All About Banff | Engage 2018

Full disclosure; I didn't feel quite like myself when I left for Banff.  In fact, I felt bad!  Not only was I struggling with a dreaded summer cold, but my travel plans meant that I would miss the branding suite, all of the arrivals, and the opening remarks of our fearless leaders, Kathryn and Rebecca.  As I stumbled into the General Session halfway through the second speaker of the day, I couldn't help but feel lost.  I felt the loss of not kicking the conference off with my people, and I dragged that feeling from the general session to the breaks and into that night's welcome reception.  Which made no sense, since it was bad ass!  I'm talking a puppy petting station, ax throwing, and wine!  Because you should always be properly lubricated when you throw an ax!  

But serious.ly...Something was off.  This is not how I Engage.  In so many ways this speaks to the power of our community and the importance of being truly present and doing it all!  I kept looking for something to pull me out of my cold and into the moment.  The poutine station?  Delicious, but no.  The doggies ?  Adorable, but still not there.  Why wasn't anything able to break through my cold medicine and pull me into the light?  I'm in the mountains, surrounded by my people.  I deserve better than this.  In my silliness, I started to ask myself what Engage owes me.  And the answer is:

Not a God damned thing.  I owe them.

The Engage team pulls together the most talented and cutting edge in our industry, bringing us all to one place.  This particular conference was located high in the Canadian Rockies.  The themes were thoughtfully planned out.  The swag, decor, and dress codes all part of a well constructed story meant to move us through the history of not only the area, but of our host hotel, The Fairmont Banff.  From the onesies that we got to wear to our late night dessert party to the Canadian slang on pillows and napkins, every element of our three days together was curated for total cultural immersion and inspiration.  They did their job.  It was time to do mine.

My job is to show up and bring my A game.  It's my job to find the new attendees that maybe don't have a place to sit and make sure that they have someone to ride the gondola with.  It's my job to look out for people who maybe don't have a home, and help them get comfortable until they can find their people.  It's to steal an hour (or two) post party to sit in the lobby with my friends from Texas (hi Clara Hough and Johanna Terry) and talk about work, design, families, and the future.  It's huddling up with my fellow Knotties (Susana Diharce is my travel bestie) and caught up with former wedding guest turned friend Brooke.  It's sneaking out to film a short episode of Kaleigh Wiese's new YouTube show, and still make it to not only support, but learn from friends such as Troy Williams and Jill Meister.  It's easy to take your friends for granted.  Sometimes we forget how amazing these people are, how lucky we are to know them . This really is rare air....and quite thin when you hit these altitudes.

And so I very quickly reset myself.  I doubled down on the Alka Seltzer Cold tablets my husband snuck into the my bag.  I learned new things that will make me a better planner and person.  I built new relationships for myself and for others, because I love being a connector.  New speakers slayed the main stage, and veterans gave a fresh perspective on our industry.  Together, we left it all (and then some) on the floor of the gala, and picked it up at the Grilled Cheese After Party (thank you, Jordan Kahn).  Together, our industry tackled some tough topics.  Privately, we had hard conversations.  We laughed a lot, cried a little, forgave when we could, promised not to forget, and looked forward to creating moments for our clients and each other.

As the lessons of Engage wash over me again and again in the photos and videos, I am reminded of the things that weren't on the agenda. 

My Top 5 Amazing Engage Reminders Are:  

  1. No matter how you may feel, it's your job to show up.   Be present.  Get it done. 
  2. Stop and notice to beauty around you. 
  3. Appreciate your people, and love them hard. 
  4. Remember how much you have to teach, and how much you have to learn. 
  5. No one owes you anything, and the value of your experience is in every way equal to your output.  

In less than 6 months I will be speaking at Engage! Cabo and I know that I have very big, swaggering shoes to fill.  The bar in this industry is set high, and it continues to rise.  Thanks to Engage, our people always reach it!

With love and appreciation for all that Engage does....

 
 Wedding Planner Andrea Eppolito is an international public speaker.
 
