Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Holiday Cheer!

While I usually leave the personal posts for our family Blog, in the spirit of the season I thought I would post a copy of our 2007 Holiday card to close out the year!

This has been an incredible year for Engaging Concepts and I am forever grateful to so many in this amazing industry for their support and ongoing belief in what we do. Our clients, colleagues and partners are truly the best and brightest in the wonderful world of weddings and I am honored to work alongside of each and every one of you! The incredible Kathryn Arce continues to be the best friend and business partner anyone in this world could ever ask for and I am inspired by her each and every day. My cherished friends, old and new, are my biggest cheerleaders and supporters and I adore you all.

And without my amazing family none of this would be possible - they are my reason for everything. The unconditional love and encouragement each one of them give to me is the most important and sustaining element of my success and I am humbled by it.

Our offices will be closed until January 7th but we look forward to an even more thrilling, challenging and 'engaging' year ahead and wish you all the same in 2008! Thank you for coming along on this ride with me - so much more to come in the new year!!!!!!

Wishing each of you a warm and wonderful Holiday!!!

Cheers! Rebecca

[Holiday Card designed and shot by the great Stacey Kane!]

Friday, December 14, 2007

Some Back Story on "My Destination Wedding with TheKnot" Client Opportunity

We are of course super excited about tomorrow's premiere of the show! A bit of background: following the incredible success of the Travel Channel's 6-episode series "Weddings Away-Cayman Islands" in 2006 that followed Joanne Brown and the team from Celebrations and was filmed entirely in The Cayman Islands - we knew that we needed to continue to deliver such innovative and ground-breaking television opportunities for our 4+ year client, The Cayman Islands Department of Tourism to build on the momentum generated from the show.

When Carley Roney emailed me back in August looking for "A location that is a bit more exotic and less well known -- an island that people may have only heard of and/or a small boutique/cottage style resort that is visually stunning. The resort also needs to have fabulous floral resources -- or there must be someone on the island to feature -- so that the setting can be really gorgeous!" there was NO question in my mind that the perfect partners to recommend were in Cayman! So began intense coordination, negotiation and logistical planning to pull it all together - there are so many moving pieces and parts to pulling off a one-hour TV show in a remote island destination!
When you see the show - you will also understand that there is much more to the story - many unforseen circumstances, weather uncertainties and extreme medical emergencies that added to the drama - in all our years of putting together wedding TV programs this one truly topped them all!
Excitement in The Cayman Islands is high in anticipation of the show premiere, here is an excerpt from today's article in the Cayman Compass Newspaper:

Speaking about potential impact this opportunity offered Ms [Joanne] Brown said they jumped at the opportunity to work with the Knot and Style Network on the project. “We knew it would generate fantastic publicity for both Celebrations Ltd. and The Cayman Islands in general. To be featured on a leading network such as Style Network, and associated with the largest wedding website company in the world The Knot, is simply amazing, and we are just so grateful for the opportunity.”

But the whole event was really a team effort on behalf of Cayman Islands’ tourism partners: Cayman Airways donated flights, Southern Cross gave their entire resort for the duration of the filming, and additional accommodation was given by Little Cayman Beach Resort.

Ms Rebecca Grinnals, strategic consultant to the Department of Tourism for the wedding and honeymoon market, was instrumental in bringing about this opportunity for the Cayman Islands. “We are so grateful for her encouragement and leadership in the destination wedding business,” said Ms Brown.

It seems the overall impression on bride, groom and guests was overwhelming.

Ms Brown said, “I cannot begin to tell you how awed and impressed they were with the wedding, and just everything about the islands. They kept saying ‘this is so much more than we could ever have imagined, it is a dream come true’. They fell in love with Little Cayman instantly”.

We were so honored to work beside so many amazingly talented and generous people to make this happen. It was an incredible experience! Tune in for the premiere of "My Destination Wedding with The Knot" on the Style Network this Saturday, 15 December at 9pm EST and airing 7 additional times during the following 5 days!!! And please - let us know what you think!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Huge Announcement: "My Destination Wedding with TheKnot" to premiere!

We are SO excited to finally announce the 'secret' project that we have been working on for the past 5 months for our long time client - the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism. The premiere of the 1-hour special entitled "My Destination Wedding with The Knot" is this Saturday, December 15th on the STYLE Network at 9pm est!!!!

