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I’m back today with a little more love from my time at Engage!12 at The Breakers in Palm Beach… I can usually be seen sketching the incredible decor and details and love to share the results!

I had a little fun sketching some of the Engage!12 speakers…just a little.  These each take about 2 minutes are meant to be pretty rough and whimsical… Here we have The Party Goddess, Cindy Novotny, Shira Savada and Mindy Weiss!

I’ve started a new tradition at each conference where I begin sketching an original pattern to see what evolves as the event does….This pattern evokes the immense vibrancy and spirit of the speakers, attendees and of course decor that greeted me at every turn!

Next was Harriette Rose Katz, Darcy Miller and Keija Minor

And lastly, the iconic Sylvia Weinstock!

One simple statement is ringing in my ears from this particular experience.  I furiously scribbled Cindy Novotny’s words into my sketchbook.  “Faster, Higher, Stronger”  After Friday’s events my interpretation of these words are a bit changed…I’m inspired to Forgive Faster, Rise Higher, and Love Stronger.  Amen.

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I’m back from Engage!12 for nearly a week now and it’s impact is just starting to soak in.  As my business grows older and hopefully a bit wiser I realize the ever increasing value in making real, face to face connections.  I’ve been a Twitter fanatic for nearly 5 years and can tell you countless stories of how my business has been changed by tweets and online conversations.  Facebook updates have brought fabulous couples into my life and Instagram has proven to be a powerful way to curate and communicate my style.  Add face-time to the social media mix and your world opens up, your life changes, you become a real person behind the curtain. This is what Engage! does for our industry…it makes things real, very real. Thank you to Rebecca and Kathryn of Engaging Concepts for keeping Engage! alive, relevant and so very real, for so long.

So, I’ve been sketching as you might expect.   Each speaker had their own flair and message and well I tried to capture it all…

Christy from Junebug Weddings is always a sight.  This time around those sunny shoes were magnetic.  She is super smart and sweet too. XO  Jes Gordon captivated the audience with her spice and sass, eclectic style and energizing spirit.  Next time we are in the same city I’m buying her a few cocktails to say thank you, thank you, omg thank you.

Marcy Blum made industry predictions that had us at the edge of seats.  Think Holograms everyone…  Spunky, southern grace epitomize Tara Guerard’s presence.  She takes only 8 weddings a year and family comes first.  Think on that for a moment. Powerful.

Sharon Sacks reminded us that we are “dream makers”.  Liene Stevens educated us on the habits of Millenials…thank goodness!

Anne Fulenwider, the new Editor in Chief of BRIDES shared with Engagees, the story behind their new aesthetic and direction.  She spoke of fresh editorials with a real edge; less pomp more purpose.  Bravo!  I just had to create a new sketched logo and the splashy nature of my watercolor brushstrokes seems to interpret BRIDES new face just perfectly.

And lastly, Sylvia Weinstock, always my favorite to sketch.  I can’t imagine why ?!?!?!?

Thanks everyone for reading along and for always being so supportive of all my colorful “notes”.  Keep in touch!! XO

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The Queen of Cakes, a master of sugar art, icon and all around fascinating woman, Ms. Sylvia Weinstock is also a thrill to sketch!  Once again I had the pleasure of chatting with Ms. Weinstock recently while at Engage!11 in Grand Cayman.  Just as she was when designing our 10 Year Renewal Cake, Sylvia was as gracious and witty as ever.

Want to read more about what Sylvia Weinstock and her team created for us last year?  Have a look here

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If you missed my first Engage recap earlier this week, take a look here but now, onto the sketches!  This was my 6th Engage experience and if you have followed along over the years you know, that I take notes in sketches.  Armed with sketchbook, my trusted Sharpie pen and watercolor pencils, I embrace each session with my eyes and ears.  As the sessions evolve I am intently moving from sketch to written notes, back and forth to create a crazy collection of information that I refer to again and again long after Engage has passed.  I must thank the lovely speakers for not only sharing their stellar smarts but for also being so darn fashionable, aka, awesome to sketch!

