A Luxury Wedding Professionals Retreat: A Week at Engage!

I am still catching my breath after Engage! – an incredible luxury wedding professionals retreat – a few weeks ago. I have to admit, as a top Washington DC wedding planner myself, it takes a lot to impress me (as far as events go) but this luxury wedding industry conference blew me out of the water!

It was clear from the moment I arrived in New Orleans, Engage! cares about every single detail as much as we do! Today, I wanted to share a few of my favorite moments (and a lot of photos!) so that you can feel just as inspired to plan your own wedding or event as I am. Once you are inspired, make sure to head over here and learn more about working with Jayne Heir to make your vision a reality!

Photo Credit: Lance Nicoll
Photo Credit: Lance Nicoll
Photo Credit: Lance Nicoll
Photo Credit: Charla Storey

Arriving in New Orleans

If you have been following us for a while, you know we love thoughtful wedding favors and custom stationery. Engage! had both at the registration tables as we arrived. Throughout the conference, we were absolutely spoiled with gifts, desserts, and signature cocktails but one of the things that stood out to me the most (as a wedding planner) was how no branding opportunity was left unturned. Although each event/moment was different, everything felt entirely true to the conference itself and the spirit of New Orleans. Exactly the feeling we try to convey when we plan our couple’s ceremony, cocktail hour and reception. Everything feels unique but complementary. Nothing feels out of place.

Photo Credit: Charla Storey
Photo Credit: Charla Storey
Photo Credit: Charla Storey
Photo Credit: Charla Storey
Photo Credit: Allen Tsai
Photo Credit: Allen Tsai

Engage New Orleans Begins!

When I signed up for Engage!, it was because I wanted to learn from (and be inspired by) the best of the best. The first day was filled with incredible speakers – some well-known even outside of the industry like Randy Fenoli from Say Yes to the Dress. After the first day of speakers, we were invited to an incredible garden party at the Elms Mansion, one of the top wedding venues in New Orleans. When I arrived, it was clear that not only had they put an incredible amount of work into the details (the linens, florals, and rentals), but they also orchestrated an absolutely incredible experience. There were performances, custom cocktails, a tarot card reader, and so much more. You literally couldn’t turn your hear without an instagrammable moment.

Photo Credit: Theo Milo
Photo Credit: Theo Milo
Photo Credit: Paul Morse
Photo Credit: Ashley Ludaescher
Photo Credit: Jennefer Wilson
Photo Credit: Finch Photo
Photo Credit: Charla Storey
Photo Credit: Charla Storey
Photo Credit: Charla Storey
Photo Credit: Charla Storey
Photo Credit: Charla Storey
Photo Credit: Charla Storey
Photo Credit: Charla Storey
Photo Credit: Charla Storey
Photo Credit: Ashley Ludaescher
Photo Credit: Ashley Ludaescher
Photo Credit: Ashley Ludaescher
Photo Credit: Allen Tsai
Photo Credit: Bangabooth

Day 2 of Our Luxury Wedding Planner Retreat

Day One had me in absolute awe, so I couldn’t wait to watch them outdo themselves for day two. I have to be honest, when I left all I could think was that New Orleans owed us nothing. They truly gave us everything we could have ever imagined and so much more. Engage welcomed us with beignets and cafe au lait at the Orpheum Theatre where we listened to another host of incredible speakers. In the afternoon, we were part of a second-line parade!

Photo Credit: Paul Morse
Photo Credit: Paul Morse
Photo Credit: Theo Milo
Photo Credit: Theo Milo
Photo Credit: Ashley Ludaescher
Photo Credit: Charla Storey
Photo Credit: Charla Storey
Photo Credit: Charla Storey
Photo Credit: Ashley Ludaescher
Photo Credit: Ashley Ludaescher
Photo Credit: Charla Storey

An Evening in New Orleans

After that, they hosted a “Dine Around New Orleans” event where we got to try absolutely mouthwatering dishes from around the city. When our stomachs were full, we headed to a Cocktails & King Cake party back at the Orpheum Theatre. I know I keep saying that no detail was overlooked, but let me give you a quick example. At our tables, they had branded icebreaker cards at the center. After all, we were a group of luxury wedding professionals that didn’t necessarily know each other! Sometimes a little extra consideration is all it takes for an event to go from great to phenomenal. After dinner, the show they put on was captivating. It felt like a whole new world.

