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  • Saint Lucia prepares for second annual wedding symposium

    Saint Lucia will host a roster of destination wedding experts during the second annual “LOVE Elevated” Wedding Symposium. Noted speakers will address topics ranging from “Creating Bridal Bliss! What a Bride Expects From a Destination Wedding” to “How to Brand Yourself/How to Close the Sale.” Attendees can also observe a live chef demonstration by Saint Lucia’s Culinary Ambassador, Nina Compton, first runner-up and fan favorite in the most recent “Top Chef New Orleans.”

    Guest speakers include Shri Lildharrie, global travel director at XO Group; Jennifer Doncsecz, owner and president of VIP Vacations Inc.; Dawn Butcher, customer experience manager at Kuoni Travel Group; Julie Albaugh, editor of Wedding Market and return speakers Marsha-Ann Brown, director of romance, Sandals Resorts and Charles Oster, director of sales and marketing for MyWedding.com.

    The weekend also includes site visits to idyllic resorts and hotels around the island, a showcase of island wedding vendors, and the opportunity for attendees to observe a sunset wedding. A picturesque sunset cruise and cocktail reception from the southern side of the island with views of the iconic UNESCO World Heritage Pitons round out weekend activities.

    Saint Lucia prepares for second annual wedding symposium

    Photo by Grey Bridesmaid Dresses

    Priced at US $150 per person, the five-day symposium includes all seminars, social events, site inspections and transportation from select hotels.

    “After the island’s natural beauty was elegantly displayed on the most recent season of ABC’s The Bachelor, we look to continue this special year of romance during the second annual Wedding Symposium,” said Louis Lewis, director of tourism for the Saint Lucia Tourist Board. “We aim to solidify this event as an industry leader and seek to attract innovators and frontrunners of the destination wedding market.”

    “LOVE Elevated” will be led by a roster of local and international wedding experts including:

    • Charles Oster, director of sales and marketing for MyWedding.com, tripled sales since his arrival at MyWedding.com, which has been recognized by Inc. Magazine for sales growth and job creation. Charles speaks to groups of business professionals all around the world teaching them to effectively communicate, market, and sell their offerings and will specifically speak about tapping into the multi-million dollar wedding industry during the symposium.

    • Dawn Butcher, customer experience manager at Kuoni Travel Group, manages Kuoni’s support teams to assist in creating customized special occasion holidays. Dawn will present on wedding trends in the United Kingdom.

    • Jennifer Doncsecz, owner and president of VIP Vacations Inc., is a nationally recognized travel expert specializing in Caribbean vacations, destination weddings and honeymoons. As owner and president of VIP Vacations Inc., Jennifer has distinguished herself as one of the top travel agents in America. Having received numerous industry awards, Jennifer uses her position to educate consumers as well as travel professionals and will teach attendees, “How to Brand Yourself/How to Close the Sale.”

    • Julie Albaugh, editor of Wedding Market, hosts the #WeddingMarket chat on Twitter every Wednesday. Some of her #WeddingMarket guests have included Preston Bailey, Colin Cowie, David Tutera, Randy Fenoli, Sharon Sacks and representatives from Sandals, The Knot, WeddingWire Cake Boss and Disney Weddings. Wedding Market was selected as the third best social media influencer in the wedding industry by Wed Biz Media. Julie will discuss social media during “How Brides Are Integrating Technology/Social Media into the Planning and Execution of Their Weddings.”

    • Marsha-Ann Brown, director of romance, Sandals Resorts, is the ultimate source for planning the perfect destination wedding in the Caribbean and she will bestow her knowledge during, “Creating Bridal Bliss! What a Bride Expects From a Destination Wedding.”

    • Shri Lildharrie, global travel director at XO Group, is responsible for leading all sales initiatives for major travel partners, properties and destinations worldwide. Over the past few years he has worked with most of the top destinations in the Caribbean, numerous U.S. hot spots such as Miami and Las Vegas, and the majority of leading hospitality companies including Starwood and Disney. During “LOVE Elevated,” Mr. Lildharrie will present the latest on U.S. Destination Wedding News.

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