Saturday, May 31, 2008

Dream weddings meet reality: Crain's Business

Dream weddings meet reality

By: Darci Smith June 02, 2008

"Is the spare-no-expense fairytale wedding falling out of fashion?

Weddings, as a pinnacle of emotional spending, are considered relatively immune to economic downturns. But with food and fuel costs high and housing values low, more couples are scaling back on pricey extras that had become routine in recent years." Click here to read entire article>>

Friday, May 30, 2008

Weddex on AllTop!!

Yay!  I learned about something new and really AWESOME amazing site called AllTop - which just launched a new Weddings section yesterday - andwe are thrilled that WEDDEX made it!! We are in some great company.

AllTop describes it this way:

We help you explore your passions by collecting stories from “all the top” sites on the web. We’ve grouped these collections — “aggregations” — into individual Alltop sites based on topics such as environment, photography, science, Muslim, celebrity gossip, military, fashion, gaming, sports, politics, automobiles, and Macintosh. At each Alltop site, we display the headlines of the latest stories from dozens of sites and blogs.

You can think of an Alltop site as a “digital magazine rack” of the Internet. To be clear, Alltop sites are starting points—they are not destinations per se. The bottom line is that we are trying to enhance your online reading by both displaying stories from the sites that you’re already visiting and helping you discover sites that you didn’t know existed. In other words, our goal is the “cessation of Internet stagnation” by providing “aggregation without aggravation.”

Be sure and check it out - I am already hooked!! Special thanks and appreciation to Christine Tremoulet of Christine Tremoulet Photography [new friend and attendee for the upcoming engage!08] for recommending us and to the legendary Guy Kawasaki for including us!  He has written a number of best-selling b2b books including "The Art of the Start" - which I promptly ordered[along with a number of others!] from Amazon!

I just love learning about new things - and it is a pretty perfect way to cap off the week that WEDDEX turned ONE!!!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Featured in Smart Money Magazine!

I was really excited to see the new Smart Money Magazine [published by The Wall Street Journal] with feature on Destination Weddings - 5 full pages!!  I was interviewed by the journalist awhile ago and it finally appeared...not only am I quoted in it but so are a number of our clients including partners in The Cayman Islands such as Joanne Brown of Celebrations Ltd, The Reef Resort, David Wolfe and of course lots of focus on Sandals Resorts including the Preston Bailey program.

It is a very interesting and comprehensive piece.  I love when wedding articles appear in non-traditional media - it provides priceless exposure to an audience otherwise not reached -- a win for any PR strategy!

You can read the entire article on  Thanks to all who jumped through hoops to accommodate the very specific requests of the journalist - it paid off!!

Circulation for WSJ's Smart Money Magazine is 822,436 readers.'s audience averages 2.1 million unique visitors a month and generates 24 million monthly page views.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

"Last Call" for engage!08

We hit the 'send' button on the last call for registrations for engage!08 a bit ago. Here is a copy of the blast:

This is the final opportunity to sign up for engage!08: the wedding industry's most exclusive and intimate networking, educational and inspirational event


Join some of the most respected names in the luxury wedding business for a jam-packed day onJune 3rd, 2008 at the Celebration Hotel in Celebration Florida!


Speakers include Preston Bailey, Marcy Blum, Susan Moynihan, Simon T. Bailey, Harmony Walton, Christine Boulton, Liene Stevens and host Rebecca Grinnals of Engaging Concepts!


Connect with over 60 attendees coming from 8 countries and 13 states including:


Five-star Resorts and Hotels in Grand Cayman, Jamaica, Turks & Caicos, the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, St. Lucia, Antigua and throughout Florida.


High-end wedding planners and designers from New York, LA, Chicago, Grand Cayman, St Kitts, Seattle, Arizona, Savannah, Tennessee, Virginia, the Bahamas and throughout Florida.


Award-winning Video and Photojournalists from Texas, Maine, Savannah and throughout Florida.


Expert wedding PR, Marketing, Advertising and Travel executives and more!


A very limited number of spaces remain so if you are interested in attending make sure to register right away.


See all the information on the Website at and Blog at!


We hope to have you join us for what promises to be an 'engaging' day dedicated to taking any wedding business to the next level! 

Monday, May 19, 2008

I *Heart* Gossip Girl

Ok - I admit to my guiltiest pleasure being completely obsessed with each and every episode of Gossip Girl!  I have downloaded all of the episodes onto my iPhone and watched them as I fly across the world!!  This last trip I caught up on 5 in total - made the time FLY by!!

Imagine my thrill at the fact that the last few shows have focused on the wedding of Lily and Bart...and that both Sylvia Weinstock and Preston Bailey have been part of the shows.  Sylvia had prominent cameos in 2 episodes and I understand that Preston was to have been included but was in Jakarta when they filmed.  He did get on-air mention though!!

If you have not yet seen the show - run don't walk to iTunes and download the entire season.  It is the BEST!!!  I can't believe we have to wait until fall for new shows!

