Sweet Root Village is an event floral design studio based in Alexandria, Virginia owned by Lauren Anderson and Rachel Bridgwood. Sweet Root is known for large installations, sharing openly about floral business, and creating a family friendly work environment for their team. Over the past 10 years, they have grown to an in-house team of six who lead over 80 weddings and events a year, and have been featured in Martha Stewart, Modern Luxury, Once Wed, Brides, and dozens of wedding and event publications.
Refine for Wedding Planners
After a decade in weddings and events, Amber Anderson, founder of Heavenly Day Events, pivoted her career into coaching others while maintaining a role in her planning company in Austin, Texas. As the host of Refine for Wedding Planners, Amber desires to coach and mentor new, aspiring and struggling planners via the largest Facebook group exclusively for wedding planners by offering a course, retreat and templates! As a Public Speaker, Amber is known for having radical honesty, often saying what most people are thinking but won’t say, striving to elevate the industry one conversation at a time.
Founder & CEO
Eddie Babbage is the founder and CEO of Timeline Genius, a software company dedicated to revolutionizing the way wedding and event professionals create event day timelines. In addition to his work on Timeline Genius, Eddie is the host of the Wedding Industry Insider podcast, which provides interviews and insights from top figures in the wedding industry. Earlier in his career, Eddie worked in fields ranging from e-commerce and social media to corporate law and investment banking.
Custom Love Gifts
Lindsay Barrows Ruggieri lives in East Knoxville with her 3-year-old daughter and husband. Lindsay owns Custom Love Gifts, Events, and Prints, a company in the wedding industry offering Event Planning, Gourment Favors, and Wedding Stationery. Lindsay is co-owner of The Bride Link, which offers expert wedding planning advice, including a Youtube Channel and Podcast. Lindsay has Masters degrees from WVU in Industrial Relations as well as an MBA.
Professional Certified Event Planner
Heather Benge Events
Heather is a nationally recognized and professionally certified event planner who broke out in the wedding industry creating and planning weddings from Alaska to Alabama. Heather currently owns Heather Benge Events, an event planning boutique, is the creator of Pretty & Published, a styled shoot workshop and manages a luxury wedding venue in Houston, TX. Heather's work can be found on magazine covers across the country and every major blog in the industry. She is a big supporter of community over competition and loves to aide other creatives in expressing their ideas through design and inspirations.
Author/Professional Speaker/Business Consultant
With more than 20 years in wedding related sales, sales management and marketing, Alan is considered to be North America’s Leading Speaker and Expert on the Business of Weddings & Events. Alan is the author of the books If Your Website Was An Employee, Would You Fire It? and Your Attitude for Success, both in their 2nd editions and also in Spanish. Alan speaks to thousands of local business professionals every year through webinars, DVDs, MP3s, and live presentations, domestically and internationally. He is an in-demand professional speaker and member of the National Speakers Association, the leading organization for professional speakers.
Aloha Friday CPA
A CPA for Creatives and Wedding Professionals, Jamie supports passionate entrepreneurs to be fearless in business. Upon graduating from the University of Calgary, Haskayne School of Business, and earning her Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation, Jamie re-located to Maui paradise! She had the opportunity to work with restaurateurs, wedding professionals, and creative entrepreneurs, which now fuel her career, and niche clientele! Always inspired by passionate small business owners, Jamie founded her remote business, Aloha Friday CPA, to help entrepreneurs develop accounting strategies to further their growth, gain confidence and clarity, level up their financial literacy while focusing on their creative talents. With an accountant’s eye to detail, and an entrepreneur’s mindset, she has a knack for understanding her client’s visions and dreams. Jamie is a digital nomad, and splits her time between Victoria, BC, Calgary, AB, Phoenix, AZ and Maui, HI! She loves few things more than her toes in the sand, her french bulldog, “Nalu” and the promise of a great adventure! Find her on Instagram @jamie_boyack or online.
Uncommon Camellia, WIPA
Adrienne is a licensed mental health therapist and founder of the thriving New Orleans wedding coordination company Uncommon Camellia. Influenced by her training and experience as a counselor, Adrienne’s approach to business is centered on strong alliances with clients, co-workers and colleagues.
B2B Marketing & Contenet at The Knot Worldwide
As Director of B2B Marketing & Content at The Knot Worldwide, Meghan has extensive marketing and event management experience and understands the challenges and opportunities creative entrepreneurs face. Meghan has been a featured speaker at Wedding MBA, Showit United, and on The Goal Digger Podcast. Growing up with a booking agent and a wedding band leader for parents, there is no doubt that marketing and events are in Meghan’s DNA. Find her @meghan_sb.
Intrigue Design and Decor
Sarah Campbell is a renowned wedding expert based out of Annapolis, Maryland. This dynamic designer is the owner of Intrigue Design & Décor, which has a focus on flowers for luxury weddings and social events up and down the East Coast. Sarah has become a leader in the industry being called upon by a variety of media sources such as NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX as well as a number of magazines, blogs and newspapers. Sarah’s excitement for weddings and her passion for design is apparent the moment you meet her. She openly shares her talent and knowledge teaches through a series of classes and workshops both in person and on-line.
Laura Cannon has been a sought after and award-wedding officiant for over a decade, and has personally performed over 1,000 wedding ceremonies. She is the owner of Ceremony Officiants™, a large team of professional officiants serving 8 states on the East Coast, and the President of the International Association of Professional Wedding Officiants (IAPWO). A Professional Member of the prestigious National Speakers Association, her presentation style is informative, inspiring, and accessible. Laura is an author, coach, serial entrepreneur, officiant, and mom who is passionate about teaching others how to bring more love, balance, and mindfulness into their business and their lives.
Founder & President
Everett Andrew Marketing
Mark, and the team of digital marketing experts he leads, have become the premier agency for the wedding industry. His career experience as a wedding photographer (before founding his agency) gave him the perfect insight into exactly what is needed for success when marketing a wedding business. Mark and his team deliver powerful marketing campaigns for extraordinary wedding business growth.
Wedding Chat Marketing
Henry has been a wedding photographer since 2007, specializing in multi-cultural, faith, and ethnic weddings. He's honored and grateful to have collected over 500 wedding reviews across sites like WeddingWire, The Knot, Yelp, and Google. In the past year, Henry started a chat marketing agency that helps wedding professionals, venues, and creative entrepreneurs successfully use chat marketing to generate leads and earn more while saving time. Henry is also a YouTuber, backpacker/hiker, and most importantly, a husband and father.
The Knot Worldwide
Tim Chi is a DC-based CEO and entrepreneur who founded WeddingWire out of his living room with three friends in 2007. Tim led the company from an internet start-up to a multimillion-dollar leader in the wedding planning industry. In 2018, WeddingWire and XO Group merged to form The Knot Worldwide, the largest global wedding planning company serving millions of engaged couples across 15 countries. Tim holds a bachelor of science degree from Cornell University and a Master’s of Science degree in Engineering Management from Tufts University.
Sal Cincotta is an international award-winning photographer, educator, author, Publisher of Shutter Magazine, and CEO of Creative Cinc, a St. Louis-based creative agency. Sal’s success is directly tied to the education he received while in business school. He graduated from Binghamton University, a Top 20 business school, and brings his decade of corporate experience, working for the likes of Procter & Gamble and Microsoft, to the photography business, where he continues to prove himself to be a leader and innovator. Cincotta & Co has been listed on the Inc. 5000 Fastest-Growing Companies in America 3 years in a row—2015, 2016, and 2017.
Owner & Editor
Marry Me Tampa Bay
Anna Coats is the owner and editor of the wedding publication, Marry Me Tampa Bay and founder of the online marketing consulting firm, Married to Marketing. Anna has appeared as a wedding expert on the national talkshow Daytime TV, ABC Action News, News Channel 8, and Fox 13 and has provided wedding planning advice in the U.S. News and World Report, Washington Post, and L.A. Times. She was a finalist for Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Business Woman of the Year and named 40 Under 40 by Breezin’ Entertainment Magazine. With over 14 years of marketing experience, including leading a marketing team for a Fortune 500 company, Anna provides blogging, social media and online marketing consulting for the wedding and event industry.
Say Yes To Profits
As the CEO of Say Yes To Profits, a virtual accounting firm, Octavia Conner is an award-winning financial strategist, best-selling author, and speaker who specializes in helping businesses grow between 30% and 350% within 12-months while saving over 55% in taxes. Her mission is to prevent the struggle of entrepreneurship and help businesses earn their first or next million dollars sooner than they think. Recently awarded one of the Top 50 Cloud Accountants in North American, Octavia strategically combines over 13 years of financial management with financial consulting to help her client say yes to profits. Octavia is a wife and mother of four who enjoy spending her spare time with family and watching action movies. For more information, visit sayyestoprofits.com
Owner & Principal Designer
An Affair To Remember
Jody Cox, Owner and Principal Designer of An Affair To Remember – an award-winning floral and event design company based in Saint Louis, Missouri - has been assisting clients turn their visions into reality for over ten years. Under Cox’s vision and leadership, AATR focuses on comprehensive design and a big-picture approach by creating and elevating the visual and ultimately the client experience. Her team’s attention to detail is only matched by unparalleled customer service and dedication to each client. Cox’s greatest asset is her ability to marry both business strategy and the creativity of design. Excellence is a core value at AATR that comes from the top down and permeates every facet of the business and the design process. Her favorite part of the job is two-fold, “Our design process is pretty interactive; we layer linens, bring in various containers, light candles, mock up florals and more. The look of excitement on our clients’ faces when they start to see their vision take shape is hands down the best part. This is only magnified when they leave our studio saying how stress-free they feel and how we just ‘get it’. When we exceed their expectations on one of the most important days of their life, it makes all the hard work worth it. What we do is truly a labor of love in the best kind of way.” If you know Jody on a personal level, you know that she spends most of her time working, but when she gets the opportunity to travel or pop a bottle of good wine, she jumps on it. “There’s quite literally nothing better than sipping a cocktail with the view of the mountains or beach in front of you.”
