We’re back and ready to share with you all the wonderful details from the retreat we attended a few weeks ago.
In my post a few weeks ago I wrote about what led me to Cultivate Retreat here. I went into this retreat with an open mind and heart and I was not disappointed.
First, I must talk about the location. We spent three days on beautiful Jekyll Island in Georgia. If you have never been, GO! This place was seriously amazing. Towering Oak trees dripping with Spanish moss, serene beaches, immaculate gardens and the beautiful Victorian residences of the historic Jekyll Island Club, our host hotel. Built in 1886, the club was the vacation destination of choice for Rockefellers, Vanderbilts and countless US presidents. To say that this hotel was stunning is an understatement. Lurlyne and I both commented that we could the feel the history as we toured the property. It was truly the perfect backdrop for the retreat.
Before I talk about the speakers I must talk about the amazing decor and food! Each meal had a theme, my favorite being (it was so hard to choose seriously the food and decor was amazing check out our instagram for pics) was the Simply Southern Luncheon. We were treated to pulled pork, macaroni and cheese, southern baked beans, potato salad, banana pudding. GAINED TEN POUNDS!!!!
As if the food wasn’t enough we dined on custom farm tables by Set Rentals, lace runners by I Do Linens, florals by Emily Kennedy and Emily Humphries and custom menus and signage by Magnoila Tree Paperie. Lurlyne and I were so inspired by the decor and can not wait to create designs pulling from all of the design trends and a few we created.
On the first day of the retreat we heard from Rhiannon Bosse, Shay Cochrane and Ashlee Proffitt. They all spoke to different facets of building a successful brand and defining your success. I felt like they were speaking directly to me. As many of you know we recently rebranded. I did not rebrand just because I wanted something pretty, I did it because I really wanted to establish this business as a brand – easily recognized, trustworthy and fun. The quote that spoke directly to me was one delivered by Shay,
“If you are trying to replicate what someone else is already doing well, at best, you will only ever be second best.” Casey Templeton.
That quote really reminded me to focus on what has been placed on my heart for this business and to focus on what we do. That’s hard y’all. You see so many of your peers doing these amazing things and you immediately think “I should be doing that too.” Then I have to remind myself of who I am, what the heart of this business is and what we do best. As long as I (we, this business) are our authentic self, we have no competition.
Day two was our first full day of speakers – Valerie Greenhauser, Ashley Baber, Lauren Grove, Meghan Ely, Cheyenne Schultz and Jacob Towe. These speakers focused on growing your business, secrets of success, marketing and my personal favorite – the client experience.
Client experience is my favorite because I feel it is often overlooked. I strive to do more than plan weddings because quite frankly, wedding planners come a dime a dozen.
What I am selling is an experience. Every client that selects me as their planner will feel like they are the most important client I have. I send birthday cards, I remember their favorite color, I believe in the handwritten note and I send them little gifts throughout the planning process to let them know I am there and available to them. I want them to consider me a friend, not just a vendor, equally as invested in their wedding.
Meghan Ely said it best “Your client experience reaffirms your brand. It sets you apart from the competition.”
Day three was dedicated to break out sessions. Our favorite breakout session was a class given by Shea Hopely creating floral crowns. Aside from the fact that we love flowers, this fun class was the perfect end to the retreat. We learned so much and took so many notes that our hearts and minds were full. Playing with pretty flowers was the perfect way to wind down.
I felt like this retreat was designed especially for us. It truly helped us refocus and reevaluate the core of this business. I shared in my first post on this blog about how I felt so defeated when I first launched because I was not booking the amount of brides I felt I deserved. This retreat helped me to evaluate why this was and develop a clear, concise plan for this business and my life.
As Cheyenne said “Sometimes we stop growing numerically so we can grow internally.” Pastor Steven Furtick
My heart and mind are full and I am ready to cultivate this business.
Until next time, happy planning.