If you weren’t at this year’s Project Innovate then you seriously missed out because some serious fun was had! Plus, the speakers (Saundra Hadley of GET REAL Sales Coaching, and Amy Collins-Walker from Bride To Be) were amazing and kindly shared some pearls of wisdom that got everyone thinking, strategising, discussing and asking questions. What more could you want?

Sarah Johnston of Project Innovate & Girl Friday Weddings with Saundra Hadley of GET REAL Sales Coaching

Upon arrival, each guest received a beautiful Cristina Re notebook. Saundra Hadley of GET REAL Sales Coaching.

Delicious canapés  (wagyu beef burgers?) and drinks, you say? Check. How about the chance to hang out in the fabulous Sun Room at The Ivy, styled to perfection by the incredible Form Over Function team? Check. Maybe throw in some catching up with a talented bunch of wedding industry professionals? Check. Sarah from Girl Friday Weddings and Ms Polka Dot had it covered… it was all there!

Anna Zhu and Kate Disher-Quill of Anna Zhu Photography & Film. Sarah Johnston of Project Innovate & Girl Friday Weddings and Karen Willis Holmes.

After some nibblies and mingling, the Project Innovaters made their way down into the conference area (okay, that might sound a bit boring… but take a look at it – so pretty!), with their gorgeous Cristina Re notebooks in hand; ready to be inspired by Amy and Saundra.

Amy Collins- Walker and Anna-Lisa Yasbley of Bride To Be Magazine.

MC Brett Martin of Sydney Wedding DJs introduced Sarah Johnston of Project Innovate & Girl Friday Weddings who gave an inspiring welcome speech. Next up, Amy Collins- Walker of Bride To Be presented the most recent Cost of Love survey results, which were useful for everyone, from cake designers to cinematographers. There were some surprising and not-so surprising results in there, but the presentation was definitely packed with valuable gems of information to take away and use when thinking about how to reach out and capture the attention of couples getting married this year.

Lex Florian Chandra and Amelia Soegijono of Pictures & Hearts.

Simon Black of XYDJ

Tara Flegg of Aria Catering

Amelia Soegijono of Pictures & Hearts.

Anika Haigh of Merivale

Sarah Follan of La Belle Mariee and The Follans

Brett Martin of Sydney Wedding DJs

Mandy Daddia of Savvy Brides with Sarah Johnston of Project Innovate & Girl Friday Weddings

After a quick break to refuel, it was Saundra’s turn to wow us all. And wow us she did! With her enthusiasm and humour, Saundra walked us through business basics while putting her infectious REAL spin on things. There were no games in Saundra’s strategies for getting the sales, simple and straight up.


Dave Cowling of DnM Wedding Films

Luke Butterly of LB Photography

My favourite points that Saundra made were:

* Shut up! Let the clients do all the talking. It should be 90% listening and 10% talking for you.

* Use technology – see if you can find your brides on Pinterest (so you can see what they like) and take an iPad to consults (it doesn’t create a barrier like a computer can).

* Don’t: show weakness, appear too eager, assume anything, or negotiate too early.

Alicia Parsons of Akimbo

Following her presentation, there were a lot of questions bounced around the room, which Saundra answered with ease and experience. It was great to see Innovaters helping out their fellow wedding professionals too – there were lots of ideas flowing and forming on the spot. Very inspiring stuff!

Susan Avery of Susan Avery Flowers & Events

Alice Miller and Jayne Martin of  Girl Friday Weddings

Luke Butterly of LB Photography with Christopher Perkins of Underatreehouse, Samantha Fletcher of Wedding Films By Net Productions with Mavournee Georgeson & Faye Cahill of Faye Cahill Cake Design

Emma Cassin of Merivale, Samantha Feliciano of Events Boutique and Denee Wallace of Merivale, Anna Zhu of Anna Zhu Photography & Film with Simon Black of XYDJ

Saundra Hadley of GET REAL Sales Coaching. Tara Flegg of Aria Catering, Bree Taylor of White Rabbit Projects, Natalie Demigellis of TravelManagers

Amy and Milton of Milton Gan Photography

Karen Willis Holmes

Sarah Follan of La Belle Mariee and The Follans

Katja Berkelouw of Bendooley Estate with Bella Zanesco of Moving Presentations. Nadean Brennan of Photography By Nadean and One Fine Day with Kellee Walsh

When everyone’s brains were full of new knowledge, it was time to enjoy some live jazz (courtesy of Funkified) and eat some tasty cake – thanks Faye Cahill; I had three of those perfect-sized pieces! There was lots more chatter, and it was great to catch up with some familiar faces, Twitter friends, and meet some new people too.

Amy of Milton Gan Photography with Marisa Fleming of One Fine Day & From The Owl. Rosie Griffith and Luke Going from Luke Going Photography

 Gorgeous goody bags filled with sweet treats from Dolci Sapori Imports.

We’ve had two successful Project Innovates now, so be sure to come along next year to get motivated, and meet with the best of the wedding industry. Tune in shortly for the film of the event!

A big thank you to our sponsors of Project Innovate 2012! Milton Gan Photography, Encore Media, Form Over Function, Funkified Entertainment, Faye Cahill Cake Design, Ivy, Sydney Wedding DJs, Cristina Re, Gigi & Lulu & Dolci Sapori Imports.

Photographs by Milton Gan Photography