When people in DC ask me what I do, I say, “I’m an event coordinator at Hill Center.” The rest of the conversation sometimes goes a little something like this:
Them: What’s Hill Center?
Me: It’s an arts, culture and education center about a quarter-mile from Capitol Hill near Eastern Market and Barracks Row.
Them: Oh. Cool. What kind of events do you do?
Me: We pretty much do it all – concerts, receptions, parties, weddings…
Them: Weddings? Oh, that must be fun!
Me: Yeah! They’re a ton of work, but I enjoy them…
Truthfully, I don’t just casually “enjoy” weddings. I absolutely adore them. The fashion, the food, the florals – I love it all. Even more so, I love bearing witness to two people choosing to commit their lives to each other in front of their closest friends and family members. It’s always such a captivating experience.
So, you can imagine my excitement when I, along with my colleagues Divinity and Lisa, got to attend WeddingWire World DC – an entire conference dedicated to weddings!
WeddingWire World DC is an annual two-day conference that offers wedding industry professionals the chance to learn and share ideas about the latest trends, tactics and insider tips in the wedding industry. This year’s conference was held at the Washington Hilton Hotel and was attended by nearly 1,000 wedding planners, wedding venue representatives and other wedding vendors.
Before the conference I read a friend’s blog post about How To Crush Your Next Conference Experience. With my pitch thoroughly practiced and business cards bunched in my pocket, I bused to the Hilton ready to be immersed in all things weddings.
After wading through the sea of wedding pros to find seats in the hotel’s massive Grand Ballroom, we broke out our notebooks and laptops and settled in for the opening session, which included remarks from WeddingWire’s CEO, CMO and Vice President of Product Management.
One of the highlights from the opening session was hearing from DC’s own Katherine Kallinis Berman and Sophie Kallinis LaMontagne, founders of Georgetown Cupcake. The pair shared the inspiring story of how they left their corporate careers in fashion and finance to start what would become one of the nation’s most recognizable cupcake brands. They went on to emphasize the importance of creating best-in-class experiences for their clients – a mantra every wedding pro can relate to.
The rest of Day 1 was packed with informative workshops and sessions that covered everything from creating top-notch customer experiences online and in-person to time management and networking best practices. Our team capped off Day 1 by cutting loose with other wedding pros at a networking mixer and dance party.
Day 2 of WeddingWire World DC was just as info-packed and engaging as the first. We learned about strategies to avoid blowing budgets, ways to better communicate with prospective clients and keys to creating inclusive experiences.
By far, one of the best parts of Day 2 was hearing from Monte Durham of TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta. Durham who’s known for his style and sense of humor as the Fashion Director of Bridals by Lori was easily one the conference’s most entertaining presenters as he shared some of the latest trends in wedding fashion and decor.
(Coincidentally, I ran into Monte in Atlanta’s Hartsfield–Jackson airport earlier this year and was happy to discover that he just as personable off-stage as he seems on-camera!)
All told, the conference was an amazing experience. Not only did my colleagues and I learn a ton of ways to improve our service to Hill Center’s clients, we had a great time meeting and learning from wedding pros from across the country. I can’t imagine a better way to prepare for all the weddings we have lined up this fall!
Signing off from the Center,
PS Are you ready to schedule a wedding at Hill Center? Give me a call at (202) 499-6449!