Save the date for Visit Loudoun's 3rd Annual Wedding Professionals Forum! You don’t want to miss this event designed to educate, encourage and equip you, the wedding industry professional. The forum opens with a light breakfast and networking, followed by industry experts delivering key plenary sessions including Branding, Social Media, Ethnic Weddings and Sales & Service. There are also two interactive and informative panel discussions: one featuring industry professionals and one with recently married couples. Lunch is included for additional networking time with your industry peers. And there is an added bonus of fabulous prizes to be won!
Described as a “serial entrepreneur”, Rebecca Barnes has successfully built numerous businesses in her 30-year career, three of which have won the new business of the year. She was the youngest female chair for the largest chamber in Northern Virginia, Founding Task Force member, Past Chair and Board of Regents member for Leadership Prince William, and a longtime volunteer of the Occoquan-Woodbridge-Lorton Volunteer Fire Department, currently serving on their board and as Public Information Officer. Rebecca is the Publisher of the award-winning magazine Prince William Living, and in 2016, she took over publishing Brides & Weddings of Northern Virginia.
Rebecca understands the struggles businesses face, whether small or large. Her goal is to help her clients tell their story as to what makes them unique and then putting them in front of the right audience. “The challenge in the wedding industry, is how to stand out in the crowd.” Says Rebecca. “There is plenty of work for everyone. The goal is to match yourself with the right couple. If you tell your story correctly, THEY will find YOU.” She credits the success of Brides & Weddings, with building relationships and understanding their client's needs.
Lori Carlyle, together with her husband Bo and three children, owns and operates Shadow Creek Weddings & Events in Purcellville, Virginia, a large equestrian barn situated on their private farm in Loudoun County, Shadow Creek was built to accommodate couples looking for a chic wedding venue with a large guest capacity and space flexibility for creative design visions.
Recently celebrating their third anniversary, Shadow Creek has quickly become a sought-after venue for both local and non-local couples. Booked well into 2019 and hosting close to 100 events a year, Lori has become a true wedding venue expert. Aside from operations, Lori credits the success of Shadow Creek to the positive relationships she has built with both vendors and couples that come through the doors and places great value on being a supportive resource for anyone planning their event at Shadow Creek.
Longtime residents of Loudoun County, Lori’s first expertise is in John Deere tractors. When asked about running a wedding venue she says, “I’ve always sold tractors, and now I get to sell weddings. It’s a total change of market, but I love it, and I’m thankful to God every day for this opportunity to be a part of so many couples special days.”
Danielle’s narrative lays much of the foundation for her approach to entertaining, her style and the way she delivers her client experience. A native North Carolinian and Washington, D.C. transplant, Danielle is no stranger to great hospitality and celebrations with soul. Finding her foothold in the special events industry began with a passion for architectural design, a degree in hospitality, a decade in the food and beverage industry and a strong desire to create social impact and engagement. Blending these fifteen (ahem, plus) years of experience together has made Danielle one of the most sought after and revered planners in the country.
A nationally acclaimed award winner for her impeccable event design and production, Danielle is revered as an industry expert and is often tapped to share her insights through editorial and educational contribution on the national level. Danielle was named a Top 100 MBE (Minority and Women in Business Entrepreneur), one of the Best Wedding Planners and Designers of 2015 by ModWedding and was recognized by international publication, Special Events Magazine as a "'30 Under 40' Event Professional Worth Watching."
OFD Consulting owner, Meghan Ely, combines in-the-trenches event experience with a love of wedding PR to empower her clients to take their businesses to new heights. She is a WeddingWire Education Expert as well as a regular contributor to Wedding Planner Magazine, Wedding Business Magazine, Catersource and SpecialEvents.com.
Meghan represents clients globally and has earned them coverage with the New York Times, Entrepreneur, Brides, Bridal Guide, the Knot, Martha Stewart Weddings, the Travel Channel, HGTV, Brit & Co and Refinery 29, among others.
