The 5th edition of Exotic Wedding Planning Conference successfully concluded on 1 May 2018 at the Palazzo Versace in Dubai. The 3-day extravaganza hosted over 150 wedding planners coming together from more than 65 countries under a common roof to connect, collaborate, and celebrate the fraternity.
DAY 1 commenced with a welcome note by Rishikesh Shetty (Managing Director, Exito Media Concepts Pvt. Ltd.), followed by an introductory note about the property, Palazzo Versace, by Sumesh Nair (Executive Assistant Manager, Palazzo Versace). The keynote session of the day was taken by Sumant Jayakrishnan of Scenografia Sumant on ‘Design – through the looking glass’, showcasing some of his design masterpieces. What followed the keynote was the session on ‘The story of Stories – Wedding photography’ by Joseph Radhik and Joshua Karthik of ‘Stories by Joseph Radhik’. The gathering broke for networking coffee break and pre-scheduled and focused one to one business meetings.
After mingling with the peers, the attendees listened to a session by Gamze Geray (Psychotherapist/ Counsellor and Published Author), who addressed on ‘Passion with business meaning - Centered Life and Happiness’. The last session of the day was a Panel Discussion moderated by Christina Holt, and featuring Jean Charles, Sarah Young, Sandra Santoro, Hamid Moeini, and Funke Bucknor discussing on the ‘Low-grade competition - Dealing with Pricing challenges' and encouraging open dialogue and discussions. The discussion focused on the tactics to handle price negotiations and how to manage such clients. It also had a section on how to overcome the challenge of low-grade competition, its impacts on the business of established wedding planners valuing and delivering service quality and the remedies to minimize the effects. Top financial tips were also given to wedding planners for them to stay ahead of the competition. The day closed with a networking cocktail party and entertainment.
The second day of the conference was initiated with the keynote by Steen Jacobson of DTCM, introducing the mesmerizing city of Dubai to the attendees, followed by a session on ‘Introduction to Audio-Visual’. Alison Philips deliberated on ‘Art of Sale and techniques’, focusing on the revenue generating aspect of the wedding planning business. An interesting session was conducted by Sarah Young discussing the unrealistic wedding day expectations and how to prepare the bride & groom for the same. She mentioned that with the advent of social media, drawing inspirations have been facilitated to a great extent. But at the same time, it is invoking unreasonable aspirations among the bride and groom that cannot be entertained, especially when the budget constraints arise. Her session focused on the remedies to counter these challenges. Post her session the gathering broke for a speed networking session, and one to one meetings.
The experts’ panel on ‘Finding the right vendors, and avoiding the wrong ones’ was moderated by Meltem Tepeler, and featured Joann Gregoli, Salah Busheri, Zahira Domenech, Ziad Raphael Nassar, Mohomed Morani, and Sumant Jayakrishnan as panelists. The discussion was focused towards tips and ways to qualify vendors to align with the requirement of the business. The insight drawn from the discussion was along the lines of advice against bad coincidences while collaborating with a vendor, ways to maintain the work ethics and standards when working with a local or foreign vendor for the first time, measures to safe keep one's knowhow from competitors once your vendors start working with them, and how often to replace vendor companies based on price, quality, and the standard of deliverables.
The networking lunch wound up for the attendees to enjoy and experience the music and vibes of ‘Dubai Drums’ through an interactive team building session by the very talented professionals. Joann Gregoli deliberated on the ways ‘how to market to the millennial bride’, focusing on the fact that the millennials are seeking to explore the exotic locations across the globe, and aren’t afraid of exploring new customs and practices over the wedding experience. They look forward to striking a right balance between uniqueness and popularity, get immersed in the culture of the wedding destination and more importantly, they want to ensure that the guests should feel the wedding and not just attend a wedding. In such digital era, the wedding planners should continuously come up with creative ideas and engagement activities, curated to touch upon all the senses, i.e., sight, feel smell, taste, and hearing. Also, they should always look forward to establishing connections across geographies, instill cross-cultural ideas and practices for weddings, forge long-lasting relationships, and encourage collaborations to pull off a millennial wedding.
The highlight of the second day of the event was the gala dinner at Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach. The party and celebration continued on the day three with the brunch and entertainment at Atlantis, The Palm. The conference was an epitome of glitz and glamour ensuring business discussions, paving way for partnerships in a festive environment. The 5th edition EWPC celebrated the wedding planning fraternity and applauded them for all their efforts and work towards making the industry ever growing!
Closing in on the grand success of the 5th edition in Dubai, Exito has announced the 6th edition of Exotic Wedding Planning Conference in Goa, India on 13 and 14 August, 2018.