Tuesday, August 19, 2014

THOUGHTS TUESDAY #4: Cultivate Retreat

I'm going to write this before even looking at my e-mail inbox today. I'm slightly scared of it to be honest. Usually Tuesdays I come back to the office after the weekend + have like 100+ e-mails. So now that its Wednesday and we are back in the office after a long weekend in Jekyll Island, Georgia for the Cultivate Retreat. And yes, it is Wednesday and I'm writing this post so its not technically Thoughts Tuesday but that's okay. Anyway, we're back from Cultivate Retreat and I am going to write my thoughts down before I do anything else. Including those 100+ e-mails screaming my name and pulling at my pants trying to get my attention. (Sorry guys if you're reading this and are one of those e-mails awaiting my attention patiently... I promise I will get to you!!!) Well, actually that comment is irrelevant since this post is going live a week after I wrote it. That was an irrelevant comment too...

Anyway, Cultivate Retreat. Where to start...?? Well, we arrived Sunday evening to Jekyll Island Club Hotel after the Premier Bridal Expo at the Jekyll Island Convention Center just in time to hear Ashlee Proffitt talk about powerful branding and to start writing in our brand new shiny gold journals (see below - we seriously got some awesome swag including orange sunglasses.) Ashlee Proffitt is probably the cutest little blonde girl ever who is also a branding specialist with the cutest little shop filled with pretty art prints, calendars and iPhone cases. If you love floral prints, inspirational quotes and all things pretty then I highly recommend you check out her site. One of my favorite take aways from Ashlee was the idea that "every touch point is a part of your brand." We work really hard on creating a cohesive brand but this really took it home for me. With that I felt inspired to go even farther with our branding and build it up so that every time you are getting an e-mail, a card, a gift, seeing a blog post, a Facebook post, an Instagram or Twitter post it is very clear and obvious that it fits with who and what we are. The best note I wrote while listening to Ashlee was to "add a funky floral + geometric pattern
 to our branding (Adrienna + me.)" So on that note... be on the lookout for some fun additions to our branding.

After Ashlee's talk we were treated to a seriously delicious gourmet meal in a room filled with beautiful pink sequin and black & white striped linens both from I Do Linens, pretty pink and yellow flower arrangements by Shea Hopely, martinis with pink striped straws and sequin heart stirrers, and gold flatware from Set Rentals. And after dinner we got down on the dance floor... of course to our theme song, "Wiggle." I mean it obviously had to happen. Adrienna + I love having dance parties and we highly recommend them to everyone who works a job that requires them to be at a computer for long hours replying to e-mails. It is seriously our way of keeping going throughout the day. It gives us a quick energy boost and keeps things light, fun and happy. Which... lets be real, weddings should be light, fun and happy and so we think this is a really crucial part about keeping our team and workplace a very positive environment so that we can keep our clients happy. To see us wiggling it on the dance floor check it out here on our Instagram.

The second day started off with a Peaches 'n Cream Breakfast of french toast with pecans & peaches, bacon and fresh fruit. Seriously we ate so good the entire time and I'm hungry right now and my stomach is growling and this is kind of painful looking at the menus of what we ate and thinking of my protein shake in the fridge which is my lunch for today... Moving on. After breakfast we listened to Valerie Gernhauser of Sapphire Events. She had 23 awesome tips that were all business related. I'm just going to share 2 of my favorites. The first being the importance of being yourself and blazing your own trail. I think that both Adrienna + I really try to do both of these things. We love trying to get creative and come up with new and unique ideas to inspire brides. Maybe just because we love weird stuff, but whatever. My second favorite point Valerie made started with her playing "Let it Go" from Frozen. I just loved this and think it is so important to let it go when something goes wrong. You can't change somebody or something; everything is a temporary condition; slam the door, let it go and move forward.

Next came Ashley Baber owner of Ashley Baber Weddings. I kind of love her first because she's a ginger and second because she's just a really successful businesswoman. Ashley has created a wedding planning company with 3 different branches in Atlanta, Charlotte and Virginia. I loved listening to Ashley talk about the importance of finding the right team members and giving them expectations up front. We are just about to have our new intern start on Friday and our part-time crafting extraordinaire assistant start next week so this was so helpful in giving us some good ideas for how to be good leaders for them as well as to build our team in the right ways. We have a lot of prep-work to do before our new team members start but we are so excited for them to come on board and we know they are going to be really awesome!!