 White on white on white with glam pops of silver.  The Engage Gala in Banff Canada.  Photo by Genevieve deMaio Photography.  Creative Design by Angela Desveaux of Wedluxe.  Partners incloude Revelry Event Designers, Modern Luxe Rentals, West Coast Music, La Tavola Linen, Decor and More, Engineered Arts, and Designer Dance Floors,.

White on white on white with glam pops of silver.  The Engage Gala in Banff Canada.  Photo by Genevieve deMaio Photography.  Creative Design by Angela Desveaux of Wedluxe.  Partners incloude Revelry Event Designers, Modern Luxe Rentals, West Coast Music, La Tavola Linen, Decor and More, Engineered Arts, and Designer Dance Floors,.

 Super glamorous gala in wedding white and silver.  White on white on white with glam pops of cilver.  The Engage Gala in Banff Canada.  Photo by Genevieve deMaio Photography.  Creative Design by Angela Desveaux of Wedluxe.  Partners incloude Revelry Event Designers, Modern Luxe Rentals, West Coast Music, La Tavola Linen, Decor and More, Engineered Arts, and Designer Dance Floors,.

Super glamorous gala in wedding white and silver.  White on white on white with glam pops of cilver.  The Engage Gala in Banff Canada.  Photo by Genevieve deMaio Photography.  Creative Design by Angela Desveaux of Wedluxe.  Partners incloude Revelry Event Designers, Modern Luxe Rentals, West Coast Music, La Tavola Linen, Decor and More, Engineered Arts, and Designer Dance Floors,.

 A big white moose set the stage for the Canadian vibe.  The Engage Gala in Banff Canada.  Photo by Genevieve deMaio Photography.  Creative Design by Angela Desveaux of Wedluxe.  Partners incloude Revelry Event Designers, Modern Luxe Rentals, West Coast Music, La Tavola Linen, Decor and More, Engineered Arts, and Designer Dance Floors,.

A big white moose set the stage for the Canadian vibe.  The Engage Gala in Banff Canada.  Photo by Genevieve deMaio Photography.  Creative Design by Angela Desveaux of Wedluxe.  Partners incloude Revelry Event Designers, Modern Luxe Rentals, West Coast Music, La Tavola Linen, Decor and More, Engineered Arts, and Designer Dance Floors,.

 These centerpieces were the perfect blend of rustic and elegant.  The white washed birchwood was a beautiful base for the florals.  The Engage Gala in Banff Canada.  Photo by Genevieve deMaio Photography.  Creative Design by Angela Desveaux of Wedluxe.  Partners include Revelry Event Designers, Modern Luxe Rentals, West Coast Music, La Tavola Linen, Decor and More, Engineered Arts, and Designer Dance Floors,.

These centerpieces were the perfect blend of rustic and elegant.  The white washed birchwood was a beautiful base for the florals.  The Engage Gala in Banff Canada.  Photo by Genevieve deMaio Photography.  Creative Design by Angela Desveaux of Wedluxe.  Partners include Revelry Event Designers, Modern Luxe Rentals, West Coast Music, La Tavola Linen, Decor and More, Engineered Arts, and Designer Dance Floors,.

 The band took center stage and kept the crowd dancing all night long. The Engage Gala in Banff Canada.  Photo by Genevieve deMaio Photography.  Creative Design by Angela Desveaux of Wedluxe.  Partners include Revelry Event Designers, Modern Luxe Rentals, West Coast Music, La Tavola Linen, Decor and More, Engineered Arts, and Designer Dance Floors,.

The band took center stage and kept the crowd dancing all night long. The Engage Gala in Banff Canada.  Photo by Genevieve deMaio Photography.  Creative Design by Angela Desveaux of Wedluxe.  Partners include Revelry Event Designers, Modern Luxe Rentals, West Coast Music, La Tavola Linen, Decor and More, Engineered Arts, and Designer Dance Floors,.

 With my travel bestie Susana Diharce and artist Matthew Myhrum.  The Engage Gala in Banff Canada.  Photo by Genevieve deMaio Photography.  Creative Design by Angela Desveaux of Wedluxe.  Partners include Revelry Event Designers, Modern Luxe Rentals, West Coast Music, La Tavola Linen, Decor and More, Engineered Arts, and Designer Dance Floors,.