We do have the Sex and the City movie right around the corner though - counting the days!!


All New From Maria McBride

Congratulations to the brilliant Maria McBride on her latest book "Party Basics for New Nesters!"  

Maria, a long-time friend and I believe one of the MOST talented minds in the wedding industry, recently sent me a copy of the book which is really gorgeous and filled with great ideas and inspiration for newlyweds [or anyone looking to nest in style!].  I think it is a perfect gift for anyone to give to their brides and grooms as an appreciation gift/wedding gift. 

Maria is the long-time style editor at BRIDES Magazine and is responsible for many of the hottest and most stylish wedding trends out there. Her previous books are a must have for any wedding library as they are timeless.

Along with the launch of the "New Nesters" comes a fabulously designed new website with lots of eye-candy of her brilliant work.  Be sure to check it all out!

Just Marry!

Congratulations to wedding planner Susan Southerland of Just Marry! based right here in Orlando on the exciting launch of her new DVD entitled "Susan Southerland's Just Marry! Wedding Planning Secrets."

It has received rave reviews already from the press, brides and wedding-industry insiders.  Kudos to Susan for doing what so many dream about or have on their "someday isle" list!!

She also created this fun and practical color selection wheel to help brides select and stay true to their wedding color palette.  Again - something so simple but that as an added bonus for her brides provides that extra touch and impactful takeaway.

Susan and her talented team have successfully partnered with countless hotels in the Orlando, Tampa, St. Augustine, Jacksonville, Savannah and  Atlanta markets to expand their business model and are one of the few wedding planners who have extended their brand beyond their home city.

Congrats on making it all happen with style and smiles!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Let Them See Cake: Bridal Books Revamp

From Media Week::

May 12, 2008
By Lucia Moses

Bridal magazines are pretty if predictable: a cover model resplendent in white, followed by a catalogue of monochrome dresses inside. Two of the category leaders, published by Condé Nast, are about to unveil changes meant to underscore their differences with readers and advertisers.

With its summer issue, Elegant Bride, a quarterly aimed at affluent brides in their thirties, will issue a crisp, elegant redesign that emphasizes the upscale. Editor Antonia van der Meer updated the logo, replaced the cover model with a cake, stripped off the coverlines, softened the color palette and added the tagline "Weddings Made Beautiful."

Modern Bride, meanwhile, will continue its trend, and sometimes irreverent, coverage of weddings, introducing sex as a regular editorial staple. Wedding-night sex is touted on the cover of the June/July issue; a future issue will look at why a man's sex drive increases after he becomes engaged.

"Weddings tend to be looked at as sacred, and people are afraid to think of the bride as a real girl," said van der Meer, who also edits Modern Bride for the younger, nontraditional bride, while Condé Nast's Brides, the category leader in ad pages, serves the young, tradition-minded bride. "She talks to her friends about [sex], and she expects it in her magazine."

In early June, Modern Bride also will launch a consumer campaign, "I Am A Modern Bride," that will feature ethnically diverse celebrities like Lisa Ling and Daisy Fuentes. The campaign will run in 13 Condé Nast magazines and on kiosks near ad agencies.

The changes are coming under Bill Wackermann, who earlier this year added oversight for the bridal titles to his publishing duties for Glamour and who is trying to bring new advertisers down the aisle by demonstrating that brides are "this über, super consumer."

To that end, in March he decentralized the bridal group's two-year-old integrated print and online sales structure, naming Katherine Rizzuto as dedicated publisher of Brides and Jennifer Hicks as publisher of Modern Bride and Elegant Bride, as well as Your Prom.

Wackermann's goal is to reduce the books' wedding dress ads to 50 percent from about 75 percent and to grow categories including fashion and beauty. "I don't think we've done a good enough job of conveying why she's of value to the market," he said. "These are fashion and beauty magazines for women who are interested in fashion and beauty."

Of the three books, only Brides grew its ad pages so far this year, per Mediaweek Monitor. Through the May/June issue, Brides' pages rose 2.2 percent to 1,509 versus last year. Modern Bride's pages were down 5.7 percent to 1,072.9 through the June/July issue, while Elegant Bride's were off 12 percent to 258 through the spring issue.

Jane Deery, president of PGR Media, said fashion/beauty advertisers have historically avoided bridal books because of their high reader turnover. "They don't see it as a longstanding relationship with that target audience," she said, whereas "you might have a Glamour reader for 10 years." But Condé Nast could use volume discounts to motivate new advertisers to shift some dollars from other companies' fashion books, she said.

Marcella Berlin, director of creative services at Christian Dior Beauty, which just entered the bridal category with a schedule in all three Condé Nast titles, said bridal books are well-positioned to grow fashion/beauty. "When the economy is hurting, this kind of category becomes even more important," she said, adding, "I don't see a downshift on people getting married."

