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Love Mexico 2014

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by Kaley Campbell, WPIC Office Manager








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What a week.  Flying back into Toronto after an amazing week in Riviera Maya was more than a dose of reality.  I could be seen at the airport with a winter jacket, a maxi summer dress, and a brand new outlook on destination weddings, especially to Mexico.  Love Mexico had outdone themselves, again, and definitely showed us wedding planners, travel agents, and everyone else in the industry what Mexico has to offer.

Touching down in Mexico around 11am, I was greeted by the lovely Mexican climate and about a dozen WPIC members.  For me, this was the first time I had met the majority of these ladies, and I instantly felt welcomed.  After our bags got searched and we got questioned why in the world we brought so many candles and pens to Mexico, we were off on our Olympus shuttle to the Hard Rock in Riviera Maya.

Hard rock riviera maya

After all of us piled out of the shuttle, there was a ton of staff there to greet us with big smiles and welcomed us to the resort.  Our check in consisted of fruity drinks, excellent spreads of food, and a well decorated lobby. We were given some Love Mexico Swag, our room keys, and the afternoon to rest up before the meet and great.  And by rest, I mean the afternoon at the swim up bar with a great stage show and getting acquainted with my fellow WPIC ladies.

That evening we had the chance to check out the Young Leaders Pre Cocktail, which was held at the Heaven Lounge.   It was a great chance to mix and mingle over cocktails, before the main meet and great started.  The main welcome Cocktail happened in the lobby where we registered. You could find collections of travel agents and planners finding people they haven’t seen in quite some time and it had the feel of a high school reunion, but with better food and without the drama.

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Our first Mexican feast followed, and what a feast it was.  This was my first real Mexican meal, and it did not disappoint.  The meat was well seasoned and cooked, and the buffet style set up allowed us to get what we would like, and leave the food that we couldn’t pronounce.  After this meal we all found ourselves over at the Heaven lounge where we all had more drinks, a few shots, and a ton of laughs.

Centrepiece at Opening Dinner Photo by

Centrepiece at Opening Dinner Photo by

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Photo by

Day 2 came way too early, but with all the information that was to come we needed to start this early.  We woke to sun shining in our patios, and if everyone else did the same as I did, I started my day with room service and a soak in the Jacuzzi. We all met at 8 am for breakfast at the convention centre, and the sweet, sweet coffee that was aplenty. I know I wasn’t the only one needing it.

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Kitzia Morelos, Co-Producer of Love Mexico. Photo by

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Araminta Castillo, Co-Producer of Love Mexico. Photo by

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We started our day in a huge room that had beautiful linens, a grand stage, and amazing décor.  Our morning started with hearing from the Mexico tourism board, and moved into hearing from Tracy French, Elyse Elkin, and Frank Maduro.   All three talked about the wonders of Mexico, and how to get the most while booking a destination wedding.  Frank specifically talked about the Hard Rock and showed us its style with engaging videos and lively stories.  Next we had a panel discussion about how to best engage your clients with destination weddings lead by my good friend Nancy Barkley and answered by Lili Anciola, Sarah Prease, and Sam Combs. Our next panel explained why to go to Mexico for your destination weddings and how to best sell the value of “you”. This was led by Jane Custer, and had Tracy French,  Brenda O’Neale,  and Elyse Elkin speaking.

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Next we moved right into our appointments with the Mexican suppliers, AKA: the HUGE room filled with booths that were captivating, interactive, and some even had great giveaways.  It was hard to move from one booth to the next because each vendor had its own captivating spell making you want to check out each location personally.

Lunch was served in the lively Verve Ballroom, and was decked out top to bottom like a Mexican fair.  This included some of the staff dressing up in Mexican celebration attire, beautiful colors, and fake mustaches. It made the lunch feel even more authentic.

The Love Mexico Producers presenting thoughtful gifts to Association Presidents, Lisa Sheldon, David Wood & WPIC's own, Danielle Andrews Sunkel. Photo by

The Love Mexico Producers presenting thoughtful gifts to Association Presidents, Lisa Sheldon, David Wood & WPIC’s own, Danielle Andrews Sunkel. Photo by

We then travelled back to our seats from the morning, and listened to Ed Cotton, Lisa Sheldon, and David Wood speak about partnering wedding planners with travel agents and how this could be the key to success, followed by a quick presentation on Los Cabos.

After that some of us went back to our prescheduled appointments, and some of us found ourselves back at the pool.

