Europe to America, Middle East to Southeast Asia, — destination wedding’s geography has been exponentially growing over the last years. Couples from all over the world are nowadays looking for more and more exclusive wedding arrangements, and this is where destination wedding planners step into the scene. Wedding planning industry is very fast-developing and multifaceted, encompassing a number of various skills and deep expertise in fields of gastronomy, design, entertainment, and many others.
With this being said, it is very important for the industry professionals like ourselves to be deeply involved into the international business network. This year, we were honoured to be invited to the most exclusive event in the wedding planning industry, Destination Wedding Planners Congress, that took place in Florence in April 2016. This luxury boutique congress gathered together over 400 destination wedding industry experts: planners, designers, photographers, florists, cake makers, hoteliers — to share their experience and knowledge with one another and create fructuous grounds for possible future collaborations.
Within 3 days of the Congress, we had a pleasure of meeting and discussing business with amazing planners around the world, including Sharon Sacks, Kevin Lee, Tara Guerard and many others. Old friends were also there, and we had fantastic time with our dear photographer friend Sandra Aberg. There were a lot of lessons learned and vast inspiration shared, broadening our vision of destination wedding planning, realizing that in fact we can move our boundaries out of Thailand, working on projects all over the world. We’ve met a lot of new suppliers offering unique products, built a good connection with a number international photographers, videographers and florists, growing our business network.
First and foremost, the congress acquainted us with many great people in the industry, and these meetings were to only reconfirm that despite many prejudice, wedding planner is a really hard job. We all had to acknowledge this to each other, and share personal experience on how to manage the stress and pressure of everyday tasks.
It may seem that it’s a very beautiful career to choose, with flower overloads, great food and happy atmosphere around, but the truth is that the backstage of the wedding planning is stressful, and that is why professionals like us exist. We are here to take the stress of preparation off the bride and groom’s shoulders, and make it as enjoyable and easy for them as possible. There are so many people and parties involved into the organization of the most important days in each couple’ lives, many things to consider and keep in mind. For that reason as well, it is always a great pleasure to see each of our projects coming to life and magic happening for our couples.
Speaking with famous Sharon Sacks, the planner of many celebrity weddings, including those of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, Ben Affleck, Olsen sisters and many others, we also understood the importance of staying inspired. Inspiration comes from various sources, starting from beautiful weddings around the world, to movies, music, art and travelling. We cherish and keep these experiences close to our actual work process, which allows us to always keep the mind fresh.
With inspiration comes great work, and Sharon also spoke of importance to work really hard, no matter what you do. Whether you’re a planner, a florist, or maybe a lawyer, this is the path you chose, and staying focused on it is extremely important in order to achieve great results. When it seems overwhelming and feels like too much, finding time to reconnect to yourself is very important. Especially with a 24/7 work in event industry, when things have to be solved and taken care of immediately, even only 10 minutes of personal time: meditation in shower, yoga session, dancing, drawing — can bring you back to work fresh and focused.
Another valuable advice Sharon gave us was that the team is the key factor to success. The team are the people who support you in good times and bad, who stand by in difficulty and cheer with happiness. The team should be the people who can be trusted fully, that’s why it’s extremely important to choose people wisely.
In addition to the inspiring meetings with wedding professionals, the congress program was extremely impressive. It all started off with impressive cocktail reception at famous Palazzo Vecchio. “Kings & Queens: A Royal Night Out” was called a theme, so all attendees arrived dressed in style and wearing little souvenir crowns carefully provided by the Congress. Attention to details was very impressive, and everything from the entrance decoration to the cake was customized and executed impeccably.
Day 2 had a lot of us in store, with key speakers’ presentations as well as round table discussions covering topics ranging from suppliers choice, work ethics and multi-cultural work approach to decor trends and styling. Networking with professionals like you from various countries gave us valuable insight on things and fresh vision on already known things. The day winded down with a lavishly styled dinner at Villa Corsini a Mezzomonte, where the networking continued in the more informal and laid-back atmosphere. Since the moment we stepped into a beautiful custom-made glasshouse, we knew it’s going to be a very special night. Lush flower centerpieces were decorating the tables, and music was the theme of the night. Impressive entertainment: ballet dancers, Italy-inspired fashion show, lots of dancing and choreographed fireworks to finish the night — it was all absolutely magical! And no wonder, with such a team of dream-makers it could only be perfect.
We learned more on business development, marketing, and luxury wedding industry in general during Day 3, with amazing Fernanda Silva, Marcy Blum, Tara Guérard and others. The farewell cocktail reception was prepared at Villa di Maiano with unforgettable Tuscany views, where we all enjoyed great wine and food, magical fireworks and shared many fun talks.
All these unmatched gala dinners, chic cocktail receptions, round table discussions — in gorgeous venues and settings, with professional teams catering all events — showed us a high standard of the organization. We were deeply impressed with the level of quality and service there, and are definitely driven to keep raising our own level to the top.
We are also very proud and excited to say that Phuket was chosen to be a host for DWP Congress 2017. With the major support of The Tourism Authority of Thailand, the Congress will be coming on 2nd-4th May 2017 to Laguna Phuket, and we can not wait to be there again, collaborating and networking with the best of the best, work hard and party harder!
Photo courtesy of DWP Congress and Studio Fotografico Righi