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

AP: "Economy Tames Bridezillas"

On homepage today: 

Economy Tames Bridezillas
Wedding industry seeing couples looking to cut costs on expenses

Full article here.

Congrats to Liene Stevens of The Smart Planner and Blue Orchid Designs who is cited in the piece which was syndicated by the Associated Press and picked up worldwide! We are looking foward to having Liene join us as a speaker for engage!08 - coming up in just a few short weeks!

Wedding Spending Projections

Monday, May 12, 2008

Thoughts from Shanghai

Thankfully - we left China just one hour before the massive earthquake hit the central part of the country yesterday.  What a tragedy  - my heart is sick. Thank you to all who called or emailed to make sure I was okay!!

We are now in Tokyo and heading out to spend the day gathering insights into the Japanese wedding market.

Here is a brief recap of my whirlwind 36 hours in Shanghai::

Wow.  Wow!  So much to report from my trip over here and first experiences!!  Has been non-stop {you can follow frequent updates over on Twitter – check out the right hand side of the blog!}.

The flight over was quite amazing – International First Class is certainly the way to go!! I hit the ground running and witnessed 4 chinese weddings at the Intercontinental Hotel that first night along with an amazing authentic dinner in a local neighborhood with my dear friend Gary Rosen – loved every minute of it!  

Today we took a chauffered car all around the city visiting the top hotels to research their wedding programs including the
Four Seasons Shanghai, Portman Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, the Sheraton, Le Meridien, The Westin, the 3-day new Crowne Plaza Century Park, the Hyatt on the Bund {breathtaking and my favorite of them ALL!} and the legendary Shangrila. So interesting — there are many differences in weddings here but at the end of the day – it is about the bride and groom celebrating with cherished family and friends!  I am just taking it all in right now and observing and learning as much as I possibly can...fascinating on every level.

I am blown away by this city – the size of it is beyond belief and the future growth of this market is staggering in size and scope. The attention to detail, the authentic, genuine service and the incredible architecture [both old and new] is beyond belief.  

To put things in perspective - China hosts on average 9 million weddings per year! Compare that to the average 2.4 million in the US.  Staggering.

More from Tokyo next!!!

Photo sent to me by the amazing photographers Eric & Jen Larsen of

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Rebecca's Excellent [World] Adventure!!!

On Monday morning I start my incredible 'world journey' -- touching down in 10 cities in 11 days!!!!  

I am first headed to Grand Cayman for meetings with the Canadian PR and Ad team for our Cayman Islands Department of Tourism client, then to New York City to help host an event at Preston Bailey's studio to unveil his latest wedding designs for the super luxe Royal Plantation Island at Fowl Cay in the Bahamas along with Managing Director Jaime Stewart.

The next morning I am off Shanghai to begin our project with a brand new International hotel brand client [to be shared at a later date!!] - we will tour many, many luxury wedding venues in China before heading to Tokyo to do the same!

All told, I will be out of the office from May 5th-May 16th.  I will officially return to the office on Monday May 19th - who knows what condition I will be in but I will be here!

Kathryn will be keeping everything moving forward while I am gone and I truly hope to be able to check in and blog a bit from the road.  Not sure how my iPhone will work and how much time I will have to put together posts but it is my intent to at least try!

I am thrilled for these amazing opportunities and look forward to sharing key learnings and insights along the way.

Off I go!  Rebecca

WSJ Piece:: iDo


With online polling, brides-to-be are turning to a new type of wedding planner -- a few hundred of their closest friends.
May 3, 2008; Page W1

Their friends weighed in on every hookup and breakup. Now, as the MySpace generation begins to marry, everybody's invited to help plan the wedding.


Using online polls, wedding guests are deciding on nuptial details traditionally hashed out behind closed doors by brides, grooms and their parents. Guests used to pick between chicken or fish. Now they face questions about the cake, the cocktails, the band and the honeymoon.

Even hairdos are up for a vote. Nesrine Njeim polled guests on wearing her hair up, down and curly or straight for her August wedding. "They know how my face looks," says the 24-year-old consultant in Holland. John Mauro, 27, a balding New York law student, thought he'd like to shave his head for his July wedding. His fiancée wasn't so sure. They took it to an online vote: "Without hair" trounced "with hair" by a landslide.

These couples are part of a Web generation accustomed to sharing minute-to-minute details of their personal lives online and getting instant feedback and comment from friends. As the Facebook crowd reaches marrying age, they are holding on to their social-networking habits. Collaborative wedding plans are only a part of "the wikifying of everything," says Carley Roney, co-founder of The Knot, a firm that helps nearly two million couples plan their weddings each year.

Click here to read entire article from The Wall Street Journal.

We are looking forward to discussing these and other trends during engage!08 -- perfect timing!!!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Mindy Weiss for PIPERLIME

Be sure to check out the latest [unexpected] 'celebrity wedding planner' partnership between Piperlime and Mindy Weiss. Fun!