Thursday, August 30, 2007

Destination I Do

Excited to share that one of our Kessler Hotel clients - the gorgeous Beaver Creek Lodge in Vail, CO has a featured wedding in the latest issue of Destination I Do Magazine that just hit the newsstands! The 3-page featured destination wedding was shot by the talented Grant Oakes who has been just a delight to work with on the latest photo project we have completed for Kessler. Congrats to Grant, the couple Brooke + Chris and the wedding team at Beaver Creek Lodge - Priceless PR!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Even with the media proclaiming 'death to Bridezilla' [theknot] and ushering in the kinder, gentler version 'BrideChilla' [Modern Bride] we still enjoy many of the musings on the fun, tongue-in-cheek, but often 'spot on' site In their own words:

Bridezilla Defined
Webster's Definition: Bridezilla\ bride-zil-a n 1

Horrific, bulging-eyed bride prone to screaming spells and spontaneous fits of hysterical rage. Bridezillas are known to drop blows over seating charts, get bug-eyed at the mere mention of carnations and view hurling champagne at their wedding planners as a form of hazing.'s Definition: Bridezilla\bride-zil-a n 1

Exceptionally attractive, confident women who know what they want and can't be bothered to sugar coat because they are obviously on 100 calorie- a- day microbiotic diets and can't even sneak a pack of Splenda if their life depends on it. Bridezillas are both blessed and cursed with a higher vision of perfection than most mediocre, David's Bridal wearing, Gerber daisy carrying mortals and have no choice but to impart this vision exactly to the masses. It is this motive that drives them to demand nothing less than excellence from their staff-err, wedding party.

In short, some people say bridezillas are bat-crazy man-hating Stepford brides. We say potato, potahto.

Check it out!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Preston Bailey Blogs

My friend Preston Bailey has just re-launched his website and started to BLOG!! His first post was about a *Major* wedding [you have to say "major" with the Victoria Beckham accent - wink!] he did at the Hotel du cap in the South of France last month. Preston is always jetting off to exotic places around the globe to design weddings for the truly rich & famous - but even with all that - he is among the nicest and most down-to-earth, genuine people I know. Kathryn and I had the thrilling life experience of working with him and his fabulous and fun team on the Donald and Melania Trump wedding at Mar-a-lago in 2005...Loved it - Love him!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Test Drive your Wedding | Honeymoon

One of the more innovative promotions in the travel industry has been the "Test Drive Your Honeymoon" program at Sandals. For only $99 per person, a bride & groom can jet away for a fun-filled day in paradise to check out the Sandals experience, get tips from wedding experts and editors of BRIDES Magazine and go home with a fabulous gift bag! Best of all - if they end up booking their wedding/honeymoon at any Sandals - the cost of the "Test Drive" is credited back to them!

It is a brilliant way to connect with potential consumers and the conversion rate is proof that it is well worth the investment.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Kessler Wedding Slideshow!

We are pleased to showcase our very first web slideshow created for a client - the new Kessler Wedding Slideshow! Now, we are by no means professionals at this - completely self taught using the incredible and very popular program from ShowItFast created by the brilliant David Jay. All you professional photographers out there - please be kind [*wink!*]

Lots to still learn - but we presented this to our clients today to RAVE reviews! It will be shown on the weddings homepage of . We have been working on a comprehensive photo project for them for the past 3 months and have amassed over 10,000 amazing wedding images for each of their 10 hotels to use to enhance their marketing and selling efforts. This is just one of the final projects we presented.

Photos are all of our MOST critical brand tools and the most powerful way to tell any wedding story and truly connect with brides. The relationship between professional wedding photographers and venues/hotels/resorts is so just amazes me how much opportunity for synergistic partnerships still exist! It is our goal to bridge that client at a time! Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Television Just Loves a Wedding!

Weddings continue to be ALL the rage in terms of television programming! One more piece of evidence to support this - the press release issued from WE tv last week - an excerpt:

“This summer WE tv dramatically increased its wedding content on the network, branded a special evening each week for wedding programming, and built an online portal of shared bridal content and information all under the WE Go Bridal block,” said Kim Martin, the executive VP and general manager of WE tv. “With this new investment in original wedding-related programming, the network is looking to maintain its leadership position to provide a multiplatform destination point for weddings and the bridal community. With billions spent each year in this marketplace, we know there is a huge consumer demand for this type of programming.”

Check out the entire release here. The tivo's will be working overtime!

The "Affluencers"

If you have attended one of my recent speaking engagements you know how passionate I am about studying the dramatically changing face of today's bride + groom. From BRAVO comes this perfect term to describe them:

The Affluencer's -

"They're young, rich, acquisitive, educated and influential, at the forefront of trends both in style and technology" – and they are the future of your business!!

