APRIL, 2018 – Dear colleagues and friends of the wedding world, this post is dedicated to all of you who, in recent weeks, upon hearing the news of the arrival of ENGAGE in Sardinia, Costa Smeralda I’ve been written, phoned, chased to see if it’s worth being part of it.
In short, after a few years it will be the fifth edition for me, and I think I can venture some suggestions!
I am called, for the second time but with the same excitement as always, to bring my expertise as speaker to the event of the year, which will be held between two locations I know well: the Hotel Cala di Volpe + Hotel Romazzino;
I will do so this time not only by playing at home, but by speaking specifically about SARDINIA.
And I couldn’t be more proud to give voice to the excellence of my island, to tell my story as a wedding pioneer, and to showcase our unchanged natural scenery and the emotions that only a “Sardinia Experience” can leave in your heart.
I will be a proud champion of our traditions, fairytale and pristine locations, ancestral tales and dreams yet to be realized.
In short, after so much investment over the past ten years in bringing a little piece of Sardinia around the world with me, this time the whole world of luxury wedding lands here! And what a responsibility…
Are you ready? Sure, I am!
First of all, let me say that I experience this arrival with impatience, excitement and a thread of dread. When an event of this magnitude arrives “at home,” you want everything to be up to par, because it will represent not only a showcase for the region’s naturalistic and food and wine beauty (obvious), but also and above all a unique opportunity to make attractive Sardinia -and the Costa Smeralda, where the event will be held- in the eyes of my distinguished colleagues who will choose to bring their couples and their “luxury destination weddings” to this fairytale destination.
For Engage Summits, it is an important anniversary, 10 years of history, which it celebrates extraordinarily with 4 events:
We are opening right here, in Sardinia, and the production of the event, which for the third time touches Italy (after Borgo Egnazia in Puglia, and Venice at the Cipriani) is entrusted to a Team captained by three people whom I personally and professionally esteem to whom I feel the greatest encouragement: Marcella Cecere and Claudia Farina Valori (previously involved as openers in the Borgo Egnazia edition) and the eclectic Vincenzio D’Ascanio, no stranger to amazing events at Cala di Volpe, and who I am sure will be able to amaze us this time as well.
As I recounted earlier QUI I would like you to understand what it is, exactly Engage.
Engage Summits is growth, sharing, reflection
Engage is an event that needs to be understood before being a part of it. That behind perfect photographs by extraordinary photographers hides great opportunities for those who can seize them in the right spirit.
Engage is an opportunity that should be experienced as extraordinary, Engage is first and foremost a family, and I strongly believe it is necessary to have all the information you need to experience it and make the best of it.
It’s a 3-day Summit, masterfully distributed among learning moments, lunches and dinners designed for networking, and Gala evenings showcasing the best of the best the wedding industry has to offer. To learn, sure. And to be amazed.
After all, Engage is the event created by event makers for event makers. And they do it better than anyone else.
Recently a hashtag was born called #becauseofengage, or “thanks to Engage,” and it sets us free to express what comes out of each of these events and what experiences it gives to all of us who are part of it.
#becauseofengage I discovered that I was not alone, that the crises I was experiencing in my work up to that point were the same as those experienced by all my prestigious colleagues
#becauseofengage I had the privilege of listening to extraordinary talents, and learning from them: their mistakes, their emotions, their successes, their advice
#beacauseofengage I could understand what editors want, how difficult it is to get “published” and implement changes, long but steady
#beacuseofengage my brand, my awareness, my appreciation of my work has gradually grown, I ask myself questions each time and try to work on myself and my Team
#becauseofengage I have had extraordinary work opportunities in the international area
#becauseofengage I know that I am part of a big family, and that I count for them as they count on me
Many students or colleagues ask me if and when it is time to join; granted that everyone’s motivations are personal and each of us knows, within ourselves, when it is time to launch into something extraordinary, I feel like saying:
It is not the time if, as a Wedding Planner:
you do not speak English!
you are too recent a start-up and still have little experience in wedding planning.
your focus is only on the Italian market
your website, and your social channels are poorly maintained or you feel they do not fully represent you. This is an important showcase and you need to present yourself in the best possible way!
