Fireside Season Finale | Cocktails with Coordinators: The Radical Wedding Planner

IMG_1188On Tuesday, March 19th, wedding professionals from Santa Barbara and Ventura gathered at Impact Hub’s Chapala location for the sold-out Season Finale of The Fireside SeriesCocktails with Coordinators:  The Radical Wedding Planner. 

Jobs may fill your pockets, but adventure fills your soul.”  This event was custom-designed to inspire forward leadership with three hot wedding business topics and then infused with some incredibly engaging fun adventure with a guest-interactive Mixology class where participants were coached in making their own perfectly-crafted cocktail by the legendary Flair Project with Maestro Ivo as lead Mixologist.  IMG_1152

By design my fireside series events are capped at small attendance numbers intentionally.  A nod to 17th Century  French “Salon” experiences, the idea is that gathering fireside for education and entertainment allows one to relax and engage more authentically.  It also allows participants to connect and network in a more personal manner.  And as is true to every Fireside series, we turn it over to the participants at the end for collaboration and discussion.

IMG_1153Education Content Notes:  Three topics for the educational portion included:  1)   The Predicted 2019 Wedding Downspend Coming and 8 Steps You Can Take During It  2)  Top Reasons You Hear Crickets After Responding to an Inquiry & What To Do (an encore presentation from last month by request)  and 3)  The Essential Elements of Badassery & Grace in Leadership – particularly through an industry’s evolution. I set the tone with a presentation on the qualities of Badassery and Grace, what they can look like, why they are essential, and we did a brief creativity exercise to get the brain ready for some creative thinking – a technique used with Disney Imagineers.

I invited the CEO/Founder of one of the special event industry’s most sought-after hair and makeup companies Mar R. of  TEAM Hair and Makeup to join me in sharing her personal and professional journey in Badassery and Grace from local business to now one of international acclaim.  And if you know Mar, she doesn’t mince words.  Radical authenticity was at the heart of the entire last session of our presentation.

IMG_1186Entertainment NotesIn seeking an entertainment experience that would wow and delight guests, I partnered with Ivo Peshev and his highly regarded Flair Project- a bartending service that has elevated what bartending should be.  To convey the kind of experience he gave our participants, you need to know that he spent weeks preparing for this event and day-of, he carefully set every single placesetting for each participant with linen placemats, glasses, tools and bottles of ingredients for each station.  Ivo is trained in fine dining and just five minutes with him and you will understand why his company is hired when clients truly want to make an impression and bring things to life.  Guests learned how to use the tools in front of them as well as how to blend key ingredients for a sumptuous cocktail that they could be proud of!  Check out this video of Ivo demonstrating skills for the participants.     And for those who do not drink alcohol, Ivo prepared a special station just for them.  Here he is coaching one of our non-drinking guests for her special mocktail.   You can read more about why Flair Project leads when it comes to bartenders and Mixology workshops here.

IMG_1184Design Notes: With the perfect venue space allowing us to custom-design our event experience at Impact Hub‘s Chapala Street location, we added some soft draping to soften the space (as well as camouflage a back area we didn’t want others to see at first sight), uplighting in soft amber tones to give the “fireside glow” in the room , fun “drink” and “eat” lit signs (draping, special lighting, props and A/V by Islay Events);  I brought in my portable table-top fire bowl and we utilized Impact Hub’s screen, projector and laptop ( a permanent feature in this space) to project a blazing fire in a fireplace onto the wall, so no matter where guests went, they were “fireside” and cozy.  Laura Sangas from Cody Floral Design provided delightful spring-time floral creations to enhance our ambiance.

Food Notes:  What 3 hour, two-cocktail-making workshop is complete without some hot comfort food?  Guests enjoyed gourmet, hand-tossed wood oven pizza delivered hot and fresh from CPK, including Shrimp Scampi, Four Cheese & Tomato, The Works, & of course, BBQ Chicken pizzas.  And behold, all was well in The Kingdom.


What Participants Had to Say:

“Thank you for such a wonderful evening on Tuesday. I truly had a great time. Thank you for creating settings for the wedding industry to not just network and learn but to foster relationships through these social opportunities. It’s through events such as Cocktails with Coordinators, that I have been able to genuinely talk to others because we are not in work mode!!! Letting down our guard, laughing, talking sharing in a community environment has really help me branch out to those I may have not had the opportunity to meet otherwise. Again, thank you and I sincerely had a fun evening.”   |  – Suzie Schneider, PacWest Blooms

“Thank you Kerry Lee for your educational Fireside Series.  We learned advanced tips and current wedding stats of 2019.  It was awesome.  We got to make cocktails taught by Flair Project, got to finally meet Mar R. of TEAM, as well as new friends from Islay Events & Cody Floral Design at Impact Hub.”   |   – Matt Nasby, Bouquet Sound

Had such a great time at this event last night in Santa Barbara. Thank you for all your hard work in educating vendors about what is going on in our industry. So many changes going on. I can’t recommend this enough for her next event!”   | – Tara Fontana, Fairy Tale Hair and Makeup

I wanted to thank you so much for putting together the Cocktail & Coordinators Event. I had so much fun learning about the industry and what we should expect for the future and how to handle current issues. Also, having Mar there was quite the experience; what a BOSS. The friendship and respect you have for one another was refreshing and very moving. I hope to have the pleasure of working with her and her team one day as well.”  |  – Kelsey Sweet VanEyk , Dulce Floral Design

Thank you for including me in a fun and informative evening.”  |  -Rebecca Gigandet , Imagine Weddings Santa Barbara


Engaging Inspiration provides elevated leadership, communications and education for the special event & hospitality partner. It is a sister division to one of Santa Barbara’s most long-standing event planning businesses Santa Barbara Wine Country Weddings & Events.



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