Monday, September 5, 2016

Cultivate 2016 | My take away

Hello all my sweet friends. I have a very special blog post to share with you today. 

I *literally* got these photos in my inbox today. Like, this morning. Like, maybe 3 hours ago. But, I couldn't contain myself. I just had to share not only the pictures but my whole experience at Cultivate 2016 with you as soon as possible. 

Cultivate Retreat is unlike any other conference I have ever experienced. It has heart, soul, compassion, education, and so much fun. (Maybe too much fun, too.) This was my second time attending and this year I returned as one of the lucky breakout speakers. I lead a session on the second day, sharing with the attendees on "Creating a Client Culture". You will read more about that later. 

But, I have to tell you that this year felt so different to me. I don't really know how to describe it, I just have to tell you that you need to experience it for yourself. 

This year's retreat took place in Highlands, NC. Cutest and smallest little mountain town, about 3 hours north of Atlanta, Ga. The charm of the city, mixed with the gorgeous flower filled ditches, it had my heart guys. I wanted to move in immediately. 

Not only did I leave with a full heart, but I also left with 25 new friends. I think that is my biggest take away from the whole week. The Cultivate Retreat brings together industry professionals from all over that may never have met or paths may have never crossed. But, I feel so confident when I say this. That, if I ever needed one of the attendees, they are just an email or phone call away. And THAT is worth going for. 

make sure you scroll all the way to the bottom for the photo and vendor credit! 

I had prepped for weeks, I was anxious, nervous, but so ready to speak during my breakout session. Speaking to Brides has become second nature to me, educating them, building their trust, and becoming a part of their family. But, turning the tables and speaking to my peers, fellow wedding industry pros. I felt like I was completely out of my comfort zone! 

I poured my heart into my topic, "Creating a Client Culture". It was incredible to sit there and speak to my new friends and start real conversations about how they can take what I have learned and hopefully apply it to their couples experience! 
I totally have the speaking bug now. 

On the third day, one of the breakout sessions we were able to enjoy was a floral bouquet hands-on experience. Our sweet friend Emily, owner of K. Occasions, lead the group in how she makes a bouquet and let me tell ya folks, it was not easy. I threw my bouquet down twice, got so frustrated, and after two hours, I finally tied it together. Being a florist is not for the faint of heart, my hand started to cramp, and I didn't think I would make it out alive. But I am so thankful that she didn't let me quit and I am so disappointed I couldn't bring my bouquet on the plane the next day. 


The last night, we got all dolled up for the much anticipated Gala. It was beyond stunning, the wine was yummy, and the dance floor got hot! I may or may not have rapped Salt n Peppa's "Shoop". 

All my new friends, filled with so much love. Can't wait for next year! 

You can find Laura on instagram at @lauraannewatson and Alex is @alexthorntonphoto 
I also linked them back to their site, so definitely take a look at how talented these ladies are! 

All the flowers were generously donated by Fifty Flowers

All of the Linens were from @Nuagedesignsinc | Nuage Designs

Silver chargers, white chargers, violet goblets - @Southerncharmevents

Copper Tablescape/potted plants decor - @k.occasions

Wood chargers, Orange and Yellow Centerpieces + Gala Centerpieces - @Sheahopely

Gold Chargers and Flatware - @set_rentals

And of course, all of our beautiful gifts were provided by @gratisco_

DJ Services and Lighting by @generation_y_entertainment

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