9th Annual Visit Loudoun Wedding Professionals Forum
SOLD OUT - Wednesday, February 7th, 2024
Forum: 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Happy Hour: 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Location: Stone Tower Winery - 19925 Hogback Mountain Rd Leesburg, VA 20175
Join Visit Loudoun for a day we have specially curated to educate, encourage, and equip you, the hard-working wedding industry professional! Take this opportunity to engage with, and learn from, the best and brightest experts in our field, with ample networking time. Breakfast and lunch are included.
The Forum will feature a keynote speech on setting pricing for your business from The Knot Worldwide, and four interactive panels covering marketing, strategic growth, what do to when things go wrong during events, and a business Q&A session featuring a lawyer, small business development manager, and an insurance agent.
To wrap up the day we will have a Happy Hour featuring the very best of Stone Tower Wines!
Jessica Ashley – Jessica Ashley Events
Jessica Ashley is a luxury wedding planner and designer in Leesburg, VA. Tented private estate weddings are the bread and butter of Jessica Ashley Events. A true designer at heart, she opened an interior design firm during the pandemic and believes the best wedding designs combine both disciplines to create the ultimate experience for your guests. Inspired by architecture and vintage luxury campaigns, she makes it a goal to create living art with her approach. Her work has been featured all over the world in Martha Stewart Weddings, Style Me Pretty, Modern Luxury Magazine and more. Her offices are in Leesburg, VA and Rosemary Beach, FL. She is married to her European college sweetheart and is mom to three adorable kids and two rescue pups!
Katie Barchas-Wilson – The Market Group
In 2012, Katie Barchas Wilson left a decade-long career in financial services to pursue her passions: branding, events, promotions and philanthropy. Over the past eleven years, she's worked with clients in the tourism and hospitality industries to maximize their reach, increase their brand awareness, and grow their market presence. She's built and expanded a number of large contests, promotions and events, including the Best of Loudoun, Best of Fairfax, and Best of Prince William polls, Women Who Mean Business, High-Heeled Happy Hour, and most notably, Loudoun’s “40 Under 40” awards. Katie earned a BA in Psychology, a minor in Philosophy, and a certificate in Applied Business from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Rebecca Barnes – Women’s Wedding Network, Brides & Weddings Magazine
Rebecca Barnes is a “serial entrepreneur.” She has been a business owner for more than 30 years, starting and running several award-winning companies in her home county, Prince William. Rebecca served for 12 years on the board of the Chamber of Commerce and was its youngest female Chairman. She was a founding task force member, the first Chairman, and graduated from the first class of Leadership Prince William. Rebecca is the CEO of Imagine, a Destination Marketing Agency, and is Publisher of Prince William Living, and Brides & Weddings magazine; Media and Marketing Specialist for Rampant Social, Director of Give Back Prince William, a 501 (c)(3) for philanthropic giving, and is a Volunteer for the OWL Volunteer Fire Department as the Public Information Officer. She is also the director of Women’s Wedding Network, a diverse, inclusive organization that for more than 14 years has helped wedding professionals with networking, professional development and marketing. Her goal is to facilitate collaboration among professionals, while elevating the wedding industry in Northern Virginia. A breast cancer survivor, Rebecca has a personal mission for women over 40 (and at-risk men & women) to get annual mammograms and do monthly self-checks. So far, more than 223 women have gotten mammograms due to her story.
Eric Byrd – Loudoun Small Business Development Program
As the manager of the Loudoun Small Business Development Program since 2015, Eric works with small businesses to help them thrive and grow. Eric leverages his experience as a sales professional for 25 years and as a small business owner to his training and coaching. Working with small business owners he assists with a variety of topics and challenges small businesses face, including business planning, target markets, strategic development, business financials, funding and business model design. A Virginia native, Eric has been in Loudoun County since 1999. He has also served on advisory boards for the Town of Leesburg, including the Technology Commission and the Economic Development Commission. He was chair of the Economic Development Commission for five of the seven years he served. He is a speaker, an author, a father, and a proud grandfather. His favorite activity is making up ridiculous stories with his grandson.
Josh Fertel – River City Marketing
Josh Fertel is President and Founder of River City Marketing, LLC, a 28-year-old marketing firm based in Fairfax, Virginia, specializing in digital and online marketing, branding solutions, marketing campaigns and strategy. River City Marketing’s comprehensive marketing solutions include website development, search engine optimization (SEO), Pay-Per-Click (PPC) management, search engine marketing, social media services, blogging, internet strategy, content creation, in addition to branding and marketing services. Josh graduated from VCU and resides in Centreville, Virginia with his wife, who is Vice President of River City Marketing, 20-year-old son (who is now attending Josh’s alma mater), and 17-year-old daughter, a high-school senior. He is also a life-long musician, and is the keyboard player in DMV Alchemy, an 80’s Funk, R&B, Jazz, and Soul band.