The amount of 'behind-the-scenes' work that has gone into this production is staggering but we are all thrilled that it is finally going to air. Click here for a peek 'behind the scenes' and here for a Slideshow from the wedding.
This is the TV show that I blogged about at the end of October that we filmed on Grand Cayman and Little Cayman. Kathryn and I spent 6 days in Cayman with Carley Roney, who hosted the special, senior executives from STYLE Network and TRUE Entertainment who produced the show [and also produce 'Whose Wedding is it Anyway?' and 'Married Away'].
As with any real wedding - this one was filled with its share of drama and challenges - but in the end - the result was a truly spectacular destination wedding blending vibrant Indian culture with chic island style.
More soon on the many event professionals who worked to make this wedding happen - some of the best and brightest in destination weddings today! Be sure to tune is going to be an amazing show!!!
p.s. A fun 'insider' fact - the TIME Magazine image of Carley Roney and David Liu that I included in the blog a few weeks ago was taken in front of the inspiration/design board for the show...check it out!

Martha Stewart Weddings to Add Destination Wedding Title

Lots of news in wedding-magazine world yesterday...including the surprise announcement that Martha Stewart is closing Blueprint Magazine [which I loved by the way!!] and re-allocating dollars and resources to Martha Stewart Weddings - including the creating a special title dedicated to Destination Weddings!

This from MediaWeek:

"Continuing a trend by publishers to divert dollars from print to their faster-growing online media, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia said it would close Blueprint, its lifestyle/shopping title for young women. Blueprint will fold as a standalone magazine after the January/February issue and publish as a special-interest magazine as part of Martha Stewart Weddings magazine. Its blog, Bluelines, will continue. MSLO said the move would free up money for digital media and expand Martha Stewart Weddings, a 268,663-circ quarterly. MSLO plans to add destination weddings issues to the title and expand its Web site."

All the more proof that Destination Weddings continue to be one of the hottest segments of the wedding market - with no signs of a plateau or slowdown. The demand continues to grow with competition heating up at every level - destinations/CVB 's, resorts, developers, big hotel brands, dedicated magazines, websites, travel agents, wedding planners, photographers, wedding gown designers and the list continues!

We have built the core of our business by focusing on this trend and it has been truly amazing to be a part of the explosive growth. Exciting times indeed and opportunities abound but it does take a dedicated strategy and level of understanding of this unique segment of the market to realize the maximum benefits.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Bridal Magazines are the Hottest in the Industry!

Wow! Bridal Magazines are officially the 'fastest growing magazine category' in the industry! This according to Oxbridge Communications, publisher of the National Directory of Magazines. Some highlights from an interview from Media Life Magazine:

"What's hot in magazines: Bridal titles"

They're now the fastest-growing magazine category

One might think of bridal magazines as a staid category of magazines, and very niche, led by the big national titles Bride's and Modern Bride, but in fact the bridal category is seeing explosive growth, indeed the fastest growth of any category. The number of titles has nearly doubled in the past five years. And this at a time when many of the major magazine categories are seeing titles closing. Why the explosion in new titles? Good question.

How many bridal magazines are there?

There were 135 bridal magazines in 2007, up from 69 in 2002. [a 96% increase!!!!!]

Why is this category of titles so hot right now?

The growth in bridal magazines goes hand-in-hand with the nesting trend, as seen in the growth of home and interior design magazines. There also seems to be a fascination with celebrities, their marriages and un-marriages, and their babies.

How many of these bridal titles are local and regional? Is localization an important trend?

Yes, many of these bridal titles are regional. For example, there is Bride's Boston, Island Weddings, Nantucket Weddings and Hawaii Bride and Groom. Localization is the most important trend.

What are some of the key differences between the major titles in the bridal category?

They are becoming increasingly specialized, targeting ethnic groups, celebrity weddings and even men, as mentioned earlier.

To what do you attribute the growth among bridal titles?

Trends come and go, but people are always going to get married. And because of the high divorce rate there are even more marriages at all ages.

See the entire interview here.

You can also view an interesting 3-minute video clip from today's ADVERTISING AGE on the same topic - proving that this is big market news indeed!

