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Our 4th Year Reviewed!
January 10th, 2017
WoW, WoW, WoW ... it's hard to believe we're celebrating our 4 Year Anniversary! With another successful year on the books, we're looking back at how much we've accomplished together this year. We've grown as an organization, and we know that our members have all made significant strides with their own business goals, too - and that's what we're all about.
And this has certainly been a busy year. Kally Khaira came on board as our new Director of Member of Relations, to ensure that we're continually meeting our members' needs and expectations. We hosted another fun mock wedding and our first-ever industry wide party, and we showed up in full force to celebrate the Vancouver Island Wedding Awards. And each month, we offered fun, creative workshops at some of the most exclusive venues in the city.
Kally and I would also like to thank the Board Members and the WoW team for all their contributions in the past year - WoW is very much a team effort, and we've just about the best team around.
So without further ado, keep reading for our year in review, to see what wedding professionals, from companies big and small, can accomplish when we work together!
We kicked off our year with a fun celebration at The Butchart Gardens. We were treated to their world-famous high tea, so our morning's activities were fueled by a smorgasbord of mouth-watering hot traditional delicacies and savories. Our workshop was "Mastering the Grapevine: Getting - and Giving! - Better Referrals." Each Member had an opportunity to 'shamelessly promote' their wedding business, and in the process, we asked key questions to help reveal their networking strategies and goals. Our hope was that this would lead to more meaningful connections after the workshop, and boy were we right! It was great to see so many members staying late to catch up with their fellow colleagues.
For more pictures and to read more about February's event, please see here.
Thanks to the Teahouse at Abkhazi Gardens, in March we learned that the best way to set goals is in a beautiful garden setting, surrounded by fabulous people. The 'Garden that Love Built' provided the perfect setting to connect with our fellow wedding professionals, while we were treated to wine and charcuterie at this beloved Victoria landmark.
Our creative workshop focused on goal setting with vision boards (just like our first ever event!), with each table tasked to envision WoW's future (and how WoW can continue to support their own business goals). We split into 5 groups, representing our 5 'VoWs to WoW': celebrate, network, learn, showcase and share. Each table then was invited to share their vision boards with the whole group, leading to some great, thought-provoking discussion (and lots of note-taking on our part!).
For more pictures and to read more about March's event, please see here.
Our April event featured everything WoW is about: great networking, great colleagues, great hosts, great seminars, and a whole lot of fun, too. Who says you can't enjoy yourself while you grow your business? Certainly not our Showcase Sponsors: Olympic View Golf Club, Brown's the Florist, Details Special Event Planning and Decor, Spark and Whimsy Photography, and Fetching Image Photography!
As highlighted in this event, education is a huge factor in making our events successful - and so useful for our members. Many of our members are solopreneurs, and of course any business that caters to weddings and events gets swamped during the summer. And that means that many of our members simply don't have the time they'd like to stay up-to-date on current industry and marketing trends and best practices. Our jam-packed education sessions help fill that gap so our members can remain leaders in Victoria.
This April, Stacey Mitchell of Directis Consulting Group Ltd stopped by to help members learn more about goal setting and road maps. We love getting great speakers like Stacey to ensure that all our members are learning lots from our WoW events.
For more pictures and to read more about April's event, please see here.
Our May event proved it: WoW knows how to party! We opened our doors to the wider Victoria wedding and events community for our first-ever industry party, and the result was fun and inspirational. Great food, a great venue, and a big turnout with great companies all led to a beautiful evening that left us so excited to start the 2016 wedding season!
For more pictures and to read more about our May event, please see here.
We were so excited to head back to the Ambrosia Conference & Event Centre for our June event - we knew from experience that this seasoned WoW Member wouldn't disappoint! Their beautiful venue provided the perfect backdrop for networking and a great time. We enjoyed delicious appies and mimosas, and a warm, welcoming space right in the heart of downtown Victoria.
We were delighted to have Sarah Barnum of The Butchart Gardens as our guest speaker. Sarah is one of our dedicated, intrepid Board Members, and she kicked off our event with a special presentation focused on how to pitch to clients quickly and effectively. Sarah is clearly an expert in her field, and she shared tips and strategies for identifying future clients, and communicating the professional, reliable services you can offer them.
For more pictures and to read more about our June event, please see here.
Thanks to a fine group of Showcase Sponsors, a lovely officiant and Lance and Michael, our special guests of the evening, this year's mock wedding was a fabulous event. We laughed, we learned, and we left inspired to provide even better services for all our clients.
By celebrating non-traditional 'mock' weddings with WoW, vendors are able to gain experience and insight, so that they can better serve all couples, no matter the context. Our Hindu wedding and Chinese wedding were both big hits, and now, we're happy to report that our LGBTQ mock wedding was, too. Our 'guests' didn't just watch a wedding; they fully embodied the role of wedding guests, and they also got to ask questions and learn about serving this community. Food, drink and merriment were all included as part of the experience.
For this year's mock wedding, we also opened the floor up to our 'grooms,' letting members ask them all sorts of questions about how they were approaching their 'real' wedding. This offered some great, first-hand insight into issues LGBTQ2 couples face when planning their weddings in Victoria.
