Engage!16 The Breakers
In June 2016 Engage made their third return to The Breakers in Palm Beach, and expectations were running high for the sold-out event. A pre-arrival social-media countdown on Instagram and Snapchat started the excitement, and many attendees came in a day early to take advantage of The Breakers’ beachfront locale.
The official event kicked off with Engage’s newest concept: the Pop-Up Boutiquerie curated by long time partner Gifts for the Good Life. After Engagees checked in, they moved to the boutique-style gifting suite, where they filled their Engage totes with items of their choice, including patterned wraps, clutches and purse charms for women; themed grooming products for the men; “I’ll Drink to That” water bottles and “Toast of the Town” flasks; and customizable candy boxes by SUGARFINA. Following the Boutiquerie, Engage first-timers were invited to a special session, where longtime Engagees welcomed them and shared their strategies for making the most of the week.
Sessions began whimsical note, with colorful pinwheel agendas from TPD Design House announcing speakers including Marcy Blum and Dane Sanders. The week’s unofficial theme became immediately evident, as speakers encouraged attendees to use the week to challenge their ideas, be vulnerable and connect on a personal as well as professional level.
The welcome party was held poolside, with seafood galore, elaborate ice sculptures and a floating reminder to “Make Waves”. “You Are So Engaging” napkins added to the fun, as did the live band and dancers by Elan Artists.
The second-day sessions kicked off with a jazz brunch and a New Orleans-style second line band leading into the main-stage room, accented with a stunning backdrop of pineapple and coral. Highlights of the day included a revealing session by Preston Bailey and a heartfelt talk from “The Happiness Project” author Gretchen Rubin.
That evening, the popular dine-arounds gave attendees the chance to connect with speakers at restaurants around Palm Beach. Then everyone regrouped for a colorful “Cake by the Ocean” dessert party in the Circle Room, complete with stilt walkers, dancers in sundae wigs and a girl band in candy-colored wigs, courtesy of Elan Artists.
The third day started off with an open Media Lounge, where Engagees could pitch editors from Style Me Pretty, Harper’s Bazaar, The Knot and Martha Stewart Weddings, among others. Then attendees broke off into smaller groups for a half-day of focused breakout sessions from industry leaders including Christian Oth, Matthew Robbins, Ed Libby and Debbie Geller. The wide range of deep-dive topics spanned everything from refining your business plan to finding visual inspiration to standing out in an increasingly competitive luxury market. After the sessions, white-clad Engagees gathered for a picnic and group photo on the croquet lawn, then headed for an afternoon at ease before the gala. Some people hit the pool, while others prepped at the BeGlammed Beauty Studio (another Engage first) or borrowed accessories from the Styling Suite, by The Stylish Bride.
And oh, what a gala! The Breakers team brought in some of the country’s premier vendors, creating a feast for the senses. The black-tie affair began with cocktail hour, followed by a reveal of the ballroom, replete with golden accents, 37 stunning chandeliers and a 24-piece dance band from New York-based Vali Entertainment. Highlights included a heartfelt rendition of the national anthem, complete with uniformed color guard; a surprise appearance by opera tenor Fernando Varela; and a spectacular menu that kicked off with caviar and champagne. Post-gala, everyone was treated to a surprise “Purple Rain”Prince-themed after-party with live entertainment by South Florida’s Rock with U. When the music finally stopped, many Engagees stayed to chat and connect in the empty ballroom — a fitting ending for an event people didn’t want to end.