WoW Blog

WoW's 1st Year in Review | Part 1, Networking

Posted By Victoria WoW February 12th, 2014

A Look Back at WoW's First Year

WoW! We can hardly believe an entire year has unfolded for Victoria Women of Weddings. The year, as they all seem to do these days, went by like a series of lightning bolts - quickly, powerfully, and with several flashes of radiant illumination. 

For a full year before WoW launched in February 2013, Founding Member Sharon Rai worked intensely and furiously to bring her dream to life. 

In previous years, Sharon had established her on-location hair and makeup services as one of the premier bridal beauty businesses in Victoria. She dedicated countless hours to marketing and building her brand by reputation and word-of-mouth referrals. 

But she discovered the limitations of building relationships through traditional networking groups. She determined that for one simple reason direct referrals were not specifically coming her way from the real estate agents, mortgage brokers, multilevel marketers, and other entrepreneurs that frequented the networking groups with whom she engaged.  That simple reason was that each of the dedicated networkers did not share her target clientele: The Bride. 

With limited time and energy to build a strong referral network, Sharon decided there had to be a more efficient and effective way to connect. She decided it was time for a networking group that directly served the many local businesses whose target clientele was The Bride. And so the idea of Victoria Women of Weddings was born. 

Sharon envisioned that WoW's entire concept would be driven towards elevating the profiles of local bridal businesses. 

Networking events would not just be a social gathering - they would enable all participants to experience first-hand the products and services of the event's Showcase Sponsors so that business owners could recommend WoW Members with confidence. 

Events would also feature learning components that would inspire creativity, explore trends in the wedding industry, and sharpen members' business savvy. 

WoW has also made giving back to our community part of our mandate as an organization. Coming together for a greater cause is just one way that we unify our passions. 

Women of Weddings would also invite members to share their expertise with one another, and build solid collaborative relationships that would result in an abundance of referrals. Most importantly, WoW would offer a venue to recognize and celebrate the successes within our local wedding industry. 

As WoW celebrates our 1st anniversary, we look back at our inaugural year. We acknowledge all we have accomplished together, the friendships we have formed, and the fun we have had.





WoW has been hugely helpful in terms of networking.  The most important business relationships we have are within the wedding industry, and WoW has facilitated many of these relationships.The welcoming environment of a WoW event really encourages relationship-building. 

~ Liz Fosdick, Avenue Weddings


Networking was obviously a focus at every event. From our very first event In February 2013, we have been getting to know one another and learning about each other's businesses. 

Let us first give a shout out to the talented photographers who captured these beautiful images of WoW Members and guests networking at our events all year long,and the marvelous local venues that hosted our gatherings. 

Deanna McCollum was the first of our photographers to showcase her talents at our inaugural event  at the Inn at Laurel Point


Our second event, hosted by Four Points by Sheraton Victoria Gateway, was captured on film by Nichole Taylor.


WoW's Mad Hatter Tea Party in April took place at the Four Points by Sheraton Victoria Gateway once again, and our guest event photographer was Elisa Thibodeau from SNAP Magazine.


WoW has given me the opportunity to meet and get to know other members of the Wedding Business Community that I wouldn’t have otherwise met.  It has enabled me to begin to build relationships with these members and grow our businesses together!

~ Sarah Barnum, Butchart Gardens


May's event focused on 2013 trends. Decorate Victoria with Huff n'Puff showroom provided a behind-the-scenes warehouse soirée, while Courtney Clarke served as our paparazzi photographer.


In June, WoW Members were invited to attend a mock Hindu Wedding. The BW Premier Prestige Oceanfront Resort provided a gorgeous indoor/outdoor backdrop to this unique WoW event, and E/A Photography captured the visual images.


July was perfect weather for a picnic in the country. The stunning view from Kildara Farm by Fresh View Events was a picturesque setting, captured beautifully by Karen McNeil.


The Cedar Ultra Patio in the Four Points by Sheraton was the ideal setting for a hip bachelorette party in August. Four Frames Photo Booth let WoW Members get to know each other by getting goofy together.


Networking with WOW has helped my business greatly. WOW has been a way for me to meet other wedding industry professionals and learn more about their businesses, and now if a bride needs help finding another vendor I can help! 

~ Tara McHugh, Tara McHugh Flora

In September, we ventured back to Kildara Farm for a harvest-themed event. The images were taken by the WoW Team's Event Photographer, Rita Steenssens.


October's event marked our first evening gathering. Our host, Ambrosia Conference & Event Centre, opened their doors for us, while Deanna McCollum was on hand once again as our official photographer.


The spa rooms at the Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Empress provided a unique venue for our workshop-style event in November. Photos were taken by Rita Steenssens, WoW's go-to event gal.


I have been able to re-connect with women in the industry that I have not had a chance to interact with in the past year or so.  It has been a great way to meet new businesses as well as to find out what services that are out there that I can recommend to my clients.

~ Kyara Kahakauwila, LA Limousines

WoW's fabulous holiday party took place at Brun Body & Hair Bar, and Nichole Taylor captured some beautiful candid moments.


Finally, our last event of our first year took place in January. Hatley Castle at Royal Roads University offered a romantic backdrop, and Rita Steenssens showcased her talent for event photography once again.


What else were we up to this year at WoW? Keep reading to find out more.

We learned.

We showcased.

We shared. We gave back. We celebrated.


And what about next year? We have big plans to help WoW get bigger and better, and to help WoW Members grow our businesses together and elevate our profiles in the wedding industry. Read about WoW's Goals for our 2nd Year.


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