Is there anything more real than not getting a recap post up until 6 months after the fact? Wedding season y’all – what can we say. We wanted to take some space on our blog to share about the Gather + Co. workshop we hosted back in March 2023 – our first ever!
Where I live (Midwest), I feel like there a lot of networking events for wedding professionals as a whole, and a lot for photographers, but not a lot of meet-ups in person. Of course in our digital age, a lot of people learn through online courses and virtually, but as wedding planners, you can imagine that the personal connection with like-minded people more local to us is super important. It is a very relational industry after all – so that’s what we sought to do when we planned the Gather + Co. Workshop!
With it being our first one, I will admit, we had a lot of learning to do to set up and pull off an event without any idea of how many people would show up. We wanted to keep it smaller and more exclusive so we could dive deeper, and we were delighted to have had wedding planners and their teams join from across Wisconsin and Minnesota! It was an absolutely amazing day of learning, networking, and simply having a blast with other planners – experienced or just starting out!
The Lynhall (Linney Studio) was one of the first venues I toured in the Twin Cities when I relocated to my area, and I fell in love with the charm and character of the space. And I heard they had amazing food! We decided to host it here to switch things up and allow us to spend all-day workshopping together and loved that the venue staff provided so much for us – the tables, chairs, screen for presenting, and the food and drink of course. Who doesn’t LOVE afternoon tea (something they’re known for!). It was truly the perfect location for our first event.
Renee with Renee Breanne Designs collaborated and helped me plan and was responsible for the beautiful design and decor alongside Shi with Lettered by Shi. Both are amazing industry friends and we are so thrilled we got to host this alongside them! I couldn’t have asked for better co-hosts!
As attendees arrived, we offered headshots by Mo Speer Photography and Steph Kadlicko. it was a great way to kick off the workshop and mingle with breakfast pastries and coffee and tea, before diving deep into the sessions we had planned for the day!
As you can see, I am a totally normal human.
Of course, we gathered but we also spent a few sessions learning and started off with the least sexy option – workflows, lol. But this is actually a topic I am embarrassingly excited about, so I kicked off the workshop with processes, systems, workflows, the boring but absolutely necessary part about running a biz and setting yourself up for ultimate success for the long-haul by getting your backend in order.
Session One: Creating Structure For A Seamless Client Experience
Because it was 10am and our minds were more fresh, we delved into the nitty-gritty of building rock-solid workflows and systems. This actually inspired me to take what we discussed and put it into a course. I decided to hone in on the Dubsado CRM (get 20% off if you’re been thinking about making the switch or desperately need to get organized) because after 5 years of using it, I truly feel well-versed in using it and get a ton of requests from people to cover this topic.
We also gave all attendees access to our wedding workflow process (can be purchased here) and talked through ways we could make our clients’ experiences more efficient, but of course, ALWAYS personalized.
Session Two: The VIP Treatment
Next up, we turned our focus to wowing our clients and vendors on How to Wow Your Clients + Vendors, lead by our very own Ellie. This session was all about creating an extraordinary experience that leaves a lasting mark. We talked first impressions, the idea of surprising and delighting, and the art of making genuine connections with clients, vendors, and everyone in between. This was a fun topic to cover because so many of us do this in so many different ways, but we all agreed that this was the key to a successful business – loving, serving, and taking care of people!
Session Three: Design Boards
After a short break, Renee led the session on design, as she is THE DESIGN QUEEN. All of us were just in awe of her skill and experience – she is the real deal people! “Elevating Design Boards and Beyond” was all about turning our client’s creative visions into reality. From curating design boards to personalizing each client’s story and infusing personal details into wedding design, this session was a creative playground. And yes, there was live tablescape styling – because why not? This may have been one of our favorite sessions that was more hands-on with more fangirling over Renee’s styling ability, haha!
Session Four: Stationery and Styling
Thanks to Shi, we got our hands dirty (in a good way!). Attendees received hands-on training in crafting perfect details and curating custom styling boxes. We got to the nitty-gritty of flatlay composition and even dabbled in express calligraphy, which was WAY more challenging than we could have ever imagined. Side note – hire the stationer if you want SKILLED and bespoke stationery! It was so much harder than we expected to do calligraphy!
Our very own Natalie won the flatlay styling contest and got to take it home with her. This session also inspired us to create our own styling kits and this is now something we offer to our Design and Full-Service couples!
Fun Times and Fabulous Lessons:
We ended the say with an INCREDIBLE family-style meal with signature cocktails from The Lynhall and left with full bellies and full hearts! We even got to meet the kitchen staff and chef, which was so sweet, because we all know the work required to pull of any event – SO appreciative. It was also nice to be able to be fed and wined and dined for an evening, I’m not even gonna lie!!
Our goal was that all attendees would be able to leave with newfound confidence in designing and styling events, along with practical insights on automating businesses and elevating the client experience, while making meaningful connections with fellow planners. Success!
For Every Wedding Planner:
Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned pro, Gather + Co. was so refreshing to get to do it with friends in good company. We are in this business because we are all passionate about weddings and people, and we couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate our craft. Business ownership and wedding planning can be a very difficult journey with plenty of highs and lows. But we never have to do it alone.
We can’t wait for the next round!