» Planning Your Continuing Education for 2016

The following post was written by WeddingWire Education Expert Andy Ebon. Andy is the Founder of Wedding University and The Wedding Marketing Blog, and is an International Public Speaker, Writer and Consultant based in Las Vegas. Andy travels across North America and beyond, presenting to Associations, Wedding Industry Conferences, Regional Gatherings, and Local Meetings.

As you look ahead toward all phases of your business development in 2016 and beyond, one of the key areas of growth is human development. Whether you are a company owner or general manager, it falls to you to think ahead and outline a companywide plan for continuing education and forward thinking.

Planning Continuing Education for 2016To keep up with the latest trends in the industry and continue your education as a wedding professional, attending conferences and joining associations is a big part of being forward thinking. Below I share the factors to consider when choosing which conference to attend, plus some tips for getting the most out of the events you choose.

Preparation: Review the conference agenda and education sessions well before you arrive. Identify the names of speakers and presenters you know or want to hear. Do this one task before you get there and your outcome will always be measurably better.

Attendance: For larger conferences, bring more people. There is nothing more frustrating than noticing three, four, five breakout sessions in the program, and realizing there is only one of you. Don’t try to hoard the education. Invest in a second or third attendee from your company. When you return home, the energy, knowledge, and momentum will just explode.

Price: If you’ve never attended an industry conference, the costs might worry you at first. But think of the expense as an investment in your business, giving you a ROI many times the price of admission. When deciding what to attend, be clear on what the conference registration fee includes. Conference registration, airfare, and hotel room blocks usually come at a significant reduction in price, so plan early and you’ll likely pay less.

Post-event: Bring the experience home to share with other staff members, share the photos, notes from the best sessions, and invigorate everyone. It’s generates pride when a person is working with a company with desire and goals to improve their product, service, and creativity… continually.

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» Share Your WeddingWire World #TBT Memories this November!

WeddingWire World 2016 is quickly approaching, and we love to look back on the past conferences to reminisce on our favorite moments, and see how it has evolved over the years!

Since we are just three months from the conference, this November we’re celebrating Throwback Thursday (also known as #TBT) all month on @WeddingWireEDU – and we want you to join in the fun!

How can you participate?

Every Thursday of November, share your favorite #TBT WeddingWire World or industry conference photos with @WeddingWireEDU on Instagram or Twitter. Simply post your photo and caption, but don’t forget to tag @WeddingWireEDU and use #TBT and #WWWorld.

The best part?

Not only will we be liking and re-sharing our favorite photos and memories, but you could win a pair of tickets to the event! Every Friday in November, @WeddingWireEDU will announce our weekly winner, who will get two free standard WeddingWire World 2016 tickets to the conference (a $1098 value!). See official rules for more details.

Since our inaugural one-day conference at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC in 2012 with several hundred wedding professionals, to our multi-city ‘World Tour’ in five cities throughout the US in 2014, to our two day event at the Gaylord National Resort with over one thousand pros in 2015, we’ve had a lot of fun along the way – and 2016 will be the biggest and best conference yet!

Check out the great speakers and agenda for this year’s event, and register if you haven’t already done so. Don’t worry: any #TBT winners will be refunded for their tickets, so don’t let that hold you back!

Here are some of our favorite throwbacks from years past:

WeddingWire World 2012

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» Group Rates Available for WeddingWire World!

Group Rates Now Available for WeddingWire World!We know that conferences are more fun with friends, so get a group of your colleagues, industry contacts, or friends together to attend WeddingWire World 2016! Not only will you be able to reconnect and learn together as a group, but you can also save on the cost of your ticket.

The more the merrier – and the more you can save! Check out the group rate offerings:

  • BUDDIES: Purchase 3-4 tickets at once to get 10% off standard ticket price
  • TEAMS: Purchase 5-9 tickets at once to get 20% off standard ticket price
  • SUPER GROUPS: Purchase 10+ tickets at once to get 25% off standard ticket price

What are you waiting for? Reach out to your colleagues, industry groups, and even your social networks to get a group together and register now!

No group? No worries! Individual tickets are available, too. Join us »

For WeddingWire World 2016 related questions, please email events@weddingwire.com.

» Submit Your Business for the Weddi Awards™!

The Weddi AwardsTM is WeddingWire’s latest awards program for distinguishing exceptional service in the wedding industry. You can submit your business or industry colleagues who deserve recognition to win!

Honor extraordinary work by submitting your business or a peer for a Weddi AwardTM in the main categories of Professional Achievement, Customer Excellence, and Innovation & Creativity. Business’ with the most total wedding reviews on WeddingWire in the US, Canada, by region, and by category will also win. View all awards on the Weddi Awards™ website, and see some highlighted awards below.

