Association of Bridal Consultants

ABC Florida State Conference Recap #BeBoldABC

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This week, I had the pleasure of working with my dear friends and fellow Master Wedding Planners Carmen Mesa of Carmen Mesa Events and Tammy Waterman of Special Moments Event Planning to produce a fabulous conference for wedding professionals. The Association of Bridal Consultants' Florida State Conference is always a labor of love, but hearing each and every attendee walk away saying how much they had learned makes it all worth it! Here's a little recap: Saturday night, we treated our amazing speakers to a fun evening at Sweet Pete's and The Candy Apple Cafe and Cocktails.

jacksonville

Sunday morning kicked off with brunch, where I got to tell everyone some interesting facts about Jacksonville. (#ILoveJax)

brunch collage(thanks to Rose of Sharon European Florist for the centerpieces, Beachview Event Rentals for the chairs, and PRI Productions for the super cool Jacksonville backdrop)

general session

After brunch, we went into our general session room for lots of great educational content:

And then it was on to the poolside cocktail reception! The weather could not have been more amazing. As event planners, we always worry about the weather when planning outdoor events - especially in August in Florida! But there was not a drop of rain that day, and the breeze made the rooftop deck quite comfortable.

Omni hotel Jacksonville poolside reception

Day 2 of the conference started with a casual breakfast. How cool are these centerpieces from Rose of Sharon European Florist?

breakfast centerpieces

And the Omni Hotel Jacksonville staff created the letters "ABC" out of the parfaits!

parfaits

For Tuesday's lunch, each speaker was assigned a table. Lauren from Ten23 Designs created these adorable signs with their names! She also made tons of other cute decor pieces that were used throughout the conference.

lunch table

Monday's educational sessions were just as amazing as Sunday's:

  • Meghan Ely, OFD Consulting - Attaining Expert Status: How to Become on Expert Industry Leader
  • Susan Southerland, Just Marry! - Selling to Couples at Every Planning Phase
  • Charlene Shirk, C. Shirk Productions - Pitch Perfect: How to Deliver A Great Media Interview
  • Bryan Glynn, BGPictures - Critical Website & Internet Tips for Your Business and Making $$ with YouTube
  • Donnie Brown & Steve Kemble - Social Media As Your PR Consultant (Round Table)

Sadly, it was time to say good bye to all of our friends, new and old. These little snack packs had water, chips, and sweets for the drive/flight home.

take home snack boxes

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It was an amazing (and exhausting!) three days, and I am so thankful for everyone that attended. Want to see more photos? Check out the ABC Florida Facebook page.

ABC Business of Brides 2013

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Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of attending the Association of Bridal Consultants' annual conference, Business of Brides. It's one of the highlights of my year to see friends from around the world, and learn and grow with them. Association of Bridal Consultants Business of Brides Conference

I got to spend time with wedding planners from Latin America, Canada, Japan, Bermuda, Puerto Rico, and the list goes on and on. But even better was getting to spend four days with my direct competition. You read right, there were four wedding planners from Jacksonville attending the conference. And not only did I share a hotel room with one, I spent a total of eight hours in the car round trip with them.

I'm very proud that our town has such a great wedding community. While we are competitors, I see these wonderful ladies as allies. In fact, one of them, Tanya Hendricks of Southern Charm Events, and I did a presentation together. It was called "Playing Nice: Cultivating Alliances Not Animosity," and focused on building relationships while focusing on your own business instead of worrying what everyone else is doing. It was a huge hit, and I met some terrific ladies that came up to share stories after the session.

I also got to spend time with Monica Bernhardt of To-Doers Event Planning, and my fellow Master Bridal Consultant Lisa Burnett of Elegant Weddings By Lisa. While we see each other at local networking events, we don't often get to spend that much time together, and it's always great getting to know these ladies a little bit better.

The conference theme, Palm Beach Chic, was inspired by Lilly Pulitzer, so lots of bright colors greeted us at each breakfast, lunch, and break. With the exception of one - The White Party, a welcome reception where everyone donned their white resort casual wear for a great cocktail party. The bar from Just Bars was an amazing focal point - I can wait to use one of these at an upcoming event!

just bars

And the speakers - wow! Matthew Robbins of Matthew Robbins Design was our design speaker. As a contributing editor for Martha Stewart Weddings, he had lots of great insight on finding inspiration for an event theme. Plus he shared photos from his own wedding!

We also heard from Susan Southerland, who we are happy to have as a top-notch Florida wedding planner - she owns Just Marry! in Orlando. She is a phenomenal speaker, and all-around great person.

And lastly, we were reminded of our brilliance (his word, not mine) by Simon T. Bailey. If you haven't read his books, go buy them now. I'll wait. I think that all of us in that room have made changes (some significant) that will affect our lives forever. If you ever have the chance to hear Simon speak, don't hesitate.

But in addition to these fabulous keynote addresses, there were over 25 amazing breakout sessions. I attended "Modern Jewish Weddings," and "Are You Ready for the Storm? Disaster Preparedness for Wedding Professionals," both of which gave me great information to bring back to our team.

I can't say enough about how great it is to be in a room of 300+ wedding professionals from around the world. Every year, I come back energized and renewed, and ready to tackle the year ahead. If you are a wedding planner and aren't an ABC member, or you are a member that doesn't attend conference - call me! I'd love to share more about the experience.