Sunday, October 26, 2008

Blog *Buzz* for engage!08::the encore

The reviews are in and we are so touched by the incredible response to engage!08::the encore!  On Tuesday, October 14th an incredible group of {80} wedding industry professionals representing gathered at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes to meet, educate and inspire each other.

We are preparing a post with many of the highlighted responses and will post that shortly.  In the meantime, take a look -{and a click through} - at some of the wedding bloggers who took the time to post about their experience at engage!08:: the encore:

If you attended and blogged and I have not listed your post here please let us know and I will update immediately!

And to those of you you took the time to craft these amazing posts - thank you - we are all just thrilled with your kind words and honored to have you join us for what was a VERY special 2 days!!!!

More soon...I promise!!!

[photo credit: an edited image of the gift bag from emilie sommers of emilie inc.]

Saturday, October 25, 2008

NY Times: "How to Take a Cake Knife to Wedding Costs"

This morning the New York Times has an insightful article that I am sure is just the tip of the iceberg of what we are about to start seeing in the media.  Over the past few weeks I have have the privilege of spending quite a bit of time with top wedding professionals from many different regions and representing all aspects of the wedding industry and of course the topic of how the economy is going to affect weddings is high on the list of conversations.  Some quotes from this article hit on a few key points that have been echoed by many so far and that we all need to be highly aware of:

Streamlining + Re prioritizing

"Even among families to whom a $50,000 to $100,000 wedding might not have seemed a reach earlier this year, some are now reprioritizing,” said JoAnn Gregoli, owner of Elegant Occasions in Manhattan. “People are rethinking, downsizing, inviting fewer people and rethinking the d├ęcor,” she said, something she said she hasn’t seen before in her 20-year career. “In the last few weeks, calls are coming in saying, ‘Let’s streamline.’ ”

Appearing too "frivolous" or "over-the-top"

Even those who are not financially constrained may worry about appearances and think twice about mounting an extravagant wedding in hard times.

“Most successful men with daughters in their 20s set aside funds for the big day,” said Mr. Gruber, [a top NYC  celebrity photographer]. “The money for her wedding is still there. Today it is a matter of perception: ‘Can I have the wedding I have always envisioned for my daughter, or is it insensitive to spend that kind of money right now?’ ”

Expectations of exceptional service

“We eliminated anyone who [we] called but didn’t say congratulations...” 

Some quick takeaways are consistent with what we know about the wedding industry - weddings are 'recession-resistant' in that people will not CANCEL their weddings however, they will change their spending behaviors and make different decisions than they made even 6 months ago. Wedding industry professionals that are proactive in approaching this rapidly changing environment need to shift strategy immediately to be aware of the mindset of the consumer.  Focus on providing value at every price point, make unsolicited recommendations to couples on how they can get the most return on their wedding investment, offer alternative pricing and flexible choices to help cut costs, and never assume that your part in the wedding will not be comprimised.  It will increasingly be about re-prioritization  and you do not want to be on the short end of that stick!

We will continue to monitor this very fluid situation and share insight and tips on how you can come out on top.  We invite you to share your thoughts, ideas and observations on how the economy is affecting your wedding business in comments!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

"Just Look on the Bride $ide: Ultra Lux Vows Defy Dow": NY Post

I am headed off this morning to present to the Central Florida chapter of The Association of Bridal Consultants {ABC} and know that I am so very behind on the blog and promise a full recap from engage!08::the encore shortly!

In the meantime, I wanted to share this article in today's NY Post -an interesting quote from an attendee at last night's high-end bridal show "The Wedding Salon":

"It doesn't matter how the economy is doing as long as I can afford it. Who cares how Lehman Brothers are doing? It's one day of my life."

You can read the entire post here.

Much more to much to share!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Off to engage!08::the encore!

Well, it is finally here and we are off to The Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes for engage!08::the encore.  We are thrilled that this second event has also sold out - with over {80} luxury wedding professionals joining us from over 20 states and 5 countries - amazing!!

We are so grateful for the commitment that these industry leaders {and some amazing sponsors!} have shown to this event {over 20% are returnees from the first engage in June!} and are looking forward to welcoming old friends and new for almost 2 days of inspiration, education, networking and insight.

Clearly, the economy will be a major topic of discussion throughout the event and we promise a recap of the event and some highlights of the program.

Follow along on Twitter as not only will we be updating along the way so will many of the attendees - should be interesting!

See you on the 'other side!'

{check out one of the amazing letterpress pieces above designed for engage!08::the encore by Bella Figura}

Friday, October 3, 2008

engage1to1 super session

We are out of the office today conducting another exciting engage1to1 "super session" with an amazing wedding business out of Toronto! They have flown down to spend most of the day with us in a high-energy, intensive day of strategy, brainstorming and discussions on how they can take their already successful company to the next level!

Great times!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Breaking News: WeddingBee Sold!

In huge wedding industry news - has been sold to eHarmony! 

Owner and Founder Bee Kim made the announcement today on WeddingBee and explained the rationale behind the sale as well as addressed potential concerns of her very dedicated and wide-spread audience.

I have known Bee professionally and personally for the past few years and am just a huge, huge fan of her and all that she has done.  I am thrilled for her and her husband {Mr. Bee} for the opportunity to sell, and for the way in which she had handled this and every other aspect of her business.  She is one of our industry's leaders and was in my view, the first real wedding Blog in what has since become in incredibly crowded landscape.  She is a class act and I admire her in every way.  I have learned so much from her and respect her on many, many levels.

Attendees to engage!08: the encore will have a rare and unique opportunity to meet Bee in person and learn much more about her meteoric rise to wedding blogger success -- we can't wait!!!

Congrats Bee on a major accomplisment that most only dream about - you are an inspiration to us all!!!!!

Real Wedding at The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman

Lisa & Ian | Studio Nine Destinations from Studio Nine on Vimeo.

Lots to blog about in regards to our client The Cayman Islands Department of Tourism.  We will start by sharing this gorgeous wedding highlight video of Lisa & Ian's wedding at The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman shot by Jonathan Rubin and his team at Studio Nine Destinations.  {If you watch closely during the video you will see that the amazing Randy Fenoli, Fashion Director of Kleinfeld helped the bride prepare to walk down the aisle!}.  

I also know for a fact that one of the reasons that Lisa and Ian hired Studio Nine to document their entire wedding week extravaganza in Grand Cayman was their innovative approach to marketing their services with their "Is Now Soon Enough" advertising campaign in publications such as Grace Ormond's Wedding Style Magazine and their "INSTANT GRATIFICATION" promise which includes Video iPod Proofing delivered by end of event; Photo+Video Slideshow projected at Sunday brunch and DVD copies to both families to take home from wedding.  They combine shooting HD video and fine art photography.

Theirs is an approach that speaks directly to today's techno-savvy bride and groom who seek {and demand} instant results and do not want to wait weeks {or more} for their edited wedding proofs and wedding video.  

Take note - we are going to see more and more of this in the wedding industry and in this hyper-competitive environment, services such as these that combine quality, style and service will win again and again!