Engage!10 Conference : Cayman Islands

few months ago, I saw a documentary about kids and the national spelling bee competition. It wasn't about the competition, per say, but, rather, about the kids' lives leading up to the event. One scene, however, struck me. And I have yet to forget it. It's when all the kids gather at the competition and they, somehow, all just mesh. They're not the so-called nerds studying the Germanic origin of a word instead of playing baseball, they were all kids who spoke the same spelling language. Germanic roots and all.

Last week I had a similar experience. I went to the Engage!10 Conference in the Cayman Islands and I felt like I reached mecca. A sanctuary for wedding professionals who work hard, gasp at the denial of chivari chairs, and discuss the 288 shades of pink. Seriously. When my good friend Harmony Walton of the Bridal Bar encouraged me to attend, I couldn't really understand why. Her response was simply I had to attend to understand. She was right.

The Engage!10 Conference was a mix of wedding professionals (magazine editors, wedding planners, designers, etc) and we spent three days discussing wedding industry, things we love about it, and how to make ourselves better. Okay, and there was a plethora of neon drinks with fruit garnishes down by the beach as well, but it was all in a day's work. Promise. At least that's what I told JD.

Every corner was filled with amazing details and nothing was overlooked...

Rebecca Grinnals and Kathryn Arce of Engaging Concepts open the conference with a bang...

I learned SO much from The Knot's Editor-in-chief, Carley Roney...her presentation was insightful and full of information I can use for my business...loved it!

Editor-in-chief of Brides Magazine, Millie Martini Bratten, hosted a panel with Sylvia Weinstock and famed event planner Marcy Blum...

And then...then...Colin Cowie took the stage. Honestly, there was a collective swoon from every girl in the room. Maybe it's his Australian accent, his insane talent, or the fact that his pants don't crease, but he definitely rocked the platform. Colin designs multimillion dollar events for Hollywood stars and A-listers, but he's one of the nicest industry leaders I've ever met...

Without a shadow of a doubt, my experience was impacted by the ever amazing Lara Casey and Harmony Walton. They were the best roommates I could have ever asked for and I'm a better person having spent so much time with them.

...and then I fainted after the following picture...

Rebecca Grinnals and Kathryn Arce of Engaging Concepts and their uber fab cohort Trisha Hay...these ladies hosted such a spectacular event and I'm smitten with them. They also think I'm funny...which makes them AWESOME.

Some of my best memories from the trip was spending countless hours in the Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman hotel room...for five days I spent time talking, thinking, and dreaming with Lara and Harmony...and it was something I'll cherish forever. We also meshed so well and it was so nice being able to swap issues of US Weekly and Wired magazines, sunblock, and email organization tips. Epic times.

While I was talking pictures of the girls (you know, so I wouldn't forget), Harmony grabbed my camera and turned it on me. She's now convinced she's destined to become a photographer.

Later that night attendees were broken into small groups and placed with a host of honor...which happened to be famed baker Sylvia Weinstock. I can't fully express how perfect this dinner was. Sylvia is one classy lady...she's full of life and wisdom!

I was lucky enough to sit next to Maria Cooke of The Ritzy Bee...who's an incredibly talented DC-based wedding planner and blogger...we also danced our feet off at a party later during the trip, but those details are better left offline! ;)

I loved my fellow dinner attendees and I can't wait to see what the future holds for everyone...

I'm already looking forward to next year's Engage Conference and I can't wait to implement the many things I learned on my trip. I feel so blessed to have visited the Cayman Islands, but I'm also thrilled to be home again and excited to start this week anew!

