See How The Engage!18 Wedding Summit Captured the Canadian Spirit

Take a look at the gifting and decor concepts that were inspired by the conference’s location in Banff, Alberta.

By Michele Laufik July 9, 2018, 7:16 AM EDT

Photo: Carla Ten Eyck

Engage!18 Canada
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For the first time, luxury-wedding business summit Engage! traveled to the Great White North for its 24th event and to celebrate its official 10-year anniversary.

Held from June 18 to 21 at the Fairmont Banff Springs in Banff, Alberta, Canada, Engage!18 Canada brought together wedding and event planners for a three-day conference that was produced by Rebecca Grinnals and Kathryn Arce of Celebration, Florida-based Engaging Concepts.

This time around, the duo partnered with Angela Desveaux, editor-in-chief of the Canadian bridal publication WedLuxe, who served as the guest creative director tasked with infusing the summit with local flavor. (Gifts for the Good Life had acted as the creative director for the other recent summits.)

“The Fairmont Banff Springs and surrounding Banff National Park provided endless inspiration for us to create a relaxed, cozy ‘true North’ mountain-adventure vibe for the entire event,” Grinnals said. Traditional Canadian tropes including buffalo plaid, maple leafs, and mountain scenery, as well as outdoor elements like enamel dinnerware featured prominently through the event. Plus, this time, the gifting items were sourced from local companies such as Roots, instead of being custom made for the summit.

In addition to the decor and gifts, Grinnals said that “many of the attendees embrace the themes [with their outfits] and it provides great additional branding and makes people connect on a whole new level.” This year, she added, the team created special Pinterest boards to give people additional inspiration for their wardrobe planning. Engaging Concepts promoted the boards in advance through social media and via email.

Another new element was a brief, optional questionnaire that was sent to attendees beforehand, asking them some “fun facts” about themselves in order to create natural ice breakers; these were included in the attendee guide.

Grinnals and Arce also tweaked the format slightly, re-working the agenda to include more downtime to allow attendees to explore the surrounding area and participate in various outdoor experiences like hiking, canoeing, river rafting, horseback riding, and trips to nearby Lake Louise and Moraine Lake.

Plus, instead of the usual breakfast at the hotel during the morning of the second day, attendees headed to the top of nearby Sulphur Mountain on the Banff Gondolas, where they could take in the fresh mountain air. Because of that, Grinnals said, “the energy and mood of the entire day was the most relaxed of any event we have ever had. It was a huge hit.”

Besides those revisions, the bones of the summit remained the same, with 330 guests attending daily speaker and panel sessions with industry experts—such as event designers Jes Gordon and Mindy Weiss—along with networking activities and parties. (BizBash executive vice president Nicole Peck was also a speaker at the conference.)

Next up for the organizers are summits in County Limerick, Ireland, from October 22 to 25, and in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, from December 3 to 6.

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