White Stone Marketing
Scott’s love of marketing, public speaking and all things computing was kindled in his early high school years. He attended California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California where he majored in Agricultural Business with a concentration in Marketing. While Agricultural Business may seem like an odd major for a hospitality professional, Scott found the practical education focused on small businesses much more applicable than corporate-centered classes frequently found in the business department majors. Scott and his wife Allison founded the first internet marketing agency solely dedicated to small lodging properties back in 1994 and today focus on taking great care of a small collection of highly successful properties and venues. Scott’s desire to achieve excellent results for his clients can be summed up in one of his favorite sayings for his team: “Take twice as long to do it twice as right!”
CEO and Lead Planner
Moxie Bright Events, WIPA
Renée Dalo is the CEO and Lead Planner of Moxie Bright Events, a Southern California wedding planning company. Renee is also a Leader for the Los Angeles chapter of The Rising Tide Society and the Education Chair for the Association of Bridal Consultants, Greater Los Angeles. A champion of innovation and education within the wedding industry, she continues to be an outspoken proponent for going against the status-quo. A born and raised New Yorker, she now makes her home in Los Angeles with her handsome husband, two scruffy dogs, and one elegant cat. Before Renée became an event planner, she was a theatre producer, director, and actor. Her favorite events are the ones that marry (pun intended) all the pretty and the personal details with a flair for the dramatic. She can't say no to anything Kate Spade, a weekend getaway, or a well-made bellini.
Owner & Lead Designer
Designs by Devereux Weddings and Events
Lance is the owner and lead designer at Designs by Devereux Weddings and Events, a full-service wedding, special event, & floral design firm located in Charlotte, NC. The company is one of the most sought-after event design firms in the Carolinas & beyond and has designed florals and events both locally and across the nation. From your everyday bride or groom, to professional athletes and other well known figures, Designs by Devereux has been blessed to spread the magic of design in every space it touches. The company has been featured on newsstands nationwide in publications such as B Collective Magazine as well as being featured in numerous online blogs and publications. Lance received a nomination for Designer of the Year alongside other top designers in the wedding & event industry in 2019 & won the prestigious award for designer of the year at the 2020 B Collective Awards. As Co-Founder of the Dare 2 Design Experience, Lance continues to share his love for the art of event design through education and speaking.
Digital Dave Music
DJ Digital Dave operates a full-service DJ company based out of Pittsburgh, PA with extensive experience in nightclubs, luxury weddings, corporate events, radio and professional sports. Dave is the in-game DJ for the Pittsburgh Steelers as well as the Pitt Panthers (NCAA) football and men's basketball teams. He currently holds 5 nightclub residencies and has played at venues across the U.S. including LIV (Miami, FL), Heist (Washington, D.C.), The Ritz (Tampa, FL) and many more. Digital Dave's radio experience includes playing on The Jump Off Mix (Power 106, LA), live sets on Sirius XM's Sway in the Morning and an ongoing quarterly residency on the nationally syndicated Kidd Kraddick morning show. On top of his nightclub, radio and professional sports schedule DJ Digital Dave plays 50+ luxury weddings and corporate events annually throughout the U.S. Considered an expert in his field Dave has been quoted by numerous major websites including BizBash, SB Nation, Wedding Wire, DJ Times & DJ Tech Tools and has traveled the country as both a public speaker and consultant.
Branding & Marketing Expert and Educator
Timeesha is an International #1-Best-Selling Author, and award-winning Branding & Marketing Expert and Educator. She is best known for helping entrepreneurs create powerhouse brands and marketing funnels that captivate their target audience, build their tribe and impact millions with their brand message. She has coached over 2,000 students and clients in over 10 countries. She has been featured in prestigious platforms like Huffington Post, Amazon, and Forbes.com, and shares her expertise on ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox news. She has high profile collaborations with million dollar brands, she co-hosts the acclaimed radio show, Making The Brand and serves on the Forbes Coaches Council. Timeesha is recognized as a trailblazer in her industry
With a background in digital marketing, Sara Dunn is a wedding SEO consultant at SaraDoesSEO.com, helping wedding planners, photographers, venues, florists, and more reach rockstar status on Google. Sara is a contributor to notable industry sites as Honeybook, Special Events, WeddingIQ, and WIPA.
Bridal Extravaganza & Texas Wedding Guide
Sheila Dunn, Marketing Director for Texas Weddings, producer of the Bridal Extravaganza and the Texas Wedding Guide serving Central Texas, is passionate about helping wedding businesses succeed. Using more than 20 years of experience helping wedding professionals reach and sell to engaged couples, she has developed an outline to help any company improve the ROI for any wedding show, including booking at the show. In 2019, vendors at Texas Weddings’ Bridal Extravaganzas in Austin and San Antonio booked hundreds of thousands of dollars in business AT THE SHOW! Sheila also helps clients design effective advertising, signage, and other marketing materials.
Actor & Producer, Bridal Consultant
Monte Durham is an actor and producer, known for A New You with Monte Durham, Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta, Say Yes to the Dress: Bridesmaids. His work as a bridal consultant has been featured in Martha Stewart Living, The New York Times, and InStyle. Monte covered the wedding of Prince William and Kate for TLC.
Ivory & Lace Weddings
Hello, I am Amanda of Ivory & Lace Creative Weddings. I come from a long history of event planners and have been in the industry for nearly a decade. I have innovatively organized thousands of events – from hands-on installation and design to full-scale production. But I haven’t always been in weddings. I have a degree in Anthropology from San Diego State University, with an emphasis on cultural customs, rituals, and superstitions. What drew me to the humanities side of anthropology was my love of traditions—whether it be respecting those of our past or creating new ones. What pulled me to the science side of anthropology was my perfectionism. I love taking care of all the little elements. It was my job to take a project and meticulously analyze it from every angle. Eventually, I continued my education; focusing specifically on events and weddings, I got certified as a Professional Wedding Planner at California State University, San Marcos. My scientifically trained attention to detail, my curated understanding of cultures as a whole, and my years of experience as a designer and producer make me the amazing planner that I am today.
OFD Consulting, WeddingWire Education Expert, WIPA
Meghan is a sought after speaker on wedding marketing and wedding PR topics, and recently presented at The NACE Experience 2013, The Special Event 2013, The Business of Weddings Ireland and the Association of European Wedding Professional's inaugural wedding conference. She is an adjunct professor in the Mass Communication department at Virginia Commonwealth University, specializing in Public Relations Writing and Branding.
The Bridal Collection
Jordan Ensminger started her career in the bridal field in 2004 in San Francisco, after two years of travel throughout Europe and Africa. Beginning as a stylist, her love and knowledge of the bridal industry grew quickly and she soon expanded into buying and coaching. When she left Northern California for Denver, she began work with one of the fastest growing bridal stores in the country, The Bridal Collection. The combination was a perfect match. While her role as Creative Director has given her the opportunity to take on more behind–the-scenes responsibilities including digital marketing, branding, merchandising, coaching and buying, most days you will find her working with brides to help them find their dream dress. In her spare time, Jordan, an avid outdoors person, loves to explore Colorado with her husband and spoil her two pugs.
Andrea Eppolito Weddings & Events
Armed with nearly two decades of event planning experience, numerous awards (including a Special Events Gala Award and Las Vegas Wedding Professional of the Year) and backed with a degree from the highly respected University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Andrea Eppolito's work has been featured nationwide in The New York Times, The LA Times, Style Me Pretty, Grace Ormonde Wedding Style, Glamor Magazine and more. Renowned for designing weddings with soul, and called "vibrant, chic, and impeccably organized" by Junebug Weddings, Andrea prides herself on being an advocate for her clients. Her tireless dedication is a testament to her love of weddings, allowing her to bridge the gap between wedding planner and friend. Las Vegas Wedding Planner Andrea Eppolito was born in New York, and lived bi-coastally between New York and LA, before relocating to Las Vegas in 1994. After 20 years she considers herself "nearly a native" of the city she now resides in with her husband and children. Andrea Eppolito Events LLC is based in Las Vegas, and operates world wide.
Lehigh Valley Celebrants
With 30 years of experience as an educator, Donna spent her career teaching in inner-city classrooms, as well as developing and implementing high-standards of curricula. Donna took a sabbatical in 2014 to earn her Masters in Leadership and Administration. That same year, Marriage Equality passed in her state of Pennsylvania. Within days of the lifting of the same-sex marriage ban, Donna officiated her first wedding, marrying two men in their 70’s. This prompted her to go through the Humanist Society to become endorsed as a Humanist Celebrant. That decision proved to be a life-changing event, leading Donna to retire from education to pursue her Humanist Celebrant business full-time. Donna has since officiated hundreds of ceremonies and built a full-time Celebrant business, Lehigh Valley Celebrants. Under her leadership, the business has grown to include six other working, Humanist Celebrants. Through mentorship-style learning, Donna and her team have become highly sought-after Celebrants in the region and are hired to reside over numerous life celebrations each year. Celebrant Academy is Donna's newest venture, and allows her to share her dedication to continuous learning with the skills that have made her a marketable Celebrant, such as her background in theater, public speaking, storytelling, marketing and writing. Through this six - eight month program of studies, she and the other award-winning instructors at Celebrant Academy, help others learn the art of Celebrancy so they graduate with all they need to be at the top of their field. Earnest and innovative, Donna keeps her finger on the pulse of wedding industry trends and collaborates with important creatives and thought leaders. She currently is Vice President of the Board of the Humanist Society and takes an active role with providing training opportunities for Humanist Celebrants nationwide.
