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From sales and marketing techniques to menu and presentation ideas, to an in-depth analysis of what the bride really wants, the Wedding Track covers a broad range of topics to help you succeed in this fruitful and competitve industry segment.

Wedding Paperie. Brand it All the Way to the Bank 
Yvette Audrain, CPCE, CSEP, Owner, Simply Mox, Dallas, TX

In our world of instant messages and overstimulation, how can you ensure that your client’s message stands out above the noise? Wedding professionals today have to constantly balance new and old, efficiency and etiquette, and then present it seamlessly to a multi-generational audience. This session will help you navigate the ever-changing wedding branding terrain and teach you how to blow your client’s mind while adding to your bottom line.

The Diverse Designer. Standing Out in Today’s Wedding Design World
Sasha Souza, MBC, Event Designer, Sasha Souza Events, Napa/Beverly Hills, CA

Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself, everybody else is already taken”, and those prophetic words are very true in today’s wedding industry. It’s easy to get caught up in the “sameness” of weddings showcased on blogs and inspiration sites. Wedding designer and author Sasha Souza is internationally recognized for her ability to always be ahead of the trends, as well as a trend predictor. How do you keep your business forward thinking and original so you stand out to potential clients as being a diverse designer? What defines a diverse event designer? A diverse designer can change their style to match their client’s taste. The diverse designer doesn’t follow predominant trends but is on the leading edge, creating new design ideas. Learn how to convince clients to go outside the commonplace trends, be a standout designer, and access information to help predict what’s up and coming.

The Event Designer and the Caterer Should Be Friends
Ronnie Davis, Managing Partner, Ronnie Davis Events and Managing Director, Great Performances, New York City, NY

Any special event is a roaring success if it meets or exceeds the client’s expectations. The event design must be flawless, the food remarkable, the service exemplary, and the entertainment memorable. Lack of planning and cooperation between the caterer and the event designer may cause disaster. Ronnie’s experience in both event design and catering give him the credentials and the knowledge to share tips about working together to meet the needs of the caterer and have the food service play a leading role in the event. He’ll showcase several examples of actual events to illustrate the key points that should be considered when planning and how the menu and the service style can enhance the event’s theme.

The Wedding Marketplace. Pricing Strategies for On-premise Venues
Jonathan Jennings, COO, Connecticut Wedding Group, Middletown, CT

Banquet Hall and on-premise venue success and profit is directly linked to the number of events you can book into your space and the amount of bottom line dollars you can garner on each event. While it is often easy to sell Saturday nights, to be successful you must discover ways to sell less desirable dates and times, create packages that are attractive to the bride and groom yet meet your profit criteria, and learn how to compete with the competition to make your venue the most attractive. Join Jonathan for this class as he shares the successful programs and marketing campaigns that have made Connecticut Wedding Group’s on-premise venues some of the most sought after on-premise properties.

A Romance with Flowers and Wedding Design 
David Everett, Sr. Event Designer, The JDK Group, Camp Hill, PA

Beyond the bridal party’s personal flowers, there are boundless opportunities to intertwine unique design elements, some floral and some using other materials, into that special day for every bride and groom. No detail is too small and all of the little touches add up to one big statement. Join David as he showcases not only table and buffet centerpieces, but also design elements and unique presentations for passed appetizer trays, dessert presentations, place card tables, wedding guest favors, and more.

Wedding Planning with LGBT Millennials 
Bernadette Smith, President, 14 Stories Gay Wedding Institute, New York City, NY
As marriage equality sweeps the nation, the LGBT wedding market is booming, and only continuing to grow. In this seminar, you’ll learn about the hottest trends in same-sex weddings and what to expect when working with LGBT millennials in planning their wedding.