Nancy, Sandy, Danielle & Amanda

Nancy, Sandy, Danielle & Amanda, photo by moi

6:30pm came and we all packed on buses and headed over to the Barceló Maya Beach Resort where we were greeted by the most stunning lobby, and a heard of bongo players.  It was rumoured that some members of Love Mexico were even falling in love with the good looking drummers.  The drummers personally escorted us in a roundabout way to the Captain Morgan bar, and huge buffet. Barceló also offered free henna to our members, and also there was photo op booth.  This was such a nice touch, however with so many Love Mexico participants; the lines were a little too long.  They definitely made up for this with the amazing array of food, and fantastic all inclusive trips given out to some lucky guests.

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After dinner we all piled back on the buses and headed back to the club.  WPIC members could be spotted all over the dance floor, at the bar, and especially dancing it up in the pool until early hours in the morning.


7 am was a tough wake up call, for some more than others. But up we were and back at the conference centre with bread and coffee to soak up the shenanigans from the night before. Tatiana Byron started our day with an amazing presentation on marketing and profiling the average brides’ habits.  Lakis Charalambous then spoke about Olympus Tours and Cherie Ronning about networking.  We went back to finish up with the suppliers, and headed right out to the beach and the pool.

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Our lunch was served at the Ipanema Restaurant, and we went right into a Hard Rock Riviera Maya site inspection.  This was a little disappointing to some, after the lively presentation the day before from Frank that talked about all the luxury rooms that Hard Rock has to offer, but the rooms didn’t end up on the tour.  However the Hard Rock in itself is anything but disappointing.  From the pools to the staff, it is amazing top to bottom.

Love Mexico 20142

We then dove right into some networking via the pool party, and everyone trailed away to get ready for the real party:  The 70s party.

Unfortunately we are missing about 10 people here, but here is a photo of some WPICers in our finest 70's attire.  Photo by

Unfortunately we are missing about 10 people here, but here is a photo of some WPICers in our finest 70’s attire. Photo by

Walking through the lobby it was quite clear I was the first one in my attire, and I got tons of awkward stares and even some pictures with some guests.  But this just made the experience all the more enjoyable.  Stepping back in time with our crazy get ups, we all met over at the conference centre for an amazing supper, and the best party starter: Big Party Orchestra.  If the drummer didn’t get you with his looks, the band definitely did with their personalized variations of popular music.  We danced until we heard the club calling our name, and then we danced at the club late into the night.

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The next morning was both a happy and sad one.  Getting to the airport in our dresses and beach attire, and getting off the plane to a winter storm surge in Toronto was not the most favorable feeling, however coming home with all the information that Love Mexico provided and the new connections I have made, made the trip’s experience irreplaceable.  Love Mexico has provided me with a brand new outlook to destination weddings, especially in Mexico, and has provided me with all the tools and contacts needed to plan any sort of Mexican destination event.

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A special shout out to all of the Love Mexico employees. I have never seen such passionate and dedicated staff, (besides myself of course: P), that made this experience the amazing one that it was.


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WPIC Does Las Vegas & Wedding MBA 2014

By: Tracey Manailescu


WPIC’s Co-founders (Danielle and I) led a seminar on “International Wedding Trends” and ran a double booth with some amazing helpers (Kim Choy, Daniela Caputo, Sue Morris) to promote WPIC and our Wedding Pro Workshops at Wedding MBA in Las Vegas this year. *Also a special mention to Kristy Sherwood and Sara Long for helping us set up our booth.

Some of the highlights that we touched on in our seminar were naked cakes, hand-painted cakes (and we even had real examples) thanks to the amazing and talented peeps at It’s a Piece of Cake, string art for table numbers, clay bouquet pieces, Colour blocking with bridesmaids dresses, dip-dyed wedding dresses, the crazy McDonald’s weddings phenomena in Hong Kong, and mini beach balls which we threw out into the audience to end our seminar.

Also wanted to give a shout-out to the Linen Closet for supplying our pillows and table runners. Wedding MBA collage

There were over 2800 attendees in attendance this year! Unbelievable.

Wedding MBA class photo

We managed to squeeze in some fun (of course) with a WPIC Get-Together with 17 WPIC Alumni from Canada, Barbados and the Bahamas. We went on a 3 hour tour with 24-7 Limousines in an armoured truck around Las Vegas to Little White Wedding Chapel, a private tour of Caesar’s Palace wedding hot spots, a stop at the infamous Las Vegas sign, and ended the evening with VIP entrance to Coyote Ugly.

