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Traveling triggers my creativity and weddings well, who doesn’t love weddings? This past May the Puerto Rico Tourism Company gave me the amazing opportunity to speak and host the Wedding Pavilion at The International Tourism Expo (ETI) 2016. This expo is the premier Caribbean Event for Travel Agents, Destination Wedding and Group Planners, and Tourism Leaders. I jumped at the opportunity when I received the call, especially since it combined both of my passions.
This event had more than 500 people in attendance from different countries around the world with four days worth of workshops, property visits, one-on-one meetings, tours, dinner parties and cocktails almost every night. In addition to covering the importance of ETI 2016 for the entire Caribbean region, it was also a great source for travel story ideas, interviewing exhibitors and travel experts on the latest Caribbean travel trends and announcements. It was the most exciting and challenging week of my career. I knew that I could not do it alone so I asked for some Creative Partners to join me in this adventure.
My first challenge was getting creative thinkers to come together and come up with an inviting concept of the Wedding Pavilion. I didn’t have to look for long because I had Sari Skalnik, Carmen Colon and Maribel Ramirez, wedding planner colleagues who were my motivation and inspiration during the planning and design of the Wedding Pavilion. We also had extra helping hands during the setup and tear down of the event (John Skalnik, Juan Manuel Borrero, Josue Gonzalez and Christian Bernard), they are the driving forces behind Tropical Weddings, Creating Weddings Group and CD Florals a division of CD Weddings. Together we worked long hours to make the Wedding Pavilion come to life and once it was done it looked grandiose.
We all agreed that our main focus was to network with people coming into the pavilion to know more about destination weddings, show off our creative talents with a beautiful table presentation, floral gazebo, gorgeous wedding cake, modern furniture provided by Gala Rental and to learn from the destination wedding track that I was giving all in one place. We also captured some fun moments with the photobooth provided by Pixealo and Mirna Vega from Ferrer Video Productions provided us with videography which I will be sharing as soon as we complete the editing. I was also excited to have Luis & Keyla Ortiz from High Setup join our creative partners with their state of the art lighting, projection, sound and music. They really helped set the welcoming tone to the pavilion.
During the two day workshops I spoke about “Using Social Media to Benefit Your Business” and “Swimming Against the Current – Reinventing Your Business”. It was interactive and I loved seeing everyone following each other in social media. Lisa Sheldon, Executive Director of DWHSA also joined me for the “Wedding Planner Travel Agent Hybrid” and “The Anatomy of a Destination Wedding” which was geared towards travel agents that were looking into working the romance travel market. To top off our workshops and learning experience we had a 2016 Destination Wedding Trends session where Janet Melendez, Dra. Keyla Ortiz, David Medina, and Maribel Ramirez joined me to talk about what’s new in the destination wedding market.
I am forever grateful to all of my creative partners and Elite Vendors for coming together to show that Puerto Rico has a surplus of talents, attention to detail and customer service and to the Puerto Rico Tourism Company for entrusting me with such an important task.
I look forward to seeing all of you in 2017!
Photography: Saul Padua // Videographer: Mirna Vega – Ferrer Video Productions // Photobooth: Pixealo // Cake: Sabe A Gloria // Panel of Experts: Chezelle Rodriguez – CD Weddings, Janet Melendez – Interactive DMC, Maribel Ramirez – Creating Weddings Group, David Medina – Hidden Kiss Studio, Dra. Keyla Ortiz – High Setup // Decor & Florals Collaboration: CD Florals, Chezelle Dezines & Creating Weddings Group // Rentals: Gala Rental // Lighting, Sound & DJ: High Setup – DJ Rockhand // Venue: Puerto Rico Convention Center // Planning Collaboration: Sari Skalnik – Tropical Weddings & Carmen Colon – Wed Affair