WoW Blog

WoW aimed for the Heart at our First Event

Posted By Victoria WoW February 21st, 2013

After much anticipation, (plus loads of preparation, emails, phone calls, tweets and posts!) WoW was so thrilled to finally launch our first event. It was definitely reminiscent of planning a wedding, according to the Showcase Sponsorship team!

Our inaugural WoW gathering of almost 100 of the best wedding businesses in Victoria took place on Tuesday, February 12th in the light-filled Terrace Ballroom at the Inn at Laurel Point. Appropriately, our event fell just before Valentine's Day. We’d like to think we acted as cupids, bringing together the most talented bridal businesses in our city.

The room was decorated with romantic and glamourous finery courtesy of Hardip Johal from
Magical Moments Decorating, and Tara McHugh of Tara McHugh Flora added her special touches to the floral displays. Our sassy models (were they twins?) danced their way around the room in dresses provided by the Victoria Hospice's Bid to Bliss Auction. Their hair and make-up was beautifully executed by WoW founding member Sharon Rai of Sharon Rai Hair & Makeup Artistry. The romantic mood was set also by our guest guitarist, Caelen Starblanket La Rocque, and our scrumptious refreshments were generously arranged by Jennifer Scigliano, Senior Event Manager from the Inn at Laurel Point.

Magical Moments Decorating, Wedding Decorations, Wedding Planning, Inn at Laurel Point, ILP

The event was captured by our official photographer Deanna McCollum of Deanna McCollum Photography. Her gorgeous photos are featured throughout this article. You may not have even noticed the stealth videographer Cassie O'Neil from Cassie O'Neil Cinematography, who captured some gorgeous moving images we will share very soon on our social media channels. And finally, we thank Luke Davison from S&W Audio Visual for providing the large-screen monitors we used to showcase WoW media and branding.  

Tara Mchugh Flora, Wedding Flowers, Victoria Florists

Our spectacular Sponsors showcased the best services and products they have to offer to our Brides. We would like to give a special "thank you" to each of them, for inspiring us with their talents, and WoW-ing us with their expertise.  Are you interested in being our next Showcase Sponsor? Email us at


Our goal for every WoW Event is to NETWORK, LEARN, SHOWCASE, SHARE and CELEBRATE our community of bridal businesses.

For our NETWORKING component, we saw some familiar faces, made some worthwhile connections with peers, and met many more business owners. Thanks to your feedback after the event, we anticipate our upcoming events will allow for more time to network informally before and after our scheduled activities.

Network Victoria BC Wedding Community, BC Brides, Vancouver Island Weddings

In our opening exercise, we SHARED at our tables a "heart" symbolizing what we love about we do, and an "arrow" representing what we want to grow in our business. We LEARNED what we have in common, and where we might be able to collaborate and support one another to grow our businesses as a community.

Women of Weddings, Victoria WoW, Weddings Victoria BC

Sharon Rai, Founding Member of WoW introduced us to what WoW is all about:
• WoW's goals and vision
• What a WoW Membership can do for your business
• How WoW is committed to helping all our businesses prosper
• How WoW can help is form a strong referral network

Sharon Rai, WoW Founder, Sharon Rai Hair & Makeup Artistry, Wedding Makeup, Wedding Hair

We also participated in an inspiring creative workshop that enabled WoW members to begin to see the value in working together.

Inn at Laurel Point, Decorate Victoria, Brun Body Bar, Weddings in Victoria

Each group was given a piece of a puzzle. We collaged our pieces with words, images, and magazine tears that represented what we felt we could gain and contribute to WoW, and how WoW can help our businesses flourish as a community. We shared our vision boards to the rest of the room in creative ways: with poetry, cheers, and song. One group sang "We're going to the chapel / And we're going to get married/ Going to WoW and we're sharing referrals/ Gee we really love you and WoW!". Very sweet.

Each vision board was then placed into a larger puzzle, symbolizing the interconnectedness of our community and our common goals.

WoW, Wedding Businesses, Wedding Photographer, Deanna McCollum

WoW is also committed to making connections to our community. We welcomed Wendy Innes from the Victoria Hospice to inform us about their Bid for Bliss Event – a bridal wear silent auction in support of Victoria Hospice. Over 50 brand new bride and bridesmaid gowns have been donated by Victoria’s bridal boutiques are up for auction until this Saturday, Feb 23rd. Brides-to-be can bid on beautiful dresses while also supporting end-of-life care. Learn more at Victoria Hospice's website.

Victoria Hospice, Bliss to Bid, Blush Bridal, White Peony, Wedding Dresses

We entered our business cards for a chance to win a Valentine's Date in a Basket valued at over $600. From the generous contributions from each of the Showcase Sponsors, including dinner, hair and makeup styling, and other treats to spark romance, Lisa Rivers of Lisa Rivers Photography celebrated her Valentine's Day in style.
Magical Moments Decorating, Deanna McCollum Photography, Sharon Rai Hair & Makeup Artistry, Tara McHugh Flora

Snap Magazine also snapped some shots of our first WoW event. We look forward to looking for our own faces in the next issue! We found out later that we got a shout-out in the business section of the Times Colonist. Talk about some great exposure for our community. And we are just getting started!

Most importantly, we celebrated together. We were definitely "WoW-ed"! The feedback from our bridal business community has been tremendous, and our shared goals and vision will be integrated into future events. Don't miss out on our next event: Tuesday, March 12th from 10am-12pm at the Four Points by Sheraton. We welcome our guest speaker, expert business advisor Pauline Penner, who will show us how to create and pursue our goals.  View more images from the event on our WoW Facebook Page.
Celebrate, Deanna McCollum Photography


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