WPIC Alumni

WPIC Alumni in Las Vegas

WPIC Alumni

Photo courtesy of: Kim Choy


We witnessed a vow renewal at A Little White Wedding Chapel, and WPIC Instructor, Daniela Caputo had step in to save the day when the couple didn’t understand the Officiate because she didn’t speak French (the couple were from France).  Daniela jumped in to save the day by translating the entire Vow renewal ceremony :)  Talk about being in the right place at the right time…

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

*All photos were taken by Tracey Manailescu, unless otherwise noted.



Co-Founders are Speaking at Wedding MBA and Jamaica Bridal Expo

Tracey Manailescu-Danielle Andrews Sunkel-WPIC

WPIC Co-Founders, Danielle Andrews Sunkel and Tracey Manailescu are looking forward to a busy, yet exciting time for the next two weeks.

We are heading out to Las Vegas for a WPIC Get-Together Vegas-style on Monday, September 15th, 2014 with approximately twenty WPIC Alumni. Then we will be speaking at Wedding MBA on Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 on “International Wedding Trends” at 9am. Make sure you come by and say hello to us at our double booth!

Then, we are heading off to Montego Bay, Jamaica to speak at the Jamaica Bridal Expo Conference, where we will also have a booth for the two days afterwards at the Jamaica Bridal Expo to promote WPIC!

We are thrilled to be heading off to Negril afterwards to experience Couples Resorts with site visits and of course, an irie time ;)

We will be taking a ton of photos and experiencing it to the fullest, so we can share it all with you upon our return.


Love & Sunshine Conference October 26-29, 2014

The Love & Sunshine Conference is all about adding tips and tricks for working Destination Weddings. October 26-29, 2014 Westin Beach Resort & Spa, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  WPIC Co-founders, Danielle and Tracey will be there. .. Who else is coming?                                                                                                                      

BOGO Sale ends tonight at midnight!

Love & Sunshine Alumni

General Information:

Sunday – Wednesday. Oct. 26 – 29, 2014 Love & Sunshine Destination Wedding Conference & Expo is the premier training resource for wedding professionals in the luxury market to network with industry leaders, keep up with the latest trends and learn effective business strategies to grow in the destination wedding industry.

This one-of-a-kind learning experience is where you’ll gain a new perspective about the Destination Wedding Industry, network with like-minded industry professionals, the Conference is designed for you. The conference provides an opportunity to learn valuable tools and skillsets to plan a successful destination wedding. Attend hands on workshops and interactive lectures with experts in the field of business, social media, photography, gay and lesbian weddings, marketing, travel and tourism.

Registration includes:

 Pink Gala on Sunday night to benefit Breast Cancer awareness

 Two-days of inspiring, educational workshops and lectures from experts in the international luxury wedding & event industries

 Breakfast and Lunch on Monday and Tuesday

 Closing reception on Tuesday night

 Signature gifting and swag bags

 Opportunity to be included in Post FAM Trip to Curacao  Option of LGBT certification course*.

Speakers include: Keynote Speaker: World renowned celebrity Floral designer and wedding planner. Preston Bailey; Joy Agness; Mar Jennings; Alan Berg, Marilyn Cairo, Simon T. Bailey, Robert Schenk, Bernadette C. Smith; Richard & Julia Markel; Jacqueline Johnson; Manolo Doreste; Bill Hansen; Carmen Mesa; Jannette Alix; Shri Lildharrie

Join us in September for the Jamaica Wedding Conference!

Jamaica Wedding Conference
WPIC Co-Founders, Danielle Andrews Sunkel and Tracey Manailescu will be speaking at this conference taking place on September 19, 2014 in Montego Bay, Jamaica!

The 2014 Jamaica Bridal Wedding Conference will be held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, in Montego Bay Jamaica. This one day conference combines elements and resources for planning and executing a successful Jamaican destination wedding experience. The Jamaica Wedding Conference will incorporate sessions with guest speakers. This will allow an opportunity for both networking as well as an educational platform for those who want to learn, thrive and to be at the top of this industry.

The Jamaica Bridal Expo Wedding conference includes a range of guests and those who attend will have an opportunity to meet and greet from the ordinary to the extraordinary in one of the worlds most sought after destination wedding locations.

