David Tutera with Elise Enloe

I present David with his personalized ABC mug.

How do I maintain my skills?  Along with about 350 of my closest colleagues – the Association of Bridal Consultants Annual Conference is where we share the best wedding ideas, stories, and network with the best.  I arrived in Phoenix on Friday to begin setting up at the Arizona Grand Resort with Kim Horn, ABC corporate staff, and the Phoenix committee and student volunteers.  On Sunday, I coordinated the Masters Panel, where 8 new Master Bridal Consultants  and one Master Wedding Vendor were selected, bringing the total to 59 in the world.  I’m no longer Central Florida’s only Master Bridal Consultant and welcome my dear friend, Heather Snively as Florida’s 4th Master Bridal Consultant. This is no easy feat as 15 applied and presented a wedding demonstrating “master skill” to a panel of 3 Masters. I also presented a Sunday session on How to Start and Run a Local Networking Group. On Monday morning,  (oh yeah, it was my birthday – no time for that!), I co-presented a session with Mary Dann: Gizmos, Gadgets, and Great Little Ideas that got conference started on a high note. Monday afternoon’s speaker was Sasha Souza, MBC. I know there’s a picture of me with her somewhere…. (No, we didn’t get that shot until the next week at the Wish Upon a Wedding Gala in Orlando.) On Tuesday afternoon, I co-presented Too Busy to …Do it All with Elisa Delgardio just before our time with David Tutera.  On Wednesday, there was the state and country coordinators’ meeting and then an incredible afternoon visiting the Arizona Biltmore, Millenium Resort and Desert Botanical Gardens to get a taste of some local wedding sites.

Planning ABC’s Annual Conference is akin to the biggest and baddest wedding of the year, so I no longer book other weddings in November.  ( I learned my lesson in 2007 when we hosted annual conference in Orlando.)  While I love my colleagues dearly, wedding professionals are VERY difficult clients to please – they critique EVERY detail – because that’s what we do.  If I can succeed in meeting their approval, it’s  a home run, and this year’s conference was mighty close.

Once the holidays are over, it’s time to work on 2011 conference in Baltimore.