With my travel bestie Susana Diharce and artist Matthew Myhrum.  The Engage Gala in Banff Canada.  Photo by Genevieve deMaio Photography.  Creative Design by Angela Desveaux of Wedluxe.  Partners include Revelry Event Designers, Modern Luxe Rentals, West Coast Music, La Tavola Linen, Decor and More, Engineered Arts, and Designer Dance Floors,.

 Sometimes I get to dance!  And in party hair!!!The Engage Gala in Banff Canada.  Photo by Paul Morse.  Creative Design by Angela Desveaux of Wedluxe.  Partners include Revelry Event Designers, Modern Luxe Rentals, West Coast Music, La Tavola Linen, Decor and More, Engineered Arts, and Designer Dance Floors,.

Sometimes I get to dance!  And in party hair!!!The Engage Gala in Banff Canada.  Photo by Paul Morse.  Creative Design by Angela Desveaux of Wedluxe.  Partners include Revelry Event Designers, Modern Luxe Rentals, West Coast Music, La Tavola Linen, Decor and More, Engineered Arts, and Designer Dance Floors,.

 The Fairmont Banff.  Photo by Cameron Kelly Studio.

The Fairmont Banff.  Photo by Cameron Kelly Studio.

 Welcome to Banff Bear at the Fairmont.  Photo by Love Life Images.

Welcome to Banff Bear at the Fairmont.  Photo by Love Life Images.

 Engage Banff Day 1.  General Session at the Fairmont.  Photo by Love Life Images.

Engage Banff Day 1.  General Session at the Fairmont.  Photo by Love Life Images.

 Oh, Canada!  Canadian Mountie.  Photo by Life Life Images

Oh, Canada!  Canadian Mountie.  Photo by Life Life Images

 Engage friends are the best friends.  Genevievede Manio Photography.

Engage friends are the best friends.  Genevievede Manio Photography.

 Delicious displays of fruit and cheese with super fun bags of plates & cups.  Photo by Carla Ten Eyck.

Delicious displays of fruit and cheese with super fun bags of plates & cups.  Photo by Carla Ten Eyck.

 Doggie Meet & Greet.  Because our people love animals.  Photo by Paul Morse.

Doggie Meet & Greet.  Because our people love animals.  Photo by Paul Morse.

 Canadian colors inspired our centerpieces at the welcome reception.  Love Life Images. l

Canadian colors inspired our centerpieces at the welcome reception.  Love Life Images. l

 Glamping set ups in the Canadian Rockies.  Love Life Images.

Glamping set ups in the Canadian Rockies.  Love Life Images.

 The view form above.  Cameron Kelly Studios.

The view form above.  Cameron Kelly Studios.

 Beautiful breakfast before we road the gondola.  Photo by  Banga Studio.

Beautiful breakfast before we road the gondola.  Photo by  Banga Studio.

 The view from the gondola.  Photo by Cameron Kelly Studios. 

The view from the gondola.  Photo by Cameron Kelly Studios. 

 The Fairmont Banff as seen from above.  Photo by Cameron Kelly Studios.

The Fairmont Banff as seen from above.  Photo by Cameron Kelly Studios.

 #BTS photo with the big bear of Banff.  

#BTS photo with the big bear of Banff.  

 When you wake up at 5 AM to ride a gondola with these fab people.  Photo by Genevieve deManio Photography. 

When you wake up at 5 AM to ride a gondola with these fab people.  Photo by Genevieve deManio Photography. 

 Lunch among the wild flowers.  Photo by Paul Morse. 

Lunch among the wild flowers.  Photo by Paul Morse. 

 Individual crostini sandwiches.  Photo by Cameron Kelly Studio.

Individual crostini sandwiches.  Photo by Cameron Kelly Studio.

 Outdoor globe for special seating.  Photo by Paul Morse. 

Outdoor globe for special seating.  Photo by Paul Morse. 

 It's the sweet cheese & honey life.  Photo by Cameron Kelly Studio. 

It's the sweet cheese & honey life.  Photo by Cameron Kelly Studio.