Engage11 Luxury Wedding Conference – Grand del Mar, San Diego

I just got back from the Engage11 Conference and it was the most amazing work conference I have ever attended!  Last night I was finally able to catch up with 12 hours of much needed sleep.

If you are in the wedding industry I would highly recommend attending the next one (which is in the Cayman Islands in November).  They have the conference twice per year and I will definitely be attending whenever possible.

Not sure where to exactly start regarding my experience.  I managed to take a few photos but thank goodness Mel&Co was there as the official photographer to snap amazing shots for everyone!  The pictures I’m using in this post are a mix of ours.

Some of the highlights:

Celebrity Cake-maker Sylvia Weinstock and her husband of over 60 years.  They have the cutest interaction.  Can you imagine…over 60 years?!

Elizabeth Messina with Diann Valentine.  Elizabeth is one of my photographer idols.  I went looking for her like a stalker from the minute I arrived.  A lot of people ask, “So who is going to shoot your future wedding?.”  Well, it would be Elizabeth (if I can get her).  🙂  Photo by Mel& Co.


FINALLY got to meet this girl – Jasmine Star.  I’ve been meaning to introduce myself to her at previous conferences but she beat me to it.  I think I had just taken a huge bite of a slider when I turned around and she said, “Hi I’m Jasmine!.”  I paused for a couple seconds.  Anyone who reads her blog probably agrees that seeing her is like seeing a celebrity because you feel like you already know her.  She’s exactly how I imagined her to be (funny, friendly, awesome), and I also got to hear her speak for the first time.  EXCELLENT speaker, VERY inspiring.

Monique Lhuillier, who is as cute as a basket of kittens.

I could do an entire blog about the food but I will spare everyone with just a few pictures.  This is an example of the coffee breaks they had every couple hours.  Every COUPLE HOURS…each time a different theme with different treats.  My rings are fitting a little tighter than usual.  :/

Fruit bar.

Crepes…sigh.  I love crepes.

This cinnamon sugar doughnut station is the death of me!  I went back 3 times!

Ok, ok, this is the last food pic.  The pineapple one was delicious.

Elan Artists provided most of the entertainment which blew the roof off.  One of the bands on the first night was the Earth Harp ensemble which included a giant harp strung from the ground to the top of the hotel (100ft-200ft strings).  I love this picture (by Mel&Co) of William with Sylvia.  William is the one who invented the Earth Harp and performs at his space – ‘Revival‘ in Venice Beach – every Tuesday and Friday.  Talented, handsome, and right down the street?  Yeah, um, I think I’ll go to Revival tonight to see him perform again.


The Infusion Experience – a 3D DJ.  Those drums….you can’t help but dance.


Lunch and cake decorating demonstration with Sylvia Weinstock.  Jessica Claire on the right taking pics. :)


Details, details, details.  Most of the stationary was by Lehr&Black.  Yes, those gems are hand glued on and they made 250 of them.  And this is only a lunch menu!


The colors of the conference were black, white, and red, with a good chunk of the decor involving stripes.  Black and white stripes are one of my favorite things on this planet.


Talking about details, the service at the Grand del Mar hotel is no joke.  I love the little things, like providing a new tube of tooth paste when they see that yours is low.  How thoughtful!  No comments about my mangled up toothbrush btw.  The important thing is that I do brush my teeth, at least twice per day.


Mindy Weiss speaking.  I took a picture of this slide for inspiration.  It was for Nicole Richie’s wedding and I LOVE the wall of mirrors (kinda hard to see, sorry).  Thinking about doing it for my place!


This industry is full of people who have great style and taste.  Very inspiring.  I love being around it!  Angel Swanson from Love & Splendor.  Too cute.


Nothing beats a well dressed girl except a well dressed guy.  Elan from I Do Films.


Catherine of CBS Weddings. She matches the decor.  Hee hee.

Bonding and new friendships.  This makes me laugh.  Kelli (Adeux: Bespoke Bridal Paper) at 8:00am, day two.  The days can be long (I’m talking 7:30am to 2:00am) so yes – Coffee, please.

Leila Khalil of Be Inspired PR and Susan Moynihan, Editor-in-Chief of Destination Wedding Magazine.  Look out for upcoming issues.  Amy & Jay’s wedding might be in it. ;)

Todd Fiscus and our attempt to look like lovers.  He was my favorite speaker!  I love gay guys, they crack me up!  He said that whenever a bride starts freaking out about something on her wedding day, he says, “You look like shit, now get up, and let’s go!”

If riding in an elevator isn’t awkward enough, how about taking a picture of everyone in it?

The closing gala.  Photo by Mel&Co.

Kathryn Arce and Rebecca Grinnals of Engaging Concepts who produce this amazing conference every 6 months.  They met while working at the Walt Disney company and Rebecca is the founder of Disney Fairytale Weddings, which basically makes her my hero.  They are amazing.

West Coast Music.  JERSEY BOYS set!  Omg. (Remaining pics by Mel&Co).


Gotta love photos where people pose and you look all awkward in the back.  Better than a still image of dancing awkward I suppose, which I WILL NOT post for everyone’s sake (there were a few in the bunch).

If anyone wants to see more from the conference, here is a video done by Cloud Nine Creative or there are a ton of detail shots on StyleMePretty!

Back to work!  I’ll be hibernating in my cave for the next week, catching up on editing. :)

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