Oct. 16 2017
WIPA Wanderlust Adventure
Recently, I was asked to be the Event Chair for the May WIPA (Wedding Industry Professional Association) Event. I gladly said YES. I knew this would be an amazing opportunity for me to be insanely creative, have the chance to work with some incredible people, and put together something really special for my industry peers.
The Overall Concept:
Two key factors were already in place before I was assigned as the "Event Chair" for this event: the location and the time. Knowing that this would be a morning event, I wanted the overall theme to feel fresh. I also wanted to take into account the venue that it would take place in. After touring the Hyatt Scottsdale Resort, I felt that it gave a strong feeling of a "Desert Oasis." I started brainstorming and designing inspiration boards~ I knew the "look" I desired but didn't have the right "name." I then sent over my design board to my BFF, who lives in LA (and happens to be a little bit cooler than me) and asked her...."What is this look?" she replied back with some perfect wording/concept ideas and the "WIPA Wanderlust Experience" was born.
Next I got busy curating my Creative Team. I tried selecting team members who I knew could NAIL my vision and who would be easy to work with. I always try not to get too fixated on everything initially ~ as these types of events tend to flourish themselves when you pick the right people and show them your inspirations.
The first place I started was working with Tami from Posh Invitations on the "Save the Dates." I especially appreciated Tami's amazing patience as there was a ton of pressure on creating the "Save the Date" as it served as the first "visual" into the event.
I worked with "Glamour & Woods" for all of the rental and furniture pieces. I actually had the opportunity to tour their showroom and warehouse firsthand and was blown away with all of their amazing inventory. Next we actually all walked and "space planned" the entire venue along with Amy Dressor (Event Sales Manager Extraordinaire of the Hyatt.) The space we had to work with was quite large and we really needed to "fill" the space appropriately yet still make it feel causal and cozy. The Glamour & Woods team knocked my concept out of the park with the pieces they offered, it truly took my vision to a whole new level. They also were able to work "with" the venue, not "against it" and I was especially impressed by how in sync their pieces worked with the carpeting in the ballroom~ seamlessly.
Next, I knew I needed to work with Floral Designer that was truly "different." One that could pair a "high end" vibe with a "ultra cool" twist. Mandy of Butterfly Petals is known in the industry as a true creative. I can always spot her work out of a crowd because their is always some really interesting element to it.
For the linens I worked with Laurie & Shelby of Southwick Linens. They provided all the linens for the high top tables in the cocktail area, and the tables and napkins for the reception. I always trust Laurie to suggest which linen colors will really work to compliment the look and not overpower or take away from the concept. We always were very creative with the table layouts (not the normal) so Laurie new exactly how to make the linen sizing "work" with our unique room set up.
When Crusin Photo Bus agreed to be on board, my beach loving spirit did about ten somersaults, and when Amy (from the Hyatt) agreed to allow us to drive the van INTO the ballroom and serve as a MAIN décor element nestled next to the stage, my Wedding Designing heart jumped for JOY. I knew that would be key factor in the "WOW" element.
Jesse Jo, the talented owner of Freed Hands provided acrylic signs with her signature hand calligraphy that were placed throughout the event, truly telling a "story" as guests experienced each area.
I brought Karma Lighting onboard to provide the uplighting~ something to really "set the mood." They also provided a beach projection scene of rolling waves on the side wall, giving the entire room a sense of movement.
Lastly, I needed a true artist to capture this event~ and that's where Andrew & Jade Photography stepped in. Known for their natural & intimate style of photography, I knew they would capture the overall sense of beauty and softness that I needed for this rather untraditional look and feel.
Additionally, our friends over at Serendipity Cinematography captured our event on video for us. (see video link below)
Bringing in the Elements of FUN!
Now that I knew the event would look beautiful, I had to ensure that it would be fun!
The talented Linda Valenzuela and her team not only provided the hair & make up for our bride model, they also offered a "Boho Braid Bar" for all of the guests to get their "Wanderlust" look on.
Dave from Desert House Productions made the party~ "a party" as he played the perfect mix of jams. I was so thrilled when Dave (a yogi himself) agreed to lead the group in some yoga stretches before we opened the doors for the Reception.
Gypsy Cup~ a traveling café was another WOW piece that I was so thankful to have be a part of the event. As guests finished their initial passport led tour of the Hyatt, they we greeted by owners: Linsay & Neil's amazing coffee truck. Each guest was treated to a personalized cup of coffee before they entered the "morning cocktail hour."
I was so thrilled to work with the Champagne Creative Group, they are known for bringing key SUPRISE elements to take any party from an event to an EXPERIENCE. They provided a strolling carousel with two "wanderlust greeters" to walk through the party serving fresh berries and Greek yogurt parfaits to all of the guests.
Dane Sanders , author and speaker truly inspired our crowd with his very personal and motivating presentation.
Lastly, with this much beauty and excitement I just knew that we had to add a Bride & Groom model into the mix. I was so happy when my intern: Annamarie and her boyfriend Vinny said YES to modeling. (special thank you to Annamarie's mom for saying it was okay for her 19 year daughter to ROCK out a wedding dress ;) Annamarie's beautiful gown was provided by Labella Bridal Boutique. Mary Zarob, of S.W. Wilson Bespoke Clothier has a custom suit created for our Groom model.
If I can be totally honest, this particular event was an exhilarating total booty kicker for me. Whenever you host an event for the "Industry" it's completely different than working with my clients. Don't get me wrong, I put an tremendous amount of energy and love into all of my events...but industry events involve a lot of PRESSURE. Reason being, the guests attending these events aren't as necessarily easy to "WOW" because they work/live/breath in this wild world. This means I have to try and find ways to impress and entertain them with things that they haven't seen or experienced before.
But the really cool part about hosting an industry event, is the outcome. These people KNOW how much work goes into all of these moving pieces. I was so appreciative for all the amazing feedback that I received. Thank you so much to the WIPA Board for asking me to be the Event Chair, thank you to all of the incredible CREATIVE partners that collaborated with me on this, and thank you so much to my team members: April, Melissa, Renata & Christina who showed up at the crack of dawn that morning to SUPPORT me and help me with this event. This will go down in history as one of my favorite events of all time.
Link to event video: https://mediazilla.com/ios0ftxb0
Photographer: Andrew + Jade Photography | Venue: Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch | Florist: Butterfly Petals | Stationary: Posh Invitations | Calligraphy: Freedhands | Rentals & Décor: Glamour & Woods | Hair & Make Up: Linda Valenzuela | Bride's Dress: La Bella Bridal | Groom's Suit: SW Wilson Bespoke Clothiers | Speaker: Dane Sanders | Event Chair: Jennifer Starr | Cinema: Serendipity Cinematography | Linens: Southwick Linens | Lighting: Karma Event Lighting | Photobooth: Crusin' Photo Bus | Entertainment: Desert House Entertainment | Entertainment: Gypsy Cup | Entertainment: Champagne Creative