I had one of my more enjoyable marketing and networking experiences last night at the Platinum Wedding Gala presented by the Perfect Wedding Guide and the Conrad Hotel. I knew there would be a lot of high-quality vendors there, along with some wonderful bridal prospects, but I was pleasantly surprised with how beautiful and synergistic a night it turned out to be for everyone.
For starters, the ballroom was beautiful! The way that designer Gene Huddleson of Detail + Design, Gloria Boyden of Events by Design and Teresa Gift of Eventfull Planning among others transformed an already remarkable space was visually inspiring. Tonya Shadoan of Circle City Planners was there earlier, lending a hand and ribbing me for not working out and tanning yet for our April destination wedding in St. Kitts. It was great to see Gary Bravard, whose extravaganzas I had covered about a dozen times in the 90’s, back in his element helping Gene out as well. Here’s what the room looked like, courtesy of photographer Andrew Scalini:
Fellow videographers Ryan McKeever of Magic Hour Productions and Jason Girt of Creative Eye Productions were there, so it was fun to catch up with them before the show started. Ryan’s doing some amazing things in the corporate video world in addition to the great work he does with events, and Jason’s family is now in the honeymoon business with a newly purchased condo in Maui! Jason invited us to fly out there together sometime and have a creative powwow. Twist our arms, Jason! 😉
Once the brides showed up, we all had a chance to mingle and market at a much calmer pace than the typical bridal show parade. The way the vendors, all of whom had worked with each other often, were able to vouch for each other made for a higher-quality impression on each bride. For example, at least in my corner of the room, when a bride would stop to admire photographer Jessica Strickland‘s images at Eventfull Planning’s table next to me, I would “conveniently” have a video from that same wedding playing on my plasma screen, and Teresa suddenly had a nice multimedia presentation. Or when a bride asked about a date that I was booked, I could just point to Ryan’s table and send her there. Or if a bride asked DJ Sunny Moon on the other side of me about a video she enjoyed on his display, he could just pat me on the back and say, “Here’s the guy who shot it right here!” There was a nice moment was when a bride was asking the Conrad’s Liz Mok and Sunny about how a wedding and reception might look in a certain layout in that ballroom, and I just said, “Here, take a look,” and played Sara & Alex’s highlight video from 1/6/07 (see below) for her. Interestingly, she had long ago booked about four or five of the vendors who ended up in that corner of the room including myself, so she must have been pleasantly surprised to see us all there in one place.
The brides sat down for about an hour to enjoy a presentation, first by Gene, who did a great job despite learning just hours earlier that he would be speaking. Then nationally reknowned bridal consultant Susan Southerland of Just Marry! in Orlando shared some creative ways to incorporate visual inspiration into an event without breaking the budget. My favorite image that she showed was of an already existing multi-million dollar bridge made of ice on which the couple exchanged vows for their winter-themed wedding. Capping it all off was “Project Runway” designer Austin Scarlett, who got the biggest superstar reception and showed off some of his latest bridal fashions, this one captured again by Andrew:
The presentation was followed by more high-quality face time between vendors and brides, and much chocolate. What made the night even sweeter was some unexpected visits throughout by friends like Carrie Sprague, Amanda Coffey and Maureen Boulanger from the Omni Severin, Monica Richards from the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and consultant Leslie Jones. It was great to see all of you there, and if I can book a bride or two from the show as well, that’ll be the icing on the cake!