Last week I had the pleasure of hanging out in Phoenix, Arizona while attending the BASH conference. BASH brings together event planners, bloggers, and entrepreneurs from all around the globe. I met some amazing women from Israel, Haiti, Bahamas, different parts of Canada (surprisingly there were only three of us), and of course all over the U.S.
I’ve been an event planner for a few years now, but no matter what stage you are in your
career, there is always room for professional development and inspiration. Kathy Romero, CEO and head of Global Planning for Preston Bailey, was invited to the conference as a keynote speaker. Kathy has had a very long and successful career in the event planning industry, and we were lucky she was able to come out and share her experience and expertise. She helps create mind-blowing events for celebrities and millionaires, but what impressed me the most was the fact that she was there for the entire three days of the conference. Keynote speakers often attend these sorts of events and stay only for the portion that includes their speech. That’s perfectly understandable as we all understand how demanding this industry can be and we simply appreciate them making the effort to come out at all. But Kathy was there from start to finish, and she attended a lot of the same sessions I did. She contributed to some of those sessions during the Q&A portion, but mostly she was there just taking it all in like the rest of us.
I first heard about BASH last summer, but what helped me make the final decision to go was finding out that Heather Crabtree was going to be leading one of the sessions. Heather is a business strategist who helps entrepreneurs grow their business. I started following her on Instagram a few months ago, and I’ve been hooked ever since. It was from her website that I found out she would be at BASH, and that settled it for me. She co-hosted a session with Tori Tait, called “How to Grow an Engaged Community that Moves the Bar for Your Biz”. Tori is a marketing and entertaining expert, and I’m happy this conference introduced me to her work. One piece of advice that stuck with me from this session is that your goals should be in line with your “why”. Every move you make in your business or career should be done to take you one step closer to your end goal. These can include goals you have for social media, for furthering your education, monetary goals, etc.
Another session I went to that I learned a lot from, was “Food Styling & Photography Tips to Take You to the Top,” lead by Joanna Meyer. Now I’m in no way a professional photographer. Well not yet anyway. Maybe one day. However, I think it’s important to photograph every aspect of your event. These photos are your resume, your portfolio, your brand; everything! I usually hire photographers for the events I do, but sometimes I want to snap a few photos myself. If there’s one thing people like about events, its food! Now I don’t make the food of course (how much would it suck if I had to plan the event, design the event, AND make all the damn food?), but I usually have a hand in what food is selected, who prepares it, and how it’s served and displayed. Here are three food photography tips I learned from Joanna:
- Use toothpicks to help prop up your food
- Spray dry looking food with oil to give it a nice sheen
- Tweezers can be used to rearrange small singular items look noodles, nuts, etc…
Just to clarify, I’m not suggesting you serve your guests food that have unnecessary toothpicks in it, or that has been sprayed with tons of oil. Sometimes what I do, mostly for dessert tables, is lay everything out a couple of hours before the event, take pictures of it, and then I have everything put back when its time. Word of advice, make sure you show said pictures to your catering staff so they know exactly where to put the items.
So for the most part, every conference has a headlining guest speaker. A person everyone is excited to meet and learn from. Someone attendees likely look up to. For BASH, that speaker was globally-celebrated event designer and author, Preston Bailey! He has created immaculate events for a number of different celebrities, from Sean Parker, to the Trump family! He’s widely known for his insane floral designs and his out-of-this-world décor elements. And by out-of-this-world, I’m talking about a Brooklyn, New York-style event he did for a young woman’s going away party. He replicated the Brooklyn Bridge…like a large scale Brooklyn Bridge…one that guests had to drive through as they approached the venue. I mean, how insane is that? His creativity and his dedicated to creating “wow” factors to all of his events is simply outstanding. His latest book, “Preston Bailey: Designing with Flowers,” is something I need in my life! My birthday’s March 10th, so you know…if you want to get me a gift, I would welcome this book with open arms.
Like I said, I learned a ton of great info and left the conference feeling inspired. But just as important, I met a lot of really awesome people. When you go to a conference, no matter what the topic is, networking and forming new relationships should be one of your main goals. There are always opportunities to learn from those around you, and it’s really nice to build friendships with people who understand what you do. Plus, later down the line you might find yourself doing a collaboration with your business besties. The opportunities are endless.
Checkout the websites and social media links below of some of the amazing women I had the pleasure of meeting.
Tasia Bland – Her Lovely Events
Savannah Ashley Corcoran – Etsy Shop
Nike & Fisola – Events
Victoria – Royal Event Services
I’d love to give you every tidbit I learned from every session, but ain’t nobody got time for that. Below is a list of all the sessions I attended, and who they were lead by. Check out their website, follow them on Instagram or Twitter, and I guarantee they’ll lead you to valuable information.
Food Styling & Photography Tips – Joanna Meyer, Culinary Creative
Grow Your Niche into a Worlwide Brand – Julie Goldman, Founder & CEO of The Original Runner Company
The Art of Swag – William P. Miller, Home Entertainment & Lifestyle Expert
An Inside Look at Pinterest – Amy Locurto, Living Locurto
Lights, Camera, Action! 5 Easy Tips you Can Use to Get on Television – Tisha Holman, Event Planner & Designer
I have to say a HUGE thank you to Michelle Burt, the creator of BASH. Her drive and her passion for this industry is inspiring, and her contagious energy is what made this conference fun and unique. It’s her love of event planning that brings these great women (and some men too) together every year, and I look forward to seeing this conference grow!