Photo Credit: Jennefer Wilson
Photo Credit: Jennefer Wilson
Photo Credit: Corbin Gurkin
Photo Credit: Finch Photo
Photo Credit: Jennefer Wilson
Photo Credit: Allen Tsai
Photo Credit: Allen Tsai
Photo Credit: Allen Tsai
Photo Credit: Kelbert McFarland
Photo Credit: Kelbert McFarland
Photo Credit: Charla Storey
Photo Credit: Charla Storey
Photo Credit: Allen Tsai
Photo Credit: Ashley Ludaescher
Photo Credit: Ashley Ludaescher
Photo Credit: Charla Storey
Photo Credit: Charla Storey
Photo Credit: Theo Milo
Photo Credit: Theo Milo

I absolutely love how authentic they aimed to make the entire experience. After the party, there was an afterparty at a New Orleans speakeasy. The signature cocktail of choice? A Snake Oil Cure with Johnny Walker Black.

Photo Credit: Ashley Ludaescher
Photo Credit: Ashley Ludaescher

The Final Day of Engage! New Orleans

As I mentioned above, as a luxury wedding planner in DC, it takes a lot to impress me. While the second day had me absolutely awestruck, I woke up with fresh energy excited to see how they blew me away again. In the morning, we got to learn from some of the top creatives in the luxury event planning space. In the afternoon, Engage curated custom authentic New Orleans experiences for us to enjoy.

Photo Credit: Finch Photo
Photo Credit: Allen Tsai
Photo Credit: Finch Photo

The Luxury Gala

Finally, in the evening, I had the chance to attend the most incredible gala. The level of detail they put into the event was absolutely phenomenal. Each space felt completely different from the others and all were completely adorned from ceiling to floor. Although I have been privileged enough to plan and design some absolutely marvellous events in my time as a DC event planner, I rarely get to truly experience them as a guest.

What I loved the most about the gala, even more than the unique and inspiring design, was the way they curated an experience for each and every one of us. The design was interactive. There were performances. There was delicious food and signature cocktails at every turn. Honestly, I can’t even adequately put the experience into words. It was a night to remember for sure and at the end of the evening I couldn’t wait to head back to DC and take what I’ve learned to create even more elevated experiences for my couples and clients planning luxury events moving forward.

Photo Credit: Ashley Ludaescher
Photo Credit: Ashley Ludaescher
Photo Credit: Charla Storey
Photo Credit: Charla Storey
Photo Credit: Charla Storey
Photo Credit: Charla Storey
Photo Credit: Jennefer Wilson
Photo Credit: Ashley Ludaescher
Photo Credit: Allen Tsai
Photo Credit: Theo Milo
Photo Credit: Charla Storey
Photo Credit: John Cain
Photo Credit: Charla Storey
Photo Credit: John Cain
Photo Credit: Ashley Ludaescher
Photo Credit: Jennefer Wilson
Photo Credit: Ashley Ludaescher
Photo Credit: Ashley Ludaescher
Photo Credit: Jennefer Wilson
Photo Credit: Ashley Ludaescher
Photo Credit: Charla Storey
Photo Credit: Charla Storey

Planning a Luxury Event in DC

If you made it to the end and are reading this, I can only assume you love luxury details and unique event inspiration as much as I do. When I tell you that I am beyond inspired to create the same in every event I plan and design moving forward, I mean it. If you are planning a wedding or event in Washington, DC (or beyond!), you can learn more about working with us here. Additionally, if you are looking for a little more inspiration, you can peruse photos of our real weddings and events here. Then, when you are ready, I hope you won’t hesitate to reach out and connect with us here! In the meantime, reach out and let us know your favorite detail over on Instagram!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.