A few weeks ago I made a trip to Sydney, Australia for an event conference, of which I spoke to other event professionals on Sales and Marketing. That’s right, your favorite event engineer (planner) travels around the country (and now Internationally) speaking at conferences.
The beauty of this and through the help of social media, keeps me abreast of latest trends that is happening in the event world (remember, we don’t just plan weddings … we also plan corporate and social parties).
Living in the Midwest can leave you a little out of touch if you aren’t proactive. We are in a bubble here, often experiencing trends a few years later if you compare us to the East or West coasts. We have fabulous weddings and events here locally. There is no reason really we don’t get the attention from magazines or wedding blogs … it may just be the fact of our zip codes.
Back to Australia. I have always wanted to go there, it’s been on my bucket list since I was 16 years old (check that one off). It’s really a beautiful country, filled with beautiful people.
So in case you were interested in ever going visiting the Land Down Under, here are my general take-aways:
- Prepare yourself for a long trip. 21 hours on airplane rides (minimum) and additional 8 plus hours of layovers, custom check points and general merriment. Get your visa, passport and find your inner happy place.
- Pay for the upgrade for better seats. While I didn’t fly Business Class (or First Class), I did upgrade through Delta for seats that reclined lower, free drinks and more importantly, the ability to plug in your phone and laptop.
- Set your watch to whatever the time is at your final destination. This will help you psychologically prepare you for jet lag. You’ll sleep when you need to and/or stay up.
- Aussies are a lot like Midwestern people. Down to earth, no pretenses, up-front and good core values.
- Order a “flat-white” coffee as soon as you arrive. Don’t be surprised that their large cup is about the size of our small cup. This coffee packs a nice little punch and is wonderfully yummy.
- Save your pennies, because Australia is not cheap. I was in Sydney and at first thought that it was because it was a big city. However that is not the case. Since the American dollar is about flat with the Australian dollar exchange, you won’t be saving any money through the exchange.
- Weddings in Australia are smaller (in guest size), but not in the couple’s investment. They typically marry later in life, so they really cherish their guests, often spending $150-$200 per guest so they leave with an experience. Good food, drinks, entertainment and more. I really loved networking with the Aussie vendors and of course my host, Sarah Johnston owner and event planner of Girl Friday Weddings.
- I throughly enjoyed walking the city (and boy did I walk, everywhere!). Really get out there and submerse yourself in their culture, wonderful accent and colorful sayings. Drink an Australian beer, my favorite was Super Dry. A nice light beer with great taste.
- If you have time (which I didn’t), schedule flights to Melbourne and other “states”. That is now on my new bucket list.
Here are a few photos I took whilst I trekked around the city:
ps For you video junkies, click here for my TV segment on the trip.
pss What do you think? Does it make you want to visit Aussie-land?
psss For visual yumminess of all things Australian and wedding related, I highly suggest you visit polkadotbride.com. It’s pretty much the bomb.Read More »
Last week I attended The Special Event, a trade show/conference that is worldwide for event professionals, in beautiful Tampa, Florida. I have to admit, it was nice to wear sandals and see the sun shining!
Not only did I get to speak at one of the training sessions, I was able to attend some of the special events and walk the trade show floor for several days. Look out … I took lots of photos and came up with great ideas for our local weddings.
Now you have to imagine, any type of cocktail party or dinner produced BY event professionals, FOR event professionals is going to be off the hook crazy with decor and the experience. This week did not disappoint.
The best part of this week was reconnecting with industry friends and sharing ideas. Social media has truly bridged a gap that makes people living miles apart, obsolete. It was great to meet up with people who I have been talking with for years, but never actually met in person. Thank you twitter and facebook.
So, true to form, my posse, Kelly McWilliams with Weddings by Socialites and Kelly Spalding with Perfectly Placed (and many others….) documented our epic journey through the week … it’s all here, hope you enjoy!
ps NEW found respect for videographers. All these photos were shot by iPhones so some of them are grainer than others. But this took me all afternoon to edit. It’s all in the editing …. lots of time.Read More »
It’s been painfully obvious that I haven’t been in the studio for the past two weeks due to several business trips.
Last week I was in Indianapolis for Eventology 2009, a midwest conference for event professionals. Produced by Katasha Butler of K. Sherrie & Co. I was so excited to be asked to be a part of it. The speaker lineup was with some of my dear planner friends and industry confidants Liene Stevens with The Smart Planner and Terrica Skaggs with Fabuluxe, Inc.
