Member News – December 2023
As always, a big shout out to our members that have made the news. Below you’ll find members that have been highlighted or otherwise recognized. Thank you to those that submitted news this month and thank you to our members that continue to push the outside of the envelope in some way.
It seems like it was just a few weeks ago that I proudly updated my email signature from “Vice President” to reflect my new title as the WIPA International President, yet suddenly it’s December so I know that nearly a year has passed. Anyone else wondering where the year went?
A whole year, and what a year it’s been! We executed Chapter Affiliate Agreements in four new markets: North Carolina, Philadelphia, Austin and Houston. We onboarded three of those markets as official WIPA Chapters and we’re looking forward to Houston becoming official in Q1 of 2024.
Mid-year we commemorated the 2,000 member milestone by partnering with ONE TREE PLANTED to plant a tree for every one of our members – we’re now up to over 2,400 members and trees! We took a hard look at our Bylaws, Code of Ethics and Standard Operating Procedures and tweaked, revamped or overhauled each to better serve the needs of our association today, sixteen years after WIPA started in 2007.
We’ve added a Leadership Development Council to support building better Chapter Boards. This Council has started the work of identifying how we can develop stronger leaders, and are taking the steps to make that happen. We are in the preliminary stages of launching ‘WIPA For All,’ a safe space where our members can communicate, collaborate and learn from one another either in discipline-based spaces or identity based spaces.
We exhibited and hosted our first Members Only Meet Up at Wedding MBA in Las Vegas. And finally, we held the first ever State of the Association virtual meeting – this year’s program included David Beahm of David Beahm Experiences as our special guest. WIPA’s vision for the future is to host an association-wide single day in-person meeting and eventually a multi-day members only conference.
2024 will mark my seventh year serving as a WIPA leader and I’m filled with so much gratitude for every person, leader and member I’ve crossed paths with throughout my WIPA journey. While at the beginning of the year I had set out to give back to my industry and leave WIPA in a better position that when I found it, I can confidently say that while I accomplished what I set out to do, I’m also significantly better because of it.
As I look forward to my growing family (Aleks Mazdzer coming April 2024!), I’m so proud of the work both the International Board and over 250 additional volunteer leaders have done throughout WIPA. It’s truly been an honor to serve as your President and I feel so excited to see what 2024 will bring, there are so many major efforts in the works.
If nothing else, I’ll leave you with this: you truly do get out what you put in. Get involved with your local Chapter, make your voice heard, make time to attend the events, make connections and stay on top of what’s happening within our industry by staying involved in the Association. I’ve seen so many talented professionals find tremendous growth in their businesses simply from making their membership count.
I’m looking forward to all that your 2024 President, Chris Lavoie, has up his (always fashionable!) sleeves – stay tuned, because you’re going to be thrilled with it too!
Mara Mazdzer, 2023 WIPA President
Christie Osborne, owner of Mountainside Media, took the main Cottonwood Stage at Wedding MBA in Las Vegas on November 8, 2023. Her talk “Are You Smarter Than AI,” had standing room only and was attended by more than 1,000 wedding pros. According to Christie, humans are still smarter than AI in many ways. However, large-language models like Chat-GPT are pretty smart, too, and can help busy wedding pros work smarter and scale their businesses better. Her tips on using AI to make marketing easier, streamline operations, and help with sticky client care issues were well received. She has already been invited back to speak at Wedding MBA in 2024.
Vows & Speeches was featured in the Sunday edition of The New York Times! Even better, the article, by Alix Strauss, starts off talking about one of our clients – who reached out to us on a Friday for a Sunday wedding!
Vows & Speeches helps people write and practice their speaking parts at weddings, such as the vows, wedding speeches, and the ceremony script. There is no questionnaire or AI writing—we do a one on one interview, remotely, and everything is human-written.
We can also assist with speeches for other kinds of events. Besides the New York Times, we have been seen in Brides, Bridal Guide, The Knot, Pretty Pear Bride, Wedding Chicks, and more.
Click for more information on Vows & Speeches and how it can be a useful service for wedding pros.
Friar Tux celebrated the beginning of the festive season with some amazing and whimsical publications! First, An Al Fresco Destination Garden Soiree in the Temecula Valley in Style Me Pretty: this real wedding feature was full of delicate details and bold views of the winery. The groomsmen wore Friar Tux’s Heather Grey Notch Lapel Performance Suit by Michael Kors, including the ever-chic ‘groomswoman’ who also rocked the same suit as the rest of the wedding party. The next feature was Extra! Extra! Timeless and Trendy Wedding Style at Wrensmoor Castle on Wedding Chicks. This inspo was a classic black and white design but full of trendy details like the bride in a jumpsuit, earthy décor, and bold fonts. The groom kept it chic and timeless by wearing a Black Notch Lapel Performance Tuxedo by Michael Kors with traditional black-tie accessories. The final feature brought the drama. This Maximalist Drag Queen Wedding Inspo at Trixie Motel on Love Inc. with bright colors, disco balls, and dreamy floral creations. Friar Tux complemented the bright patterned suit the groom wore by pairing it with their gold velvet bow tie. The other groom kept his look toned-down but still classic and stylish by wearing a Black Notch Lapel Performance Tuxedo by Michael Kors paired with a green velvet bow tie.
Pearl Events Austin was recognized as #15 out of LSU 100.The LSU100: Fastest Growing Tiger Businesses (LSU 100) identifies, recognizes and celebrates the 100 fastest growing Tiger-owned or Tiger-led businesses in the world. This is Pearl Events Austin’s 6th year to be included in LSU 100.
In addition to celebrating the success of the honorees, the LSU 100 provides a forum to pass lessons on to the next generation of LSU entrepreneurs.
The LSU100 and LSU ROARING20 were created to offer encouragement, education, networking and assistance to entrepreneurially-minded students, faculty, and businesses.
Meghan Ely of OFD Consulting rounds up experts for her articles on Bridal Guide, ‘The Best Time of Year to Book Different Wedding Vendors,’ ‘Peak Season vs. Off Season: Choosing Your Wedding Date’ on Destination I Do, and ‘Designing a Wedding Menu That Mirrors Your Couples’ Personalities’ on Catersource.
Meghan also shares her expertise on ‘Trendy vs. Timeless: Keeping Your Event Design Relevant’ on Special Events.