Coterie Retreat 2014 Recap and Photos - Part 1

Wow! Where do we begin?

2014 was truly an amazing year not only because of all of the milestones we achieved, but because of the major accomplishment of launching the Coterie Retreat.  Our first retreat was a major success.  And we owe all of the thanks to you.

Without your dedication and support, we couldn't have pulled this all together.  What's really astonishing to us is that you had nothing to reference.  It's our first conference, so you didn't have a clue on what to expect...or if we could even pull it off.  And yet you still came.  For that, we are truly grateful and humbled.

On December 9th, wedding and event professionals came together from all parts of the country and even the Cayman Islands and Canada for three days of education, networking, and inspiration.  It truly was like a family reunion on the picturesque grounds of Innisbrook Resort.  We learned, we laughed, we cried, we danced, we cried again...we bonded.  I've been to conferences, but have never experienced the energy and comfort and camaraderie like at the Coterie Retreat.

We are so thankful to all of our sponsors (all listed at the end of this post) who were influential in making our first event a success.  We'd also like to thank our committee - Neakai Lewis, Tara Melvin, and Eliana Baucicault - whom we spoke with every week for the last six months.  Thanks for everything you do and for believing in us!  We also need to thank Shelby Tuck-Horton, our fabulous MC, for keeping the attendees going. And thanks to the Innisbrook staff for their exceptional service.  Lastly, thanks to our staff for their hard work and dedication.

Without further ado, enjoy Part 1 of our recap with photos from Amy Anaiz Photography and Joshua Dwain Photography.  We will be announcing the date and location for the next retreat soon, so make sure you sign up for our mailing list here, to be notified once registration opens up.   It will sell out fast!

Day 1 - Welcome Party

Our welcome party took place at Osprey Restaurant in Innisbrook. The temperature in Florida was cooler than normal for no good reason, so around this fire pit was the place to be.  ellyb Events worked with our floral sponsor Botanica to create a warm and inviting lounge area where attendees could unwind and network.

Day 2 - General Sessions

We were blessed to hear influential talks from the best in the industry including Andre Wells, Diann Valentine, Grace Ormonde, Amsale, Matthew Jordan Smith, Kathryn Hamm and a dynamic panel of industry professionals including Tara Melvin, Andria Lewis, Ross Oscar Knight, Elle Danielle, Eliana Baucicault, Ian Prosser and Keith Cephus.  Attendees were greeted with die cut place-cards and custom gold foil notebooks and pens/pencils from Papered Wonders along with the cutest bento boxes filled with goodies by From Sir With Love.

Winter Wonderland All-White Party

On Day 2, all of the attendees and speakers were treated to an exclusive "all-white attire" dinner party at the Straz Center in Tampa, Florida.  The team at the Straz Center, led by Karen Candales, put together a winter wonderland themed dinner with entertainment provided by ESP and lighting + florals provided by Hannahs Floral.  We have to give a huge thanks to Tara of Perfect Planning Events for making this possible and thanks the entire Straz team, for a night we'll never forget.   Violinists on stilts, live performances, dinner on the was truly magical.

Click here for the recap of Day 3 General Sessions + The Awards Gala!

Thanks to our sponsors

Photography: Amy Anaiz Photography and Joshua Dwain Photography | Videography - Inije Photography and Films | Planning: Perfect Planning Events | Design - ellyb Events | Florals - Botanica Design Studio | Stationery - Papered Wonders | Gift items/ bento boxes - From Sir with Love | Swag bag items - From Sir with Love, Dessy, Jamberry, Parasols by Design | Custom items/decor - Ten23 Designs | Entertainment - One Sound and Entertainment | Makeup - Mia Farah Beautique | Slow motion video booth - Bridges Cinema | Awards - Royale Amethyst | Host venue - Innisbrook Golf and Spa Resort | Dinner party host - Straz Center / Florals + Lighting by Hannah's Floral / Entertainment by ESP Tampa

Coterie Retreat 2014 Recap Part II - Day 3 + Gala

For Day 3 of the retreat, we were enlightened with powerful talks from Siri Eklund of Two Bright Lights, Jacqueline Nwobu, Eda Kalkay, Willie Jackson, Amanda Miller Littlejohn and a powerful tear-inducing talk from Chike Nwobu.

