Member News – May 2024

Member News – May 2024

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.

WIPA Reclaims Its Roots with a Return to Original Association Name, Strengthening Its Commitment to the Wedding Industry

ATLANTA, GA – In a significant move to align more closely with its foundational values and mission, the Wedding International Professionals Association (WIPA) is proud to announce its return to the original name that reflects its deep-rooted commitment to advancing the wedding industry, Wedding Industry Professionals Association.

Chris Lavoie, President of WIPA for 2024, expressed enthusiasm about the renaming, stating, “This name change marks a pivotal moment in our journey, reinforcing our dedication to being at the forefront of industry innovation and education. We’re not just returning to our original name; we’re embracing our heritage to shape a brighter future for all our members.”

Anna Crelia, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Loot Rentals, Transitions to Pursue Passion in Marketing and Branding for Hospitality

Anna Crelia bids farewell to the design-leading Austin-based rental company, Loot Rentals, to pursue her passion for hospitality branding and marketing with Méldeen, a boutique hospitality agency in Austin, Texas. After 13 years of visionary leadership, Anna’s departure marks a new chapter in both her career and the evolution of Loot Rentals.

Austin, TX (April 16, 2024) – After 13 years of dedicated service and creative leadership, Anna Crelia, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Loot Rentals, has announced her decision to embark on a new chapter in her career journey. With a mixture of bittersweet sentiment and palpable excitement, Anna has chosen to step away from her daily operational role at Loot Rentals to pursue her lifelong passion for marketing and branding within the hospitality industry.

Anna will be joining forces with her long-time friend’s recently established hospitality agency, Méldeen, where she will assume the role of Creative Director. In this capacity, she will leverage her extensive expertise to further refine her skills in marketing and branding, focusing specifically on enhancing the brand identities and experiences of small boutique hotels and hospitality brands on a global scale.

Throughout her tenure at Loot Rentals, Anna played an integral role in shaping the company’s trajectory, spearheading its evolution into a design-leading rental company serving the Austin community and beyond. Loot Rentals has garnered numerous accolades and expanded its presence with a second location in DFW. The company is recognized as an institution in the events industry and will continue to be a mainstay for event planners beyond Anna’s departure. From humble beginnings of peddling vintage china rentals out of the back of her hatchback, Anna’s unwavering dedication has been instrumental in driving Loot Rentals’ success.

In her transition, Anna will maintain an advisory position at Loot Rentals until her departure on August 1, 2024, ensuring a seamless restructuring process within the organization. Reflecting on her journey, Anna expressed profound gratitude, stating “I feel like the luckiest person alive to have seen a vision come to fruition, and build a dream business alongside Rhoda, one of my favorite people, and the best team in the world. The last thirteen years have truly fed my soul and enriched my life.”

As Anna embarks on this new endeavor, Rhoda will continue to lead Loot Rentals as CEO, steering the company forward with the same steadfast commitment to excellence and innovation. Embracing the spirit of evolution, Rhoda remains dedicated to advancing Loot Rentals’ sustainability initiatives, expanding its offerings, and fostering a supportive company culture.

As one chapter closes and another begins, the bond between the two sisters-in-law remains unshakable, grounded in mutual respect and admiration. With unwavering support for each other’s endeavors, they enter this new phase with hearts full of love and anticipation for the future.

Link to Loot Rentals Blog + Video Announcement
Link to Anna’s Personal Social Media Announcement

About Loot Rentals
Loot Rentals is a leading provider of design-forward furniture and decor rentals, delivering good vibes to clients in Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, and beyond. With a commitment to innovation, distinction, and quality, Loot Rentals offers a curated selection of rental items to elevate any event or space. For more information, visit

About Méldeen
Méldeen is a boutique hospitality agency specializing in creative and operations services for independently owned hotels and hospitality brands worldwide. With a focus on branding, marketing and guest experience, Méldeen helps clients enhance their brand and intentionally connect with their target audiences in an impactful way. For more information, visit

Friar Tux’s features this month really brought the summer vibes with their coastal themes! This first feature was An Effortlessly Chic Wedding At Riviera Maya’s Viceroy Resort on Wedding Chicks. This was a dreamy neutral tropical wedding filled with romantic flowers, and serious style. The bride wore a modern crepe gown with a modified peplum-style design and the groom was summer-smooth in a Tan Notch Lapel Suit with a caramel matte long tie. Next, A Real Couple’s Dream Wedding Came to Life in a Californian Editorial Shoot on Wed Vibes! This wedding brought a cool mix of black tie and coastal elegance to create a romantic whimsical moment. The groom and groomsmen again brought that classic look to a Californian skyline by wearing a Black Notch Lapel Tuxedo by Michael Kors. Friar Tux would like to remind everyone they have showrooms in Southern California and Las Vegas, Nevada where they can work with a stylist to select suits and tuxedos for upcoming Spring and Summer weddings and events. Customers may also set up a convenient Virtual Style Appointment from anywhere in the country.

When Nathan Pearse, CEO, purchased Colorado Party Rentals in 2015, he wanted to shake things up. That is exactly what he has done. Today, with four locations — Denver and Colorado Springs in Colorado, Santa Fe, N.M., and Salt Lake City (Summit Party Rentals) — watch how the company has experienced impressive growth by pushing the envelope and upping their game.

On Tuesday, April 30th, Hawthorne & Poppy Events – Director of Programs of WIPA’s Austin chapter, was recognized as an Innovator in The Knot’s Ones to Watch. Ones to Watch sought wedding professionals who aim to drive the wedding industry upward in three categories: advocacy, innovation, and connection. As an Innovator, The Knot acknowledged that Hawthorne & Poppy Events’ mission was to break industry norms in design and to chart the path forward for others to think outside of the box and become a tastemaker in weddings. Hawthorne & Poppy Events strives to align with clients who are looking for weddings that want to create something that has not been seen before, that fully aligns with who the client is, and is an experience like none other for their guests. They create weddings that look like a dinner party our clients host each Friday and smell like the peonies our client would steal from their grandmother’s garden. The food tastes like the client’s favorite local restaurants all came together to create one big menu just for them. When guests arrive, they immediately feel at home, which brings an unmatched energy to the wedding day.

WEBINAR: Creating a Website that Sells Itself

Everything you need to know to refresh or renew your website for maximum sales. Including tips on SEO, copywriting and curation, as well as font and color choices that will attract your ideal client.

Spanning the roles of Founder, CEO and CMO, Blair deLaubenfels brings 20 plus years of experience in the wedding industry to her presentations. A persuasive author, marketer, writer, public speaker and business consultant, she co-created Junebug Weddings and is the owner of World’s Best Wedding Photos and Art, Life and Business. Specializing in the luxury market, she helps wedding professionals increase their traffic, boost their profits and build brands that both customers and competitors admire.

Read More WIPA Blogs

WIPA Returns to Original Association Name

WIPA Austin – Maximalism in Bloom – April 2024

WIPA Boston – The Art & Science Of Wine Paring