Come for the Conference and stay for:
Jamaica Bridal Expo

Get Noticed at Networking Events and Conferences (in a Positive Way)

By: Tracey Manailescu


Being in the wedding and event industry, you will be attending networking events such as company launches, open houses, WPIC get- together’s, conferences, and upgrading your skills with courses and job specific training on a regular basis. Sometimes attending these things can be intimidating, and make us feel uncomfortable. Reasons for this could be that you don’t want to go alone, not knowing who will be there, not knowing what  to say to attendees or vendors, feeling awkward standing by yourself, wondering if people are judging you, etc. I think we all have gone through this at one time or another. Is that going to stop you? It shouldn’t.

Here are some tips that I have found to be beneficial, and might help you through these difficult moments:

Dress professionally: This will instantly give you confidence. You know you are dressed the part of a professional when wearing a business appropriate outfit. This means no micro-minis, clothes that make you bulge over, running shoes, flip flops, low-cut blouses or pants that are too tight, etc.  Females should have hair and makeup in place, too. Whether you like it or not, first impressions DO matter. A traumatizing experience that I had not so long ago, was with my hair. My hair always looks the same, so I decided to straighten it for a change.  It takes a really, really long time to straighten my hair, especially since I am not used to straightening it. It took even longer than expected, and I had a bus to catch that was going to the event and I only was able to straighten a little more than half of my hair. Really. Humiliating, I know.  So, I had no other option but to grab an elastic and run down to the lobby of the hotel to catch the shuttle bus so I could make it on time.  Luckily, after quite a few laughs from some fellow WPIC’ers they got together and helped me put my hair into a super cute hairstyle, which somehow got me compliments all night long!  LOL! Next time, I will give myself plenty of time for this type of thing.

Wear something that stands out: This is a great conversation starter and something I just do 99% of the time. It could be as simple as a statement necklace, a fun pair of socks, a great tie, a fun hair-clip or mini fascinator, fedora, a great pair of shoes, purse, whatever. It just eases people into a conversation. I know this works first hand, because whenever I see someone with something unique at an event, I most often stop them and tell them I like it, and it most often turns into a short but sweet conversation.

Get out of the corner: Sure it is always easier to stand back and watch, but it’s much more fun and easier to communicate if you get in the middle of where the action is. Take a deep breath, hold your head high, put those shoulders back, and go for it.

Have an elevator speech: Be prepared for people to ask you about your company. Be able to explain what you do, and why you do it in about 30 seconds. Example: “My name is Tracey Manailescu. I am the Co-founder of  WPIC. We train and certify wedding coordinators from all around the world, and we are brought down to resorts to train their wedding departments, as well as run a Wedding Association for our members. Currently, we have upwards of 3900 alumni.”

Ask questions of the people you are speaking with: This is a BIG pet peeve of mine. I can’t count how many events I have been to where someone corners me and talks non-stop about themselves and what they have been up to, about personal problems, etc.  Then they leave, or I excuse myself because I can’t take one more second of it, without having once been asked a single question. This is such a turn-off! Don’t monopolize someone’s time when everyone in attendance is there to make the rounds, meet contacts, make small chit chat, etc.  If you want to have one on one conversations then make an afternoon date for coffee, a drink, or plan a phone call.

Bring business cards: Be prepared to exchange business cards with those you speak with. It helps others to remember your name and company as well as showing them that you are serious about your business. When you take a business card from someone, it is always best to accept it with both hands and look at it so the other person knows you have actually paid attention to them.

Perfect that handshake: Practice on friends and family members. Remember that you should always be shaking with your right hand.  Keep it quick and firm.  If you have a tendency to have sweaty palms, then a good trick is to keep your hands full with a drink, an appetizer, handouts, or something similar.

Focus on the person you are speaking with: This means don’t be looking across the room scanning for your next victim. Pay attention to the person you are with. Live in the moment. Keep eye contact (just not in a creepy way…)

Keep in your own personal space: There is nothing worse than a close talker.  We all fear that  eventually we will get backed into a corner, or flat against a wall with these people. If YOU are the close talker, then prepare yourself, and ensure that you keep at least 2 steps away from the person you are speaking with. Imagine an invisible divider. I am quite certain that close talkers know who they are.  The look of panic and effort to get away from you should be your clues.