Weddings continue to go from strength to strength and are the darlings of the media. The challenge for any marketer is, in a world of increasingly tighter budgets, how to make the dollars stretch further and mazimize their effectiveness. This does not even take into account the new wedding-related websites that pop up on what seems to be a daily basis! All the more reason for a dedicated, targeted approach and to knowing who the bride is that YOU want to attract. More on this hot topic in the near future!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Client Blog Project

We are really excited to share the new Blog we created this week for long-time client, the Casa Monica Hotel in St. Augustine, Florida - part of The Kessler Collection! As far as we know, it is one of the first such blogs of its kind for a hotel - and specifically a hotel wedding department!

You all know the power of blogging [you read this blog after all and most of you have your own great blogs!!] for business...I am passionate about it and learning more every day. During a recent visit/strategy session we had with the entire executive team at Casa Monica -the topic of blogging came up and we suggested it and they jumped right in! Before Kathryn and I made it home that night - they emailed us the start of a blog...knowing nothing about it!!

This week, I spent some time formatting it and creating about 20 posts to show them how they can use the blog to share all of the exciting news about weddings at Casa Monica with potential clients. It is very much a 'work in progress' as are all blogs...but this was created at no cost and using the existing, free blogger templates. We think it is great start and they are thrilled and excited to continue to build upon it. I can't wait to see how this will grow and know it will become an invaluable tool for their wedding team to effectively communicate with their clients!
The bottom line with blogging...just start. That is the hardest part!! Once you start it takes on a life of its own - so if you have not done so already - go for it!!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Super Photographer Does Superman's Wedding!

A HUGE congrats to my friend, the truly amazing Stacey Kane who was chosen to shoot Superman Brandon Routh's wedding in Santa Barbara last weekend! Her image is featured in this week's issue of PEOPLE Magazine and a much bigger spread will follow in a future issue of In Style Magazine. Could not have happened to a better, cooler and more fun 'superwoman' than Stacey - with all of the wedding photo talent based in CA - they chose her to shoot the wedding and flew her in from freezing Maine!! Well deserved! I feel lucky to have had her shoot my girls recently for our holiday card - will share that in a future post!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Google Wedding Imminent

All the news is buzzing on the imminent but still *top secret* wedding of Google co-founder Larry Page this coming weekend.

Page Six reports today that "The wedding this Saturday of Google co-founder Larry Page on a tiny Caribbean island is a logistical nightmare for planners who are flying in 600 guests on private planes and trying to find deluxe hotel rooms for all the bigwigs. Page, 34, the most eligible bachelor in America, will wed girlfriend Lucy Southworth, 27, on entrepreneur Richard Branson's private getaway, Necker Island, sources confirmed to Page Six. Page and Southworth, a biomedical informatics (information processing) doctoral student at Stanford, have been dating for over a year. But to secure accommodations for their guests, Page's planners, working six months in advance, also had to book all the hotels on the neighboring island of Virgin Gorda. Read the rest here."

This will be amazing exposure for The British Virgin Islands and great PR in general for Destination weddings in the Caribbean!

I had the VERY good fortune to visit the enchanting BVI 5 years ago this week on a luxury press trip - including a visit to the over-the-top, fabulousness that is Necker Island and stays at each Little Dix Bay, Peter Island Resort, Bitter End Yacht Club and Biras Creek Resort. One of the most amazing Caribbean travel experiences I have ever had!! I absolutely loved every moment of it.

Stay tuned for more breaking wedding details...I love this stuff!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

10 Things Your Wedding Planner Won't Tell You

Stumbled recently on this article from SMART MONEY Magazine entitled "10 Things Your Wedding Planner Won't Tell You." These types of articles are always interesting reading for any wedding professional to really understand what the media is warning your couples about. Knowing where they are coming from and what they have read will give you some valuable insight into what their questions and concerns might be and help you to establish a higher level of trust from the very first encounter with potential clients.

Unfortunately, as in any industry - there are a few unscrupulous "VENDORZILLAS" out there that are not in business for the right reasons. Brides and grooms are unusually wary coming into the market as they have all heard or read wedding-vendor horror stories.

Establishing a high level of trust and openly sharing past successes and glowing references is a proactive approach to setting yourself far above the few bad apples. Your reputation is everything - protect it fiercely!

[graphic courtesy of WeddingBee]