I recently attended and was the featued speaker at the Wisconsin State Association of Bridal Consultants Retreat. It was held in the Wisconsin Dells. Now, I had not been in the Dells for almost 30 years. Boy have things changed. Gone are the days of Fort Dells, Biblical Gardens and Xanadu–The House of the Future. It’s now “Water Park Capital of the World”. (www.wisdells.com) I was blown away. These huge mega resorts are themed, and a great place for a family getaway. I read that they will be busy this year, as many families find this to be a great value. We stayed at the Kalahari Resort and Water Park. www.kalahariresorts.com It was an African Safari themed resort. I didn’t go to the water park, but did take a look at both the indoor and outdoor ones. Wow.
I arrived on Friday afternoon, and Mary and I had lunch by the Wisconsin River where the Upper Dells boat tour docks. It was SO relaxing, as it was one of the first times I was able to eat outside. The Bison Burger was not as gamey as I thought it would be. I never had one, but figured “when in Rome”…. We walked around Downtown Dells, which also changed, but the old Haunted House, Ripley’s Believe it or not musuem and tons of stores that sell souveniers, and fudge are still in abundance. But a “Torture Museum”.. (with this month’s exhibit all about John Wayne Gacy) was a not what I expected in the land of Family Fun.
On Friday Night I took my intern Amanda and her husband and 2 children to Paul Bunyan’s for dinner. It’s an all you can eat place, family style, not Vegas Buffet) and is the one thing I wanted to do while I was there. Ray (Amanda’s hubby) and I fondly remembered this place as kids. But, I remember it to be so much bigger. You still enter and exit “thru the gift shop”. Food was good, and vvery homestyle. Accross the street I could see pieces of Fort Dells still standing. It has been replaced by a Walgreens and Starbucks.. Time marches on.
The retreat was was wonderful. It started out with State Coordinator Mary Charmoli of Saratoga Weddings (www.saratogaweddings.com) with a welcome and discussion of Keeping a Healthy Mind and Body during these challenging times. She reminded us to take care of ourselves, and family physically, mentally and financially. We then heard from Jayme Galanos from Sun Prairie Wisconsin (www.beyondelegantevents.com) who gave us insight on the latest techno gadgets to improve your business and save time.
Then I took the floor after a break. I transormed a table from a banquet setting (square linen, mirror, votive candles and napkins in the glasses) to a tablescape that was priced out at over $1000 per table. I did it in “layers’ so that members could see options for different price points by adding elements. It was an all white table, as it will never go out of style.
We then had great presentations on MultiCultural Weddings. The following gave great presentations, and I learned a few things I didn’t know.
Quaker Weddings- Marilee Karamanski (www.plannedspontaneity.com)
Greek Orthodox Weddings -Jayme Galanos- (see above)
Southeast Asian and Hindu Weddings-Angie Swits (www.byyoursideweddings.com)
Filipino, Japanese and Korean Weddings- Catharine Han, (www.dreamweddingwisconsin.com)
Then we had a nice presentation about ceremony and cocktail music by Angela Dupont (www.topshelfweddings)
We then had dinner at the Cheese Factory, a Vegetarian Restaurant (who knew the Dells had one). Great food! I then took a stroll thru the Outlet Mall (didnt buy a thing, SHOCK). and hit Ho Chunk Indian Casino. Was big and huge. I lost. UG.
On Sunday, we had a “pancake bar” for breakfast. Neat idea. Different kind of pancakes, with different toppings.
Then heard from my protege David Caruso (www.dynamicevents.com) who spoke about branding your business. Mary Charmoli then spoke again, but about Green Weddings, a trend we all are seeing. Then Nancy Flottmeyer (www.weddingsbynancy.com) spoke on closing the deal. Then Conni Hofeldt-Rowe and Jean Grindle (www.anaireofflair.com) showed different types of napkin and chair treatments.
After lunch we adjourned and everyone went their seperate ways I met alot of new colleagues, and really enjoyed myself. I will attend again next year if I can.
For more information visit www.abc-wi.com for info on the ABC Wisconsin Group. Or email Mary Charmoli,the State Coordinator Consult@saratogaweddings.com