Happy Sunday!
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Hannes - I thought Colin was South African??  07.11.10 - 9:42am
Tara Bradley - Jasmine, it was so great meeting you! You are a rockstar lady! ;)  06.28.10 - 3:36pm
Nancy Ramos - Everything looks just so elegant and classy. How wonderful that you can do this.  06.17.10 - 1:23am
Calder Clark - hola lady! awesome pix, but who better to snap @ Engage. Stay in touch, was great meeting you!   06.15.10 - 8:25pm
harrison - wow, looks like a great experience you had. thanks for sharing.  06.15.10 - 5:37pm
Celebrations - Great to meet you!!! Hope you'll visit the Cayman Islands again, hopefully for a wedding shoot. :-)  06.15.10 - 11:49am
Laurie Bracewell - Sounds like a wonderful experience! And, OMG, Colin Cowie!?! You are one lucky gal!  06.14.10 - 12:38pm
PREMA BUCK - LOVELY! .....and that picture of you and Colin is way hot! Love it! You guys look uber fab:-)  06.14.10 - 11:10am
ernst - What an enjoyable post! I've been looking for a way to stand out -- I just have to find a pair of Sylvia's glasses! And Harmony takes a wicked photo. As always, thanks for sharing.   06.14.10 - 10:07am
life with kaishon - That sounds like a fantastic time!  06.14.10 - 8:51am
Deyla Huss - So Awesome that you could attend this event! I have heard about this and have always wanted to go!  06.14.10 - 8:47am
feuza - I had just read about that event, what an incredible event, I So love dthat metal covered not book I want one~ looks like a great time  06.14.10 - 8:15am
amanda thiessen - okay, im in love with sylvia's weinstock glasses! andddd these photos are so great! thank you for sharing this with us all!  06.13.10 - 11:05pm
Terrah - Yay! Loved this post. Your writing, again, is extraordinary.  06.13.10 - 10:41pm
Lydia - I have a feeling the next Engage!10 will double in attendance after people read this!   06.13.10 - 10:09pm
Cathy Crawley - Is there a Jealous button on this page? No, well I think you need one! What a wonderful hour to be involved in the Engage conference, you totally deserve it. Now if you don't mind I'm off to sing a little ditty, it goes something like this "Aussie Aussie Aussie, oi oi oi" That is for Colin ;)  06.13.10 - 8:49pm
Ginger Murray - Looks like an awesome time, Jaz.  06.13.10 - 7:29pm
Tom McCallum - Jasmine, Great to meet you at Engage. Great blog, wonderful shots...will remember you and your crew making the back row your tweet-tastic "press row" ! Just posted my own blog on this.... keep sharing, the most important word on the net isn't "search", or "sell", it is "share".. and you do it so well !  06.13.10 - 5:58pm
Melissa Papaj Photography - Wow! That looks simply amazing! It looks like you had a wonderful time :)  06.13.10 - 5:32pm
Patrick Alessi - You do such amazing work. Even your snapshots are amazing!  06.13.10 - 4:46pm
Patrick Alessi - You do such amazing work. Even your snapshots are amazing!  06.13.10 - 4:46pm
trisha - sooo enjoyed meeting and getting to know you! definitely a magical week. glad you'll be keeping the details of the dance floor offline :)  06.13.10 - 4:18pm
Evonne Wong - I will make it to engage! one of these days... I LOVE LOVE LOVE Colin Cowie. Then again, who doesn't, right? Glad you had a great experience!  06.13.10 - 4:04pm
Lacy Branch - Jasmine, you SO captured the essence of Engage!10. The video of you was one of the highlights of the conference. It showed that not only are you talented you are very real. You are an inspiration, keep up the great work,   06.13.10 - 3:28pm
Chanelle - Love Sylvia Weinstock's glasses. It reminds me of something I heard at the SWPP Convention in London "Be memorable". A bit like Anna Wintour and her world famous bob.   06.13.10 - 2:42pm
Ali Phillips - Jasmine, I loved your post and really am so glad to have met you. What a wonderful woman you are and beautiful both inside and out.  06.13.10 - 2:39pm
Kristy R.k\ - Lovely post and thank you for the gorgeous shot of the stationery!  06.13.10 - 2:11pm
Trisha Dean - Huge fan, first time comment. ;) Thank you for your post - I neeeeeed to go! Also wanted to let you know that I giggled uncontrollably at the line you wrote about Colin Cowie's pants that don't wrinkle! He does always look so darn dapper! Thanks for the smiles this sunny Sunday!   06.13.10 - 1:27pm
Damaris Mia - I loved reading about your trip to the Cayman Islands. That's so awesome :)  06.13.10 - 1:26pm
Linda Sherrill - WOW! Great networking, fun, fabulous and a learning experience too! Looks like so much fun!   06.13.10 - 1:23pm
Trisha Dean - Huge fan, first time comment ;) thank you for this post!! I neeeeeed to go! But had to let you know I giggled uncontrollably when you wrote that line about Colin Cowie's pants that don't crease! Thanks for that on this warm sunny Sunday!!  06.13.10 - 1:22pm
bridalbar - SO fun to relive this week w/you and so glad you got on that plane. This week w/you & Lara and the rest of the uber fabulous and talented wonderful people changed my life (as Engage always does) and this post officially begins the countdown of days to the next Engage. Btw, you forgot to tell your readers you were on of the 10 most innovative companies highlighted AT Engage...uh, hello...pretty huge lady! xo  06.13.10 - 1:18pm
Eddette Steynberg - Hi Jasmine! Lovely to meet you thanks to Rock 'n Roll bride! Love your work. PS - one correction: Colin has a South African accent...he is one of our proud exports :)  06.13.10 - 1:13pm
Ma'ele - WONDERFUL RECAP!!! Completely FABULOUS!!! and I love Colin Cowie!!!  06.13.10 - 1:11pm
Lucia Castaneda - Colin Cowie and Sylvia Sylvia Weinstock? Whoa!  06.13.10 - 12:33pm
Matt Savage - Jasmine, great to meet you last week! Loved your recap. We hope to see you guys again soon.  06.13.10 - 12:01pm
Maria @ Ritzy Bee - What a great recap & great pictures!!! So great getting to know you! xoxo  06.13.10 - 11:39am
weezermonkey - What an amazing event! That list of attendees -- wow!  06.13.10 - 11:37am
Kym Bichon - Fabulous blog post - exactly how we (The Breakers PB Gang) felt when we first attended. Hopefully you will be able to attend Engage10! The Breakers in October-Rebecca and Kathryn are the best!  06.13.10 - 11:31am
Dawn McCarthy - I love Colin Cowie!!! What an incredible experience for you J*.   06.13.10 - 11:12am
Latrice - Great post & great details!  06.13.10 - 10:43am
Lara - Harmony has a new calling. Love that shot of you! So blessed to have spent such a powerful week with you and Harmony. Thank you for your wisdom and all the laughs!  06.13.10 - 10:39am
Melissa - I don't think I realized how much Colin Cowie makes me swoon until I saw your photo with him... Looks like you had a wonderful time!  06.13.10 - 10:28am
I'm Kristen! - Whoa. whoa whoa whoa. That is really amazing. I'm usually not jealous of what other people get to do - I'm happy for them + grateful for what I get to do - but, yeah, whoa. Maybe I'm a little jealous! haha So excited you got to do that!!!  06.13.10 - 10:17am
kelly marie - Welcome home Jasmine! I missed your daily blog posts! :)   06.13.10 - 10:10am