Working in the wedding industry is a joy – after all, weddings celebrate one of the most exhilarating and monumental occasions we know. But there is another side to the satisfaction that comes from working in weddings: the privilege to work with the talented creatives who bring these special unions to life again and again, and manage to create something new each time, unique to each couple.
I think that the folks who serve in this field are often overlooked or taken for granted, but we at Southern Bride & Groom believe that the wedding pros who are at the top of their game truly are artists, and we strive to give them credit where credit is due! We draw inspiration from our talented NC wedding specialists on a daily basis. All of the beautiful photography, real weddings and styled shoots you see in our magazine and on this blog are pulled from and designed hand-in-hand with our SB&G Preferred Vendors, a collection of local pros we know not only to deliver high quality service but who are also constantly pushing the envelope, bringing the latest trends to the Raleigh area, and creating personalized events for their brides and grooms.
Beyond surrounding ourselves with the best of the best, SB&G regularly invests in continuing education on the latest and greatest happenings in our field, so we can bring these things to our local readers. And so this summer, I was honored to attend the premiere luxury wedding summit, Engage! In addition to helping attendees broaden their personal goals as individuals and leaders, this 3-day seminar is a non-stop flow of wedding inspiration. Engage! 16 was held at The Breakers in Palm Beach, FL (what a venue, as you will see below). The photos of this event, captured by some of the top wedding photographers in the US, speak for themselves, so we’re thrilled to share them today (individual photo credits are in each photo, scroll over to view).
The wedding “inspo” started before we even arrived at Engage! Each attendee was mailed pop-out fashion guides and even a countdown box full of travel and beach-themed gifts to build anticipation for our getaway to the sunshine state.As guests checked into the event, we were led into a pop-up shop full of swag, from perfume and scented candles for the gals to matches and cuff links for the fellas. Below, candy bar by Sugarfina. Luckily I had attended an Engage! (at the Biltmore Estate a few years back), so I knew to leave some room in my suitcase for all the take-home items.
Day 1 kicked off with a welcome session in the exquisite Mediterranean Ballroom of The Breakers and an introduction by the team who makes Engage! happen, Rebecca Grinnals and Kathryn Arce (pictured below). As you can see, this Italian Renaissance inspired 5-star resort made for a memorable experience.
A great deal of our time at the conference was spent hearing presentations by some of the industry greats, like planner extraordinaire Marcy Blum, and up-and-coming leaders such as social media guru Samantha Roberts of the XO Group (each pictured below). Every detail was considered, from the coral-themed florals to the themed coffee and champagne fueled breaks.Our first evening was spent at a lavish pool party. The Breakers showed off its culinary delights with food stations ranging from seafood stations to an avocado bar. Dramatically uplit palm trees framed the pool, which was the centerpiece of the party with its fire pits and a giant “Make Waves” message in the water. A surprise salsa performance make it a festive occasion, and the night wrapped up with a DJ-band combo.Day Two started off with a bang as our 7am wake up call turned into a New Orleans themed breakfast party, complete with a brass band.
Fueled up for a day of learning, we spent most of the day watching presentations in the Venetian Ballroom (below, Preston Bailey and Lynn Easton).Of course we were not expected to remain in our seats all day… Breaks were planned and each one had meaning, such as this “Happy” themed one to follow up Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project. A gospel choir and smiley face food were charming touches. (below, Carly Roney and Colin Cowie)The coral theme continued at a seated luncheon, and our afternoon breaktime called for something sweet. (did I forget to mention that I packed on a couple of pounds over the course of my three days at this event?)After eating dinner in small groups around the resort, everyone was invited to a “Cake by the Ocean” themed dessert party. We downed tequila and espresso drinks and an array of desserts from extravagant candy coated milkshakes to quaint freshly baked (still warm) chocolate chip cookies. The fantastic entertainment by Elan Artists made me feel like I’d stepped into a Katy Perry music video. How amazing is the chocolate and sprinkles lipsticks worn by the candy gals?
Above, our NC crew: Kathryn & Chelsey of Gather Together, Amanda of A Swanky Affair, Jill of Donovan’s Dish, me, and Jodi of Merrimon Wynne.
The final day we enjoyed a courtyard breakfast, breakout sessions, and a white-themed picnic lunch on the front lawn of The Breakers. The rest of the afternoon was spent lounging poolside, or getting dolled up for the gala.
below, the NC gals ready for the big night!
The spectacle of the event is showcased beautifully in the photos. The Venetian Ballroom was transformed into a glitzy sparkly wonderland of chandeliers and candlelit glam. A five course meal was broken up with entertainment ranging from an opera singer to a band and orchestra performing in tandem (Vali Entertainment). The night was capped off with an after party with a fantastic DJ and Band rocking out under a disco ball- highlight being a Prince tribute series.The video by Ray Roman Films gives another perspective of this amazing experience! Enjoy the eye candy!
Venue, Food and A/V: The Breakers | Graphic Design & On-Site Director: Trisha Hay Design | Event Branding & Gifting: Gifts for the Good Life | Custom Event Linen: Nuage Designs | Nametags and Programs: Two Paper Dolls | Custom Printing: Checkerboard LTD | Photographers: Carla Ten Eyck – C10 Studios – Love Life Images – Cameron Clark – John Cain Sargent – Jeremie Barlow Photography | Highlight Film: Ray Roman FilmsSB&G founder Donna (aka Mama Parks) attended Engage! as well, but was on nanny duty for my little light, Cecelia. I did have chance to spend some time enjoying The Breakers with my best gals between events. Big thanks to my Moms for making this trip possible!