Several weeks ago, I had the honor of speaking at Toss The Bouquet, a conference for the luxury wedding professionals of Chicago. The event was organized by my friend, Beth Bernstein, event director and founder of SQN Events. Beth and I met several years ago at the Engage Luxury Wedding Summit and bonded instantly over our mutual love of fashion and the wedding industry!
Beth created this conference to take a ‘taste’ of what we had experienced at Engage to the incredible vendors in Chicago. Her mission was to “Educate. Exchange. Elevate.” She was able to achieve that, and then some. In opening the conference she said, “Each person you will hear from today will give you nuggets of information that CAN change your business. I promise you. It has happened to me when I have heard some of them speak before. They are the best of the best, and yes, while many of them are getting paid to be here, they are also here because they are “honorary” Chicagoans. They want you to learn. They want to educate you, they want us to exchange ideas, and they want you to elevate your business.”
In speaking about her fellow Chicagoians, she said, “That’s what I love about Chicago. We’re open. We’re honest. We’re approachable. And we care.” I could not agree more!! I adore the “Windy City” and the people in it! I had the honor of meeting and bonding with several Chicago natives though Engage- the incredibly talented photographer, Kevin Weinstein, Andrea Liss, founder of Hannah Handmade, the most divine resource for custom invitations and accessories, event planners extraordinaire, Cindy Shanholtz and Hope Weiss, and my all – time favorite fashionista and jack-of-all-trades, Elan Villamor. I also made countless new friends and business contacts through this amazing experience (in fact, far too many to list)!
Below is a graphic of the incredibly talented speakers that I had the honor of being included amongst. I spoke about the current trends in bridal- you can see the trends on my blog post, here.
My co-authors of The White Dress in Color and I also had a panel discussion about the art of collaboration and how our book came to fruition.
Scroll down to see the beautiful faces and beautiful decor that made up this fabulous conference. I was honored to be surrounded by such talent- not only in the speakers, but in the amazing attendees!
I can’t wait for my next visit to Chicago-land!
graphic courtesy of Calder Clark
Wendy Wahl of Chic Productions discussing ‘creating your sweet spot’
Rocking my Aquinnah necklace and discussing what’s hot in bridal fashion
My smart, fabulous friend, Bernadette Coveney Smith of 14 stories, educating us all on how gay marriages are changing the face of our industry and how we can embrace it!
The sassy southern wedding planner/designer, Calder Clark helping to make the distinction between what it means to be a planner vs a designer.
Truly one of the smartest people I know, Liene Stevens, helping us understand how to market to millennials and how to stay relevant in the digital age. If you don’t follow her blog, Think Splendid, you must!
A new friend, LA based, Debbie Geller of Debbie Geller Events, discussing her secret to success. One thing that she said that completely resonated with me, and frankly blew me away (second only to seeing her work), was ” Many of you may not know who I am…and I am glad, because many of my clients wouldn’t hire me if you did.”
Two incredibly talented women that I had the pleasure of meeting at Engage 12, The Breakers, Andrea Liss of Hannah Handmade and Cindy Shanholtz. These two women are two of my biggest supporters and I am so grateful for them!
The Brain Behind the Operation – Beth Bernstein (SQN Events)
Venue- W City Center
Event Production- Art of Imagination
Photography- Carasco Photography
Paper- Courtney Callahan
Flowers- Hello Darling
Linens – Private Label Linens