Oh So Inspired Creative Retreat Recap

A recap of Oh So Inspired, the ultimate creative retreat for wedding and events professionals!

I've written a bit about my experience at 2015's Oh So Inspired, but today I wanted to share all of my insights from the 2016 conference. 

Oh So Inspired Creative Retreat | asavvylifestyle.com
Oh So Inspired Creative Retreat | asavvylifestyle.com

I didn't know what to expect the first time around, so it was very different for me going into the retreat for a second year. Now that I know Nancy, Mary, and Kelly fairly well, I had an idea of what to expect - although, they blew my expectations out of the water (of course). 

This year I managed to convince my good friend Danielle, owner of Elise Events, to attend the conference. I was excited to have a friend come, but also very nervous. I know how large of an investment it is to attend, and I was hoping she would love the conference as much as I did. Luckily, Danielle has been raving about her experience, and I am grateful that we were able to share it together. I think this goes to show how important it is to invest back into your business! 

Oh So Inspired Creative Retreat | asavvylifestyle.com

We kicked Sunday night off with a welcome party at The General's Daughter with Austin Cocktails & Charles Krug and fabulous snacks from Ramekins. The setting was so beautiful with Chestnut & Vine florals and Encore Events Rentals. It was so much fun reunited with friends from the previous year! 

The following day we heard from an incredible series of speakers and enjoyed a beautiful lunch hosted by The Knot. Their style editor Lauren Kay was down to earth, approachable, and full of wonderful advice. Later, we got to know each other with a series of breakout sessions hosted by Anne Marie Sebastiani, followed by creating mood boards for our brands. I overheard many people talking about how much they enjoyed the breakout sessions as it allowed us to interact with each other on a personal level.

We ended the day with a Havana Nights themed dinner catered by Paula LeDuc at Viansa Sonoma. Kelly did an amazing job bringing Cuba to Sonoma, complete with salsa dancers from Entire Productions

Oh So Inspired Creative Retreat | asavvylifestyle.com
Oh So Inspired Creative Retreat | asavvylifestyle.com
Oh So Inspired Creative Retreat | asavvylifestyle.com

Day two was led by Gwen of The Rentivist who shared some seriously thought provoking ideas about being a business owner. We also heard from Kristen Ley, owner of Thimblepress. She was one of my favorite speakers from the previous year, and I loved getting to hear from her again! We enjoyed lunch hosted by All Seated, it was absolutely fabulous, especially with the Salt and Pepper Co. gift boxes which were found at every seat. 

After lunch, attendees were divided into teams for the design challenge. We were mentored by Ginny Au and Sylvie Gil, which made for an incredible experience. To have one-on-one time with the two of them was invaluable. We ended the night at Cornerstone Sonoma with ice cream from Haverton Hill Creamery and ramen bowls from The Fig Rig.

Oh So Inspired Creative Retreat | asavvylifestyle.com
Oh So Inspired Creative Retreat | asavvylifestyle.com

Day three was one of my favorites - it was design challenge day. After hearing from a panel of editors, we separated into teams to compete against each other for the winning title! The Idea Emporium designed four beautiful invitation suites, and One True Love Vintage Rentals supplied beautiful options for the teams to design with. 

Oh So Inspired Creative Retreat | asavvylifestyle.com
Oh So Inspired Creative Retreat | asavvylifestyle.com

After the design challenge we headed to the finale party at K2 Ranch for a country chic hoe down designed by Kelly. It was a jaw dropping venue and every little detail was above and beyond amazing. Although it was a long three days, each of them was filled to the brim with education and networking. 

My favorite part about OSI are the connections that you have the opportunity to make with other people in the industry. Although I am not in the wedding or event industry, I was able to establish wonderful friendships with Salt and Pepper Co., The Idea Emporium, Esselle, Creative Flow Co., Kevin Chin, and Petite Pomme Designs, and that's just to name a few. 

If you have been considering attending Oh So Inspired, I couldn't recommend it more. I have gained so much from it! 

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Oh So Inspired Design Challenge

Now that we're completely inspired for this year's Oh So Inspired, we wanted to share a fun contest with you for a chance to win $1000 towards your ticket price! The best part? There are four chances to win! 

Each year at the retreat, OSI hosts some healthy competition to inspire creativity and teamwork. The challenge consists of attendees creating tablescapes reflecting the theme of the year. This year, the theme is 'Roadmap to Success'. To enter to win this year's design challenge sponsored by Standard Party Rentals & Style Me Pretty, and have a chance at your design being brought to life during the design competition at the retreat, simply design a stellar Pinterest board showing your design ideas that reflect 'Roadmap to Success'!