Meghan is the national Vice-President for the Wedding International Professionals Association and the 2017 chair of the NACE conference education committee. She is also an adjunct professor in the Mass Communication department at Virginia Commonwealth University, specializing in Public Relations. Most recently, Special Events honored her as one of the top 25 young professionals in the event industry.
Jeff Maszal has been officiating weddings for over 30 years and founded Wedding Ceremonies by Jeff in 2008. Ordained and a minister in good standing with the United Church of Christ, Jeff is licensed to celebrate weddings in 10 states – including Virginia, DC, and Maryland. Born and raised in Detroit, he received his bachelor’s degree in social work from Western Michigan University and his Masters of Divinity from Eden Theological Seminary. He began his career as a social worker working with troubled teens in Detroit. While in Seminary he served a Chaplin at the City Hospital in St. Louis and completed his clinical training for pastoral counseling while serving a parish in Pennsylvania. Jeff currently lives in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, VA and spends his free time watching his favorite sports teams with Buddy and Bear (two awesome German Shepherds).
Kevin Olivera – MC & Moderator
Kevin Oliver, President of Olivera Music Entertainment, has worked in the special event industry for over 30 years as an event producer, entertainment manager, and musician. OME has been awarded the International Special Events Society’s “DC Capital Award” for Best Entertainment Production three times. Kevin is also the president of Hunt Country Celebrations and serves on the Visit Loudoun Wedding Advisory Committee.
MaryLou Pernod has been with The Knot for over seven years and is the Regional Director for the Northeast Region. Her responsibilities are from Virginia to Maine.With over 20 years of local online and print advertising experience, she is passionate about helping local wedding pros grow their business and connect with couples. She frequently speaks at local associations and workshops about today's Millennial couple, their trends, customer service preferences and more.
Sarah Pete Rizzi
Sarah Pete Rizzi, aka "Pete", has more than 16 years’ experience in the hospitality, wedding & event industry. Her diverse background includes event management for InterContinental Hotels & Benchmark Hotels, coordinating military special occasions on bases all over the country, venue launches and management, and luxury wedding planning. Sarah branched out on her own in the Fall of 2015 with the launch of Sincerely Pete Events, a boutique wedding firm in Washington D.C. focusing on equality-minded events. Less than one year later, she paired her passion for events with her love of travel and partnered with a travel agent to co-found Wanderlust Wedding Co., a destination wedding planning firm, in the Fall of 2016. Sarah is also an active educator and professional speaker, educating other event professionals about equality-mindedness and inclusivity in their events, creating a seamless client experience and effectively managing client expectations. Sarah lives with her wife and two dogs in Alexandria, Virginia.
Paula Safran, CMP, CPCE, LES, CWP
Paula Safran is the Director of Catering Sales for West Belmont Place/National Conference Center. Her over 30 years’ experience in the food and beverage and event planning industry has taken her from resorts in Italy and California and many high-end venues in-between. Paula has a degree in hotel restaurant management; dedicated to her field, she has earned the professional designations of certified meeting planner, learning environment specialist, certified professional catering executive, certified wedding planner, and certified ACE trainer.
Jamie Kutchman Wynne
Jamie Kutchman Wynne, founder of Marigold & Grey, made the leap from corporate world to creative world after recognizing the need for boutique gifting services after her own 2012 wedding. M&G is an artisan welcome gift company with a simple mission: they want you to love what you gift and have your guests giddy over what they receive. Jamie spent a year dreaming up a business that would make the tedious welcome gift process feel like a piece of cake to her clients. They are offered plenty of chic, unique, locally-inspired choices. Jaime also offers business mentoring and product styling services to entrepreneurs. Her work has been featured in Martha Stewart Weddings Magazine, Southern Weddings Magazine, Washingtonian Bride & Groom Magazine, and countless other industry blogs and publications.
Full details and registration will be announced soon. For questions or further information, please contact Dana Henry, Social Sales & Client Services Manager at 703.669.2007 or firstname.lastname@example.org.