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#WWWorld 2016

i heart weddings
Source: Instagram @amandablair_bydesign
 
This shirt couldn't sum it up any better (and yes, I've been wearing it around the house pretty much 24/7 since we got back). 
 
Danielle, our Banquet Manager & Wedding Coordinator, and I, got the incredible opportunity to attend the 2016 WeddingWire World Conference last week in the National Harbor, right outside of DC. 
 
WeddingWire is a online wedding planning resource for newly-engaged couples, featuring wedding inspiration, planning tools, and where we come in: a database of hundreds of thousands of wedding vendors. For all of us that love weddings like it's our job, they put together a three day educational conference for all things weddings. Trends, technology, tips, tools -- the works. 
 
We headed off for Baltimore Monday night. What started off as a very typical travel experience did not end so well. Our flight, albeit majorly turbulent, landed on-time, bags in tow, with our shuttle waiting to pick us up. Foolishly, we were patting ourselves on the back for the easiest day of travel ever, and should have known that was our jinx moment too. 
 
After a long, scenic, and very touristy ride through ALL of downtown DC, we came to find out that the shuttle driver had gotten lost and taken us at least half an hour in the wrong direction. Although we were glad, kind-of, to have gotten to see each and every one of the monuments along the way, it was 8:30pm and our stomachs were none the happier. We were also the last of three stops, so this meant we did not get dropped off at our hotel until 10pm. 
We grabbed a very quick, necessary, bite to eat, and called it a night to get ourselves rested up for a long few days of wedding-everything! 
 
Day One - Tuesday, February 9th 
With the conference starting at 9am, we were in the lobby and ready to go at 8. After registering and weeding through our swag bags, we were on the hunt for coffee. Easily the biggest downfall of this conference (hate to start with a negative, but it's a major one), was the fact that they did not provide coffee! What kind of conference doesn't have coffee?? Still pondering this age-old question over here...
 
But with coffee in hand after waiting in a loooong line at the hotel's cafe, we headed into the main conference area for the morning of seminars. Mind you, it's now 8:30am and we were not prepared for what we found:
 
A 2,000 seat conference room, completely dark, with three huge projection screens, a large stage, and a full-force DJ bumping loud club music.
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I guess WeddingWire figured it needed to pump up it's barely caffeinated & overly-tired-from-travelling guests. And they were right! 
 
The morning seminars provided an overview of what's to come in the conference, followed by two great featured speakers- Sylvia Weinstock, a pioneer in the wedding cake industry who has made cakes for some of Hollywood's A-Team, including Oprah, Mariah Carey, and the Kardashians; and Shawn Johnson, 2008 Olympic Gold Medal Gymnast. 
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These two famed speakers both gave very interesting perspectives! Sylvia started baking cakes in her tiny country house kitchen, and grew her brand and her business to become the "queen of cakes", supplying desserts to the world's elite. Shawn recounted the story of her run at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and inspired us all with her resiliency and courage. After a morning spent pumping up and getting inspired, next up were the afternoon break-out sessions. From a panel of newly-engaged and married couples to provide customer insight, to expert tips on creating a successful website, we definitely got the 4-1-1. 
 
Tuesday night kept the creative-juices (and the drinks) flowing. WeddingWire hosted a Networking Happy Hour, where we were able to meet hundreds of wedding professionals. We met vendors from across every category, and from across the country: Florida, California, Massachusetts, Vermont, Pennsylvania, DC, Honduras, etc. Without trying, we formed our own little clique of Wedding Venues, and chatted the night away about each other's venues, marketing tactics, operations, you name it. Unbeknownst to us, we learned just as much vaulable information from our fellow vendors as we had in the seminars. That's what happens when you combine a golf course & banquet facility, an old cork factory, a 300-person boat on Lake Champlain, & a preserved historic estate and compare notes. 
 
Following the Happy Hour, we joined up with some of our new venue friends, and found an amazing Mexican restaurant for dinner (picture: on-point margaritas and table-side guac). 
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The chatter was far from over so after dinner we headed up the the hotel's rooftop bar (so cool!) for the WeddingWire After-Hours party. It was essentially a continuation of the same jams that they were playing at 8:30am, just now it was the much more appropriate hour of 8:30pm. IMG 1560
View from Above (why can't every bar have such an amazing view?!)
 
One failed attempt to take a selfie in the dark club atmosphere (with our super-awesome Styrofoam glow stick), and a few drinks later, we were definitely ready for some rest. 
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Day 2 - Wednesday, February 10th
Even though our heads were just so crammed with info from the day before, Day 2 kept us very engaged (pun intended). Wednesday's sessions included social media, business etiquette, and paving the way for same-sex couples, and just like the day before, it was jam-packed with exciting speakers. Monte Durham, from TLC's Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta, Bethenny Frankel, CEO of SkinnyGirl & Reality TV star, and Frank Supovitz, former Senior VP of Events for the NFL (aka. the Superbowl). Remember the Superbowl a few years ago when the lights went out? Yeah, he was in charge of that. So needless to say, his presentation had us on the edge of our seats, and provided some great advice on how to navigate through the inevitable challenges and obstacles all businesses face.  
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Monte gave us a hilarious walk through this season's wedding trends, and Bethenny, also hilarious, almost served as a business coach- guiding us through her journey. From conceiving and developing her product, to marketing it to become one of today's most successful lifestyle brands. 
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Seriously poor-quality photos (sorry!) 
 
Needing a more low-key night after our brains were shot (in a good way), we kept to ourselves for dinner. Amazing restaurant tour of the National Harbor Night 2 was at Succotash- Southern food. yum.
IMG 1585Without wasting any time, we quickly found our venue groupies as soon as we got back to the hotel. We spent the evening drinking, talking, and laughing with them in the lobby. As per usual, it was like a secound round of seminars considering how much we picked their brains. 
 
Day 3 - Thursday, February 11th
Day 3 was the final day to the conference, and only included half a day's worth of sessions.  Even though it was half the time, it left us with just as much education as the previous two full days. After the 1st break-out session, Danielle and I texted each other identical messages of "My session was great! How about you?", and never stopped. All three sessions that day were so jam-packed with amazing insight. We got tips on social media, SEO, email marketing, wedding shows, same-sex couples, and 2016 wedding trends. 
 
It felt great to end the conference on such a high note. Heading to the airport, we could not stop rambling about all of our new ideas. We kind of felt like wedding dorks, but at least we were in it together. 
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Failed Selfie Attempt #2
 
Besides learning that we should have brought a selfie-stick, we can't even begin to indulge on all the things we learned about the wedding industry. We're excited to put them into action and introduce all of our couples to the new and improved world of Terry Hills' weddings! Because afterall, we heart weddings like it's our job!! 
 
Want to learn more? Have any questions about anything you read? Email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or check out our WeddingWire storefront, here
 
 

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