Later in the evening, our Inaugural Awards Gala kicked off.  With the expertise of ellyb Events and Botanica, the ballroom was transformed into a glamorous display of teal, blush, rose gold and silver.  Our awards ceremony followed immediately after the cocktail hour.  We were honored to present awards to Coterie Members making a huge impact, and the first Vanguard Award was awarded to Diann Valentine for her accomplishments in the wedding and event industry.  Thanks to Kisha Kingston of Royale Amethyst for the gorgeous awards made of acrylic and gold foil accents.  Congrats to all to all of the award recipients.

The Coterie Retreat Awards 2014

Visionary Award - Tara Melvin of Perfect Planning Events

Spirit Award   - Lauren Atwaters of Ten 23 Designs

Collaborator of the Year Award - Kisha Kingston of Royale Amethyst

Munaluchi Advocate Award - Darryl Wilson of D'Concierge Events

Innovator of the Year - Eliana Baucicault of ellyB Events

Mentor of the Year - Keith Cephus of Keith Cephus Photography

Hidden Treasure Award - Neil Freeman of Beaches Edge Anguilla

Jet Setter Award - Jide Alakija of Alakija Studios

Rising Star Award - Andrea Pitter of Pantora Bridal

Vanguard Award - Diann Valentine

Munaluchi Appreciation Awards

These members were awarded the appreciation award for hosting us in their city as part of our annual city-to-city tour.

Tara Melvin of Perfect Planning Events  - DC Tour 2013, Lauren Beamon of Elle's Couture Events - NYC Tour 2013, Makini Brereton of Makini Regal Design - NYC Tour 2013, Chioma Nwogu of Dure Events - Houston Tour 2014, Andria Lewis of Andria Lewis Events - Memphis Tour 2014, Aaliyah Rajansingham of B3 Event Designs - Los Angeles Tour 2014, Eliana Baucicault of ellyB Events, Atlanta Tour 2014, Atosha Barboza of Larger Than Life Events, South Carolina Tour 2014, Tiffany Chalk of Tiffany Chalk Events - Philadelphia Tour 2014.

In addition to the Awards Ceremony, some highlights included a super chic dessert table by Hands on Sweets, the almost addicting slow motion video booth provided by Bridges Cinema,  (check out some slow motion video clips at the end of this post) and the non stop keep-you-on-the-dancefloor music provided by One Sound and Entertainment.  We truly could not stay in our seats!  But the biggest highlight of the night was the overwhelming feeling of camaraderie, comfort and joy.  There was so much love and emotion in the room and ultimately, you can't put a price on that.  Enjoy these images from the General Sessions and Gala provided by Amy Anaiz Photography and Joshua Dwain Photography.

We had to get the morning started with a little wobble:)

Chike gave a heartfelt and emotional talk about "Finding your Purpose" that left us all ready to take on our biggest challenges.  There's really no way to describe how moved everyone in the room was. Just check out the pictures below to see for yourself!

The Gala

Slow Motion Video Booth at Gala Event of The Coterie Retreat from Bridges Cinema on Vimeo.

Thanks so much for checking out the recap! Make sure to sign up for our mailing list if you haven't already to be notified once dates and registration for the next retreat is available.

Thanks to our sponsors!

Photography: Amy Anaiz Photography and Joshua Dwain Photography | Videography - Inije Photography and Films | Cake -  Hands on Sweets | Planning: Perfect Planning Events | Design - ellyb Events | Florals - Botanica Design Studio | Stationery - Papered Wonders | Awards design -  Royale Amethyst | Custom items/decor - Ten23 Designs | Entertainment - One Sound and Entertainment | Makeup - Mia Farah Beautique|| Slow motion video booth - Bridges Cinema | Awards - Royale Amethyst | Host venue - Innisbrook Golf & Spa Resort | Gift basket- Indaba Spa | Beauty basket - Mizani | Dancefloor wrap - Showworks Inc. | View 2014 Speaker Lineup

See you at the next retreat!! Register today