Lauren Grove of Every Last Detail talked after Ashley and was amazing!! This was actually my second time getting to hear Lauren talk since she was a speaker at the first Cultivate too. Lauren gave us some really good insight into the brides of today, how we can reach them and how we can connect with them throughout the planning process. Our biggest take away from Lauren was to: answer questions on our website and make it easy for you all. Updates coming soon and are on our to do list so keep a look out for an updated FAQ page... it is in the works we promise!! That being said, Lauren's wedding blog is by far the most informative of wedding blogs out there with her constant posts on tips about wedding budgeting, finding good vendors, and more so I would highly recommend reading her blog if you are a bride in the planning process now.

Meghan Ely was the next speaker from OFD Consulting. She opened her session by talking about her really helpful and really amazing mechanic, which kind of reminded me that I really need a good mechanic to work on my car... but more about that never since I don't ever want to bore you with my car issues. Meghan has a passion for wedding marketing and wedding PR and is a consultant for creatives in the industry. I absolutely loved listening to Meghan and was seriously inspired. Her talk got me fired up and honestly I was like okay, let me go right now, so many ideas, I just want to start on them all right this very moment. Her talk focused on the importance of the client experience which like I said really got the wheels turning. This is one of the biggest things Adrienna + I agreed we want to work on. We want happy clients. Happy brides. Happy grooms. This is what we strive for and so we really were inspired to work on new ways that we can surprise our clients and really make the client experience smooth, happy and fun. We have a few new things up our sleeves that we are excited to implement with our clients.

And... next came Cheyenne Schultz, an amazing photographer who captured Adrienna + I in our flower crowns. Not really sure where to start but this was by far the talk that touched my heart. Yes, I was in the back of the room trying really hard not to cry the entire time. Cheyenne bared her soul about fighting through the tough times and wow this was just wow. So so inspiring. And I just loved every minute of it. Owning a business is a lot of fun I will tell you honestly. When I post pictures of us having fun it is real. We really are having that much fun. But there are days when its hard. And exhausting. And you feel like you are failing in every way imaginable. And that you can't do anything right or make anyone happy. And that you don't know what you're doing or how to succeed and you start comparing yourself with every other planner and boutique out there. Trust me when I say we have those days. Everybody has those days. But listening to Cheyenne was inspiring. She gave us 10 tips on how to get through these times. I'm not going to go into much more about her talk because it was just something you had to be there for. And if you ever see a conference in your area that Cheyenne is talking at and are a women in business leadership then I would highly recommend going to hear her talk. But for now I will share this one little part... in every moment, every up and every down... embrace where you are. You will only be in that moment once. Embrace it. It is a temporary moment. It does not define you. Embrace where you are, because I guarantee there is someone out there who wishes they had the problem you are struggling through. Because its part of something much bigger. You're having that problem because you own a business doing what you love. And someone out there wishes they owned their own business doing what they loved. And they would much rather have your problem because that meant something so much bigger than the struggle they are facing. Embrace where you are. (Thank you Cheyenne.)

DJ Jacob Towe and Jennifer Earnest of The Chef's Garden also talked about trends in the wedding industry. Jacob and wife, Courtney, talked about lighting trends and some of the awesome luxury weddings they have done with custom DJ booths. Jennifer focused on talking about new catering trends, which was really interesting to hear that in Jacksonville the shift is towards plated and family style meals and away from stations. Although I think I definitely agree... we have seen a lot more of the plated and family style meals while stations, which were huge a year ago have started to be less and less popular.

The third day started with another seriously delicious breakfast and some great conversation with Cheyenne and Andrea of Gray Harper Events. It was fun getting to talk more one on one with these ladies. After breakfast were smaller sessions where we learned more about wedding planning 101 from Ashley Baber, blogging from Lauren Grove, social media from Rhiannon Nicole Bosse of Hey Gorgeous Events, business personality types from Cassie Cherneski of Flaire Events and the founder of Cultivate Retreat and probably our favorite one... the floral crown workshop by Shea Hopely. These were so fun to make and seriously heavy. I mean seriously... Mine was filled with yellow garden roses, lots of greenery and some deep purple hued flowers and Adrienna's brought on the girly with shades of pink, more pink and even more pink. Thank you again to Cheyenne for capturing us in our crowns!!!

Anyway, huge thank you to Cassie for letting us be helpers and for putting on an amazing retreat!! it was seriously a blast!! Can't wait for next year!! To see more of what we are up to over at Ivory + Beau follow us on Instagram!!

{Photo Credits} My iPhone Instagram Photos // Us in Floral Crowns by Cheyenne Schultz 


  1. Oh man....reading this got me emotional. I can't tell you how much it means to me that the talk was helpful. xoxo.

  2. Such a great recap, ladies!! So grateful you were able to attend this year and can't wait for the next one!!


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