Principal, CJFox Law
Founder, Engaged Legal Collective
Caroline is a Virginia attorney whose practice focuses on creative small- to medium-sized businesses and brands. A majority of her practice is dedicated to working with event professionals both at the local and luxury levels. As an attorney, she's helped companies both large and small incorporate, tighten up contracts, protect trademarks and copyrights, and resolve disputes. For the past three years, she's been named to Virginia's "Legal Elite" in the "Under 40" or "Intellectual Property" categories by a vote of fellow Virginia attorneys, and was recently named as a Superlawyers "Rising Star." Caroline is a frequent speaker and educator on legal topics relevant to small businesses, and travels around the world to teach wedding and event professionals.
Owner + Creative Director
Harmony Creative Studio
Margaux Fraise is the owner + creative director of Harmony Creative Studio, an award-winning boutique wedding firm in Los Angeles, CA. Since moving from retail consulting to events in 2011, her goal has been to design weddings with intention, infusing celebrations with her signature organic and minimal style yet still tailored to each couple. A Stage IV breast cancer survivor, she has a unique perspective on what is truly valuable in love, life and weddings – and brings that viewpoint to help her clients hone in on what matters to them. As a result, her work has been featured in numerous publications, including Style Me Pretty, Brides, and Green Wedding Shoes, among others. Margaux serves as a wedding business educator, frequent podcast guest and motivational speaker. Her meticulous onboarding, planning, design and execution procedures have also caught the attention of her peers, and she shares insight regularly on efficient systems for creatives.
President of Growth + International
The Knot Worldwide
Sonny leads WeddingWire's marketing strategy, customer acquisition, and business development. Prior to joining WeddingWire, Sonny was in a management program at Wal-Mart where he led marketing, sales, and retail strategy development. Before this experience, Sonny spent four years at Kraft Foods where he managed numerous consumer brands, including the JELL-O business with P&L responsibility for over $800 Million. During his tenure, his brands' reached record volume, revenue, and profitability levels. Sonny has structured partnerships with companies such as NBC, MTV, Conde Nast (Modern Bride and Brides magazines), Mattel, Universal, Dole, Reynolds, Costco, and Safeway.
A Southern Soiree
Megan Gillikin is a successful Wedding and Event Planning business owner at A Southern Soiree, Consultant to fellow event industry pros, Podcaster at Weddings For Real, and Mom to 3 girls under 7. Her two favorite meals are breakfast and dessert, and she loves dance parties in the living room with her husband and those 3 daughters!
Megan graduated with her hospitality degree and her MBA. After graduation, she earned her stripes in the hotel industry by working for Marriott for almost 5 years on the event operations/planning side in roles that lead her to her love of events. In 2010, Megan left the hotel world and took over ownership of an existing wedding planning company in need of re-branding to remain relevant within the industry. After 10 years of growing A Southern Soiree, Megan has established it as one of the most sought after, highly regarded event planning companies in the southeast.
She loves getting to know the inner workings of people’s personalities…so much so that she started a wedding industry podcast in 2018! That led to another passion, which is consulting with other industry vendors on growing their businesses purposefully! Megan has a love for providing real, insightful and tangible advice and wisdom on growing and sustaining a successful event business! If you’re Myers-Briggs fans she’s an ENFJ, and a solid 3 on the Enneagram. She’s ambitious, adaptable and enthusiastic and her love for this industry is contagious!
Jennifer lives to blow things up! Whether it’s sales targets, client expectations or marketing goals, Jennifer coaches and empowers entrepreneurs and wedding pros with actionable ideas! Building on her 15+ years in the wedding industry as a high-end studio owner and Director of Marketing for multi-million dollar decor rental company, Jennifer has become an industry thought-leader, educator and speaker. She has been named a ‘Top 25 Women to Watch,’ is a Knot Pro Educator, and owner of Flourish&Co., a consulting agency exclusively created for wedding pros.
John Goolsby filmed his first event in 1973 and started his business in 1986 and is one of the most prolific wedding filmmakers in the world having filmed more than 3000 wedding in 25 different countries while logging in more than a million airline miles and $10,000,000 in sales. He has been named “One of the Top 25 Event Filmmakers in the World” has won countless awards and was inducted into the Wedding Video Hall of Fame. Actors, Rock Stars and Professional Athletes have commissioned his company, Godfather Films to film their weddings and events around the world. While their passion is wedding films, they also produce storytelling films for businesses with a client list that includes Abbott Labs, Kaiser Permanente, Goya Foods, Costco, Penske Motorsports, Mobil Oil, B. F. Goodrich, U. S. Foodservice and the U. S. Army. His book “The Wedding Godfather – Advice You Can’t Refuse” is available at Amazon and their website. www.GodfatherFilms.com
FamZing Studios & Noveli Photography
Stephen & Summer Gossett have been wedding photographers for over 15 years and between their two studios have post processed and delivered over 2500 weddings to happy couples in the south east and beyond. Summer is a Black Belt in Six Sigma, as well as Certified in Lean Manufacturing and Service. Her background is in analyzing processes, breaking them down and leaning them out to add the most value to the customer. Stephen is fluent in Adobe applications and brings his extensive knowledge of photography, color theory, and process improvement to every class he teaches. Together they have achieved numerous recognitions and awards for their teaching and photography. They recently won Photographers of the Year for 2017 & 2018 by their local chapter of NACE (National Association of Catering and Events).
Chief Event Architect and Creative Planning Visionary
Brian is an award-winning event planner with over sixteen years of experience in the international events' industry. He is the Chief Event Architect and Creative Planning Visionary of By BrianGreen LLC based in Atlanta and Crown Events Inc in Barbados creating breathtaking events all across the globe. He is also a former Diplomat for the country of Barbados and in 2017, he was the featured guest expert on The Steve Harvey Show for their annual Wedding Hour to give great tips and advice on how to host the best wedding while avoiding the usual pitfalls (S5, Ep 168). Brian is a dynamic and engaging speaker who infuses his personal and professional experiences into his presentations, from working in a corporate environment to becoming an entrepreneur.
The Flower Guy Bron
Fondly referred to as The Flower Guy, Bron Hansboro is the lead creative and floral designer at The Flower Guy Bron. A leader in his market, Bron provides bespoke design and styling experiences for weddings and events of all types. His famous motto, "We don't sell flowers, we sell experiences" describes the boutique business approach that is paradigm to his brand.
DJ HAPA is considered one of the best guides you could have on the musical journey he creates every night. Describing his sound as “#FeelGoodSound”, he is known for playing a multitude of genres and blending it all together to create a unique soundtrack. His list of accolades and clients includes such top brands as Ducati, Ferrari, Formula1, Microsoft, ESPN, Lululenon and The Grammys, just to name a few. He has shared the stage with artists as diverse as his musical selection: Michael Jackson, Earth Wind & Fire, and Drake to Bruno Mars, Marshmello, and Chromeo. In 2016, Hapa created a new group called Phil N Good, where he is executive producing remixes and original tracks accompanied by live instruments. HAPA has a unique gift of being able to connect with people through a variety of forms. He is as comfortable in front of the camera, hosting live events or in a boardroom as he is in the DJ booth. This versatility has helped land him some pretty unique opportunities including being the first resident DJ on the Emmy award winning KTLA Morning Show in Los Angeles, a feature on The Ellen Show and the turntablist in the 10 piece Miles Electric Band.
Most catering and events business owners fail at making money doing what they love because they don't know how to market themselves. Through her company, Flourish Marketing, Aleya offers marketing education, strategy, and tools that help wedding, catering, and events business owners stop staring at a blank calendar and start getting and keeping a consistent stream of clients. Aleya is a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef who also happens to be an award-winning, marketing strategist, brand manager, content developer, and storyteller. She has a background as a marketing executive on the leadership teams of large foodservice organizations and has also been a private chef and catering company owner. Aleya speaks your language and understands your challenges. She knows how important it is to work in your passion. That's why for the past 12 years, she has been focused on helping over 1,000 accounts, brands, and business owners to be successful. Aleya is a dynamic interpersonal communicator and presenter with the exceptional ability to inspire, motivate, and equip her audience. She loves opportunities to connect, help people develop, and create the space for her fellow entrepreneurs to see their visions manifest.
Back in design school, I once took a personality evaluation to apply at Golden Corral. It said I had "issues with following the status quo". I was shocked! I did not get that job. Fast forward a couple decades, though... I still prefer to color outside the lines by putting prints on wedding gowns, embroidering skulls into lace, and encouraging renegade brides to forego tradition for the sake of itself in favor of hyper-personalizing. I wish every bride could have the fun "Easter eggs" we hide in our brides' gowns. I grew up on a farm in rural Indiana. I've been on a path to this career my whole life, starting from glueing Barbie clothes before Mom started teaching me to sew in third grade. I have crazy notions about how life and art intermingle. I think the gown you wear on your wedding day should be exactly the kind of craziness your spouse would expect from you. I think fashion should serve to convey your personality. Ironically, though, on my days off, you'll find me to be a supreme suburban cliche. Every morning I trip over Legos and teethers as I stumble to the kitchen for my caffeine fix. Nighttime makes my brain whirl with ideas. My family and tribe energize me to live this dream. We are Game of Thrones nerds, roadtrippers, and Boilermakers. In 2016, we spontaneously went to Hong Kong (with kids). We're experience maniacs. Maybe that's why I cherish weddings so gosh darn much.
