your cell phone! Just go to your Apple podcast (I have an iPhone) and search for Wedding MBA, a piece of cake!
I also enjoyed an evening tour of the famous wedding-related landmarks of Las Vegas, organized for us by the local company. A glass of Champagne at Shelby Car Factory and Museum (a wedding venue:)) and the “Hangover” scenes at the local Madame Tussaud’s were the highlights for me.
The wedding conference could not be complete without an evening party! I attended the Knot-Pro party, organized by The Knot at the charming and mood-setting Foundation Room, located on the top of the Mandalay Bay Resort. I had a great time and enjoyed the stunning view from the terrace, multiple buddhas and candle lights inside, great food, a charming photo booth, and, obviously, energizing music.
Thank you so much, Wedding MBA, for this opportunity!
And to make it all even more spectacular, I took a helicopter ride to see the Grand Canyon, an incredible experience!
Photo credits: Primavera Dreams; Michael Anthony Photography.