Grand Floral crafted the sweetest arrangements for the main session tables.  This burgundy peony was resting right in front of me for the entire day, I couldn’t resist!

Rebecca Grinnals always looks lovely and this time around was no exception.  Emerging topics, the infusion of which our couples will appreciate, were storytelling, multi-generational thinking and flawless execution.  Your art is not just in the flowers design you create or the timelines you perfect, it is in the way you listen, interpret and foretell for a couple.  I tell our brides that “your story is art, painted beautifully” and every day is dedicated to making that art come to life with them as narrator.

Todd Fiscus say’s “I’m not scared of anything” and every ounce of his presence speaks to that fact.  A reminder to not let anything get in the way of a good party resonates with me even as a stationer and has implications in our process long before the party even occurs.  Thanks for keeping me thinking Todd!

When Marcy Blum approached the stage, I couldn’t get my pen in hand fast enough.  Not only is Marcy so fun to sketch but always has something fabulous to say.  This time around being Inspiration BORED was her plight and looking to life and far beyond weddings for creative fuel was her passion.

Cindy Novotny always gets the room on their feet with her soaring message and quick wit.  “Go crazy, everyday”, were her words that morning; bold, brazen and simply beautiful.  She encouraged us to create a love mark for our clients, stamping their experience with meaning, emotion and an incomparable sincerity.

We all love Mindy Weiss.  Down to earth advice and kindness are what she is all about, period.  Reverly Event Design created massive Sculpted Paper roses to flank the stage and Mindy looked lovely standing near.

More of me indulging in flower loveliness!

Sylvia Weinstock making art with a cake, what else can I say? 

Karen Tran’s sculpture of blooms drew me right it.  Sneaking away during registration to savor a moment with my pen and her creation was unavoidable :)

Millie Bratten interviewed wedding fashion icon Monique Lhuillier and I am pretty sure time stopped if just for only a moment.  To hear Monique speak of her brand’s growth in such an unassuming tone was endearing to say the least.

Thanks so much everyone for following along!  Until next time! XOXO

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For the next installment of our Renewal in PA posts, I am sharing more today about our candy favors, Sylvia Weinstock Cake and the stationery by yours truly!  Have a look at previous posts here and here to catch up on all the detail!

A big part of our vow renewal planning process involved collecting. Some of my fondest memories in planning grew from the many trips we took as a family hunting down depression style glassware, old  sour cream glasses and linens to use throughout the celebration.  My Nana had a good sized collection of vintage sour cream glasses from years past that she would actually use day to day.  I remember fondly drinking from the brightly colored glasses adorned with bold blooms and intricate patterns.  I found the prices to be reasonable, most often at about $1.00 per glass and thought they would make the perfect favor for our guests.  We chose classic root beer barrels, caramel creams and white  nougat candies as the sweet filling for each glass.   Strips of graphic wallpaper (the same used on our photobooth backdrop) secured the candy in each glass.  A small tag printed on our signature watercolor effect paper was fastened with the cutest yellow and white baker’s twine from Bake It PrettyBetsy Dunlap created a digital version of our names and as you will see, we took full advantage of her artistry throughout the event.

Perhaps the single most exciting part of the vow renewal planning was designing my cake with the fabulous Sylvia Weinstock!  Based on my watercolor sketches from trips to Utah and a watercolor painting inspired by Sylvia’s iconic sugar peonies, this masterpiece came together just as I had envisioned.  Curious to see the original sketch , read about our first meeting or perhaps the story behind the design?  My beloved Clara French cake pedestal was the perfect home for Sylvia’s creation.  Each of these stands is hand glazed to lovely imperfection.  What I mean specifically is that each creation is one of a kind with the glaze dripping differently on each piece.  A huge thank you to the team at Clara French for taking my very last minute request!