Two drink maximum: Please don’t be that guy! You know the one who slurs, trips and makes obnoxious comments in the name of alcohol. This is not a night out on the town at your favourite bar or night club. Yes, absolutely have a drink or two to calm those nerves, but there is no need for any more then that at a work related event. I can give you an example of just this…At an event in Mexico last year I was given 2 tequila shots.  I felt relaxed and happy. I fully admit that my alcohol tolerance level is not very high. So when, a group of people from a hotel with a high interest in working with WPIC came to speak with us, and they asked the waiter for another tequila for us to ‘salut’.  Well, I know better, but I did it so as not to insult anyone, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Something humiliating happened to Danielle during the conversation, and I lost it. I couldn’t compose myself, and had tears streaming down my face with laughter. They said their goodbyes, and we have never heard from them since. 100% my fault.

This list should get you off to a great start.  If you have any tips that have worked for you, please share them in the comments section.

WPIC Goes to Beautiful Barbados

Tracey Manailescu

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Let me start by saying that if we ever win the lottery, I am buying a vacation villa on the West Coast, specifically in Holetown, Barbados. Danielle is going to buy an apartment at The Crane. There. I said it. It is out there in the universe. Now we can move on…

We were in Barbados from May 1st-5th, 2014. Our main purpose was to speak at, and run a booth for WPIC, at the “Forever I Do Expo 2014″. What we got, was so much more. WPIC instructor, Sue Morris, surprised us at the airport and drove us to our hotel. (She then pretty much gave up her entire schedule for the rest of the week and spent time wowing us 24/7.)

We stayed at the Accra Beach Hotel & Spa, which just so happens to be where our next international certification course will be held on June 19th & 20th (yes, that’s a plug). Did I mention that the Banquets & Conferences Coordinator,Janelle Cheeseman, is WPICC?

Sue then picked us up for dinner and we went to the St. Lawrence Gap, at Apsara Samudra, which features northern Indian & Thai cusine. They can do weddings for up to 100 guests. We had the best table in the house, on it’s own level (one table only) and overlooks the ocean under the stars, and has a chandelier. Thank you so much, Marie for the amazing dinner and your hospitality!

The next day we met Ms. Cheeseman in our lobby and had a site visit of Accra Beach Hotel & Spa, where I must say, had the best rum punch I have ever tasted (apparently aromatic bitters and cinnamon is the secret).

We were then whisked away on more site visits with Sue Morris to  Sea Breeze Beach Hotel, the Hilton Barbados Resort, The Crane and Bagatelle Great House. (Which all just so happen to have WPIC certified Coordinators on staff). These wedding locations are mind blowing! Each has their own charm and totally different personalities.

Sea Breeze Beach Hotel


On Saturday, we were speakers at the Forever I Do Expo 2014. Our topic was “Planning the Perfect Wedding”. We focused on trends for 2014 and the steps to follow when planning your wedding. Of course, we recommended hiring a WPIC certified wedding planner. We have 38 WPIC Alumni in Barbados ;)

We had a booth to promote the next WPIC certification course, too. Our beautiful booth was designed by Renaissance Designs Inc.

The most amazing thing we did while in Barbados, was to go zip lining at Aerial Trek. This was exhilarating! We had to zip line across 7 platforms. The staff were very professional. I highly recommend this adventure.

There was so much that we saw and did, thanks to Sue Morris! We saw from end to end of Barbados. Now I can’t wait to go back and focus on exploring every nook and cranny of it with my family for week or month (or two). I want to swim in the ocean, have drinks on a patio (again), try some more restaurants (we went to some beautiful restaurants all just so happened to overlook the ocean), go to a nightclub and lime (relax.)




WPIC at Love Mexico 2013

Headshot of Danielle Andrews Sunkel WPIC

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by Danielle Andrews Sunkel

For the fourth year in a row, we had the opportunity to participate in the Love Mexico conference this past December.


Love Mexico is a conference for Destination Wedding Planners and Travel Agents to learn about weddings in Mexico while on-site at a fabulous resort, meeting local vendors and experiencing Mexico first-hand.  This year, Love Mexico took place at the gorgeous Moon Palace.  If you read our posts regularly, you have heard us mention Moon Palace and the Palace Resorts many times, so this was like going home to us.

The Love Mexico conference is a wonderful mix of education, networking, entertainment and fun.  Upon arrival, delegates could explore the resort, have professional photos taken on the beach with Pixan Photo or attend WPIC’s seminar, “The Nitty-gritty of Destination Wedding Planning.”  That evening, everyone was welcomed with a cocktail party which included fire dancers, fabulous food and fireworks!