Understanding how these unique consumers behave before, during and after their engagement cycle is of paramount importance to any savvy wedding marketer. These are not the same brides as you dealt with five or even two-three years ago! In order to engage them in your brand you must cater to these "Affluencers" in unique and unexpected ways and try to exceed their very high expectations at every opportunity. Taking the time to do this will yield very real results - continuing on with the status quo will surely mean conceding market share to the many new players in the market who are investing the time to do so.

What are you doing to engage today's bride?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Pacific Weddings - Digital Edition

One of my favorite bridal magazines of all time Pacific Weddings [I have every single copy here in my library!] is now available in digital format!

Each issue is more beautiful than the last - packed with island wedding inspiration, spectacular real weddings and stunning editorial, even the advertising is beautiful! A must read...enjoy!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

New Darcy Miller | Martha Stewart Weddings Blog

Ooooooh! Add it to your list! The brand new blog from Martha Stewart Weddings Editorial Director Darcy Miller is here. For the very latest in 'I Do's' and for critical insight into what YOUR brides are going to be talking [and dreaming] about next make sure to add it to your RSS feed and check in regularly!

It's a good thing!! *wink*

A [brilliant] Unexpected Gift

Logged on this morning to check in with my daily blog's and boom - first one out of the gate was this post on WeddingBee:

Last Thursday Mr. Peony and I returned home from another long day of work to find a package waiting for us. It was from our photographer, Danny Weiss, whom we had just booked! We opened it to find a wrapped gift. We eagerly unwrapped the gift to uncover the following:

A package of microwavable popcorn; the Four Weddings and a Funeral DVD; the My Big Fat Greek Wedding DVD; an envelope which included a confirmation letter, a copy of our contract, and a photographer’s checklist for our wedding; and a thank you card which read:

Dear Miss and Mr Peony,
Just a little something to put you in the wedding mood. Looking forward to the big day!
All my best, Danny

I love our photographer! Receiving something as sweet and thoughtful as this just further confirmed my feelings that we had chosen the right person for the job. Thanks, Danny!
Wow. I do not know Danny Weiss - but I am totally impressed. What a great, fun, thoughtful gesture that shows that he "gets it" and understands and appreciates how important his clients are. What he sent could not cost very much but I guarantee will give him a return on his investment that is priceless!
This marketplace is increasingly crowded & competitive and we all need to earn our clients business each and every day. It does not matter what role you play in the wedding: wedding planner, photographer, floral or cake designer, caterer, wedding salon owner, hair & makeup artist, invitation designer - you name it...I challenge you to come up with creative, unique ways to appreciate your clients in unexpected but impactful ways, regardless of what they may be spending.
It is the least you can do - after all - they chose YOU to bring their dream to life. It is an honor that deserves heartfelt appreciation.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Randy Fenoli + Kleinfeld

Finally! I have been keeping a *big* secret for over a month now and I finally get to share! One of my very best friends in the entire world, the most fabulous Randy Fenoli, is back in bridal! He has recently been named as the Fashion Director of the world-famous Kleinfeld. What a PERFECT role for him!

Randy created not one, but two custom wedding gowns for me when I married Patrick almost 10 years ago - and just last month when we visited him and his incredible partner Michael at their stunning flat in the French Quarter he presented me with enormous renderings of both designs. They are being framed to hang in our Engaging Concepts offices - priceless!

He has already started at Kleinfeld [and will be permanently returning to NYC after living in New Orleans for the past few years] and is delighting brides [and their mothers] by helping them create their entire bridal style. If you are working with a bride who wants the very best in selection, pampering, style and service send them to see Randy.

Bottom line - Randy just adores brides and they adore him. Period. Look to see and hear a lot more from him as he becomes a major, trendsetting force in bridal yet again!!! Congratulations my dear friend and welcome back - you have been missed.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Drum Roll Please...

We are beyond thrilled to announce the long overdue re-launch of the Engaging Concepts website!!!! As all of you who have worked on your own website know - this is a very long and challenging process on so many levels and I owe a tremendous amount of gratitude to Kathryn Arce who has suffered through every step of the way with me, Jen Reed - the 'oh so talented' web designer who puts up with my super controlling creative direction, the many industry leaders, clients and colleagues who contributed such amazing praise, the talented photographers who agreed to let me use their amazing work and of course, my family for their never-ending patience and cheerleading!

It is a whole new look + feel and creative direction but one we feel succinctly tells the story of the unique wedding marketing and strategic service we bring to the wedding and honeymoon market.

Thanks for checking it out - let me know what you think!!


Monday, August 13, 2007

WeddingBee in The New York Times!