The Bridal Society
Laurie Hartwell has nearly 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry, teaching The Bridal Society's Wedding Planning Certification Conferences, public speaking, and planning weddings across the country. She has earned many awards over the years planning weddings for celebrities and other elite clientele, and recently won "Most Helpful Mentor" at the National WEDDI AWARDS for all the help she gives to wedding professionals all around the world. Laurie has a passion for the industry and strongly believes in continuing education while inspiring others to be the best version of themselves.
Andreas Hauke matriculated in New York and graduated from the Vienna Business School with Marketing as his Major. He started off as part of the Brand Team at General Motors in Vienna. Andreas moved to South Africa in 2004 and worked as a Marketing Specialist and started his own company, Hauke Digital, which today produces high-end fashion style wedding films, corporate films, adverts and event productions with a branch in Gauteng & the Western Cape, South Africa. The company shoots wedding films all over the world. Andreas studied part time film at the Motion Picture Academy and attended 3D Animation at the Open Window School for Visual Arts. Andreas has extensive experience in video, blogging and marketing. His company has also expanded to the design and development of websites. His company runs a few success lifestyle blogs such as Wedding Friends, South Africa’s biggest wedding supplier network. Hauke Digital organizes annual networking events for small creative businesses in the Wedding industry to improve their busiens skills. Today, Andreas is an international keynote speaker focusing on video marketing. He has spoken at the Wedding MBA 2017 (Las Vegas), World Marketing Congress (Mumbai), B2B Marketing Exchange (Scottsdale, AZ), Lighthouse Studios (Dubai, UAE), Vienna Business School (Vienna, Austria), Photo & Film Expo (Johannesburg, South Africa), Marketing Exchange (Cape Town, South Africa), Digital Marketing Congress (London, UK).
Will Hegarty is the CEO of the Wedding MBA. Will oversees the operations of the conference and leads the team that produces the Wedding MBA. Will lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with his wife, Patti.
Jason Hennessey is a serial entrepreneur and internationally-known search engine optimization (SEO) expert, speaker and search marketing correspondent for The Washington Post, Fox Small Business, CNBC, Inc., and CBS News. For over 16 years, Jason has been a vigorous student/practitioner of search marketing – dissecting, testing, debunking, and reverse-engineering the major search algorithms. He has been speaking at the Wedding MBA for over 4 years and is a crowd favorite.
Reverend Clint Hufft
Rev. Clint is a well–known and respected personality in the Wedding Industry. His career includes being an Entertainment Coordinator and Video Director for Restaurant Enterprise Inc. He has a Degree in Radio and Television Broadcasting and graduated from the Sid and Marty Kroft Puppeteer School. He has appeared on TV many times and was the officiant for “Trista and Ryan’s Wedding on ABC-TV along with many other high-profile weddings. To Rev. Clint, a wedding ceremony is also a social and “theatrical” event. A Wedding Professional must listen to the dreams and needs of the bride and groom and then help to remove anything that might obstruct the realization of their Perfect Wedding Day. Rev. Clint believes he has the best job in the world.
Rev. Dr. Rob Hundley has been an ordained minister for over 30 years serving churches in Texas, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Colorado. He holds a Doctorate of Ministry in Preaching. He has performed hundreds of weddings, everything from big church shindigs to intimate backyard affairs. He is the author of We Do: Wedding Vows That Work (and keep you happily married)
Associate Director Of SEO
The Knot Worldwide
Robert Inconstanti is the Associate Director of SEO at The Knot Worldwide. He's been specializing in marketplace SEO for the last 7 years and is an active member in the SEO community.
Owner & Motivational Speaker
Stella loves to live life outside of the box! With a degree in Fashion Merchandising Management from LIM in New York, she started her journey in bridal and opened Stella’s Bridal Boutique in 2011. As a premiere retailer, Stella has had to expand her store three times over the course of the past eight years, in order to accommodate her growing presence in the Western New York region. What drives Stella in this industry is her connection with women and her ability to open their eyes to see the true beauty that reigns within. In 2017 Stella began her Stella Talks seminars. Her motivational speeches have given her a platform to spread her love and energy to an even larger audience. Stella’s many accomplishments include being a four-year running recipient of the Wedding Wire Couples’ Choice Award, Winner of the Women in Business Award and her most rewarding accomplishment thus far- being the Mommy to her one and only little boy, Diesel.
Vanessa Joy, Owner Vanessay Joy Photography, Sponsored by Animoto & WeddingWire Expert, WIPA
Vanessa Joy has been an influential wedding photographer in the photography community for years. Starting her photographic journey in 1998, she has since earned 5 college degrees, started her own business in 2008, and began teaching around the world in 2009. Vanessa has spoken at almost every major convention and platform in the industry such as CreativeLIVE, Clickin' Moms, WPPI, ShutterFest, Imaging USA Trade Show, PPA related conventions, in addition to hosting personal workshops and numerous small business and photography conventions around the globe. Recognized for her talent and more so her business sense, her clients love working with her and industry peers love to learn from her generous, informative and open-book style of teaching.
Wedding Fashion Expert & Stylist, Best Selling Author
CEO, Lovella Bridal
Nayri is the Wedding Fashion Expert. Given today’s dynamic world, Nayri beautifully leverages technology to create a uniquely unforgettable customer experience. Her strategies have turned Lovella Bridal into the successful bridal brand it is today. From being a best selling author to styling celebrity brides, coaching and educating, Nayri specializes in creating a unique customer experience. This includes creating and overseeing the overall business strategy. From team building to implementing sales and marketing initiatives, her innovative strategies make her an industry leader and pioneer. She also advises world renowned designers, helping them refine and edit their collections. She has been featured on Good Morning America, Mario Lopez & Courtney’s Wedding Fiesta, DC Cupcakes on TLC, Season 5 of David Tutera’s My Fair Wedding on WE Network, People.com styling Robert Herjavec’s wife Kym Johnson from DWTS and more! Nayri has styled celebrity brides including Ashley Iaconetti from The Bachelor, Zena Foster Babbs who married R&B Singer Tank and Jazmyn Simon from Ballers on HBO. Her best selling book, "I'm Getting Married & Have Nothing to Wear" is the ultimate guide to helping brides find their perfect wedding dress. It also serves as a training tool for store owners and bridal stylists. Most recently, Nayri released “Bridal Store Blueprint” an online course created based on industry feedback from her YouTube channel and Podcast. Designed for store owners, her online course shares a proven and tested business formula. When implemented, bridal salons can scale and thrive. Her favorite pastime includes enjoying quality time with family and traveling the world. She also enjoys competing and training with her Arabian horse named Time To Tango! It is rare to see Nayri without her French bulldog Nuff; at times he assists in styling brides as well!
Great Officiants, WIPA
Alan Katz is one of the top Wedding Officiants in the Country. His Company, Great Officiants, is the most successful and most respected Wedding Officiant companies in Southern California. With a team of 35 Officiants he dominates the market and they do over 1200 weddings per year. He owns a successful 24 hour Wedding Chapel in Long Beach and issues Marriage Licenses and also has a Beach Wedding Design Company. He has wont the best of the KNOT and Couples Choice Award from Wedding Wire consistently year after year. His company has around 1500 online reviews. He serves on the Board of his local ABC Chapter where he was names trendsetter of the year.
CEO & Founder
Kushner Entertainment, WIPA
Celebrated as a Top 25 Trendsetter by Modern Bride, Andy Kushner exchanged corporate fame as National Account Representative of the Year for a Fortune 500 company to recreate the event music and entertainment industry through his passion-come-to-life, Kushner Entertainment. A gifted storyteller, Andy then leveraged his relationships with top event planners and designers by launching The Wedding Biz, the only podcast for wedding and events’ professionals that exclusively features business-transforming conversations with industry icons. Never one to rest on his laurels, Andy has recently taken his revolutionary approach to branding and marketing global via The Wedding Biz Podcast Network, podcast channels featuring the best in the wedding and event business.
Director of Education and Industry Relation
Floriology & BloomNet
Jackie Lacey has over thirty years of experience in the retail floral market and floral education field. His portfolio includes an extensive background in the retail floral market and wedding/event design experience. Jackie now utilizes his experience to provide education and instructional design programs, market showroom set up, private retail consulting, product development as well as design and event planning. His current position as Director of Education and Industry Relations with Floriology, BloomNet and Napco and Senior Design Team Specialist and ongoing contributor for Floriology Magazine keep him on top of market trends, current design trends, industry education and retail marketing. Jackie has won numerous awards in floral design competitions in both multi state, national and local floral associations. Published articles have appeared on both his expertise and floral experience. His work has been published in Floriology Magazine, SAF, “Flowers &”, “Modern Bride”, “Inside Weddings” and many others. National Television exposure includes designing and participation for WE TV programs “Platinum Weddings” and “I Do Over” as a Celebrations.Com Floral Expert. Previous work for celebrities such as Drew Barrymore, Sandra Bullock, Meryl Streep, Diane Lane, Cheryl Ladd, Cindy Crawford and Richard Gere, Matthew McConaughey and Leonardo DiCaprio have come easily through participation with floral design on several major motion pictures. Continuing education through numerous stage presentations for multi State Associations and national industry leaders such as SAF, AFE, Virgin Farms Direct, Smithers-Oasis, BloomNet, FTD, Fitz Design Team, Floral Strategies and John Henry Company allow Jackie to help the continued growth of the floral industry. Experience in floral design for the Tournament of Roses Parade floats, product development team for the largest Import/Export show in the world and set up and design for Gift Market showrooms only adds to the vast floral experience he can call on for every event. He has served as a leader in numerous industry associations to include current position as AIFD National President and member of the AIFD National Board of Directors, AIFD National Past Membership Committee Chairman, CFD Committee, International Committee and previous member of the Southern AIFD Board of Directors. His extensive travels across the country, Hong Kong, China and Europe afford many opportunities for him to interact with designers of all levels and share this extensive background and experience to florists everywhere.