Weddi_Award16_logo_stacked-teal-black-TMYou could win:

  • Best Real Wedding
  • Most Creative Use of Social Media
  • Most Total Wedding Reviews by Category
  • Most Effective Branding
  • The Rising Star Award
  • Most Helpful Mentor Award
  • Most Charitable, Wedding Related
  • And more!

The top three candidates for each award will receive a complimentary standard ticket to WeddingWire World 2016, where candidates will be invited to a special awards reception where winners will be announced awarded with a custom trophy (and bragging rights!). Be sure to purchase your WeddingWire World ticket now before our next price increase, and any tickets purchased by winners will be refunded.

Applications close after November 18th, 2015, so don’t wait! You can submit to as many awards as you would like, but you can only submit once per award, per business.

Submit Your Business for the Weddi Awards™!

Learn more and start submitting today!

» WeddingWire World Speaker Announcement: Shawn Johnson!

Shawn JohnsonWe are so excited to announce our latest WeddingWire World 2016 Featured Speaker – Shawn Johnson!

Shawn is an impressive four time Olympic Medalist gymnast, receiving a Gold medal in the Balance Beam, and Silver medals in All-Around, Floor, and the U.S. Women’s Olympic Team during the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing.

Additionally, Shawn has been honored with an ESPY for Best U.S. Female Olympian, and as an inductee into the Gymnastics Hall of Fame. Outside of gymnastics, Shawn was crowned the Dancing with the Stars champion in 2009, and was the runner up on Dancing with the Stars All-Stars in 2012. She also appeared on Celebrity Apprentice in 2014. Her exciting news continues as she celebrated her engagement this year!

Don’t miss your chance to hear from Shawn and get inspired through her perseverance, dedication and motivation at WeddingWire World. Register for your ticket today to save before the next price increase!

Questions? Learn more about WeddingWire World, review the FAQ, and check out the agenda!

» WeddingWire World 2016 Agenda Announcement

WeddingWire World 2016 tickets are on sale, and we are excited to announce our conference agenda is now live!

We have packed three days full of top education for wedding professionals. Register for your ticket to learn from celebrity keynote speakers (shh – more speaker announcements are coming soon!), leading industry speakers, Pros like you who have excelled and are sharing their experiences, three new breakout tracks, business workshops, networking opportunities and much more!

Take a peek at some conference highlights below, and review the full agenda here:

  • Compelling main stage presentations on the client experience, technology, sales, networking, trends and more from top rated speakers including Sonny Ganguly, Alan Berg, Meghan Ely, and Monte Durham.
  • New breakout tracks with great speakers. Simply pick your session of choice for each breakout and opt to focus on a business, marketing, or clients theme, or follow your favorite track throughout each day for in-depth education on that theme!
  • Learn from experts during workshop sessions on the final day. Take a deeper look at WeddingWire marketing and client tools, business tools like email and social media, or learn from other successful Pros on important topics like finding your niche.

worldBe sure to check back soon for more agenda updates and speaker announcements!

Don’t miss out on your chance to participate in all the new presentations, networking opportunities, and fun surprises we have in store. Get your ticket today for the lowest ticket price before the $150 increase on September 16th, 2015!

Questions? Email events@weddingwire.com and we will be in touch soon.

» WeddingWire World Speakers: Back by Popular Demand

WWW2016-logoWeddingWire World 2016 tickets are now on sale, and we are excited to officially announce our first round of top rated speakers – all back by popular demand!

Join us February 9-11th, 2016 in Washington, DC for three days of top education to grow your business. Don’t miss out on your chance to participate in all the new presentations, networking opportunities, and fun surprises we have in store!

WeddingWire World Speaker Announcement

Speakers include:

Check out the WeddingWire World 2016 website and announcement blog post for more details and additional confirmed speakers. Plus check back soon for new speaker announcements, agenda updates and more!

Don’t wait to register – ticket prices increase on September 15th, 2015. Sign up now to lock in early bird rates and our limited edition VIP ticket!

» On Sale Now: WeddingWire World 2016!

Join us at WeddingWire World 2016!We’re thrilled to announce that WeddingWire World 2016 tickets are now on sale!

Join us on February 9-11 in Washington, DC for three days of the latest education to grow your business. Don’t miss out on your chance to participate in all the new presentations, networking opportunities, and fun surprises we have in store.

WeddingWire World first began in 2012 in Washington, DC, and we followed up with another one-day event in 2013. In 2014, we took our conference “on the road” to visit WeddingWire Pros in four other major cities (Miami, Chicago, Houston, and Long Beach). In 2015, we brought WeddingWire World back to DC but extended the event to be two full days of presentations, education, and more.

