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For Auld Lang Syne, Part Four

So I’ll be the first to admit that I essentially do this year end (or in this case, beginning of the year) recap solely for myself.

If I didn’t, I imagine I’d let the whirlwind of the season take over and things would quickly become a blur. Plus, it’s always fun to review the previous year recaps (2009, 2010 and 2011 are all at your reading disposal!) to see where I’ve been and where I thought I was going (often, very different from where I end up!).

The highlights are many but for the sake of brevity, I’ll only make you walk through a handful with me. πŸ™‚

January sent me to sunny Tampa for The Special Event. While I could shower you with endless photos of sequin linens and swoon worthy tablescapes, the below truly represents how my overall week panned out after replacing a speaker within two hours of the presentation while also balancing a speaker change within our own seminar:

I’ve never loved caffeine more than I did that week. πŸ™‚

In the Spring, we welcomed my dear friend Blaithin O’Reilly Murphy to Illuminate. In addition to connecting her with many of my local wedding buddies, I also had the distinct pleasure of introducing her to southern barbeque and Lowe’s. πŸ™‚

Our Southern Style Welcome party even received a shout out on the CBS Early Show, along with a lovely write up by our friends at Pretty Tasty Things.

The summer sent us to Orange, Virginia, where Ariana and I attended Inspire Smart Success. Minus a not so fun head cold, it was an engaging two days with my peers-and can we talk about how nice and down to earth Preston Bailey is? Always a pleasure to hear him speak.

This Fall, my husband joined me on a two week tour of Ireland, Italy and Spain (well, for the sake of full disclosure, I left him to his own devices in Dublin when I headed to Spain!). It was nothing short of a thrill to speak once again at The Business of Weddings Ireland alongside the extremely smart Alan Berg.Β  While it was a joy to connect with the Irish wedding community, I have to admit that it was an equal joy to be back on solids after a “come out of nowhere” stomach bug/food poisoning-ish something that rendered me useless for a couple of days.

With just 45 days left to go in the year, I also *finally* got a new head shot from my new friends at Poppies & me (who also took the above conference photo).

We were doing some promo shots for the conference and Sean kindly offered to take a few of me individually. Those that know me know that I’m not particularly fond of having the camera on me, so it was quite apropos that we were able to check this off the proverbial 2012 goal list in under 5 minutes with an improv session.

It was such an honor to then travel to Malaga, Spain, where I served as the keynote speaker for the Association of European Wedding Professional’s first conference (as captured below by Jeremy Standley Photography). Although a brief trip, it was no doubt one of my most memorable to date. The host Jenny was ever so gracious in taking time to show me the area and the attendees could not have been more welcoming.

The end of the year brought glittery cookie parties (as every year should!) and our annual holiday wishes, which pays homage to one of my favorite yuletide flicks.

And above all, 2012 brought a year of great progress with my ever wonderful clients. From on site sales training to one on one coaching, and all sorts of fabulous pick ups, it could not have been a more rewarding year. We just updated our clients’ latest press on our web site, and I just get giddy looking at it:

People ask me if I ever get tired of the grind of a small business owner and I couldn’t be more sincere when I tell them, most definitely not. πŸ™‚

As for goals, I’d like to think I made great strides with the whole “work/life balance” initiative. Thanks to the mostly wonderful world of technology, I’m able to do more coaching via Skype/Facetime, which has nearly singlehandedly cut my mileage by 6,000 this past year (hurrah shouts my newly invigorated Nissan from the driveway). I’m stricter with my office hours and have convinced myself that being completely available from 8am-8pm means I shouldn’t feel bad if I don’t respond to an email at midnight.Β  For the first time in nearly a decade, I didn’t sit on a Board and while I’m not here to promote the idea of anti-involvement, this move certainly helped in allowing me to pursue other passions such as writing and teaching.I said no a lot- to projects, to events, to things which would not serve the greater good of OFD (in other words, my sanity). As a perennial people pleaser, it was painful at times, but oh so worth it to be able to come down from my office at the end of the evening without my lap top in hand.

In 2013, I’d like to continue in this vain, making equal time for my wonderful clients, as well as my amazing support system. The client experience is always on the forefront of my mind as I continue to tweak things and of course, I’d like to still continue to churn out epic holiday cards with my partner in crime Sarah.

So how is 2013 shaping up so far? Well I’m glad you asked:

  1. Speaking: As per usual, January is going to be another whirlwind month of travels as I head to Chicago for The Special Event. More on that soon but I look forward to speaking alongside Jennifer McBride of McBride Events once again, as well as taking a solo turn to speak on real wedding submissions. The following week, I’ll return to Lynchburg for the build.it seminar, so if you’re in Virginia, I’d highly suggest checking it out!
  2. Lecturing: I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Mass Communications department at Virginia Commonwealth University and am looking forward to a productive semester with my Public Relations and Integrated Brand Promotion students. Not only has it been a great opportunity to get to know both the faculty and staff, but it’s given me a great excuse to stay current with the latest public relations strategies and trends.
  3. Illuminate: Coming your way this summer! It will be hard to beat having the lovely Blaithin join us, but I’ll do my darnedest to make it the best yet.
  4. Writing: While my time with WedLock has wrapped up, I’m thrilled to share that you’re stuck with me through 2013 as I have the honor of serving as a WeddingWire Education Expert as well as contribute Wedding PR related articles to The Knot’s B2B Blog.
  5. Stuff: A bit (ok, very) ambiguous but we’ve got some really great stuff in the works with the hope of continuing our adventures in the world of wedding marketing and wedding public relations education. More on that soon.

For those keeping up with our end of the year reviews, I’ve managed to revisit a handful of Lost episodes but alas, I still can’t bear to put in the last season. Stupid tv grudges.

Want to keep up with the latest as we head into the new year? Don’t be shy- go ahead and subscribe to the Illuminate Blog and enjoy the ride with me.

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding marketing and wedding pr firm OFD Consulting. She is the exclusive wedding pr columnist to wedding marketing journal WedLock magazine and is a highly sought after speaker in the wedding industry. She loves ruffle table runners and Royal Wedding Tchotchkes. To learn how OFD Consulting can assist you with your wedding marketing and wedding pr, please contact us today.

Photo credit: Martha Stewart Weddings via Pinterest