Bride Club ME Flies To Georgia For The 3rd Annual PX Show
Written by Adam Hurst on October 31, 2019.
Last week, the Bride Club team (Founder, Rhiannon Downie & Contributing writer Jessi Walker) spent four spectacular days in luscious Georgia, attending the 3rd edition of the Planners Xtraordinaire (PX) Show as an official media partner. Our Founder, Rhiannon Downie, moderated a discussion panel at the conference, which gathers the world’s top Luxury Special Event Planners and Suppliers to collaborate, share their experiences and knowledge and grow their business beyond borders.
The Global Evolution of Event Planning in a Digital World
Day one of the conference started with stimulating sessions, including a multi-cultural panel discussion that investigated business intelligence across some of the key global markets, with insights from leading global names such as Natalia Bonavita, Bhavnesh Sawhney, Johnny Roxburgh, Costanza Giaconi, Lisa Shiner and Lindsay Landman.
Following on to day two, exploring the applications of ‘luxury’ to niche clientele across the globe, BCME’s founder Rhiannon led her panel discussion topic: ‘Standing Tall in the Luxury Business: Carving Your Own Niche’, which raised the subject of retaining authenticity, trend evolution and the digital drive within the luxury market preparing for Gen Y, to event planners from France, China, India and Nigeria. Where we heard of the brides and couples of France and China who yearn for a renaissance of traditional, smaller and more intimate weddings, whereas Gen Y brides in both India and Nigeria are undergoing modern changes, shifting the decision making from parental benefactors to the couples themselves.
One thing was certain, no matter the nationality; destination weddings and elopements are fast becoming a leading trend, with an emphasis on personalisation and a greater inclusion of technology at every turn.
The idea of digital inclusion to fortify experiential events & weddings for the next generation of brides was a sentiment echoed throughout the three days. Meghan Ely, of OFD Consulting in the US, touched upon this in her talk entitled: ‘Moving Together as an Industry: What’s the Way Forward?’ where she drove home the importance of collaboration & creating partnerships, specifically with industry press & media, to accelerate business growth & progression. Meghan strongly encouraged the audience to look further than ‘stepping up their social media game’ as a means of marketing and to (where possible) hire writers & publicists that speak the media language who can position their businesses as thought leaders and innovators in an effort to collectively accelerate the industry’s ‘glacial pace reaction to change’.
Middle East Considerations
Representing the Middle East market, Rhiannon took part in a round-table discussion that dissected the top three limitations faced by planners executing events within the region. Takeaways from the discussion included the importance of educating clients on budgeting and cost allocation, having a ‘plan-B’ in place for last-minute changes due to political unrest and an emphasis on creativity in seeking-out/producing atypical venues that contrast from the traditional ballroom spaces – long being left in the past.
Why Georgia: Why Not?
But it wasn’t all work and no play for the BCME team, whose stay at The Radisson Collection on the Tsinandali Estate – Kakheti region, Georgia, was embellished with views of the majestic Caucasus mountain range and autumnal vineyards, with its awe-inspiring hues of crimson and gold. Georgia presents itself as a fantastic place for the destination weddings of UAE’s residents; with a short three hour flight time, visa-free admission of passport holders for up to 90 different countries and territories, whilst offering an abundance of nature’s ‘finest,’ at every turn: mountains, forests, seaside resorts and vibrant city life.
We can definitely speak for the jaw-dropping scenery; If the drive to the hotel wasn’t enough to seal the deal on Georgia as one of the most picturesque places on earth, then what followed definitely was. The PX Show kicked-off with a Welcome Reception held at the Lopota Lake Resort & Spa. The National Georgian Ballet gave an impressive show at Chateau Buera, the perfect venue for a wedding with a view. The resort sits upon acres of historical vineyards where guests can explore the process of traditional fermented grape production (the oldest in the world), take a helicopter tour, or even try your hand at some Georgian cooking and more.
Perhaps the biggest ‘Wow-Factor’ of the trip was the PX Show Gala Dinner, held in the amphitheatre of the Tsinandali Estate; which had been transformed into a wonderland of theatrics, candles and amazingly orchestrated extravaganza by its sponsors: Vanilla Events Georgia and Nu’Art Events from Italy. Our Founder, Rhiannon, represented the Middle East, by wearing a gorgeous Kaftan and matching accessories from online designer rental platform Designer-24.com, along with a pre-loved clutch from RETOLD in Dubai.
Imagine ladies suspended from chandeliers, a flute-playing entrance, live band, intermittent DJ, a rotating piano player, live art installations, an upside-down – suspended from the rafters magic show, models on stilts, more costume changes than a Moroccan bride and candles for days, just to mention a few!
It was great to let our hair down, although hard to put the camera down and dance the night away with some of BCME’s very own vendors including Elina from Elegant Moment Events, Anna K from Just Amore Weddings and Masha from Fabulous Day Weddings & Events.
The Radisson Collection Tsinandali
Our last day, of this unforgettable conference, allowed for some wind-down time to stroll through the Radisson Collection hotel grounds of its historic 18-hectare park, which also houses the Tsinandali Palace Museum. From there we stood the same ground that the Russian literary genius Tolstoy, author of ‘War & Peace’, had once read his works to Prince Alexander Chavchavadze. We watched the sun set upon our time in Georgia to the backdrop of grapevines, and undulating mountains and even tried our hand at the traditional art of Georgian Baton bread making and the delicious national sweet, Churchkhela. It truly was an immersive Georgian Luxperience with the opportunity to network, learn and dive willingly into the rich Georgian culture.
It’s been 6 days since our return to Dubai and we’re still marinating on the memories, finding new stories to tell and hearing the whispers of the Caucasus Mountains and Georgia’s abundance of nature calling us ‘home’. We can’t wait to see what the organisers have in store next as we raise a glass to a fantastic experience. If you missed our live social coverage of the PX Show, you can still catch it via our Instagram Highlight reel @brideclubme – enjoy!