Soiress by Lee
Tanisha Lee, owner of Soirées by Lee, is a Wedding and Event Planner with a heart for others. She is also the host of Collectively Wed, an online group in which she teaches wedding professionals the ins and outs of this beautiful industry. She uses her experiences to help other vendors learn from and grow with one another. Her love for all things wedding related is coupled with charity work and life as a mom of a very creative kid-prenuer.
Dona Liston has been in the event industry for over 30 years with over 1000 events under her belt. She started her business as Parties by Dona, organizing and entertaining at children's parties. Dona then added a retail party store into the mix. If that where not enough, her customers began asking her to plan their weddings, and a Wedding Consultant business was born. She surrounded herself with the best of the best and was able to sell the business in 2010 and move to San Antonio, Texas where she is now the proud owner of Lambermont Events, a mansion built in 1894. Dona and her husband Pat spent 3 years restoring Lambermont back to it's grand state that it once was. Lambermont is now open for bookings for weddings, events and retreats.
Overseer Of Social Media
The Knot Worldwide
Whitney Little oversees the social media division at The Knot Worldwide, ensuring all platforms drive strong traffic and engagement. Since joining the team, she has revamped the Instagram strategy to properly reflect The Knot's products and brand mission and launched the first year-long influencer program called The Knot Most Influential Weddings of 2018. Previously, she worked on the social media teams at PEOPLE Magazine and MTV, as well as the digital division at DKC. Whitney also loves cats, the Real Housewives and subscription services (no specific product- if she can get it delivered in a box, she wants it!).
Awarded the honor of "Entertainer of the Year" for two consecutive years (2018, 2019), Artem Lomaz has developed a reputation as one of the industry's most meticulous and refined event entertainers. As a headliner Master of Ceremonies, Artem specializes in luxury weddings and corporate events, and is known for his ability to personalize each event and performance.
Sara Margulis is co-founder and CEO of Honeyfund, the popular honeymoon registry and crowdfunding site. Sara's winning appearance on Shark Tank in 2014 propelled her into broadcast media and public speaking. She’s sought as an expert on a variety of topics including weddings and honeymoons, entrepreneurship, women in business, and personal development.
Tab McCausland Photography
Tabitha McCausland O'Neill has photographed weddings for the last 17 years in 14 different countries. She has been featured in over 24 different wedding magazines, ranging from Grace Ormonde to Martha Stewart Weddings. Her photographs have graced the cover of 6 different magazines and her clients include numerous celebrities from NBA players, UFC Champions and TV Hosts. When she is not photographing weddings or helping her husband build one of the best DJ and Lighting production companies in Florida, she is known as the "Social Media Diva", and enjoys teaching wedding professionals how to grow their business profits using Social Media.
The Wedding Experience
Marc McIntosh is CEO of the Wedding Experience, producer of several of the country’s largest wedding shows. Prior to producing shows, Marc owned a wedding-focused business where he perfected his marketing strategies. This hands-on experience provided Marc with a unique perspective and understanding of the process of marketing to engaged couples. Marc is a professional speaker, writer and sales trainer, and has shared the keys of successful marketing with thousands of wedding professionals. Marc is the president of the National Association of Consumer Shows, an industry trade association, and the director of Wedding Show Pros, an international network of wedding show producers.
The Wedding Report
Shane McMurray is the Founder of The Wedding Report, Inc. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology and a Master of Business Administration E-Business. He has 20 plus years' experience working with information and data. He helped build one of the first systems allowing doctors to exchange information across health plans. He helped build a large enterprise system for program management connecting cost, schedule and risk data and is an Inventor on a patent for a subset of that work. He created a paper company with his wife in 2001 which evolved into The Wedding Report in 2005. His research has been mentioned in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Forbes, and hundreds of other publications, magazines, books, and news articles worldwide. He has provided direct insight to eHarmony, Martha Stewart, Conde Nast, Blue Nile, Swarovski, and many other companies. A subset of his research is available in ProQuest and Ebscohost for universities, libraries, and schools to use.
Flour & Bloom Cakes
Pretty Pear Bride
Shafonne Myers is a media mogul and body image coach for plus size brides and a launch coach for creative business owners. She built an internationally recognized, award-winning wedding publication, Pretty Pear Bride. It’s the only site in the world for plus size brides and has solidified her as THE plus size bridal expert. She also helps creative business owners sell online and launch wildly profitable digital products, so they have more income, impact and freedom in their business.
Elevate by Bethel
Successful business owner and award-winning officiant, Bethel Nathan of Ceremonies by Bethel, knows how to build and run a successful wedding industry business. After more than nine years and almost 900 weddings – and becoming known locally as a specialist on marriage equality – Bethel now also enjoys helping other wedding industry businesses grow and prosper as a business coach and industry speaker. Combining her background in both small companies and very large companies – including at two global investment banks, living overseas for both – Bethel found the right way to build a business that fit her. She focused on not only being really great at what she did for her clients, but also knowing her ideal client, developing relationships locally to support her and her business, and on finding the right marketing tools and methods to attract her ideal client, as well as honing in on the right systems, processes, and customer journey to best service them. This has all resulted in over 300 5-star reviews and a full wedding calendar for the past six years. Bethel now enjoys helping others to do the same. Bethel has an undergraduate degree in political science and Japanese from UC Berkeley, and an MBA in International Business and Japanese from Thunderbird. Her former chapters in life allowed her to live in Japan three times in addition to living in London, and to travel extensively globally. She is a former board member of the San Diego Women’s Foundation and the San Diego affiliate for Komen for the Cure. She now lives in San Diego with her husband, Jason, and they enjoy traveling and scuba diving in exotic places whenever possible.
SanDiegoDJStaci.com & WeddingBizConsultant.com
DJ Staci Nichols, based in San Diego, specializes in spinning "country fusion," Latin/Spanish, and mainstream music. She has performed everywhere from the Vegas strip to the Stagecoach Festival and for companies like Boost Mobile, LA Fitness, Marriott, and Baskin Robbins. Her wedding know-how has appeared in Book More Brides, "Mobile Beat" DJ magazine, San Diego Style Weddings, Offbeat Bride, and "Wedding Planner Magazine." She offers consulting and her "Rock My Wedding Biz" program at WeddingBizConsultant.com IG/FB/Pin/Twitter - SanDiegoDJStaci
Denise Lillie Engagements
Denise Lillie O’Neal is the Owner and Lead Event Stylist of Denise Lillie Engagements based in Sunnyvale California, which she founded in 2008. She is a professional full-time planner with over 20 years of government, corporate and wedding planning experience. The oldest of five children, Denise grew up in the Midwest where she studied Philosophy and Political Science at Michigan State University. Her event planning career began with campaign work and political organizing. She went on to work for the United States Senator Carl Levin for seven years as a Community Affairs Specialist, where she was able to truly hone her diplomatic, logistic and production skills. Working in politics gave Denise the opportunity to impact people’s lives in meaningful personal way Yet, she still craved a more creative outlet and sought out opportunities in the Wedding Industry- and fell in love with it! Denise very passionate, joy driven Type A person and loves others who are too! She is known as the Queen of Logistics and lives to write epic timelines! Denise’s loves include the color purple, a decadent cheese platter, wine, 80’s music, and the Marvel Universe- so much so she recently Designed a Black Panther Styled Shoot the was Published on Popsugar!
Ryan O'Neil, PFCI, is a thought leader in the floral industry and is keen to share all the potholes he hit along the way of building his companies. Ryan and his wonderfully-creative wife, Rachael, were the founders of Twisted Willow Design in St. Louis, Missouri as a wedding-focused floral company. From that experience, Ryan created Curate, a florist software that automates the entire “wedding folder.” Ryan has personally spoken with thousands of florists since starting Curate and is a constant source of candid advice about the industry. He’s the lead contributor to The Business Of Events blog that shares all the details of how he and his wife started a floral shop and grew it into a successful lifestyle business.
Owner & Founder
Christie Osborne, proud data nerd, is the owner and founder of Mountainside Media, a consulting firm devoted to using market research, data, and analytics to support event professionals as they develop scalable marketing strategies to grow their business. Christie is dedicated to guiding the industry in a direction that ditches tired, old sales pitches and turns its focus on what really matters: turning data into dollars. Her penchant for all-things-digital and a knack for critical thinking have made Christie into the analytics master that she is today, always prepared to dig into web metrics and refine a marketing strategy based on its ROI. Her approach marries website stats with social media data for an effective one-two punch of real, concrete analytics that are invaluable to her clients. Beyond data-driven marketing analysis, Christie frequents the national speaker circuit where she shares her expertise onstage for organizations like NACE, Catersource, WIPA, and ABC. She is also a regular contributor to industry publications, including Special Events, Catersource, Sage Wedding Pros, and Wedding Business Magazine.
Katie began KatieBug Florals in 2015 after creating wedding florals for several friends and falling in love with floral design! She had a passion for design and creativity and a desire to run her own business, specifically out of her home as a new mom. Five years later, KatieBug Florals is a flourishing wedding and event design company based out of Dallas, Texas completing around 45-60 events per year.