Because of blogging, online networking groups and twitter; this was one of the best conferences I have ever attended. Many of us have talked and shared stories (both personal and business) before we actually ever met in person.
To wrap up the event, I’m going to give you my take-away thoughts (brides please indulge me, this post will mean more for the planners):
- Almost everyone was the same in person as they are with their online persona; if not, they were even BETTER! I’m talking about you Melissa, Kelly, Andria – among many others!
- Only certain husbands should attend an event conference that is 99.9% made up of women. Tim Gill is your man for such an occasion. Not only did he hang well with the ladies, he opened every single door we walked through. Don’t think I didn’t notice.
- Monica Gill (the blessed wife of Tim) gave me the best compliment of the day and she doesn’t even know it.
- Swag bags are something that should never be underestimated and when you have pieces of Dreamy Gela to heavenly chocolates in them, they are that much better.
- Being a speaker at an event like this, holds a lot of responsibility. The feedback from my peers, personally moved me more than words can say. I’m inspired to do more speaking…and continue my passion for motivating others.
- It was a surreal moment to hug my online friend of six years, Jennifer. She helped me more at the beginning of my business and never asked for anything in return.
- I learned not to stand next to Terrica too long, because through no fault of her own, you can end up feeling short and frumpy.
- I met so many amazing professionals that are so serious and dedicated in continuing their education and growth of their business. For anyone that thinks wedding planners are silly, light-headed, creative creatures; then you and I will have a heated debate.
- Never knew a $17 dollar martini existed. It does. In Indy.
- My son, Boy Wonder, has truly become a legend in twitterland. Many people asked about him, which is amusing.
- A personal thanks to all of you that laughed or chuckled at least once during my presentation.
- Liene is very creative, especially with her Crayola trick. That’s lady’s mind never seems to rest.
- I have huge regrets (as usual) of not being able to spend more time with more of the people that attended. Would have really liked to sit down and talk with many of you.
- Planners know how to party and they have the best stories. If we collaborated, the real stories of weddings would be the size of a huge encyclopedia.
- Sometimes, GPS systems don’t know that an airport has physically moved, like just a few miles over. Who does that?
The next large wedding conference on the horizon is Engage! 09 produced by the remarkable Rebecca Grinnals & Kathryn Arce with Engaging Concepts, Inc. This is an exclusive event that is well-known in the industry to inspire event professionals to new heights in their business.
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Sorry…..no wedding stuff for a couple of days…got to put on the corporate business hat. Aaaaannnnd business!
We’d love to see you this Wednesday, March 5th at The Centre, Downtown Evansville (TOMORROW) at the annual RC Cola/Chamber Tri-State Business Expo! This premiere business expo is open from 1:00pm to 7:00pm. Admittance is FREE!
We’ll be calling booth 62 our home and will be giving away a prize…in exchange for your business card.
Besides the free stuff, you’ll want to stop by to take a look at our corporate and business meeting services. In 2007, we went back to our grass roots and launched our corporate event planning services (in addition to our current wedding and social event planning).
Some of our successful events:
- We were the planners for the successful Energy Summit of Southwest Indiana 2007
- Design/Decor for the Evansville Philharmonic Gala 2007
- Pre-Grand Opening for Holly’s House
- Client Appreciation Soiree
And we are proud to be the outsourced planners for the upcoming 2008 Regional Economic Summit that will take place later this year.
Enough about us…come by and chat. We’ll see if we can help you be more cost effective with your next upcoming business event!
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A few different looks from the wedding gallery at the special event show. Let’s dive right in….
There was another tree; just as spectacular …. but all together different. More of a beach theme this tree took HOURS to assemble. Real flowers…of course. You can click on flickr to see more of these photos but at the bottom there are shells glued together. There is even one huge shell that is holding water with orchids floating in it. How cool is that?
I really loved this design. They made the hanging centerpiece low and then raised it. You have to look closely at the amount of detail. The coolest thing about this modern table setting was the smart lighting that would change colors throughout the night. Just check out the video. (sorry minor technical difficulties I couldn’t post it here).
Again: For more pictures of the wedding gallery and other displays please visit our slideshow on flickr. If you have an account be sure to add us as a friend!!! More to come…
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