The stationery for the event was admittedly simple.  Without too much fuss, each piece was mindfully crafted to capture the color, texture and mood of the celebration.  Gold shimmer stocks, Betsy’s lovely text, black velvet detailing and punchy dahlia blooms all combined to create a pretty palette of hand painted paper goods.  Our menu was served in stations with some passed goodies.  Each guest menu was painted using various shades of orange watercolor flooded together.  Touches of gold shimmer ink were placed into each petal when wet creating an explosion of color when dry.

Each table featured this fun card wrapped with a vintage hanky and black velvet ribbon.  Fun facts about The Cottage, information about the evening’s events and an open invitationt to explore the 3 floors of the old structure were all included.

Remember our Zane Gray altered book invitations?

Thanks again to Daniel for all the gorgeous photos.  The next and final post is all about our photobooth!

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It has been nearly a week since my return to the studio from yet another life changing Engage.  Earlier this week I shared some of my favorite speaker sketches that were featured during Day 1 session on the big screen, so to speak.  I must admit seeing my art more than 4 feet tall is a bit intimidating! There have been some amazing Engage recap posts and read here and here if you want a serious play by play….I highly recommend because the decor and detail is quite mesmerizing.

Today I am sharing some of the live sketches I created during various sessions.  Engage re-energized two words in my vocabulary this time around.  Connect and transform. These are the two words that seem to surround my thoughts as I download and digest from my time spent at The Breakers.  Each sketch that unfolded was surrounded with iconic text scribbled furiously as to not be forgotten.  My notes became color and my ideas became compositions that are just now unfolding into the daily life lived at our studio.

Love this shot from my good friend Donna at DVB Photography

Onto some wisdom from the speakers…

From Cindy Novotny: “Bring back the sparkle.”  “You are not the star.”  “You are the story, work on it!”

From Mindy Weiss:  We are “making dreams for people to remember.”  On my last day at The Breakers I sat in the courtyard surounded by lush landscaping and just sketched…the ideas came pouring out and this black and white sketch was the result.

From Donna Newman:  “Do good business, be true, be honest.”  From Amy Atlas: “Know what you do and do it well.”

Sylvia Weinstock honored the group with a real time look at cake decorating.  Her words “Life teaches you many things…”  say it all.

I have to say, the Engage decor is thrilling, the parties; exciting…no doubt, but the real magic of the event begins now.  It begins as I take a simple thought, a new idea, a fresh way of thinking and turn it into action; action that transforms my art and connects that art in a more meaningful way to couples who entrust us to tell their story everyday.

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Last week had the honor of attending Engage!10 at The Breakers in West Palm BeachRead more here about my love of these wedding industry symposiums…
Rebecca and Kathryn asked me this time around to sketch each speaker…Many know that my way of experiencing the day and plethora of information shared is to sketch while I take notes.  It is easy to find inspiration since everyone is dressed always beautifully and emits the most creative energy imaginable…

Here is my look at some favorites from the nearly 40 speaker sketches I created! Later this week I will share the live sketches!

Loved Rebecca’s wrap blouse it intense fuchsia…so fun to sketch…

Lara Casey from Southern Weddings is always lovely and dressed impeccably.

Marilyn from Inside Weddings looks fab in green!  Carley and David from The Knot getting some cuddle time.

Randy Fenoli and Sylvia Weinstock have a special relationship at Engage.  They can usually be found together on the dance floor!

I got to know Bernadette (who is a innovator in the same sex wedding market) from 14 Stories a bit better this time around.  The same goes for Susan from Destination Weddings and Honeymoons…after several quick meetings we finally had the chance to connect!

Brian Rafanelli mezmerized the room with his no nonsense approach and inspiring stories.  Abby Larson from Style Me Pretty is incredibly kind in person, we all love her, right?

And lastly, Brooke Thomas from Weddings Unveiled Magazine’s cover sketch!!!  See what fun can happen when a headshot cannot be found??!!

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