Co-Founder of Blue Elephant and Catering, BASH Wedding Marketplace, LA Blue Wedding Brokers, and Co-owner of Real Maine Weddings Magazine, Fausto began his career in catering and event planning 35 years ago in Philadelphia. He has an eye for detail and production and is passionate about creating high-quality memorable events for his wedding and corporate clients. Fausto was the 2019/2020 President of and currently sits on the board of the Biddeford-Saco Rotary Club and is a member of the board of directors of the International Caterers Association and and a member of the Leading Caterers of America.
Roy Porter is the Activities Director at Engage Works, based in Los Alamitos, CA. An inspiring hospitality industry speaker for over five years with thought provoking standing room only lectures addressing a wide variety catering topics. Catersource Ambassador Bill Pannoff calls Roy, “The Professor.” His practical hands-on technique intensive sessions devoted to off-premise catering basics are known for helping caterers gain expertise, build confidence, and transfer the information learned to their staff. A catering industry veteran with experience spanning many intimate house parties, large group plated and buffet services - plus many high profile Hollywood events. He consults with off-premise caters and related hospitality businesses nationally on operations, marketing and staffing issues. Roy served as a Catersource Forum Moderator for several years. He is member of The Advisory Board for Long Beach City College Culinary School and is the Director of Production for the annual Golden State of Cocktails conference in Los Angeles, CA.
Client & Communication Specialist
Angela Proffitt, LLC
Angela Proffitt is a serial entrepreneur that has become one of the most successful wedding & event planners by using her background in psychology and technology to manage a million details by operating her companies completely paperless, productive, and profitable. She will share how you can fast track your business the same way she did to maximize your output and sync your business clients.
DQB Entertainment, WIPA
Dan Quinn is a DJ, Musician, MC, electronic music junkie, tech enthusiast, and founder of DQB Entertainment His unique multi-instrumental solo productions have led him to dive deep into music & event production technology in order to unlock as much functionality and efficiency as possible. Dan is a regular “Best of Weddings” winner on The Knot and has also been named one of The Knot’s Pro Educators for 2019. Outside of weddings and private events, Dan has been an active participant at The NAMM Show where he was an invited performer (2017) and TEC Track Speaker (2018) where he presented the technology focused “Raising the Bar for DJ Performances”. Dan also founded OontzKids DJ Academy in 2016, which teaches kids and teens how to DJ and produce music through summer camps and after school programs. Dan holds an Engineering degree from the University of Rochester and a Professional Certificate in Ableton Live from Berklee Online. He lives in Dallas with his wife Danielle and 4 kids.
UpDo's For I Do's
Ashley Riddle, an award-winning hairstylist and makeup artist, was seeking on-site bridal beauty services for her own wedding in 2005 and quickly realized few such services existed. As a bride-to-be and a young hairstylist, she immediately recognized an unfulfilled demand. Combining her passion for hair styling and makeup artistry with enthusiasm for weddings, she launched her company, UpDos For I Dos in 2004. Averaging over 500 weddings a year and meeting the demands of several different markets across the East Coast, her experience and talent is leading the company of over 45 artists on a fast track for continued growth.
Vista View Events
A deep-diving communicator by nature and digital marketer by trade, Kinsey knew for years she wanted to start a podcast (she even had a white Yeti mic sitting in a box waiting patiently for the moment). In 2016, after a decade-long tenure in the hospitality and marketing world, she found herself building her own wedding venue on a family ranch—and, through that new venture, had the opportunity to connect with fellow female wedding pros at the Creative Heart Conference in Colorado. Before the conference was over, it all clicked for Kinsey: she knew she wanted to finally put that microphone to use and build an empowering digital community for women entrepreneurs in the wedding industry. Within a month of attending that conference, She Creates Business was live on iTunes. Naturally curious and a true host at heart, Kinsey loves having thought-provoking, no-nonsense conversations with each of her guests. She focuses her interview questions on the meaningful over the mundane (no weather updates here)—and has a serious knack for getting guests to open up. Always looking to dig deep and connect on a genuine level, she never outsources her guest-booking, research, or communication process (a decision that’s led to some incredible content and lasting connections over the years). A wedding venue educator, marketer, co-owner of Vista View Events, and a Certified Wedding Planner through The Bridal Society, when Kinsey isn’t sitting down with brand-building women for She Creates Business, you can find her co-hosting The Venue Podcast, attending an industry conference, or helping wedding pros build their marketing efforts and content strategy. On the rare occasion she’s not immersed in the world of weddings, she’s likely wandering around her family ranch with her husband and two boys or hosting friends for a fun-filled, family-style dinner.
Team Wedding Marketing
Renee Roberts is the co-founder of Team Wedding Marketing, a cutting-edge marketing agency that exclusively serves the wedding industry. She also produces the Best Wedding Showcase wedding planning events in Central Pennsylvania. Renee started her career in the wedding industry more than 30 years ago as the founder of Celebrations!, a multi-faceted floral, décor, and planner business that she grew from a home based business to a large retail storefront, all the while caring for her five boys. Renee has a unique understanding of how hard it is to juggle all the tasks involved in running a wedding business, and she saw the need to create a service that specializes in wedding marketing and helping others the way she always felt she needed help.
Jose Rolon Events
A NUPTIAL MAESTRO FOR ALMOST A DECADE, JOSÉ specializes in bringing comfort to a process that’s famously filled with tough decisions and mounting stress. After his time at the Foundry, a luxury wedding venue in NYC, José went out on his own with the goal of leveraging his storytelling and relationship building abilities to create emotional and visual experiences for his clients. He quickly made a name for himself with his chill vibe and generous command, and his planning and design aesthetic has made him one of the top rising wedding planners in NYC. His work has been celebrated with the Best of The Knot, New York Times, Martha Stewart, Essence Magazine, Wall Street Journal, Sophisticated Weddings Magazine, New York Weddings, and Brides. José lives in Brooklyn Heights with his three children, and as a single dad, has learned how to keep his cool under pressure. He is also writing a book to share his knowledge and story of building his business during a time of loss when his husband unexpectedly passed.
Trial Attorney & Editor of WeddingIndustryLaw.com
Rob Schenk is a trial attorney and editor of WeddingIndustryLaw.com, an online resource of news, information, and legal materials for wedding professionals. In 2016, he launched WedFormz.com, a database of downloadable contract templates for wedding and event businesses. Rob’s expertise has been featured in Time, Huffington Post Weddings, Yahoo News, Slate Magazine, The Knot, PetaPixel, and Above the Law. Rob is licensed to practice law in California, New York, Florida, Tennessee, and Georgia.
With over 18 years running award-winning planning firm, Bridal Bliss, founder Nora Sheils possesses an intimate grasp on the ins and outs of the wedding industry. In her time working with countless couples and leading a team of 30+ women, she recognized a need for a more effective, streamlined approach to the often-daunting contract and invoice process. Thus, in 2018, Rock Paper Coin was born in partnership with her sister-in-law, Elizabeth, and the two have been committed to bringing together event professionals and couples ever since. Nora’s industry experience has led her to become a thought leader in the way of project management, operational efficiency, business expansion, and team dynamics. Her expertise extends to event professionals who discover increased productivity through Rock Paper Coin, as well as those who hear her speak onstage. As a well-known and sought-after speaker in her local speaker circuit, including with associations like ILEA Portland and Seattle Business Babes, Nora is always prepared to share her favorite strategies for simplifying, refining, and refreshing business workflows. In her spare time, Nora can be found spending quality time with her family, often over a long family-style spread of food and a glass of great sparkling wine. She also appreciate the chance to explore the vibrant culture and food scene of the Pacific Northwest, particularly in her beloved hometown of Portland.
Co-Founder & Marketing Director
Holly Dechelle Smith is the Co-Founder and Marketing Director at Curate, the software that helps event professionals streamline processes, increase bookings, and maximize profits. In addition to her role at Curate, she founded The Creative’s CMO, where she helps creative professionals develop and execute effective, data-driven marketing strategies using best-in-class techniques.
Meryl wakes up each morning with a big smile on her face because she knows that her clients are crushing it! They’re using what she teaches to reach their goals and increase sales within a matter of weeks (often even days) with laser-focused training techniques. Meryl has spent 28 years in the special event & catering industry as co-founder of Feastivities Events, along with its subsidiaries OffShoots Decor and Philadelphia's Picnic Company. She also is the author of Booked It! , Cha Ching and three how-to Style & Design video
Just Marry Events! Group, Inc.
Susan is the National Wedding Expert for Perfect Wedding Guide and is President of Just Marry!, a full-service wedding planning company in Orlando, Florida. Susan’s exceptional weddings have been featured numerous times on the Style Network's Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? and TLC's A Wedding Story. Her cutting-edge advice has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Orlando Sentinel, Orlando Leisure, and The Orlando Business Journal. Susan has planned thousands of weddings around the world, and was honored as one of 30 A-List Destination Wedding Planners in the world by Destination Weddings & Honeymoons Magazine.
Celebrity Event Designer, Author
Sasha Souza Events
Sasha Souza is an internationally recognized premiere event designer and top innovator in the wedding industry. She is one of only a handful of wedding designers who have been named a Master Bridal Consultant, the highest designation given by the Association of Bridal Consultants.
Owner & Creator
Katelyn Stanis is the owner and creator of Wedding Words. She helps tongue-tied couples from across the world tie the knot through her one-on-one custom vow and speech writing services. With a B.A. in Journalism, Katelyn has always adored asking people the right questions to unearth their own vibrant story. Today, she uses that same passion to discover the details of a couple's love story and collaborates to put their heart into words. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Brides, and Bustle.