Katie Fleury – Marigold & Grey
Katie is the Director of Business Development for Marigold & Grey, a full-service artisan gifting business specializing in gift design for weddings, corporate events, client appreciation, and life’s special occasions. She joined in the Fall of 2021 and has been putting her love for chatting with clients to good use ever since! Before joining M&G, she spent the first 17 years of her career in the events and catering industry, having most recently served as the Director of Sales for Washington's largest caterer and leading a team of 25 Event Designers. A lover of hospitality and pretty things, Katie was drawn to the creativity, attention to detail, and client obsession of every beautiful project the M&G team curated. She decided to shake things up in her career, and begin a new journey, and the rest is history. Katie is a proud Chicago native and spends her free time with her husband and two young boys, hosting dinner parties, and cheering on the Chicago Cubs!
Terry Kaye – Terry Kaye Events
Terry Kaye is a full-service luxury event planner & designer located in Warrenton, VA. With over 24 years of hands-on industry experience, Terry Kaye Events has truly done it all. From elevated tented affairs to modern destination weddings, her attention to detail and distinct creative vision guarantees thoughtfully curated events. Inspired by fashion and art, she strives to bring authentic love stories to life. She is honored to be featured in Brides, Wine & Country Weddings, & Washingtonian Weddings but she is most proud of her own love story. She met her husband while running Track & Field in college and celebrated 25 years of marriage this past September. She is a mom to Gavin, Lincoln, and Atlas & adores her Jack Russel Terrier, Sonny.
Rebecca Marklin – The Knot Worldwide
Rebecca Marklin has over a decade of expertise in sales and marketing, including years dedicated to the wedding industry. A University of Maryland graduate in Marketing and Leadership Studies, Rebecca made her mark at WeddingWire from 2013 to 2017 as a founding member of the Account Management team. She then led Account Management teams at three B2B software companies before rejoining The Knot Worldwide in April 2023. As the Associate Director of Account Management, Rebecca now leads teams focused on empowering wedding professionals to secure more bookings and grow their businesses. A dedicated coach, she shares her knowledge to help vendors enhance lead generation and boost bookings. Beyond her professional pursuits, Rebecca cherishes time with family and has attended an impressive 18 weddings in the last two years.
Stephanie Newberger – Stephanie Leigh Photography & Design
Photography has always been a huge part of Stephanie’s life. After attending the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a Bachelor of Fine Art in Photography and Graphic Design, she set out on her journey to capture the beautiful moments of people’s lives. As a wedding photographer and business owner with 15 years of experience, Stephanie has photographed hundreds of weddings. When she is not behind the camera, she is out exploring and adventuring with her husband Sam. She can also be found with a really good cup of coffee in hand, checking out all the latest and greatest local coffee shops.
Kevin Olivera – Olivera Music Entertainment
Kevin Olivera has been working in the special events industry for 35 years as an event producer, entertainment manager, and musician. He is President of Olivera Music Entertainment, a professional, full-service music entertainment agency, located in Ashburn, Virginia. With his wife Connie, they have won five International Live Event Association Awards! Talent, experience, and service are hallmarks of every Olivera Music Entertainment event.
Tim Sedmak – Foundation Insurance Group
Tim Sedmak is Vice President and a Senior Account Executive with Foundation Insurance Group, Inc, having started his career with FIG in 1998. He is a Certified Insurance Counselor, and a risk advisor for the Multifamily Industry, Construction Industry, Party and Event Community and the Rental Equipment Industry. He is a member of the National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research, and also the Professional Insurance Agents Association. Just recently his firm earned recognition as the PIAA’s National Insurance Agency of the Year. Originally from Northeast Ohio and a graduate of James Madison University, Tim is a former Fairfax County Public school teacher and has lived and raised his family in Loudoun County for the past 26 years. He currently resides in Purcellville Virginia and in his free time, if you don’t see him on the golf course, you may see him bike riding on the W&OD Trail.
Robert Weil – Law Office of Robert J. Weil
In practice for 40 years, Mr. Weil (aka “Bob”) has spent the past 28 years representing tax-exempt organizations and small businesses in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Before that, he served as a professional liability insurance defense attorney in Connecticut and New York, defending architects, engineers and insurance professionals on professional errors and omissions claims. He is admitted to practice in Virginia, the District of Columbia, and Maryland. Bob’s practice is focused on addressing the day-to-day general legal and business needs of tax-exempt organizations and small businesses.
Joan Wolford, Savoir Fare Catering & C’est Bon
Joan Wolford has over 30 years of event planning and fine culinary experience. Joan moved from New Jersey when she was awarded a position at the Heart in Hand in Clifton, Virginia. It was there that she fell in love with the great hospitality and cuisine of the South. Joan left the Heart in Hand in 1986 to launch her own dream—the Hamilton Garden Inn, a fine dining restaurant and bed and breakfast in Hamilton, Virginia. Joan’s dear friend and loyal patron of the Hamilton Garden Inn, Mr. Gus Eyssell often expressed to Joan after his dinner that she had “such Savoir Faire.” In 1997, Joan decided to start her new catering company, Savoir Fare and opened its new commercial kitchen and today caters to many couples throughout Northern Virginia.