I was honored when Wedding Planner Magazine called me and wanted me to write an article about getting into the destination wedding market . I have had the pleasure to travel to many amazing locations and countries to plan my clients weddings. It was funny, when Beth Erickson the editor called I was actually at a wedding in the Grand Cayman Islands so it was fun to write the article from the porch overlooking Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman. I love to share my knowledge of the destination wedding market. It takes a certain personality to take your business on the road. A great destination planner is one who easily adapts to different cultures and methods of doing business. I find that staying open minded and embracing myself in the culture is a great way to immediately feel liked when working in different countries and with new vendor partners.
On Sunday, August 11, I celebrated ten years of being a Chicago wedding planner at Arlington International Racetrack with sixty of my family and friends. Having done over 330 weddings in Chicago, (and around the world), it was an amazing day of celebrating and reflecting on the last ten years. I was able to hug people that were there when I did my first wedding. I never would have thought that eleven years ago when I first begin to register my business that I would have the most incredible and rewarding careers I have ever had. I am so thankful for every client that has ever hired me and every wedding vendor that has ever referred me. What a fun day out at the track with my friends! I love how everyone embraced the bow ties and hats theme! Cheers to ten more years and I can't wait to see what the next ten years has in store for me.
Pinch me! I am so excited to be a blogger for Huffington Post Weddings this week. I wrote an article about "When the Unexpected Happens on Your Wedding Day". You can read the article here. I have always been a fan of Huffington Post and when they launched their wedding blog I had in my mind I wanted to some day write for them. Well YAY my dream came true. Be on the lookout for more blogs to come. As a Chicago wedding planner and destination wedding planner for the past ten years I have a lot to share with their readers.
Last week I co-chaired with Anthony Gowder of Anthony Gowder Designs, The Wedding Event for The Special Event Show which was in Chicago for the first time in 25 years. I was flattered to be asked to chair this event and represent the city of Chicago and all that we have to offer for weddings and events. The evening seated dinner was for a sold out crowd of 700 and the guests were treated to a delight of design, awesome music by The Becca Kaufman Orchestraand Sasha Souza's Favorite Things presentation at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile.
I got an early Christmas gift last week, it was the gift from Rebecca Grinnals and Kathryn Arce of Engage!12. It was the most wonderful gift they have given of spending four powerful days with the best and the most inspiring people in the wedding industry. Engage!12, a luxury wedding business summit, has changed my business for the better, helped me develop friendships all over the world and has opened doors for me that have changed my life as a wedding planner, a wife, a daughter, a friend, and a sister and aunt.
If you do not already have it marked as a favorite read every week, Glossed and Found is a must to read for all things fashion, beauty and fun in Chicago. The beautiful and always smiling Stacey Roney founded Glossed and Found and her editor and creative director (and oh so dashing), Graham Kostic and Emily Hard produce a weekly on-line video magazine and blog that I can't wait to receive every week. They are also known as planning and producing the most fun and wonderful events in Chicago of which I have attended many and can't wait to attend the next one!
I am so honored to be nominated with an amazing group of other Chicago social event planners for Biz Bash Social Event Planner of the Year in their Reader's Choice Awards. It is an annual award they give away in conjunction with their Biz Bash Idea Fest that is in Chicago next week on November 14th at the Chicago Merchandise Mart. It is such an honor to be even just nominated. It is a power group of planners that are nominated and I feel so blessed to stand beside them as a nominee.
So excited that Sarah Alair was able to do my new head shots on a gorgeous day in Chicago (albeit windy). She is such an amazing photographer and good friend! And she is available to shoot your wedding, engagement pictures or even your kids and dog pictures! She has photographed some incredible weddings for me. She has a calming effect on nervous brides and grooms and really is able to capture their love in their engagement pictures or on the wedding day! Thank you Sarah for taking me out in Chicago and having some fun for my new head shots!
We are so excited to share with the world the new look and website for Engaging Events. We would like to thank the team at Neoteric Design for their hard work and amazing talent in working on the redesign of the website. I have worked with Neoteric Design for years and their team always perfectly portrays what I want to convey to my potential clients and vendor team.
I am looking forward to speaking at Event Solutions Idea Factory this year in Las Vegas that takes place from Feb 26th thru the 29th. I will be speaking on Destination Weddings on Monday at 7:30am. Please add this to your calendar if you are attending and come and see me speak about all things destination weddings and how to create a Sense of Place. Having planned weddings as far away as South Africa and as close as Lake Geneva, Wisconin and Iowa, we will have an honest discussion about embracing your locale and working best with vendors you may not have worked with before. And how do you market to the destination wedding market? Come and hear at my session and come away with some new ideas and tactics in your tool kit of knowledge.
2011 was a wonderful year! We thank the wonderful couples who welcomed us into their lives as we helped them plan their weddings. Thank you to all those brides and grooms who selected Engaging Events by Ali as their wedding planner. Here is just a tiny little peek into our amazing 2011 year! And thank you to all the amazing photographers who provide the beautiful moments from the wedding days for our clients.
I was SO excited when Blair and Christy called me from Junebug Weddings to tell me I had been selected to be a part of their World's Best Wedding Planners & Designers they unveiled last week and I am so thankful to be included. The best of the best are on this list and I am flattered to be a part of it.