‘Twas a cold night in Sydney when I wandered down the little alley way to The Ivy, got in the lift and made my way up to the stunning green, stripy Sun Room. Wow! I could not think of a better place to kick off Project Innovate. As all the lovely guests bustled in after me, I could feel everyone’s excitement and curiosity. What would the night bring? Call me biased but I knew we were all in for a treat – Ms Polka Dot and Sarah from Girl Friday Weddings had put so much time and effort into pulling everything together that of course it was going to be fabulous…and fun! Not to mention we were going to be hearing from Leila Khalil of Be Inspired PR who no doubt would have many pearls of wisdom to share with us.

Alice & Gemma from Girl Friday Weddings

Nadean Brennan from Photography By Nadean with Leigh Taylor from Sugar Love Weddings & White Designs

Damien Ford  from Evoke Photography and David Cowling from DnM Wedding Films

Stephanie Lee from Stelloberry Designs, Milton Gan and Kellee Walsh

Kim Williams from K.I.S.S Weddings with Grainne Bartholomew from Splendid Days

Victoria Black of Modern Wedding with Megan Blumenthal of Summerton Photography

So it began with delicious cocktails and lots of chatter. Having all those industry pros together in one room is pretty exciting just in itself! It really was a blast to catch up with everyone and meet people who I’ve been tweeting and emailing for a long time now. I was also lucky enough to talk to Leila who is super friendly, generous with her time and full of advice – just the perfect speaker to get the ball rolling for Project Innovate. I don’t think there’s a question that she wouldn’t be able to answer!

When it was time for Leila to start her presentation, everyone moved down into the conference area that was gorgeously styled by Form Over Function and The Ivy. For the next hour and a half she covered topics like how to use Twitter and Facebook effectively, building a reputation, having a blog (but only if you update it regularly!), business branding and keeping everything (name, logo, website and marketing materials) consistent and a true reflection of you and your work. Something that I found really interesting was how Leila put you in the client’s mindset. What do they think of you? What’s the first impression they get when visiting your website, your blog, your Facebook or Twitter page? I’m sure everyone walked away with lots of food for thought.

Once question time wrapped up and everyone felt motivated and inspired, it was networking time. Another important point Leila mentioned is that everyone should work together, so I’m hoping lots of clever plans and collaborations were hatched in the Project Innovate crowd! A big thumbs up for the roving canapés (tasty and substantial – gotta love that) and my new love, Baci chocolates (that were conveniently placed on the coffee tables in the lounge areas – I would have totally scoffed more if I had time!).

Dave Stowe from Society Photography, Jarred Eid & Dean Bentick from Inlighten Photography, David Cowling from DnM Wedding Films, Abraham Joffe from Untitled Wedding Films

Nadean Brennan from Photography By Nadean, Mandy Daddia from Savvy Brides

Anni Payne & Matthew Duchesne from Milk & Honey Photography with Slide McBride

Kelly Papaioannou from Iridescent Weddings with Alexandra Oatley from A Love Affair Floral & Event Design

Megan Blumenthal of Summerton Photography

Sarah Johnson of Girl Friday Weddings & Project Innovate with Denee Wallace of Merivale

Cakes by Faye Cahill Cake Design

Victoria Black of Modern Wedding chats with Leigh Taylor from Sugar Love Weddings & White Designs and Karen Willis Holmes

Milton Gan

Must mention the amazing gift bags too. When I first picked mine up I thought it was really heavy but then I realised that just meant they were packed with loads of goodies. And when I emptied the contents on my lounge room floor when I got home it confirmed just that! Really digging the A List Guide (have already dog-eared lots of pages with places to check out) and Starlettos – I can’t wait to try them out.

All in all it was a fantastic, exciting, innovative (sorry, couldn’t help myself!) night.

Were you there or wish you were? Let us know what you thought!

For more photos of the event, check out the Project Innovate Facebook page, we would love you to tag yourself!.

Photos by Nerida McMurray Photography. Cake photo by Modern Wedding