The Dazzle of Diamonds and the Down-to-Earth of Denim Delight Attendees
By Wendie Bass, PBC™,  Let’s Plan It, Arvada, Colo.   photography HARDYKLAHOLD Photography

Called Diamonds & Denim in Denver, this year’s annual 
Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC) Business of Brides conference opened with emphasis on the denim at a casual, entertaining tailgate-style kick off. Attendees dressed in the colors and jerseys of their favorite football teams. The evening included tailgate foods like mini-corn dogs, hamburgers, and tater tots, washed down with (what else?) beverages in a red Solo cup. A cheerleading competition rounded out the event with fans rooting for their favorite team. In the end, ABC president David Wood and his team of referees won the event. And no one wanted to leave, until the lights dimmed.

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Keynotes and breakouts inspire attendees
20121112-200534The kick off to Business of Brides 2012 set the tone for what would prove to be an event that no one wanted to end. The event was packed with valuable tips and information, beginning with that of ABC members and keynote speakers Donnie Brown and Rebecca Grinnals, who were not only “diamonds”—giving attendees inspiration and information—they also were “denim” with their down-to-earth, approachable attitudes.  Brown, a celebrity-wedding planner and television personality, illustrated how he works with his luxury clients, by emphasizing his one-step further approach of creating the fun, excitement, and awe in a wedding.  He also introduced his new room fragrance line, which offers brides something to enhance their event. Jessica Kersey, PBC™, Finishing Touch Event Design, Bentonville, Ark., gave Brown a raving review for “being one of us.”

20121112-170742If Brown was attitude, Grinnals was approach. She coached attendees about the ins and outs of the luxury market and the up-and-coming group of potential clients—Millennials, also known as the children of Baby Boomers.  According to Grinnals, luxury brides are more likely to use print than the average bride, and 47 percent of them hire a planner. Overall, their needs are similar to those of Millennial brides in wanting fun, traditional, and elegant weddings. Where they differ, however, is that Millennials are more likely to rely on friends and the Internet in planning. In addition, a heavy increase in online, DIY sites has become the new competition as people are rushing to “get a piece of the pie.” And, speaking of things to contend with, Grinnals also highlighted a new app call “Crash Corsage,” which trolls the Internet for wedding website data, such as the date of the wedding, where, when, how the couple met, and other pertinent info for a crasher to know.  The app encourages users to “crash” and report back by scoring how they did at the wedding.

20121112-102140In addition to the keynotes, attendees had over 20 break-out sessions to choose from for continuing education as a consultant or vendor.

From Diamonds in the Sky to Denim in Denver
A special treat for those who attended on Monday evening was Diamonds in the Sky, an event held in the Pinnacle Club, which has the best and most memorable view of the Denver city lights and the front range of the Rocky Mountains.  Norie Hamilton, MBC™, Weddings by Norie, presented a room that was elegant, stunning, and exemplified the theme of Diamonds in the Sky (see cover).  Guests were treated to a great performance from the Hazel Miller Band.

20121113-210939The last event of the conference, Denim in Denver, was boot scootin’ fun.  Guests had time to relax and have fun after they were greeted by Joanne Moore, MBC™, and Mindy McNitt of Mountains and Meadows, Vail, Colo., who were wearing cowboy hats, moustache/glasses, and riding stick ponies.  Mike Olivieri, a square dance caller, filled the dance floor with easy, fun dances that everyone could follow.  Heather Dwight, ABC™, Calluna Events, Boulder, Colo., and Wendy Foster of TD’a Design, Denver, Colo., created the atmosphere of a western chuck wagon and dance hall, which transported attendees to the wild west.

Pre-conference events offered variety and views
20121111-211741Business of Brides wasn’t just about conference events. Several events occurred just prior to conference for those who arrived early. The Saturday prior, 10 attendees skied at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area.  Colorado weather cooperated and they were able to ski in 10 inches of fresh new snow.  The skiers had a great time with their hostesses, Sharlene Barker, PBC™, Ooh La La Events, Englewood, Colo., and Moore and McNitt. Learning about the state was on the agenda for 19 attendees who were treated to a Colorado Fact Caravan trip to Estes Park on Sunday.  They were shown the best of Estes Park venues and visited the Estes Park Bridal Show.  The Estes Park Wedding Association partnered with the ABC to showcase their destination wedding business.  Ron Michaels, PBC™, Ron Michaels Weddings, Fort Collins, Colo., and Leonard Kiel of Colorado Sound, Westminster, Colo., coordinated this trip.

Diamonds & Denim in Denver was a worthwhile event that offered great speakers, entertaining and insightful keynotes, informative and valuable breakout sessions, and the chance to connect with old friends and make new ones among the many ABC attendees.