I admit that I am still reflecting on the incredible 3 day experience at the Engage!23 The Belmond Sicily Experience and I must say that I was even more amazed than I was the very first time I attended Engage!18 in Sardenia. From the stunning location (oh Sicily I am so in love with you!), the luxurious 5 star hosting hotels, the jaw-dropping decoration details to the knowledge gained from every session and the authentic connections with industry peers, Engage! is definitely a one of kind event. I have so much respect for Rebecca Grinnals and Kathryn Arce, the powerhouse founders of Engage!, for creating this unique community for wedding professionals and helping all of us elevate our work, make important and meaningful connections and enjoy every moment to the fullest. I have only praise to share about the both of them and their talented team that continuously push the boundaries and truly know better than anyone how to create magic!
Known as the world’s most exclusive wedding conference, Engage! is the grandest luxury wedding and event summit that brings together the most innovative and creative wedding industry leaders from all over the world for 3 days of ultimate inspiration, meaningful connections and unique experiences. Since 2008, Engage! has produced 39 successful, sold-out events and brought together more than 10,000 luxury wedding and event professionals from all over the United States and over 50 countries.
The Engage!23 The Belmond Sicily Experience was extraordinary to say the least. Every detail carefully planned to perfection and literally there is not a single attendee that was not enchanted by the entire experience created. To keep the memory alive, we all were so fortunate to be given the most amazing keepsake: an incredible art collage group portrait and individual animated artwork to share on social media! Uniquely blurring the lines between art, photography and entertainment, the uber talented Zuzu and her team from Haus of Birkhof created this masterpiece by taking portrait photos of everyone and then masterfully placing them in the collage. Magnificent!
This year at the Engage!23 The Belmond Sicily Experience from the very first most moment the event unfolded in such a beautiful way. Attendees we greeted for registration in the lush gardens of the Grand Hotel Timeo, A Belmond Hotel and received their welcome gifts! The Engage gifting is legendary: a collection of memorable and locally curated gifts from celebrated Sicilian Artisans that all attendees raved about. I love almost everything that TPD Design House created for this event (from the Engage!23 Sicily branding, the illustrated printed maps, the gilded gold gala menus to the unique 3D agenda featuring a Sicilian fruit cart!), I must say that my favorites were the luxurious attendee book (the conference “bible”) and the ever-so-stylish nametags! Surely a hallmark of every Engage.
Opening sessions at Engage always boast with excitement, as attendees gather for opening remarks made by the incredible and powerhouse women Kathryn and Rebecca and followed by inspirational keynote speakers including Alexander Carter, Christian Boyens Vice President & Divisional Leader, LVHM / Belmond Southern Europe of and Cindy Novotny. The following day was filled with group discussions focused on the most relevant and essential topics that were held by renowned wedding professionals: Bryan Rafanelli, Jose Villa, Joel Serrato, Lisa Vorce and Michelle Rago. Every single one of them delivered the most inspiring talks and willingly shared their expertise as well as useful business and growth tips.
We were officially welcomed to Sicily at the Festa di San Timeo! Vincenzo Dascanio, the famous event planner extraordinaire created an incredible Sicilian street festival concept overflowing with vibrant yellow florals and incorporating creative details such as the famous Sicilian Moor’s Heads. The gorgeous Letteria Terrace at the Grand Hotel Timeo, A Belmond Hotel was the perfect setting for this Sicilian feast. The night was filled with captivating entertainment by Mho Events and I must say that the welcome party was filled with sensory moments that left us all breathless.
The second day of Engage!23 The Belmond Sicily Experience included a pre-opening private tour(!) of Teatro Antico di Taormina. Needless to say that the walk through the ancient Greek theatre was definitely memorable.
Attendees of the Engage!23 were invited to experience “The Legacy of Parroquet” on the Mazzarό Terrace of the amazingly beautiful Villa Sant’ Andrea Belmond Hotel. The Le Perroquet was a famous club in Sicily with a taste for excess and a flair for the extravagant. The amazing Vincezo Dascanio recreated the Le Perroquet with stunning details: leopard print walls, baroque chandeliers, extravagant gold cages, exotic florals, dramatic red roses and a stylish tribal flair. The night included one of a kind entertainment by the ÉLAN Europe Immersive and Entertainment teams that definitely elevated the party!
One of the many details that truly make Engage stand out from any other conference, is the immersive experience exploring local attractions. In Sicily, attendees had the pleasure to visit Mount Etna and attend wine tastings at the most beautiful Sicilian wineries.
If there is one thing that Engage attendees enjoy the most is the countless opportunities that one may have for natural networking with other talented wedding industry professionals from all over the world. The vibe is definitely collaborative, and I can definitely say from my personal experience that long lasting friendships and partnerships are created.
And finally the Gala. Such a dreamy and opulent setting that seriously there are no words that can do it justice. Attendees were blown away with the marquee of layered lace, the mystical hanging candle lights, the Carrara marble finishings and the abundance of lush white florals that event designer extraordinaire Vincenzo Dascanio created and filled every corner of the Letteria Terrace at the Grand Hotel Timeo, A Belmond Hotel. The harmonious combination of old italian romance with edgy modern details, the outstanding performances from ÉLAN Europe Immersive and Entertainment teams (the Italian Opera songs were breathtaking!) and the incredibly enthusiastic vibe from all attendees just made the night even from spectacular.
With no doubt, the Engage!23 The Belmond Sicily Experience was a spectacular event and my heart is exploding with gratitude for all the memories that were created and the opportunity that I was given to connect and become friends with some of the most wonderful people and talented wedding professionals from all corners of the world. It is a phenomenal event in so many ways.
Thank you Engage!