Lighting the Way for Weddings 
Lonnie Thompson, Lighting Designer, Images by Lighting, Los Angeles, CA and Colette Lopez, Owner, La Fete Weddings, Santa Barbara, CA

Lighting can make or break a venue – it’s not just what you see, but how you see it. From large estates to small backyards, rural barns to grand palaces, each wedding is unique to its specific environment. No matter where your event takes place, a good lighting designer has the ability to draw the most out of your client’s venue and transform it into a magical experience for all who attend. In this seminar, experts Lonnie Thompson and Colette Lopez will show you how to improve your event by bringing the lighting designer in, not as an afterthought, but early on as part of your design process. Whether you are a planner, caterer, or wedding stylist, it’s good to know how to sell (and upsell) your client on the necessity of lighting design. From their first-hand experience, Lonnie and Colette will divulge personal stories, pictures, experiences, tips and tricks, so that you too can create events that transition beautifully from day to night.

Big Fat Indian Wedding. A Crash Course on Planning a South Asian Wedding
Therese Cole-Hubbs, President/Creative Director, Electric Karma International, Houston, TX

The hottest trend in special events is the growing multi-million dollar industry of South Asian weddings. Attendees will learn the ins and outs of these grand affairs, from terminology to cultural nuances and everything in between. Learn from an expert in the field who has been working with this market for more than 30 years and find out what you need to know to meet the demands of this specialized and discerning clientele.

Put Down the Mason Jar and Back Away Slowly! Wedding Catering in 2015 
Michael Stavros, Director of Sales & Marketing, M Culinary Concepts, Phoenix, AZ

These days, the “culture of food” seems to influence everyone with whom we do business. Our clients are bombarded by a non-stop parade of cooking shows, competitions, celebrity chefs, bloggers and social media mavens. Clients today share their dining experiences with their families, friends and just about anyone who is willing to listen, and they want their dining choices to reflect their personalities and individuality (because they are unique…just like everyone else). And what could be more personal and individual than their wedding? In this session, we will explore the current and upcoming trends in wedding catering. We will discuss globally-influenced cuisine, locally-flavored items, engaging presentations, and curated cocktails and mocktails. And let’s not forget about our clients’ and guests’ mind-boggling array of dietary requests, requirements and allergies – we will discuss interesting options that keep everyone happy and healthy. Let’s learn about and share what will work and what will sell in 2015 and beyond.

The Diverse Designer. Standing Out in Today’s Wedding Design World
Sasha Souza, MBC, Event Designer, Sasha Souza Events, Napa/Beverly Hills, CA

Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself, everybody else is already taken”, and those prophetic words are very true in today’s wedding industry. It’s easy to get caught up in the “sameness” of weddings showcased on blogs and inspiration sites. Wedding designer and author Sasha Souza is internationally recognized for her ability to always be ahead of the trends, as well as a trend predictor. How do you keep your business forward thinking and original so you stand out to potential clients as being a diverse designer? What defines a diverse event designer? A diverse designer can change their style to match their client’s taste. The diverse designer doesn’t follow predominant trends but is on the leading edge, creating new design ideas. Learn how to convince clients to go outside the commonplace trends, be a standout designer, and access information to help predict what’s up and coming.

The Evolution of Weddings and Wedding Cakes 
Linkie Marais, Lifestyle Expert/Celebrity Chef, Linkie Marais, Boston, MA

Staying current on wedding trends is essential, but let’s face it – it is hard to do it alone! By diving back into the history, origins and traditions of weddings and wedding cakes, we can see how it has revolutionized into a huge production of colors, themes, textures and food art. In this session, you will learn what is the driving force behind the ongoing evolution of wedding receptions and what is in store for future weddings, what are the current wedding and wedding cake trends, what are the best sources for information and inspiration and how do you merge the old trends with the new in order to incorporate fresh ideas and dazzle your brides.

Analyzing Your Design Ideas
Sean De Freitas, President/Owner, Designs by Sean, Inc., Fort Lauderdale, FL

In this session, Sean will cover many different areas of design from floral to technical and blending the two together in today’s changing world. The seminar will also speak about re-purposing your old products and making them look new and fresh. Bring your creative minds, as Sean will be challenging you in an interactive setting about your own design interpretation!

 

 

*Speakers and schedule subject to change.