Emily Sullivan Events, WIPA
Emily Sullivan is the owner of Emily Sullivan Events, a boutique wedding and event-planning firm based in New Orleans, LA, that specializes in celebrations throughout the Southeast. With a passion for entertaining, she uses her intuition and attention to details to customize each and every wedding experience for her clients. She is a sought-after national speaker, with recent and upcoming engagements including The Special Event, NACE, WeddingWire World, and Wedding MBA. Emily was the inaugural chapter president for WIPA New Orleans, and now serves as the immediate past president.
Wedding Venue Map
Shannon Tarrant is on a mission to help event industry businesses shake things up. A professional go-getter, she has a distinctive 15-year background in developing companies into the top of their local market. As an off-site caterer and then venue manager, she developed both into local powerhouses by following the same system for success. Shannon is a highly regarded coach, working alongside vendors while running her own wedding business - WeddingVenueMap.com, a resource helping couples to find the perfect venue. Her successful system includes strategic planning, goal-oriented sales, outside-the-box marketing, and exceptional vendor relationships. Shannon has been featured on Catersource, Martha Stewart Weddings, and Special Events. No matter which hat she's wearing, her goal is simple - to empower companies to differentiate themselves and drive measurable results using a proven system of small changes with big impact. Shannon tells it like it is, whether you’re ready for it or not.
Owner & Founder
Owner and founder of Taylor’d Events, Jennifer Taylor carries over 15 years of wedding planning and has earned a wealth of knowledge throughout her career. While running her own business, she had the pleasure of working alongside highly innovative and talented creatives throughout the industry and beyond. She noticed that many creatives are predominantly right-brained—wildly imaginative and expressive, but missing the necessary structure to create logical systems in their companies. In launching Jen Taylor Consulting, she made it her mission to help creatives build streamlined workflows, processes, and procedures so they can grow their business and spend their time on what they love most — their craft, their family, and their life. Jen’s systematic knowledge of the inner workings of creative businesses has brought her to national stages and major industry publications. She has spoken at conferences like The Special Event, NACE Experience, and ILEA, as well as chapter-based events for NACE, The Wedding Network, ABC, and Western Washington University. Her expertise has also graced the pages of WeddingWire EDU, Special Events, Catersource, Book More Brides, Honeybook, and Wedding Planner Magazine. Outside of work, you can typically find her traveling throughout the West Coast or in Maui — the two markets her company serves for destination events. She also has a penchant for cooking and can often be found sipping on a refreshing glass of wine.
Chief Event Planner & Designer
Cocktails & Details
Spreading her metropolitan style throughout the low country, Terrica Skaggs has been creating exquisite weddings and events in the Golden Isles area for the past ten years. Specializing in modern Southern weddings, she believes in creating custom experiences inspired by her clients’ love stories while infusing technology and eﬃciency. Selected as Jekyll Island's Dream Wedding Planner for its Dream Wedding Giveaway, Terrica’s weddings and expertise have been featured in he Knot, Southern Weddings, Munaluchi Bride, HLN tv, Style Me Pretty and a host of others. Launching her new education system, "he Art of Wedding Coordination" in Spring 2017, Terrica is an ardent educator of those in the wedding industry, believing in the "each one, teach one" mindset. As an avid lover of cake and champagne, you'll ind her at home in the Golden Isles with her four “fabutots”, and when not entertaining family and friends, frequently binging on competition reality TV.
Christy “CeCe” Todd prides herself on not being a “design and drop” floral designer. Working with CeCe is always a one of a kind experience. Known for her infectious personality and her insane attention to detail, her command of flawless event design is what makes her such a valued wedding and event vendor, mentor, and speaker. Winning several design and industry awards including three consecutive years of WeddingWire Couples Choice, Best of Borrowed and Blue, and features in National blogs lead to her becoming the go to designer for Live Nation. Her extensive client list includes Journey, Train, Def Leppard, Ariana Grande, and Kevin Hart. Her diverse design roster also includes non-profit Galas such as the Chris Hammond Foundation and Brides Against Breast Cancer, Grand Openings, and concept design for businesses. CeCe Designs work has graced the covers and pages of many magazines including Southern Bride, B-Metro, & Alabama Weddings along with several features on National blogs like Style Me Pretty and Luxe Pearl. CeCe’s following on a variety of social media platforms is a result of her uplifting outlook and charismatic ways. CeCe comes from a long line of creative individuals. Her grandmother was a floral designer and her mother was an internationally known jewelry designer. Her mother is a founding partner in CeCe Designs and Events. This creative blood line lead CeCe to pursue a career as a professional singer. After realizing the end of that career dream, CeCe entered into the flower world in 2000 as a creative outlet. Working for a local florist, she quickly became the wedding director, buyer, and eventually store director for 5 years. Her love of vibrant colors and willingness to challenge herself with new design techniques, allowed CeCe to continue to grow in confidence and reputation. CeCe also owns a sister company that specializes in décor and prop rentals that she manages alongside her husband. She is also a founding partner in Create: A luxury wedding and special event collaborative workspace. All of these companies and interests give CeCe the flexibility to remain on the cutting edge of design and props. She is based in Birmingham, Alabama but travels the United States and Internationally. She is the mother of a beautiful daughter, Isabella, and her three “gift” sons: Daniel, Joshua, and Andrew. Her signature color is pink and is known for always having a flower in her hair.
Owner | Chief Analyst
GT Marketing and Consulting
Greg brings a vast knowledge and a proven record of success. His varied background in marketing, sales, and leadership allow him to relate and understand the pressures of small business owners, wedding creatives, and marketing teams. Ultimately, Greg sees his role as a partner with each client. He works diligently to ensure that customers reach their personal goals by offering content marketing, brand development, and social media integration and optimization. He is also a passionate coach that helps entrepreneurs streamline their business practices. He is an avid proponent of creating systems to allow you to work on your business rather than always working in it. Greg is a devoted husband, father of four, and lover of Presidential history. You can find him helping his beautiful wife on weekends with their wedding and event design business. On a rare day off, look for him on a golf course!
Lip Service Makeup
Jennifer Trotter is an award-winning bridal beauty expert with 20+ years of experience and an expansive and diverse portfolio. As a nationally recognized beauty expert, artist and writer, Jennifer's work and published articles have been featured in Brides, Martha Stewart Weddings, Bustle, Consumer Report, The Bridal Guide, The Today Show, Bella New York, D Weddings, and countless other publications and media outlets. In addition to a roster of media and marketing clients, Jen and her team beautify over 150 DFW brides each year, and have been voted “Favorite Hair and Makeup” in DFW for the last 3 years. She has served as a board member of the Professional Wedding Guild as Director of Communications for the last 5 years, and also belongs to her local Society of Wedding Professionals and NACE Chapters. A former PR and Marketing executive, Corporate Trainer and Program Director for the Make a Wish Foundation, Jennifer is highly trained in conflict resolution and communication strategies. Jennifer has served on multiple expert panels and educational workshops for various professional organizations and works with private clients to help other business owners find fulfillment, sustainability and long-term success by mastering communication strategies with their clients and vendor partners. She also speaks locally and nationally about business communications strategies for wedding pros, including serving as a featured speaker at Wedding MBA in Las Vegas.
Lead Wedding & Entertaining Expert
David Tutera Experience
Leading Wedding & Entertaining Expert, David Tutera is hailed as an artistic visionary whose ability, uniquely creative talents and outstanding reputation have made him a tremendous success in the lifestyle arena. Tutera has created a name for himself by taking his passion for designing spectacular events and transforming it into a lifestyle. He continuously exceeds the expected with an unmatched level of inspiration, imagination and innovation to create the latest trends in entertaining. Tutera’s grandfather, a successful florist, first noticed his grandson’s artistic ability at an early age and encouraged David to pursue his destiny. At age 19, with the sound advice of his grandfather and only one client, David opened his own event planning business. Today, David Tutera presides over an award winning company built from experience, dedication and Tutera’s natural talent for transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary. His name has become synonymous with style, elegance, creativity and vision. Honored by Life & Style Magazine as “Best Celebrity Wedding Planner,” David's impressive client list includes events for Jennifer Lopez, Matthew McConaughey, the Official Post Grammy Parties, Elton John, Vanessa Williams, Barbara Walters, the Rolling Stones, Nancy Regan, Prince Charles, The White House, private events for the Vice President, Kenneth Cole, Tommy Hilfiger, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Susan Lucci, The John F. Kennedy Center, as well as countless film premieres and celebrity parties for royalty, politicians and socialites. Tutera has been on the board for the Prevent Cancer Foundation for more than ten years and has also designed events for the Alzheimer’s Association, DIFFA (Design Industries Foundation Fighting Aids) and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. David Tutera has been a fixture on WE tv for ten seasons with his popular hit shows; “My Fair Wedding,” “David Tutera: Unveiled” and now his newest and highest rated show, “David Tutera’s CELEBrations.” In every star-studded episode, David’s jaw-dropping work for his Hollywood clients takes center stage. From weddings to birthday parties and everything in between, viewers watched in droves as David planned rapper Lil Kim’s baby shower, an over-the-top wedding for former “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” cast member, Taylor Armstrong, and events for R&B artists Brandy, her brother Ray J, “Mob Wives’” Angela “Big Ang” Raiola, Dennis Rodman, Holly Robinson Peete, Ice T and Coco, and many more. David is also a professional speaker hired to lecture on the topics of weddings, lifestyle, design and more, having conducted speaking appearances all over the world and has also penned seven popular books, currently in stores, which include: My Fair Wedding (Gallery Books), The Big White Book Of Weddings: The How-To Guide For The Savvy, Stylish Bride (St. Martins Press), Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings (Disney Publishing), Big Birthdays (Bulfinch Press), The Party Planner (Bulfinch Press), America Entertains: A Year of Imaginative Parties (Stewart, Tabori and Chang) and A Passion for Parties: Your Guide to Elegant Entertaining (Simon & Schuster). The David Tutera brand and products have appeared on the big screen in multiple feature films and television movies, including: Last Vegas starring Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Michael Douglas, The Came Together starring Amy Poehler, BET’s Christmas Wedding Baby, Hallmark’s A Perfect Wedding and more. David has made guest appearances on Today, Extra!, Good Morning America, The View, CNN, The Rachael Ray Show, The Talk, Steve Harvey, Wendy Williams, Queen Latifah and many more. In addition People, USA Today, In Touch, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, In Style, Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Bridal Guide and Town & Country have all featured his work. Tutera has also made special television appearances in the popular daytime soap, The Young & the Restless and TV Land’s The Exes. David Tutera lives in Los Angeles with his daughter Cielo, husband Joey and their rescue dog, Lucy.
