In June 2015, Engage! headed to Cancun, Mexico, where the stunning Nizuc Resort & Spa set a sumptuous tone for three days of connection and inspiration with 325 attendees from around the globe. A chic, element inspired black, gold and grey color palette matched the modern surroundings, and guests were wowed with gorgeous accommodations (most featuring private plunge pools), standout service and cuisine that was as innovative as it was delicious.
After a sunny check-in, where attendees were gifted with their choice of signature swag-filled tote bags, tassels and beach hats curated and concepted by Gifts for the Good Life the 145 first-time attendees joined past Engagees who advised them on how to make the most of their experience. Then the opening sessions kicked off in the stunning oceanfront Sián Káan ballroom complete with a Mariachi Band welcome. After words from Rebecca and Kathryn (“It’s our quincenera!” quipped Rebecca), Mindy Weiss started the fun with a signature video and trend-spotting, Boston bombing survivor Rebekah Gregory shared her inspiring story of triumph against adversity, Rebecca Dolgin sneak-peeked The Knot’s latest luxury wedding research, and Marcy Blum brought down the house with her witty take on business.
A colorful Mexican Fiesta sponsored by the Mexico Tourism Board and Nizuc with décor by Gabi Lavor from Canteiro Weddings followed on the beach, punctuated with colorful streamers and otomi-inspired lounge areas, mariachis and margaritas, and a surprise: 3D-enhanced fireworks by Pyrotech.
Day two brought the first Engage! appearance by rock star florist Jeff Leatham and a moving talk on happiness and the power of meditiation by ABC anchorman Dan Harris. Bizbash’s David Adler shared what’s next in event technology and Master Connections’ Cindy Novotny doled out realness in her take on luxury service. That afternoon, Engagees chose from an array of breakout sessions led by industry innovators including Colin Cowie, Abby & Tait Larson, Lynn Easton, Sean Low, Rachel Hofstetter and author Dane Sanders, himself a first-time Engagee. After the ever-popular dine-around hosted at Nizuc restaurants by Engage! speakers, the poolside Dessert Party at La Punta capped off the night with a decadent array of sweets, a sexy live band and fire dancers on the beach.
The final day of targeted sessions allowed Engagees to customize their educational experience with presentations on everything from social media and branding to destination weddings, brainstorming and editor’s panels, led by an industry who’s who. During the picnic-style lunch, some Engagees headed to informal Cabana Chats with select speakers, while others hit the endless infinity pool for some sun and fun.
That evening, Engagees dressed to nines for the penultimate event: The Gala! The team from ELENA DAMY transformed the Ballroom with 103 custom made in woven wood hearts suspended from the ceiling over rustic, elegant floral and glass candlelight filled tables as attendees sat down for a plated four-course dinner, complete with foie gras, Moet & Chandon and French service at every table. Then it was all about the dance floor, courtesy of amazing Elan Artists, who brought in a stellar array of talent. From the 20-piece band, Social, that started the night with salsa and merengue to the surprise appearance by hip-hop icons Salt ‘n’ Pepa and DJs who spun until 3 am, it was truly a night — and an Engage! — to remember.