I was in Las Vegas last week. I landed Sunday, Oct 1, at 10:02 pm. Right before the shooting started.
I’m surprised we got out of the airport before it closed, but as we were driving to the hotel we saw all the police activity racing past us, headed to the concert venue. I don’t want to get too much into the process of dealing with the events that transpired, other than to say it affected me greatly, and I will never, ever, forget what it was like to be there in the midst of that experience. I had friends and family at the concert. I had friends in lock down nearby. Had we known about the concert in advance, most likely we would have been there too. I couldn’t turn off the news once we got to the hotel that night; we stayed up most of the night watching, texting, waiting for our friends in lock down to get back to the hotel so we could hug them.
But I was there for a conference, and in the midst of the worst of times, you have to keep moving forward. You can’t stop living, you have to take care of yourself, too. I found some balance in the days that followed; I attended the vigils for the victims, and I attended seminars to further my business. I met lots of new people. We went to a party thrown by Wedding Wire and The Knot, and raised over $25,000 for the #vegasstrong fund.
During the three day conference, we spent time learning about new tools that will help us keep in touch, stay relevant, and help spread our knowledge to the masses (are there masses out there following me? #goals). I’m putting these lessons here to hold myself accountable, but I want you to hold me accountable too. I want to make sure that the few days I spent in seminars don’t go to waste; I need to hold on to the good from this experience too.
Goal #1 Over the next few months, I am going to give my Pinterest board a huge overhaul, thanks to advice from San Diego DJ Staci – her boards are on POINT (seriously, I just spend 45 minutes poking around them and I am inspired and motivated!!) and I can't wait to dig in and play. Staci was funny and light and I totally want to work with her one day!
Goal #2 As always, I aim to fill this blog up with stories and advice and real weddings. I gained some insight and inspiration thanks to advice from a Wedding PR & Marketing Consultant who totally blew my mind! She gave us a lot to think about, but also empowered us to shift our thinking a bit and remember the stories that want to be heard by our audience (rather than the ones we feel like we should tell). You know how I love stories!
Goal #3 I am reinvigorated in my drive to travel more and experience more weddings around the country and the globe. I loved listening to Dee from No Worries Events talk about her experiences crafting weddings in and around Paris (also, I feel like we should totally be friends!! She was that kind of speaker). I've been lucky enough to travel the country for weddings before and I know I can do more! It's one of the things I love most about my job - the diversity and unique view points in areas I've yet to explore! London, baby, I am coming for you soon!!
At the end of the conference, as we were leaving the exhibition hall and the vendors were breaking down their booths, one of them (I wish I could remember who!!) handed me a bridal bouquet they’d used in their display. They couldn’t take it home and wanted someone to enjoy the last of the pretty. I took it back to the hotel room and put it in my ice bucket – waking up to left over wedding flowers fills me with happies!!
When I woke up the next morning, I grabbed the bouquet, took the monorail down to Mandalay Bay, and added it to the memorial at the intersection in front of the Route 91 venue. I looked up at the windows still blown out in the hotel. I looked around at the people relighting the candles, adding their words of love to the signs, mourning and loving and coming together hugging strangers. I closed my eyes and found some peace.
It was the right way to close out this trip. To see the good in the world, the people that care, feeling the love.
Thanks for being there for me.