I am so excited for my friend Bee - the now infamous "Mrs. Bee" of WeddingBee. She has just received a huge hit in the business section of The New York Times! Huge. Here is the section highlighting the boom in her brilliant blog:

Blogging Your Way Into a Business New York Times

Bee Kim, 28, was a hobbyist blogger while running a vocational school in south central Los Angeles. Blogging about her personal life and issues relevant to Asian-Americans, Ms. Kim amassed a few hundred loyal readers over several years. When she became engaged and moved to New York, her blog began focusing on the details of her coming wedding. She worried that she was losing the interest of her male readers, so she moved all wedding-related posts to a new blog called Wedding Bee.

As other brides-to-be started hearing about Wedding Bee, Ms. Kim began receiving requests to plan other people’s weddings. That is when she knew she was onto something. Slowly, Wedding Bee evolved.
“I went from being a regular blogger that just loved to share ideas and research to more of a professional blogger, where I watched for tone, libel, and even language,” such as cursing, she said. Previously, “if I didn’t like a vendor, I’d vent away knowing they’d never read my post. Now when I review a vendor, I know the vendor is likely to stumble across my post. So I check the facts, make sure the tone is balanced, and basically pretend to be a real journalist.”

By inviting other women to become contributors, Ms. Kim spawned a group of about 20 other co-bloggers from around the country. Ms. Kim, now married, still blogs under the name Mrs. Bee. Her contributors each use a blogger handle; married bloggers tend to be insects (Mrs. Caterpiller, Mrs. Firefly), while the future brides are heavy on fruits and candies (Miss Butterscotch, Miss Licorice).

With each change to the business, she involved her readers. In this post, Wedding Bee Tweaks, she wrote about the decision to accept advertising, offering the proposed design up to her readers for comments.

After moving to New York to be with her new husband, Ms. Kim dedicated herself fully to the blog. Now with about a million page views a month (and nearly 500,000 unique visitors), according to the tracking service, Ms. Kim says, Wedding Bee is earning enough from advertisements to cover a salaried part-time editor and cover rent and living expenses in their West Village one-bedroom apartment.
As most of you know by now - reading WeddingBee multiple times a day is a standard part of my day....every day. Love it and have been loyal from the very beginning. I learn so much from it on so many levels - I also know firsthand of many significant advertising successes from placement on the site.
Bee recently shared her new media kit/rate card with me and I recommend you contact her to get one (or email me at and I will forward you the pdf) - with a very STRONG recommendation to consider tapping into her loyal and ardent audience and watch your business soar!
Congrats to Bee and all the fabulous real bride bloggers for creating a unique voice and continuing to raise the bar for us all!

Fresh, New Creative for Sandals

Just back from an entire week in Jamaica conducting wedding-specific training for our long time client Sandals Resorts - thanks to all the participants who fully embraced the sessions and came away renewed and refocused and are committed to taking their roles to the 'next level!'

I thought I would start to share some of the fresh, new wedding/honeymoon creative for Sandals. If you have been in the wedding industry for any amount of time, you have surely seen the extensive advertising campaigns that they have produced over the years and will know that this is quite a departure from where it has been. This year, we have been very involved in working with their agencies to update the look + feel of the wedding/honeymoon creative and we are all really excited about the new direction!

More to come!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Wedding Style Guru Rebecca Thuss

The brand new style site by former creative director at Martha Stewart Weddings Rebecca Thuss is quickly taking the blog-world by storm! With good reason! She has started her own design firm providing wedding and event design, photo styling, set design & creation and more. Brilliant!!!

This spread was from an innovative promotion that the Puerto Rico Tourism Board did a number of years ago in conjunction with MSW and it has proved timeless. It was an 'out of the box' creative approach and very big idea that was flawlessly executed. There was a TV component as well - a perfectly integrated marketing and PR strategy that truly showcased weddings in Puerto Rico in an unexpected fashion. I have had the tear sheets in my inspiration books since then!

Enjoy the many spectacular spreads, covers and layouts on Rebecca's new site - each one better than the last!!

Thanks to the great blog {frolic!} for the info!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Borrowing the Bling!

We are thrilled to be working with a new client - - an innovative concept in leasing high end jewelry for your wedding! They received a huge hit in today's Wall Street Journal!! Add to that some fabulous press in The New York Times and In Style Weddings and they are well poised to 'own' this new market segment. With celebrities borrowing their red carpet bling, it is only natural for brides to adopt this trend in a big way. They are in the process of expanding their inventory and creating industry partnerships in order to take this to the market in a big way. Exciting indeed!
I will update you along the way - but we are looking forward to being a part of their talented team of advisors!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Bride-O-Rama Launches

My friend Sean Low, President of Preston Bailey Designs sent me the link to a brand new site from former executives at MTV, Nickelodeon and AOL called Bride-O-Rama. Sort of like a YouTube specific to weddings (once it is built out). Interesting new media concept - will surely be interesting to watch.