Official contest rules

1. Create a Pinterest board by end of day, Monday, September 19, 2016 – you can create as many as you wish!

2. Name your board and include “Oh So Inspired 2016”, a description (example, “Romance in Provence – Oh So Inspired 2016”) and the following hashtags: #stylemepretty #ohsoinspired16 #osi16 #standardpartyrentals

3. Pin away! Create Pinterest boards inspired by a city or country to go with this year’s theme “Roadmap to Success.” Let your creative juices fly! All boards should include at least 20 images.

4. Once you are done creating your dream board(s), comment a link to it on this blog post below.

5. Winner will be selected by Friday, September 23, 2016 and winners will be announced on Monday, September 26, 2016 on this post and contacted via email or phone call.

6. Prizes are only valid for Oh So Inspired 2016 in Sonoma and cannot be used for future retreats. Should a winner forego or relinquish their prize, there will not be an alternate winning board.

7. *No lodging or transportation is provided.


Photography: Kevin Chin | Event Planning: A Savvy Event | Floral Design: Michael Daigian Design | Catering: Ramekins Sonoma | Lighting: Enhanced Lighting and Design | Entertainment: Entire Productions | Transportation: California Wine Tours | Venue: Cornerstone Gardens Tent/Barn | China: Frances Lane | Gifts: Favor Custom Gifts | Hanging Flowers: Nancy Liu Chin | Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen Rental | Menus: Yonder | Photobooth: Giggle and Riot | Rentals: Glassy Baby | Rentals: Blueprint Studios | Tabletop: Theoni Collection

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Attendees Leave Feeling Oh So Inspired

Now that we have been able to share what it's like to attend OSI, and the inspiration behind the foundation of OSI, we wanted to share some of past attendees' experiences. As Nancy mentioned yesterday, “We don't always get to invest in our education, or step back from our day-to-day responsibilities. We hardly ever get a chance to understand our career objectives or goals. Few have the chance to analyze and re-examine their career path and business direction. When does a small business owner have the time to reset those goals or directions if it’s on the wrong path?”

Oh So Inspired retreat in Sonoma | asavvylifestyle.com {kevin chin}

I think most would agree that cultivating a strong network is a major key to success in any industry, yet building that network takes energy and time that we don't often have. Oh So Inspired is a place where the wedding and event industry leaders gather for three days in a luxury environment to foster the network that as Nancy said, "is the hallmark and foundation of a thriving and growing business."  

Oh So Inspired retreat in Sonoma | asavvylifestyle.com {kevin chin}
Oh So Inspired retreat in Sonoma | asavvylifestyle.com {kevin chin}

I had a chance to chat with Amber Silva, the owner of Kinsley James. When I asked her what her favorite part of attending OSI was, she immediately brought up the lifelong friendships and relationships that were formed, saying, "OSI creates an environment where you are put in positions to meet new people. The leaders push you out of your comfort zone to sit next to and connect with people outside of your regular circle. I am normally a shy person, but I was able to meet some awesome creatives who are now some of my closest friends. We travel together, inspire each other, support each others businesses', and have fun while doing it." 

I hope after reading that Kelly, Nancy, and Mary give each other a round of high fives. They set out to, "create a space for creatives to come and learn, get re-inspired after a busy season, and cultivate meaningful friendships.” I think it's safe to say, they've hit the nail on the head.

Oh So Inspired retreat in Sonoma | asavvylifestyle.com {kevin chin}

Christina Miliken of Glow Event Design reflects on her experience at Oh So Inspired, "I was encouraged to look at my business through a different lens and adjust my business model to better align with my target client and what type of events I want to focus on. It's an incredible opportunity to expand your network, learn from others and make great friends in the process."

Oh So Inspired retreat in Sonoma | asavvylifestyle.com {kevin chin}

Not only does OSI foster an environment for networking, it's also an environment for learning. Nancy, Kelly, and Mary spend hours debating over who to bring in to the conference, and not a single appearance is by happenstance. With industry leaders like Marcy Blum and Sean Lowe, attendees have the opportunity to learn from the absolute best in the business, but not only are they best, they are the thought leaders and provokers. Don't come to OSI and expect a sugar coated learning experience. It will be a time for you to take a deep look at your business, allowing you to reflect on the path that it's on. 

Amber Silva says, "After OSI, my business partner and I were inspired to completely re-brand our event planning company.  When you are surrounded by so many talented people, you want to align yourself with them and they naturally elevate you to their level.  We went through an entire re-branding process, including a new website, new logo, and new branded marketing materials. Beyond the physical things, we also spent a lot of time adding new processes and systems to make the company even better.  When you leave OSI, you have new tools, ideas and a new fire lit within to take your company to the next level." 

Today is the last day to register at the early bird rate, click here to reserve your space!

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