We're dedicated to supporting our WoW Community in a variety of ways, so we've developed our mock weddings to ensure all our members are better able to serve many different communities within our city. Yes, this event was fun, but the educational component was even more important. All taking place at the gorgeous Reflections Rooftop and officiated by new WoW member Amanda Tarling, it was a night to remember.
For more pictures and to read more about our July event, please see here.
As wedding planners and professionals, we LOVE getting a new venue to explore. So when Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe offered to host our August event, we were all too happy to oblige! And exploring this new venue really highlights why it's important for our venue members to host events. Because for the first time, a group of dozens of professionals got to see exactly what this venue offers - and you can be sure that means they'll be referring it to the right clients going forward. We always work hard to showcase the very best of our venues, especially when they're new members like Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe.
We were also thrilled to welcome back WoW favourite Dawn McCooey of the Women's Enterprise Centre as our guest speaker. We take great care to research all of our guest speakers, to ensure they have something really great to share with our members. We always love Dawn's talks - this year she focused on increasing sales, with lots of great takeaways.
Fore more pictures and to read more about August's event, please see here.
In September, WoW Members met at Epicure for a little networking, a little inspiration, and a little cooking. It was a fresh take on our usual events, offering a wonderful opportunity to learn, relax, and experience the best of what Vancouver Island has to offer.
CEO Amelia Warren opened Epicure's beautiful doors to WoW, for a rare, private cooking class that was as educational as it was delicious. Epicure focuses on quick meals made with healthy, seasonal and minimal ingredients - the perfect solution for busy families who want to put nutritious food on the table. In 7 minutes (7 minutes!), Amelia whipped up Asian Slaw (get the recipe here) and Easy Asian Lettuce Wraps (get the recipe here) .... so yummy!
Amelia also gave a very inspirational talk, about growing her $30 million business and her business philosophy. We know our ambitious members appreciated getting the inside scoop from a seasoned pro.
For more pictures and to read more about our September event, please see here.
We know so many WoW members will be busy during wedding show-season, manning booths and trying to connect with more brides and grooms. So we dedicated our October event to boosting our wedding show skills. We were thrilled to hand over the floor to two WoW veterans and board members, Sharon Rai of Sharon Rai Hair and Makeup Artistry, and Deanna McCollum of Deanna McCollum Photography. Both women have learned the fine art of wedding shows, and they led an insightful, interactive workshop.
For more pictures and to read more about our October event, please see here.
In November, WoW came out big to support all our members and our local industry at the Vancouver Island Wedding Awards. It was a lovely opportunity to connect and network. One of our goals for this year was to expand our network, making it easier for our members to network with professionals across the city - not just fellow members. The Wedding Awards were one the lovely ways we got to accomplish this goal this year.
Hosted by WoW Member The Fairmont Empress, coordinated by WoW Member Party Mood and photographed by WoW Member Spark & Whimsy Photography, the evening was a lovely showcase of what happens when wedding and event professionals join forces.
We know it can be intimidating going to industry events alone - but they're so important for making necessary connections in the industry. That's why it was so important for us to provide a comfortable, easy way for our members to attend this year (for free, no less!). And besides, our awesome WoW members just make everything more fun - we're already looking forward to next year!
We loved seeing so many WoW members (it's always fun to have a 'night off' at the end of wedding season!), and we loved cheering everyone on. Keep reading to see which WoW members won - although you can probably guess that all our members are 'winners' in our eyes - and in the eyes of the happy brides and grooms they serve.
For more pictures, please see here.
This year's holiday party was our second event at The Delta Victoria, and once again, our hosts didn't disappoint. Ideally located in the heart of the city's vibrant downtown district, on Victoria's Inner Harbour, the views were just stunning. We got to see the city all a-glow with Christmas lights, while staying cozy and warm in their beautiful LURE Restaurant & Bar.
And of course, what makes any WoW event great? It's our wonderful members - and we loved seeing so many come out to celebrate the holiday season - and the end of another successful wedding season, too. We forewent our usual creative workshop and speaker, to give everyone a chance to relax, unwind, have a drink, and make merry. We mingled, we networked, we talked about small things and big things and made plans for the new year. We left inspired by the amazing community we all share, and excited to make WoW even better in the new year.
For more pictures and to read more about our December event, please see here.
As you can see, our events are the key to understanding what WoW is all about. We're proud to give Members the opportunities to Network, Learn, Showcase, Share and Celebrate each month. WoW events are enjoyable and personal - our members are supportive and genuinely care about each other. But they're also focused, purposeful opportunities designed to foster relationships and ultimately drive sales and bookings.
As we move into our 5th year, we're excited to continue our WoW journey with you. We're actively planning out the year ahead, and we'd love your feedback. If you'd like to be a Showcase Sponsor, or if you have an idea for a great WoW event or creative workshop, please contact the WoW team at email@example.com.
We've also got some more big goals for WoW. In 2017, we will be working to grow WoW, solidify our relationships, and unify our businesses under a recognizable brand. We want all brides and grooms in the Victoria area to recognize the WoW brand and understand that WoW membership is a sure signal that a company offers stellar services, products and customer service.
And finally, it's time to celebrate! Come join us at the Ambrosia Conference & Event Centre this February 21 for our big Anniversary Party. Everyone is invited: find all the details here.