Engage!08 The Encore
In October 2008, Engage! held their second event, this time at The Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes in Orlando, Florida. The event kicked off with a welcome cocktail party, featuring linens from the first Engage! décor partner, La Tavola, and stationery from first paper partner, Bella Figura. The following day, in what was termed “a high-impact wedding business symposium,” husband-and-wife founders of The Knot, Carley Roney and David Lui, shared a candid conversation about the magazine’s beginnings, and gave predictions on where the industry was headed. (More customization, more diversity and more opportunities for couples to share their love stories — they were so right!) Bee Kim shared the story behind her seminal site, WeddingBee.com, and offered tips on pitching to blogs, the hottest form of social media at the time. On the PR front, agency owner Eda Kalkay and Jill Meister (then a producer with CBS) shared tips for getting media time, and Sean Low (then president of Preston Bailey Designs) made his first appearance, talking about the business of being creative. Simon T. Bailey inspired the group, and Sylvia Weinstock shared her newest book and surprised with mini chocolate wedding cakes from her partnership with Godiva.
At lunch, tables were hosted by each of the speakers, leading to what would become an Engage! hallmark, the Dine-Around. And again that evening, after the session, attendees stayed late, engaging til the wee hours and bringing home overstuffed gift bags the following morning.
In the weeks after the event, multiple blog posts on the event appeared from attendees including Liene Stevens, Kristy Rice of Momental Designs, Donna von Bruening of DVB Photography and Ali Phillips of Engaging Events by Ali, singing the praises of Engage! Rebecca and Kathryn were convinced: A movement was afoot, and Engage! would take the leading role in supporting and connecting the industry’s best.