With a new three day schedule, WeddingWire World 2016 will be bigger and better than ever before! Here’s what you can expect this year:

  • More presentations. WeddingWire World 2016 will feature exciting main stage presentations by big names and new sessions in segmented business tracks from top industry experts.
  • More education. In addition to the great presentations and speaker tracks, enjoy supplementary workshops to maximize your WeddingWire membership and answer your account questions.
  • More connections. Our 2016 event will provide new networking opportunities, daily celebrations with conference attendees, and one-on-one sessions with your account rep.

We will share more about our agenda, speakers, and presenters as we get closer to the event date! If you’re interested in submitting your information to be considered as a WeddingWire World 2016 presenter, please fill out our new speaker interest form.

Register now to take advantage of our lowest standard ticket price or book one of our new limited-quantity VIP tickets! Start here >>

» WeddingWire World 2015: Recap

WeddingWire World 2015We had an amazing time at WeddingWire World 2015!

The WeddingWire team was thrilled to host two full days filled with education and valuable information from industry experts and special guest speakers, along with networking and fun surprises. Thanks to all our Pros who attended the event!

WeddingWire World guests received great educational information to power their businesses from a variety of presenters, including Bill Rancic of NBC’s The Apprentice, Monte Durham of TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta, Chef Dana Herbert of TLC’s Cake Boss: The Next Great Baker, and more! Presenters held sessions on a variety of topics, from social media and online reputation to the legalities of small business and search engine optimization.

We hope all attendees enjoyed the conference as much as we did! Some of the highlights included:

  • The addition of Education Alley, where Pros could learn more about our industry partnerships, featured associations and educational resources
  • The opportunity for Pros to meet with our Customer Success team members one-on-one to discuss their WeddingWire accounts
  • A special Networking Night event following the first day’s presentations to offer additional networking opportunities and light refreshments
  • Special sessions held by representatives of LinkedIn, Pinterest, Animoto, The Bridal Society, Wish Upon a Wedding and many more
  • Free professional headshots taken on-site
  • Exciting WeddingWire product updates, including the new WeddingWire Review Manager for Pros mobile app and the upcoming WeddingWire Website Designer
  • Providing trophies for winners of the first year of the Weddi Awards, a new annual awards program for top Pros in the wedding industry
  • The awesome tweets and photos throughout the day to @WeddingWireEDU and using #wwworld across social media channels, giving feedback, top takeaways and more
  • Special prizes and giveaways throughout both days

Finally, a big thank you to our wonderful partners who helped make such a momentous event a success: our event photographers from Lux Photography, DJ extraordinaire David Grimm of Signature Talent, LLC and member of ADJA our music sponsor association, event videographer Jeremiah McLamb of JerFilm Productions, the folks of Open Air Photobooth, floral designs by Intrigue Designs, beautiful furniture from Party Plus Tents + Events, fun favors from Moments on Magnets, coffee talk mood music by Wescottage Music, and headshot photographer George Francis of George Francis Jr. Photography!

Check out some of our favorite photo highlights, below!

WeddingWire World 2015
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» Day 2 of WeddingWire World 2015

Day 2 of WeddingWire World 2015We had a fabulous time at day one of WeddingWire World 2015, and we’re excited to kick off our first official second day of our annual educational users’ conference!

In addition to more opportunities for 1-on-1 time with your Customer Success Manager and a special ‘Coffee Talk’ featuring our guest speakers, day two of WeddingWire World 2015 will feature even more presentations from our industry experts and guest speakers, including Monte Durham of TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta and several Pro Panels highlighting a number of respected wedding industry veterans.

We’re also happy to announce the chance for attendees to update their  headshots with our featured professional photographer, George Francis, Jr. of George Francis Jr. Photography, plus an awards ceremony to close out the day, recognizing some of our most remarkable Wedding Pros.

Day two of WeddingWire World 2015 will also feature a number of breakout sessions, including:

  • Top Tools to Maximize Your Blog – Andy Ebon, WeddingWire Education Expert
  • Mastering Keys to Limitless Success – Laurie Hartwell, The Bridal Society
  • In His Moment: The Grooms Tell All – Ross Oscar Knight, photographer & author
  • Small Tips for the Big Day: Enhancing the Client Experience – Monte Durham, Bridals by Lori
  • The Importance of Reviews – Alan Katz, Great Officiants
  • Pros with a Passion: Giving back While Gaining More – Ali Phillips & Lacy Branch, Wish Upon a Wedding

As a reminder, don’t forget to follow along with the hashtag #wwworld on Twitter and Instagram to see key takeaways and fun behind-the-scenes photos from @WeddingWireEDU and our amazing guests.

We’re excited to welcome our Pros back today to continue the education and industry insights! Be sure to check back later this week as we continue to share event photos and highlights.