Understanding and utilizing emerging new media is critical to building any business and weddings are no exception. Let me know if you have had any specific success using new media to help in your branding and long term strategy - using MySpace, FaceBook, Podcasting, Blogging, YouTube and more - I would love to share your story with the other wedding professionals who read this blog!

You can email me at or add a comment below!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Inspired Weddings

For the past few months, one of my first morning blog reads is the FABULOUS StyleMePretty - for the style obsessed bride.

Just a brilliant concept with a spectacular and unique 'point of view' - created by invitation designer Abbey Jean - it has been so fun to watch grow. Shows the power of this blog-world. Abbey has been running her signature "Inspiration Board" contest all week and the response has been tremendous - you must check them all out. Over (32) brides submitted fabulous design/mood boards in a matter of days. And Abbey shared that she was overwhelmed with the responses and plans another contest soon in order to share all of the submissions received! No limit to where she can take this now! The *buzz* is out there and gaining steam.

Also a very interesting study in the increasing level of sophistication and design of weddings today. No matter the budget - these brides all have strong visions of what they want their wedding to be. These brides are not professional wedding planners or interior designers or graphic artists. They have powerful tools available to them all over the web and sites like Abbey's are encouraging them to think far, far out of the box in terms of just what they want their wedding to look and FEEL like on every level.

Smart wedding marketers will jump on this trend - let it help them truly get inside the mind of their clients - encourage their creative thinking and add to their inspiration. Weddings are not at all about the dates, rates, space, standard menus, packages, cookie-cutter offers, store policies, minimums, room rental fees, etc. that often rule our worlds. They are each truly UNIQUE, ever-evolving expressions of two very real people in love and what inspires them and the lasting, memorable experience they wish to create on this most special day.

In this increasingly competitive landscape - it is important to take time to remember this and get to know each couple for who they really are and what they want to express. Each and every wedding professional is an integral collaborator to help bring their wedding vision to life. What are YOU doing to inspire your brides and what inspiration are they giving to you in return?? Think about it.

Congrats Abbey - for inspiring us all!!!

Friday, August 3, 2007

New Wedding Media - Everywhere!

Wow - Lots going on in wedding-world media lately! Check out (3) brand new sites (most still in BETA) that I have been keeping my eye recently: ProjectWedding, WeddingWire and bridalhood. The awareness was raised recently with a series of posts/comments over on WeddingBee recommending each site.

So, what is a wedding professional ['vendor' as the brides call you - although personally I DESPISE that term] to do? There are over 111 bridal print titles in the US alone now (up from just 31 in 2001!!!) and new web opportunities popping up daily it seems! Totally overwhelming!

The good news is that many of these sites are in the start-up phase and are offering free listings and more to boost their sites up. Without wedding professionals/listings there is not much for brides to search for and so on. So, for now - enjoy the freebies - visit the sites and see if they are right for you, set up your profiles, ask your clients to review you - then track them closely on the back end. And please, drop me a line or add a comment about the results you are getting from these and other sites - I want to know what works for who and why!!

Picture-Perfect Weddings in Paradise

This is a copy of the new e-mail blast campaign that we created for The Cayman Islands to send out to a targeted list of interested brides. It was designed by the amazing creative agency CHOWDER who are a sheer delight to work with and totally *get* marketing and advertising to the wedding market on every level. Collaborating with them for the past 3 1/2 years has been incredible!

They also produced the new official Cayman Islands website including the Real Weddings Albums and the very robust photo gallery of hundreds of wedding images that have proven to be so popular with brides searching for the perfect destination to marry. Coordinating this is alot of work but has paid off in a very big way for all involved!

[REAL wedding photo by the oh-so-talented Rebecca Davidson]

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Second [Classic!] Wedding Video!

The brides over on WeddingBee also found this one - Classic!!!

Hysterical Video!!!

You HAVE to watch this video from YouTube-hysterical on SO many levels!!!

PR Opp: The Knot Real Weddings!

Received this email from Real Weddings senior editor Christa Vagnozzi at TheKnot today:

"...speaking of Real Weddings, Rebecca Crumley, our photo editor, and I are actively seeking Real Wedding submissions for our regional and national magazines and website.

I know you mentioned earlier that you had some you would like to show us. We would love to see them when you get them together, and also please tell your clients to submit to The Knot as well! We put together and easy link that goes through all the directions for submitting:

So feel free to pass along. Just about any destination is eligible, as our magazine covers 17 regions and online we cover about 70 within the United States. Not to mention destination weddings around the world."

If you read this blog you know how I feel about the use of REAL weddings as one of the most powerful sources of PR in the industry today. It takes a bit of coordination but pays off in big dividends! Win-win for everyone.

Happy pitching!