This is the right time if:
you wish to expand your international network
you are curious about a unique experience and be ready to catch every good vibe as an opportunity for growth
you have a reserved fund to invest in your training: now is the time to use it!
For the suppliers/location:
nI don’t think it is the ideal event for purely local vendors, Engage is an international network, your brand needs to be strong and recognizable, possibly exportable, otherwise it could definitely be a beautiful life-experience but don’t bring business. Rather, if you have fellow wedding planners present, they could be the spokespersons for your region.
Idem for locations: great wedding planners look for great locations, or places that are one-of-a-kind. And, they usually rely on their local colleagues for suggestions.
Instead, do you have a product/idea-even a local one-that you think is very strong and you want to make it known to the international wedding world? This is the right opportunity to make that bet!
Have you decided to participate in #ENGAGE18COSTASMERALDA?
Here are some tips:
1) “DON’T BE SHY”.
This was the first piece of advice given to me by the charismatic photographer Carla Ten Eyeck at my first Engage14GrandCayman, when she found me in a corner awkward, that I didn’t know where to start (and then look at the shots he took of me only a year later, in Orlando!)..
Said like that, it’s easy. But when, for the first time, you find yourself in front of the GURUs of life, it’s not so easy to reach out and say, “Hey! I’m Elisa, I’m from Italy and it’s my first time.”
Yet, it is the only way to start. Like school, in short.
2) “DON’T BE INAPPROPRIATE.
This is the advice for those who, however, in the age of social networking, wild selfies and direct FB feeds are unable to regulate themselves.
Engage is a place with a family atmosphere, the people who populate it are, before they are stars or absolute idols,
people,. That they experience that moment naturally, as when it feels like home.
How would your grandmother feel if, on any Saturday lunchtime, you jumped on her while her mouth was full screaming “OMG Preston!!! SELFIEEEEEEE!!!!,” then shooting that inappropriate selfie in mondovision?
Those who participate in Engage need to preserve this familiar environment.
Of course those who attend these events, especially the first time, want to communicate this. There is a way and a way. Probably, the most elegant is to politely ask our idol for a nice picture, during one of the gala evenings, possibly taken by the official photographer.
Because, let’s remember, for everyone-especially at the highest level-it is important to be in the best of shape when exposed in the media.
3) ENGAGE IS NOT COMPETITION.
Engage is one of the best events in the world because it has managed to preserve a “non-competitive environnement” that you can breathe, read, and love from the very first moment.
Those who have been in for many years love to involve the “newbies,” there are many opportunities to interact, to learn, to compare. Is nota a competition. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a designer Armani suit for the Gala. Just be yourself.
4) FIND A FRIEND…
Just like in school, it is important to have a wingman, especially on the first day. Find it early on, at check-in, in the elevator, or at breakfast. It will be a great wingman for feeling less lost.
5) …BUT DON’T ALWAYS BE WITH THE SAME PEOPLE (the rule of 5)
At the same time, you will bring home the maximum result if you try to get to know as many people as possible. Avoid spending too much time with Italians, the event is in Italy so there will be a lot of them. We have many opportunities to hang out with each other, less to strike up a conversation with a colleague from Illinois! Or from China!
Use this opportunity for networking and experience, otherwise you will have participated in three wonderful days…but bringing home little and nothing.
From every major event, you have done your job well if you form at least 5 solid relationships. Cultivate them as soon as you return home and over the years/events a to come.
The next time they will give 10, then 15, then 20… people will recognize you and you will recognize them, and you will find yourself part of that family naturally!
That said, I hope I have answered all your questions about the prissima edition of Engage18!Costa Smeralda and I look forward to seeing you, April 25-29 2018 at Hotel Cala di Volpe for a unique experience.