For more information about speakers, presentations and other frequently asked questions, visit WeddingWireWorld.com.

» Day 1 of WeddingWire World 2015

Day 1 of WeddingWire World 2015Today, at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, wedding and event professionals from across the world will learn about the latest in the wedding industry and how to keep their businesses on top of the most important channels, including branding, business growth, review management, marketing strategies, networking and more!

Attendees will have the unique opportunity to hear from leading wedding industry professionals, special guest speakers, Education Experts and WeddingWire staff over the course of two full days. Our Customer Success team will be available throughout each day for on-site consultations and help our members take advantage of everything their WeddingWire account has to offer.

Below are a few other helpful day one notes for WeddingWire World 2015 attendees:

  • Check in and start the day in the Potomac Lobby, where WeddingWire staff will be ready and waiting to welcome our Pros with a special gift.
  • Download the ProWire mobile app on iTunes or Google Play and select WeddingWire World 2015 so that you’re able to access everything you need to know, on the go!
  • Catch up and create new connections with your fellow Wedding Pros at our Networking Breakfast from 8am-9:15am.
  • Join us in Potomac AB for main stage presentations, followed by special gatherings and breakout sessions in various rooms throughout the day.
  • Learn more about our industry partnerships and featured associations with educational resources available at the first ever Education Alley, open from 1pm-5:30pm.
  • Tweet your own takeaways and follow along with the hashtag #wwworld on Twitter, where @WeddingWireEDU will be live tweeting and responding to Pro feedback and more! We also welcome guests to post their own behind-the-scenes photos on Instagram for a chance to win a WeddingWire Education Prize Pack (see official rules).
  • Foster the new connections you’ve made throughout the day at our Networking Night reception following the day’s presentations in Eastern Shore 1-3.

Check back tomorrow morning for additional day two information, including a few special surprises for attendees!

Thanks to all the Pros joining at WeddingWire World 2015! For more information about speakers, presentations and other frequently asked questions, visit WeddingWireWorld.com.

» WeddingWire World 2015: Meet the Speakers

We’re only one week away from WeddingWire World 2015, and tickets are sold out! We’re so excited to welcome hundreds of wedding and event professionals for two full days of education and information to help you grow your business.

In addition to your WeddingWire World favorites like CEO Timothy Chi, CMO Sonny Ganguly and our team of Education Experts, we’re proud to host the following special guest speakers from a variety of backgrounds! Get to know a little bit more about each of them below:

speakers-bill-rancic@2xBill Rancic

Entrepreneur & Author, Winner of NBC’s The Apprentice

Bill Rancic burst onto the national scene when he was hired by Donald Trump as the winner of the first season of NBC’s breakthrough program The Apprentice. The published author of a New York Times best-selling book, Bill wrote “You’re Hired: How To Succeed In Business And Life.” This book chronicles Bill’s successful life, experience, and proven advice. He continued to make a name for himself as an author by writing “Beyond the Lemonade Stand” to help educate and motivate young people worldwide about the value of money and how to leverage skills, talents and abilities at an early age. All proceeds from the sale of this book have gone to charity.

speakers-monte-durham@2xMonte Durham

Fashion Director, Bridals by Lori, TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta

Monte Durham is the Fashion Director at Bridals by Lori, the South’s premier bridal salon featured on TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta. A native of small-town West Virginia, Monte describes his ascension from one-room schoolhouse to the fashion industry as an unlikely story. Before he found his way to bridal, Monte worked in fashion merchandising and hair styling, then made a name for himself as a Washington, DC-based bridal image consultant. His work has appeared in the pages of The Washingtonian, Martha Stewart Living, Brides Magazine, and several other publications. Monte’s no-nonsense fashion commentary and naughty sense of humor have made him a favorite and regular guest on CNN and Fox.

speakers-dana-herbert@2xDana Herbert

Owner, Desserts by Dana, Winner of Cake Boss: The Next Great Baker

Dana Herbert, owner of the award-winning Desserts by Dana, resides in Bear, Delaware. Chef Herbert lives and breathes in the sweet and artistic world of pastry art, where flavor and color come to life in his wonderful wedding cakes, sugar sculptures, custom cakes, and tasty miniature desserts for all occasions. Dana is an expert sugar artist with a number of nicknames. He’s best known as “The Sugar Daddy” because of his work with pulled and blown sugar, but is also known as Delaware’s “King of Cakes.” Dana leads a talented group of cake makers and designers that have been named top 100 Bakeries in the United States by Brides Magazine, routinely receive the Best of Delaware and People’s Choice Award for their amazing cakes. Chef Herbert was named Top Ten Cake Designers in the United States by Dessert Professional Magazine in 2014. Continue reading