Earlier this week, Alyssa and I had the pleasure of attending WeddingWire World conference at the epic Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center at National Harbor. We had a wonderful time networking with top wedding professionals and taking in the wealth of knowledge bestowed upon us from the best of the best entrepreneurs, business men and women, and wedding industry experts. I'd love to share some motivational words of wisdom that we had the pleasure of walking away with.
'If you looked at aerodynamics, at science, the bumble bee should not be able to fly. Physically, it was just not anatomically equipped to soar. Yet it did, defying gravity, defying logic. The bee was a creature that defied and beat the odds, a miracle.' - Joan Rivers
Bill Rancic, apprentice and husband of Guiliana, was an incredible motivational speaker. As one of the first to speak at WeddingWire World, Rancic said he knew he was going to be an entrepreneur since he was 10 years old. His parents went out of town for a wedding anniversary trip and he stayed with his grandmother, who taught him to make pancakes. Rancic called his grandmother’s friends and invited them over for breakfast one Sunday morning, making them pancakes. Each lady left a $5 bill by the plates. Rancic said he put the money in his pocket and said nothing, then demanded to be taken to his grandmother’s house on other weekends. He said his mother was a little suspicious of the new, stronger bond with his grandmother. Eventually, his mother was cleaning his room and found the young Rancic’s stash of cash. He had to confess he ran a makeshift restaurant from his grandmother’s kitchen and that was his start to becoming Donald Trump’s apprentice.
"You have to be agile with no blinders! Change, react, adapt, or become extinct." - Bill Rancic
Rancic pointed out the difference between a failed business person and a successful entrepreneur is the difference between an ability to recognize an opportunity and a willingness to seize it. With so many of us professionals operating as a small business, this is a very important point to always remember. Change can mean the difference between growth and failure. Always keep your mind open to new opportunities.
On day two of the conference, we could not contain our excitement as Monte Durham of "Say Yes to the Dress" took the stage at WeddingWire World. Monte spoke at length on the age old wedding traditions and how to put modern twists on the classics. I find it fascinating how fashion has evolved over the past thirty years. For example, Lady Diana's wedding dress had to be something that was going to go down in history, but also something that Diana loved. One which would be "suitably dramatic in order to make an impression." How will the current style be viewed thirty years from now?
What we learned from Monte Durham:
- Be the wedding pro they NEED you to be and you want to be.
- First impressions and introductions mean everything, so you need to take the time to make engaged couples, Mother's of the Brides, and other professionals feel your personality and show them that you’re here 100% ready to deliver nothing but the best services to them.
- You don’t have to come from million of dollars or have a Harvard Degree to be the best in the industry. All it takes is a great smile, hard work, a few key outfits from Ann Taylor and determination to never give up on your dreams. Thank you Monte for sharing your own personal story.
As cool as it was to experience a taste of Hollywood at National Harbor, I was just as excited to see that local Main Street Weddings professional Lora Gookin of Gateau was selected to be a part of the Pro Panel hosted by the CEO of WeddingWire. Lora shared her insights and wisdom on being new to the wedding industry and how to set yourself apart. It was very inspiring learning the nuts and bolts of budding businesses! Having known Laura since my days at Fauquier Springs Country Club when she first launched Gateau, I was very proud to see the level of success she has earned. It's well deserved!
"Chase your dreams, you might catch one." - My Target Notebook
In closing, I'd like to emphasize the passion that drives all of us in this industry - making people happy. We have an amazing opportunity to work with people on one of the most special days of their lives. Be a positive and uplifting business person, someone you would want to work with and someone you can be proud of. Your light will shine through.
Jessica Brose & Alyssa Helmick, Main Street Weddings & Events