DWP 2017: The Exclusive Planners Congress

DWP 2017: The Exclusive Planners Congress

What do you get when event planners plan an event for event planners? Event planning inception! Event Affairs was invited to attend the fabulous 4th annual Destination Wedding Planners (DWP) Congress in Phuket, Thailand at the beginning of May. Over 400 passionate wedding planners from more than 65 countries flocked to the tropical destination for 2 days of pure inspiration. The crème de la crème of the industry got to meet, mingle and impart knowledge from around the globe. Besides from chatting with our fellow peers, DWP invited the most incredible speakers to join us. We’ll get to that in a minute though.

After a rather long flight, a welcoming committee from DWP warmly welcomed us at the airport with photographers, videographers and Lei adorned in Thai florals – it was a true celeb airport welcome. We were then transferred to our hotel and again, received the friendliest welcome by the staff at Angsana Laguna Phuket Hotel. In our room was a cute ‘hangover survival kit’ filled with lots of lovely goodies, including our itinerary and a cleverly designed puzzle invitation to the gala dinner the following night. We caught up on a few emails (oh, the glam life of a planner) and took a moment to reflect on our new surroundings before the evening’s welcome cocktail party. The theme for the night was ‘Simply Stylish’ and we were encouraged to wear one of the Pantone colours of the year. We opted for Chic Black, mixed with a hint of this year’s Greenery. Every delegate dressed to the nines. We were welcomed with gorgeous flower crowns (just think of the labour of making 400 plus flower crowns!) and each delegate donned a sash with the name of the country they represented on it. We felt like Beauty Queens! It was a networking frenzy, as wedding planners from around the world got together to discuss our passion.

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The first day of conferencing kicked off and we were thrilled to rub shoulders with the best of the best. World famous event designer, Preston Bailey, had our attention as he spoke of the latest design trends. A-list planner Kevin Lee, who sat on one of the panel discussions, clientele list includes the likes of Draw Barrymore, Oprah and Jennifer Aniston - to name a few. We loved connecting with award-winning wedding planner Sasha Souza, plus Asia’s finest Evelyn Mills and Lelian Chew. The conference was held in an Impressive white marquee and was filled with opulent florals throughout. We were super impressed with the setup!

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After an inspiring day, we got ready for the evening’s festivities. The gala dinner was hosted at Blue Elephant Governor’s Mansion. ‘A Grand Affair with an Oriental Touch’ was the theme and we were completely blown away. A clear span, open marquee was setup on the lawns with delicious cocktails served on arrival, accompanied with traditional Thai entertainment. The long tables were adorned with overflowing orchids and incredibly beautiful hanging installations. The traditional Thai menu was prepared by a Michelin star Thai chef. The service was top notch, too. The entertainment didn’t disappoint either with a talented duet, a fabulous band, solo instrumentals and even a ‘lady boy’ show! We loved every minute of the evening.

The next day it was back to business. While the programme followed a similar fashion to the previous day, with the day drawing to an end with an incredible talk from industry veteran, Marcy Blum. And to close off the day, we had an inspirational talk from Julie Lewis who conquered her first mountain at the age of 40 and decided to share her wisdom with the world. She equated climbing a mountain to planning a wedding, which we totally get!

That evening we were treated to an amazing beach party at Angsana Lagoon Beach Hotel. Over 400 delegates dressed in white were given glow sticks and lumo tattoos. The drinks flowed all night as we enjoyed fire dancers, fireworks, incredible food stations and a DJ, taking us into the night. Despite the rain, we proved that even wedding planners know how to party! We arrived back feeling excited, inspired and content knowing that South Africa is definitely not behind when it comes to event trends. We learnt that our peers across the globe share similar experiences when it comes to wedding planning, despite the geographical differences. And we absolutely cannot wait for DWP 2018 in Mexico, baby!

Until then, stay connected.
The EA Team