I was recently lucky to attend David Tutera's Symposium for planners and designers at the Rosewood Hotel in Bermuda.
50 attendees came from across the US, and a few from Italy, Germany, Australia, South Africa, and Haiti, to participate in an intimate and inclusive 3-day gathering.
My main goals for this Symposium were: to learn from the best team in the industry, to network with colleagues and potential partners, and to explore Bermuda as a destination for weddings and other events.
Here are the few major takeaways, which highlight what I learned:
1. Constant Education and an Open-Mind are a Must. There are so many new developments happening in the event industry that one has to keep learning and looking for new information and ideas to be at the forefront of things. Education helps to sharpen one’s vision, arms one with knowledge, widens horizons, and nurtures creativity.
2. Learn from the Best. Education comes at a cost: courses, classes, conferences, seminars – all that costs money. To ensure the best ROI, learn from the best in your industry! David Tutera, his team, and the speakers he invited to present to us are indeed the cream of the crop. I was amazed by the level of presentations we had, the wealth of information, which was provided, and the positive and enthusiastic atmosphere that surrounded us during these three wonderful days.
3. Hands-on Experience is a Lot of Fun – and I Love It! The Art of Floral and the Food Tasting were the highlights of the last day of classes. I thoroughly enjoyed learning how to make a floral arrangement and how much work it involves – thanks to the floral designer Rene Johnson. It was fascinating to see how participants came up with beautiful and unique creations. Likewise, I appreciated the sophisticated delicious food which is saying a lot as I am an amateur chef who regularly takes cooking classes in Paris and consider myself a foodie and wine connoisseur. Food tasting by Chef Gerry Adams at Rosewood was an educational, fun and delicious experience.
4. Statistics & Data Analysis. Comprehensive and timely information are your friends in understanding your business and a must in marketing your services. Bernadette Baillie from The Knot gave us a great overview about the modern couples (Millennials and Generation Z) and gave us wise tips on approaching their preferences. Back home, I checked with my kids who represent these two generations, and they confirmed the insights. I also learned a few Gen Z words :)
5. High Professional Level of Attendees. I was surrounded by a smart, passionate, and friendly crowd whose level of enthusiasm was contagious. Everyone had a unique experience and generously shared it with one another during our learning sessions. People asked questions and were open when discussing the difficulties, they face as they build their businesses. It was important to listen to an open account provided by David about challenges his own business occasionally faced and to realize that nothing should be taken for granted
6. Networking is Your Power Tool. Three days together did indeed bring us together. From morning yoga to breakfast and in-class discussions to the incredible evening receptions, we were in constant communication with each other. With David and Joey, with Tutera’s team, with all local helpers and vendors, with the photo and video crew and, obviously, with the attendees. Not only did we learn from each other, but we also made new friends, established new connections, and started collaborations. Linda Mitchell, a travel agent and owner of Luxury Destination Travel, is now definitely a point of contact for me and my destination wedding clients. Taanya Sarma, a charming and thoughtful person, is my source of details for Indian weddings. I plan to meet again with the Italian wedding planner Diana da Ros when I come to Milano this Summer – and I signed up to attend her conference in Italy in November to learn from Italian and other European professionals (and practice my Italian). The photo-cinema crew Angela, Jennifer and Jacob were tirelessly documenting the whole Symposium (see the video teaser!) – and I dream to work with their amazing and friendly team. The list goes on and on…
7. Personality is Key. Your business, especially when you work in the event and entertainment sector, is definitely who you are. You need to be kind and thoughtful not only with your clients but also with your team and all the vendors. People who are attentive, helpful and genuinely caring achieve the best results. David and Joey were a great example of kindness, charm and positive attitude. “Always dream big” were David’s words of wisdom, and when he says it, you believe it. Believe in yourself and believe that everything is possible.
8. Hard Work. “Life grants nothing to us mortals without hard work” – said Horace. Similar sayings and proverbs exist in every language and in every culture. If a breathtaking event is seamlessly executed – like the incredible parties that we attended every night of our Bermudian retreat – it means that a lot of hard work was put in behind the scenes.
9. Yoga in the Morning. While it might seem like an activity that takes an hour from your sleep, yoga actually helps you to wake and energize for the long and busy day ahead gracefully and effectively. I enjoyed this meaningful way to start the day immensely and am grateful to Joey Toth who pushed me to do it.
10. Bermuda is Wonderful. The beautiful, exquisite island with its emerald waters, lush vegetation, multicolored birds, and endless walking trails immediately won over my heart. And it’s so close to Boston! I am certain that I will return with my family and friends and can definitely recommend it as an exclusive wedding or honeymoon destination for couples who are looking for a unique experience.
What else? Should I admit that I immediately signed up for the next David Tutera Symposium, which will take place next Spring in Orlando? Can’t wait to see many of my new-found friends!
Venue: Rosewood Hotel Bermuda
Photo credit: Primavera Dreams, Victoria Angela Photography
Floral class by Lush Flowers Houston www.lushflowershouston.com
Travel arrangements: www.luxurydestinationtravel.com
Additional Information about Symposium: www.davidtuterasymposium.com