Vice President, Conference Director
Shannon Underwood is the VP of the Wedding MBA. She recruits and trains new speakers, sells exhibit booths, and designs marketing materials for the convention. Shannon lives in Scottsdale Arizona with her husband and two children.
The Gilded Gown
Social media powerhouse Jacqui Wadsworth, has achieved remarkable success in the wedding industry. Her passion for all things bridal began back in her days as a textile broker for formal wear manufacturers. By 2005 she was wholesaling dresses out of her own warehouse. By 2008 she opened her boutique, The Gilded Gown. Determined to succeed and find creative ways to get brides in the door affordably, Jacqui began utilizing social media ads to micro-target local clients. She fine-tuned her marketing skills and revolutionized her business. Year after year, The Gilded Gown’s sales have grown exponentially. In an era of hard-times for brick and mortar, Jacqui’s store is thriving. She has a proven system for engaging brides, for generating a buzz online, and most importantly for driving customers into her store. A fierce advocate of the industry, Jacqui wants to help other store owners. These days she offers her Social Media Ads & Management skills through her bridal store branding business, BridalBoutiques.US. Jacqui has been featured in Vows Magazine regularly since 2013. She has written close to a million dollars in ads for countless stores and formal wear companies. She is a popular featured speaker on social Media Branding and Advertising at Better Bridal Group, Chicago Market, Atlanta’s Americas Mart, Steve Lang’s MCA and at the Wedding MBA.
Mike Walter is the proud owner of Elite Entertainment, a Multi-System DJ Company in New Jersey that has been selected by TheKnot.com and WeddingWire.com as a top Entertainment company in the country. For over 30 years, he has MCed events from weddings to fashion shows and beauty pageants and his public speaking experience and acumen have served him well as a presenter. He began to offer seminars in 1998, at first specifically to the DJ Industry, then he expanded to speaking to event groups and finally to any and all audiences. His seminars are known for their fast pace, mix of information and entertainment and deft use of Keynote. Having sat through enough tedious seminars in his life, Mike vows to never bore an audience. Whether he is offering life changing advice, motivational challenges or hard-core information on how to grow and expand your business, Mike promises he will deliver a quick, concise, and nugget-filled presentation every time he speaks. Mike has published three books, Running Your Multi-Op which is widely consider the most comprehensive book for anyone interested in expanding their DJ business, the self-help primer, Ten Things You Can Do to Have a Better Day and the music history compendium: On This Date in Music. He’s also released a number of education videos to help his fellow DJs and business owners. In 2014 he partnered with Joe Bunn to start the PhDJ Workshop and in 2017 the two began a weekly podcast called the PhDJ Podcast. For more information head to DJMikeWalter.com and OnThisDateInMusic.com
Owner & DJ
Chris Washburn is the owner of Washburn Entertainment, one of Central New York's most popular DJ and photo booth companies, which specializes in providing passionate and elite level entertainment to modern weddings, along with corporate and school events. Chris and his team perform in ways that showcase real emotions, advanced DJ and MC techniques, and a drive to deliver the "WOW" factor. He's also a regular nightclub DJ and often travels to Las Vegas to spin as a member of Soundbite Productions. Chris is a dedicated and contributing member of the DJ community and performs at industry conferences and offers consulting on a regular basis. He also speaks at colleges and other organizations on the topics of DJing, entrepreneurship, marketing, and social media. He loves helping others by sharing his passions and believes it's only right to give back and help the industry grow as a whole. Chris and his wife Megan share a special bond as they are both Korean adoptees that live in Ithaca, NY with their three cats.
Blush Bridal & Formal
Courtney is a passionate mom, driven leader, and a 9 year veteran of the bridal industry in Maine. A lifelong passion for people led her to purchase her first bridal and formal wear store at age 23. That same passion was the fuel for opening a second location, and purchasing and rebranding a third a few months later. Now a statewide brand, Courtney manages Blush Bridal & Formal without being needed for day to day operations and enjoys the freedom that drew her to entrepreneurship in the first place. She enjoys traveling and spending time with her 5 year old son, Jonah & Boston Terrier, Lucy.
Kaleigh attended college at the tender age of sixteen. While in college, she launched The Modern Creative, a branding and creative studio for small businesses. In 2008, Méldeen launched out of The Modern Creative as a luxury wedding paper studio specializing in developing stationery out of unthinkable and unusual materials. Méldeen now focuses on partnerships with planners and other creative people in the luxury wedding world internationally. Last year, she & her husband launched Garment Exchange, the first community driven peer-to-peer clothing rental marketplace for women. They are currently scaling and growing the brand throughout North America. Méldeen has advanced in 2016 with PIXEL by Méldeen. One of the first location-based, custom Snapchat filter providers for social and business. Using Snapchat’s tools, PIXEL creates and deploys custom geo-filters nationwide. When Kaleigh isn’t leading Garment Exchange or Méldeen, you can find her on the lake, volunteering with various fashion organizations — and thinking about her next entrepreneurial adventure while encouraging young people to live their best life, and follow through with their ideas.
Covenant Presbyterian Church
Tim Wilbanks is the President of the Vail Religious Foundation and the Pastor of the Covenant Presbyterian Church in Vail and Beaver Creek Colorado. Tim has been a pastor for over 40 years and preformed 800+ weddings in a variety of settings. "I love being a pastor, and I especially love the wedding aspect of ministry."
Giggle and Riot Funbooths
Caroline of Giggle and Riot Funbooths is the creative, visual, branding and marketing maven behind the biz. She is a happy Instagram obsessed, foodie, digs design, will never eat a cute animal and is usually busting a righteous move on the dance floor. Armed with a keen eye for impeccable aesthetics, history in web and graphic design and training in art, she makes sure everything in her company looks rad and works amazingly
Jos and Tree are a husband & wife team who have run their studio in Portland Oregon for 10+ years together. Named as 100 wedding photographers in the US by Fearless Photographers for several years, their creative lifestyle, wedding, and commercial photography has taken them all over the world and they have clients in love with their personalities, teamwork, communication style and creative award-winning photography. Their inspiration comes from their relationship, clients, travel, teaching and deep hunger to learn and grow themselves. As educators, they have spoke at medium to large conferences including WPPI and Mystic Seminars along with smaller localized events and are also ambassadors and educators for MagMod Light-Modifiers and SLR Lounge Education Platform. They host and teach their own Workshops called EVOLVE all over the US and beyond and love sharing all they know in an inclusive and supportive and fun environment.
Eddie Zaratsian Lifestyle and Design
Eddie Zaratsian is the visionary behind Eddie ZaratsianLifestyle and Design, a full-service event design and production studio based in Los Angeles, California. With over 25 years of experience, Eddie’s creativity and passion is evident in every aspect of his work, and his ability to imagine and actualize events is unparalleled. Named asone of the top five international florists by the London Financial Times, Zaratsian has built a reputation as a visionary artist, and his work has been celebrated and featured by Martha Stewart, Harper's Bazaar, Grace Ormonde,E! News and Glamour, among others. Now, throughguest lectures and classes globally, as well as private workshops in his spectacular LA Design Studio, Eddie generously shares his extensive business, design and floral expertise.
Bill Zaruka was only 14 years old when he started working in the family business at the highly successful Buenaventura Golf Course Food & Beverage Concession. Bill worked every position at the Bar & Grill serving golfers, as well as the Wedgewood Banquet Center, serving weddings and banquets. He performed all the service and accounting functions. His interest in the business led him to pursue a degree in Hotel Administration at Cornell University. At Cornell, Bill exhibited his leadership skills as President of his fraternity and Captain of the lightweight football team. He graduated in 1998. After graduation, Bill joined the food services division of Universal Studios, Hollywood, CA. As a multi-unit manager he was responsible for several of the park’s high-volume restaurants where he grew revenues, created budgets, wrote operating standards and training programs and led the installation of several point-of-sale systems. In 2002 he partnered with his mother and father in an effort to expand the family business. As President of Wedgewood, Bill is responsible for day-to-day operations, marketing, finance and business development. Under his leadership Wedgewood has grown from a single-unit family business in 2003 to a 36-venue nationwide wedding powerhouse. Wedgewood now performs more than 4000 weddings per year with their signature all-inclusive product offerings and trademark Valservenience™ (value-service-convenience). Throughout its strategic expansion Wedgewood has maintained its 5-star online reputation and best-in-class customer satisfaction scores. Bill is most passionate about making customers’ wedding planning and execution stress-free and affordable. With a brand platform that is customer-centric and budget-friendly, Wedgewood has become synonymous with weddings and is regarded by many as the nation’s wedding leader. Bill resides in Temecula CA. He has been married to his wife Jennifer since 2006, and they have four children together.