What can be said about a conference/retreat that you attend that you actually miss when you leave? That’s how I and many others felt when we left the 2015 Coterie Retreat in Barbados.
The Coterie Retreat is a 3 day education conference run by Munaluchi Bride Magazine, the founders, Jacqueline Nwobu and publisher Chike Nwobu. They have created a group of well curated vendors called the Coterie. Even though we interact online via Facebook many of us haven’t met in person until this conference.
My friend Lauren from Ten23 Designs put it in perspective when she said, “What other conference can you go to and come back feeling like you were at a family reunion, educational conference and church summit all at once.”
This was my first trip to Barbados and as an attendee at the retreat. Here are my thoughts about what I experienced while there.
When you invest in a conference, and yes, it was an investment you go in with very high expectations. From the food, the accommodations, networking and the parties. I am of the mindset that if anyone came to an island about two weeks before a holiday they were “all in” like me. I was not disappointed, from the time we walked off the airport we were greeted by a Barbados tourism agent, Simmone and she was very friendly as she directed us to our ground transportation.
Our hotel was the Hilton Barbados which had some amazing beach views and it was very comfortable. For me and other guests the real networking happened in the lobby, by the bar, by the pool or just in a casual meeting.
[clickToTweet tweet=”If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. -Jim Rohn” quote=”If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they may have planned for you? Not much.-Jim Rohn”]
Speakers Added Value
When you attend a conference the bulk of your experience will be sitting in sessions and the Coterie retreat didn’t disappoint. Wedding Industry giants, Mindy Weiss, Andre Wells and others shared their knowledge and shared personal stories of their journey to success.
I was especially impressed by the panels (the multicultural one was my favorite) and I’ve heard great things about the breakout sessions (even though I personally didn’t attend due to space limitations).
One of the best presentations was about personal finance by Tiffany “The Budgetnista”, she wove her personal stories about money and tips how we can budget as professionals on an irregular income.
The Turn Up Was Real
After a day of sitting in place you really need some time to unwind, relax and party. The Coterie Retreat didn’t disappoint. The opening welcome party hosted and planned by Brian Green a native of Barbados of F & G Weddings was spectacular and a good way to get to know attendees. Then we moved to the White Party where everyone was raving over the food and the bread pudding. This party was good as well and it had us get out of our comfort zone by sitting next to people we normally wouldn’t. I had a very good conversation with Julliet from the Coordinated Bride about what she likes in an Instagram submission and a candid conversation with Candice Coppolla about relocating from the New England area to living in Barbados.
But the crown jewel of all parties was the Gala, planned by Elly B Events and Decor by Akeem Clayton Designs and they truly saved the best for last. DJ Mark Battle had us on the dance floor from the moment we stepped into this magnificent transformed space.
I highly encourage anyone in the wedding industry to attend this retreat. If you are looking for inspiration, motivation and a great time around like minded people, this is for you. I’ll see you at the retreat in 2016 in New Orleans!