How to Make the Most of Engage Wedding Summits
I remember the day Jennifer told me that she had decided that we were going to attend Engage Summit at Nizuc in Mexico. We had been talking about it for over a year and whether we thought the investment was worth it.
Ultimately, it came down to the other people who were attending or had in the past. It’s always chock full of some of the biggest names in the business. Our thought process was: if those people are going–and investing multiple times a year–then we should probably be there talking business with them.
It was definitely a risk worth taking. It’s a very intense week and an expensive buy in so you have to be a little strategic about the way you approach it. With that said, here are my tips on how to make the most of your next Engage Summit.
1. Prioritize your Purpose
This is the most important part–I think. Because it is such a substantial investment, it’s important to go into it with a clear idea of what you wish to accomplish.
When we got all of our grab bag items, we also got a giant “bible” that gave us information about every person who was attending. It had all of the names of the speakers, the guests, the people who run the show and all of their company names, titles and Instagram handles.
As soon as we flipped through the book, we knew what our goal was for the summit: To strengthen the relationships with the people that we know who recommend us to their clients and meet new people who are on our level that we can share clients with in the future.
Tip: Engage! is great for planners, venues and photographers but if you are outside of those categories, it’s really a hidden gem. So many of the other vendor categories are underrepresented and that really gives you a leg up!
2. Get Real
A lot of veterans speaking at the newbie orientation group recommended NOT talking about business. Yep, you heard me right. Beyond the “What’s the name of your company? And what do you do?” questions, it was obvious that too much business banter was frowned upon.
Well, Engage is all about making deeper connections, and to do that, you really have to jump off of your business elevator schtick and into left field pretty quickly.
That’s where “getting real” comes into place. Dig deeper. Ask more meaningful questions, like “What made you get into weddings?” or “Do you have children?” rather than “How long have you been in business?”
In turn, share more about yourself and step out of your comfort zone. When you lay it all on the line, you find that you have more things in common, in your personal life and in your “why.” That’s where friendships are formed and honestly, people recommend people they like and trust. Share more and you’ll get more back.
If you’re like me and the thought of this makes the hair on your arms stand up, try a pre-networking margarita to get rid of those jitters and then–Just be yourself. <3
3. Take Care of Yourself
Speaking of margaritas, don’t get too used to them. Even though the food is gorgeous to look at and the drinks are available, you won’t be having much of either. An Engage Summit is a non-stop event. It’s 3-4 days of one thing after another. If you’ve ever been a bride or groom, just think of it like a 3-day wedding. Yep. Take a moment to let that sink in.
Here’s how the days were for me:
- 6:30am Wake up and get ready
- Breakfast, networking
- Seminars, networking in line for the bathroom
- 12:00pm Lunch, networking
- Seminars, networking while grabbing a coffee
- Run back to hotel room to change
- 7:00pm Dinner, networking, cocktails, networking, dancing, networking
- 12:00am Afterparties, networking
- 3:00am Sleep (out like a light!)
Then you wake up and do it all again for 3-4 more days. That being said, you do not need to go to everything. Listen to your body. Listen to your brain (although everyone is pretty fried by the last day and that makes conversation the easiest because no one can hold it together😭😂).
Photo by Rachel May Photography
If you need to head back to your room to lie down for a minute or skip a seminar from someone you’ve heard speak elsewhere before, do it. You have to present your best self, so be sure to take care of yourself!
4. Stick Around
I say 3-4 days because the seminar is technically three days long. However, a lot of the seasoned vendors stay an extra day to hang with their friends from the industry who they may only get to see a few times a year at an Engage! Summit.
With the summit behind you, the resort takes on a casual vibe. Some of our deepest conversations and best introductions happened on the last day with people who were tied up in other conversations earlier in the week. The last day is really a chance to solidify your friendships with the people you met.
5. Follow up
After the summit, you might need a break, so consider giving yourself an extra day after day four and/or the following weekend to turn off your brain from the overload. I pretty much didn’t want to talk to anyone for a week. So going back to #3 again, take care of yourself!
Once you’ve rested and you’re ready to hop back into gear, follow up! You may not see these people again until the next Engage or ever, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t still earn business from each other. Keep the relationship warm and the conversation flowing by writing thank you notes, sending gifts, following and commenting on social, sending out emails and/or following the people you met. This step is crucial. Without it, all of that energy you spent connecting and sharing could be lost.
Photo by Theo Milo Photography
I hope this blog post has helped you prioritize your Engage! experience, as well as give you a little insight as to what to expect.
If this is your first time and you’re not sure if you should take the plunge, reach out to us! We’d love to hear from you and answer any questions you have.