Sunday, December 21, 2008

NYT::"Recession? Time to Slash the Flower Budget"

A 'must read' article for everyone in the wedding industry from The New York Times about how couples around the country are responding to the economy by 'slashing' wedding budgets. 

These consumer insights and behaviors are critical to understand and will have far-reaching impacts across all budget levels of weddings.  

Smart and savvy wedding professionals will not be reactive but rather proactive in understanding the mindset of today's newly engaged couple and offer creative ways for them to afford {and justify} their particular goods or services and above all else, overdeliver at every single point of contact during each stage of the wedding planning cycle and beyond.  

There is no doubt that the cream will certainly rise to the top and that there will be quite a few casualties along the way of those that have coasted for a long time and ridden the wave of consumer excess.  Those that truly 'get it' will emerge stronger than ever before - which one will you be!?!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Early *Buzz* for engage!09 :: something blue

We are so thrilled with the early response to our announcement about engage!09 :: something blue on June 21-24, 2009 at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.  We have heard from so many of you and are delighted that you are as excited as we are about the event.

We promise many more details in early January including a new website and blog. In the meantime, be sure to check out and join our fan page on Facebook!  

We also want to send out a heartfelt 'thank you' to the following amazing industry friends who took the time to share their thoughts on engage! with blog posts - here are a few:

Harmony Walton of The Bridal Bar

Lara Casey at Southern Weddings

Liene Stevens of The Smart Planner

Laura Novak of Laura Novak Photography and Strategy Avenue  

The Bliss Event Gals 

We have lined up a few additional AMAZING wedding industry speakers and will sharing that news after the new year so be sure to stay tuned!

TODAY Show: Luxury Remorse

Powerful paradigm shift in behavior of consumers from just a few months ago. Well worth a quick view to think about how this is/will continue to affect the wedding industry. Conspicuous consumption suddenly something to be ashamed of and hide...
Check out the blog post by Tina Brown on The Daily Beast that broke and inspired this piece entitled:
"Shopping in Secret: What Rich People Don't Want You to Know About Their Spending." WOW.

Over the Top Engagements:

From The Today Show & BRIDES Magazine comes a piece on the increasing trend towards extreme proposals:: "'Will you marry me?' goes extreme-In an age of modern love, guys are popping the question with flair to spare"

Check it out here - interesting to note the companies that are focusing on this niche...opportunity or waste of time?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Announcing: engage!09 :: something blue

Engaging Concepts is thrilled to announce the incredible details for engage!09::something blue!! This three day luxury wedding business summit will be held June 21-24, 2009 at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman so save the dates!!!!

Our amazing line-up of confirmed speakers will include:

-Darcy Miller, Editorial Director of Martha Stewart Weddings
-Millie Bratten
, Editor in Chief of BRIDES
-Preston Bailey
-Marcy Blum
-Sylvia Weinstock
-Sean Low
, President of Preston Bailey Designs
-Michelle Rago destination event designer and author
-Harmony Walton
of The Bridal Bar LA
-Simon T. Bailey, author and brilliandeer
-Lara Casey
, Editor in Chief of Southern Weddings
-Abby Larson
founder and editor of Style Me Pretty
-Susan Moynihan
, Editor in Chief of Destination Weddings & Honeymoons Magazine
-Laura Novak, acclaimed wedding photojournalist and business consultant
-Randy Fenoli,
Fashion Director of Kleinfeld and featured in TLC's "Say Yes to the Dress"
...with more announcements still to come!

Aside from the unprecedented opportunity to be with the “best of the best” in the luxury wedding industry, this summit will include a Seven Mile Beach welcome party Sunday evening, continental breakfast Monday morning followed by a full day’s educational and inspirational symposium, networking luncheon and VIP dine-around. Tuesday morning will kick-off with continental breakfast and four (50)-minute targeted breakout sessions. And of course you’ll have time to explore and experience fabulous Grand Cayman during the afternoon before the celebratory gala dinner Tuesday evening.

The cost is $2000 per person with many more details to follow in early January with the launch of the official
engage!09 :: something blue website and blog. Registration will open Monday, February 2, 2009 and will be limited in order to keep the event intimate and impactful. The first two engage! events sold out and we expect to do the same with engage!09 so stay tuned for the launch of the website with all the specific details, special room rates, airline partners and more!

We look forward to seeing you in June and are thrilled to be hosting this expanded luxury wedding business summit in the beautiful Cayman Islands along with our presenting partner and long time client: The Cayman Islands Department of Tourism - we cannot wait to share this very unique and special tropical paradise with our friends in the wedding industry!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Cayman Wedding Update and Business Symposium

Kathryn and I are headed to Grand Cayman for the remainder of the week for strategy meetings with our long time client, The Cayman Islands Department of Tourism and to present a customized 1/2 day wedding business symposium to members of the wedding private sector!  

We have also arranged for the Director of Research for The Knot to come down and present the latest market intelligence research and consumer insights related to the Destination Weddings and Honeymoons as well as to roll out a new custom program for on island partners.

We look forward to seeing all of our Cayman wedding industry friends - old and new - at the Westin Casuarina Resort from 9am-12noon on Thursday, 11 December!  See you soon!

What a *big* week this is going to be...stay tuned!!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

engage!08::the encore Highlight Video

*If you wish to view in a larger format or this version loads too slowly click here for a faster version!*

Thank you to the amazingly talented Brett Culp of CVP Experience-- he captured the event and brought it to life! Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sneak Peek from Shanghai

Here is sneak peek at just one of the {raw} selects from our hotel client photo shoot in Shanghai last week!  This is in front of the amazing chandelier that spanned 3 floors from the lobby. The photographer, stylist and model are quite famous in Shanghai and it was very interesting working with them on this project.

Our research for this ongoing project indicates that the wedding business in China is still in the very early stages of growth - only about 10 years or so!  Amazing if you think that there are close to 12 million weddings each year {compare that to the standard 2.4 million here in the U.S.}! There is so much opportunity for massive growth in this emerging nation especially so with the 'one child' policy in place in China - there is major focus by the parents and grandparents on hosting auspicious and lavish weddings.  

We have learned {and continue to learn} so much about this exciting and interesting market and are honored that this client has placed so much trust in our international wedding expertise to continue to tap us as advisors on building out their entire Asia-Pacific wedding marketing initiatives.  We will share the final outcomes in early 2009!

{click on photo to enlarge!}

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Breaking Wedding Industry News:

This just in - today marks the official launch of WeddingBeePro - in founder Bee Kim's own words:  

I’m excited to announce the latest member of the Weddingbee blog family: a group blog by top wedding vendors!

Weddingbee PRO is a group blog about weddings, just like Weddingbee.  But this blog will have real wedding *vendors*, blogging about weddings from the vendor side of the aisle.  It’s the first group blog of its kind, and we couldn’t be more excited!

For all the scoop - including how you can be considered as a WeddingBeePro blogger - check out the site...congrats to Bee for yet another innovative approach to the wedding industry!  Can't wait to follow it as it grows!

Monday, December 1, 2008

"Luxury Shame": NEWSWEEK

I am back from my whirlwind trip to China and almost recovered from the massive change on time zones in a short period of time!!  What an experience!!

In the meantime, I came across this very salient article from this week's NEWSWEEK that sheds light on what is most likely already affecting everyone in the wedding industry {or will be in the very near future!}  - "Luxury Shame: Why even the very rich are cutting back on conspicuous consumption." 

A 'must read' for anyone servicing the higher-end, luxury wedding market...would love to hear your real life experiences relative to this topic!