(All photos are courtesy of Pixan Photo unless otherwise noted.)

fire dancers

Fire dancers at Palace Resorts Love Mexico Opening Cocktail Party

The next morning, delelgates were treated to a wonderful breakfast and the main education sessions began.

main ballroom at love mexico

Main sessions at Love Mexico Conference

Speakers included Destination Wedding experts, the Tourism Board, and Palace Resorts. Delegates then attended pre-arranged meetings with Mexican suppliers such as resorts, local vendors and destination management companies.

booth at love mexico

A delegate at meeting

Palace Resorts booth Love Mexico

The Palace Resorts Booth

That evening everyone was transported to the Mayan Palace for dinner and a fantastic show featuring an amazing dance troup and a wonderful live band. The singer was seriously talented!

maya palace love mexico event

Love Mexico dinner at the Maya Palace cuban restaurant

The following day included “The WOW Parade” presented by Mari Carmen Obregon, this was my favorite session of the Love Mexico program.  The Wow Parade showcased wonderful entertainment and elements for Wedding Planners to include in their  clients’ weddings.  These included traditional Mayan ceremonies, performers, live painters, opera singers, musicians, decorators, etc.  It was a fabulous concept and showcased vendors many people had no idea were available in Mexico, or anywhere for that matter.

The Wow parade at Love Mexico

The WOW Parade

The conference wound up with a wonderful closing party at the Moon Place’s new convention centre.

sweet table at Love Mexico

Attendees were greeted by this gorgeous sweet table at the entrance to the ballroom (photo by me)

WPIC Award from Love Mexico

WPIC Co-founder, Tracey Manailescu, holding the recognition award given to WPIC from Love Mexico (photo by me)

The party was a lot of fun, Tracey and I didn’t leave until the night ended.

Yup, that is me, front and centre.

Conference attendees were invited to stay on at the Moon Palace, and then LeBlanc Spa & Resort, to experience the properties on their own.

Congratulations to the Love Mexico producers, Kitzia and Minty on another wonderful event!

2013 WPIC Year in Review

A message from Tracey Manailescu and Danielle Andrews Sunkel, Co-Founders of WPIC Inc.

WPIC Cofounders Tracey Manailescu and Danielle Andrews Sunkel

Photo by Brock Photo

2013 was a year of growing pains, amazing highs, tough lows, success and accolades.  This year marked the 10th Anniversary of WPIC and we celebrated by launching our on-line course, so that our core course would be more accessible to our International Students.

WPIC Events
We’ve had a lot of great events this year for our Alumni.

The first official WPIC Event was the “WPIC 2013 Kickoff” planned by our current Regional Representatives.  128 WPIC Alumni attended Rennaissance by the Creek.  There was a live band to dance to, a DJ, a panel of professionals providing business advice, a vendor fair, chances to learn and to let your hair down and have fun.  Read more about the event here.

photos from WPIC 2013 Kickoff event

In September, WPIC held a working shot extravaganza.  An event for WPIC Alumni to get professional photos in gorgeous wedding set-ups.  We took over Paletta Mansion and transformed 6 areas into dream weddings.  Each room was professionally designed and had a professional photographer assigned to the space.  Many of these set-ups will be featured in wedding magazines in 2014 including Elegant Wedding MagazineThe Wedding Planner GTA and Bride and Groom.  One of the photoshoots has already been featured on the Poptastic Bride Blog.

WPIC Paletta Mansion event

In November, we held a Mexico Wedding Specialist Certification event for our WPIC Alumni.  Not only did attendees get the chance to learn about all the amazing places Mexico has to offer their clients to get married, but also the ways they can improve their businesses by bringing weddings to Mexico.  The event included networking with Alumni, Mariachis, a Mexican buffet, networking with key Mexico partners, seminars from Hard Rock, Velas and Palace Resorts, a Specialist Certification Seminar from the Mexico Tourism Board and two inspiration Mexican wedding set-ups.  These set-ups will be featured in wedding media, such as Elegant Weddings, in 2014.  Read more about this great event here.

WPIC Mexico Wedding Specialist event

All photos by Bicoastal Images


The Weducation Business

Many companies are trying to sell education to wedding planners, but as always WPIC is still heads above the crowd.  We have kept our course the best by never being complacent, we never stop adding and updating.  We are now on our 14th edition of the WPIC text book.  It is bigger and better than ever.  Our after-class support leads the industry in that we provide unbelievable continuing education opportunities to our members, for FREE.  We invest tens of thousands of dollars every year to advertise WPIC Certified Wedding Planners, maintain our free member alumni boards and provide support to our past students, again at no cost to them.  Our dedication to helping our past students succeed has never waivered and we have witnessed unbelievable success from our past students.

This year past students have received several awards, much media attention and best of all, great success.  The face of our Alumni has evolved to a more modern, polished professional.

In order to provide the best to our students and alumni, this year we have:

  • updated the WPIC text book to be the most modern possible and provided all updates to all our past students
  • written many professional development articles on the WPIC Blog and on the WPICAlumni forum
  • promoted WPIC in multiple media outlets through interviews and sharing events
  • advertised the value of working with a WPIC Certified planner in many media outlets
  • added to our international recognition through speaking at several international wedding conferences in Mexico, the USA and Canada
  • created several strategic alliances and partnerships with large companies

In the New Year we will:

  • continue to support our alumni with education and opportunities for business growth
  • completely overhaul the Destination Wedding Coordinator course
  • continue to increase accessibility and support for International students
  • continue our fabulous partnerships which provide unbelievable opportunities for our alumni
  • work smarter, not harder

 State of the Wedding Industry
This year we saw a lot of formally successful wedding businesses close their doors.  These businesses were from every facet of the wedding industry: decorators, dress boutiques, tuxedo rental stores, wedding planners, DJs, photographers, magazines, etc.  Those who did survive, reinvented themselves, fine-tuned their business image and several added different services to their repertoire.

The face of wedding couples has changed.  Couples value guest experience over showing off, quality over bling.  This is exciting for wedding professionals as we are able to be more creative.  Entertainment has become very important to our couples, as has the quality of food.  The little details that wedding planners have always loved, are now a necessity to our couples.  Weddings are all about telling the story of our couples.

Our 2013 Speaking Engagements

WPIC Tracey Manailescu and Danielle Andrews Sunkel on stage at Congress of Weddings

WPIC’s Tracey Manailescu and Danielle Andrews Sunkel on stage day 2 at the Congress of Weddings & Events

This year we spoke at international wedding conferences, conventions and symposiums including: Latino Americano Congresso de Bodas de Destino in Guadalajara, MX (our Blog here), Wedding MBA in Las Vegas, and Love Mexico in the Riviera Maya.  Our seminars focussed on Practices of Successful Wedding Professionals, Destination Wedding Professionals, and the intricacies of Destination Wedding Planning.  On a local level we spoke at several colleges to students considering a career in the event industry.

Travel and Conferences
It is no secret that Mexico holds a special place in our hearts and we have focussed a lot of our attention there this year, showing our alumni the amazing opportunities this country offers them and their Destination Wedding clients.  We toured haciendas and event spaces in Guadalajara, Tequila and Guachimontones this past summer.  Read about our experiences here and here.

We also attended the BizBash conference in South Florida (our Blog), Engage!13 at the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina (our Blog), and the Cancun Bootcamp.  These conferences provided us with opportunities to meet wonderful peers in the industry.

International Seminars

Palace Resorts Wedding Dept

The newest WPIC-certified Palace Resorts Wedding Team

This year we held training in Barbados and in Mexico.  We trained the Palace Resorts Wedding Team for the third time!  Students travelled from Mexico, Italy, Norway, Japan and all over the Caribbean to attend our classes.

WPIC, Danielle and Tracey were interviewed or featured in many media outlets this year, including but not limited to: Reader’s Digest, MacLean’s Magazine, Bride and Groom Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, MSNTravel, Poptastic Bride, Dab Wedding (Europe), Beautiful Beginnings, etc.

We have already conducted several interviews that will be released in the new year, including a full page article written by Danielle and Tracey to be published in the 2014 Winter/Spring issue of Today’s Bride.

In 2014, we are looking forward to growing WPIC even more, providing countless opportunities to alumni who are willing to constantly better themselves, supporting them in making couples’ dreams come true, creating enduring working relationships and seeing even more of our big, beautiful world.

We never stop learning and we are just as committed to sharing our knowledge now, as we were 10 years ago.  We truly believe that the best way to keep the wedding industry strong, is to share knowledge and best practices so that all professionals are properly educated.  One decade down, many more to go ;)

We wish you nothing but success!

Danielle & Tracey