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Editor's Notes

Italy

Engage!24: The Amalfi Coast Retreat

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Written by Angela Desveaux, WedLuxe Founder

 

I just returned from the land of lemon groves, also known as the postcard-perfect Ravello, Italy where I had the pleasure of attending Engage!24: The Amalfi Coast Retreat, held at the breathtakingly beautiful Caruso, A Belmond Hotel.

First, dearest WedLuxe reader, let me preface by giving some context. If you’re getting married and reading this, you should know that Engage! events are networking events of the highest caliber designed for industry pros worldwide to network with peers. Yet, wedding design inspiration is also abundant at these events because the best event pros from each location are tasked with creating the design, floral, stationery, catering, etc. so the design bar is always very high, and partly why I love sharing the photos from the events! There are three types of Engage! events. The Engage! Summits are the biggest events and usually clock in with about 300-400 event pros in attendance. The Engage! Experiences welcome about 200 people and the Engage! Retreats, like this one, are designed to be super intimate with about 75 in attendance.

I can hardly believe it myself but I’ve been enormously blessed to have been included in 28 (and counting!) Engage! events throughout my career with WedLuxe. Every time, I leave inspired, I meet wonderful new industry professionals and I reconnect with amazing friends I’ve met over the years.

I invite you to feast your senses on the photos from this past week, starting with Day 1, The Gifting and Registration. This area was set atop the most beautiful garden setting overlooking the water. Local Amalfi artisans were on hand creating scarves, shoes, and ceramics.

Between gifting and dinner, we had an educational workshop led by a former top-brass creative at Disney. Then, we enjoyed dinner under the stars with pizza and pasta (referring to both the decor and the food!) ;)

Day Two kicked off with an early morning walking tour of Villa Rufolo. Originally constructed by the Rufolo family, a prominent and wealthy family in Ravello during the Middle Ages, the villa has undergone several renovations and restorations over the centuries, preserving its historical significance and architectural beauty. The intricate Moorish architecture, sweeping views of the Mediterranean Sea, and perfectly manicured grounds are a mosaic of vibrant flowers and towering cypress trees. As we wandered through grand terraces overlooking the coastline, it felt like a glimpse into a bygone era.

After breakfast, attendees had another chance to learn from a creative moderator and do some workshop-style learning about design thinking. Afterward, we descended the mountain for a glorious lunch sail, and an impromptu dance party, along the Amalfi Coast. I’m probably dating myself here but our captain reminded me of Captain Stubing. ;) (If you know, you know.)

Next up was our evening in Ravello. A signature Engage! element is the ‘dine around’ on night two where attendees break-off into small groups for dinner and conversation. The village of Ravello was perfect for this with its quaint, authentic trattorias, wine bars, and pizzerias.

Day Three started with small group experiences to immerse ourselves in the local arts and culture of Amalfi. Options for attendees included ceramics painting, a wine tour, a lemon grove experience, and more.  I woke up on day three with a cold that I am still fighting off, so I didn’t get to attend my ceramics class but judging by the pics, it was wonderful.

After the experiences, lunch was themed after the ever-abundant signature lemon groves of the Amalfi Coast. Let me share that I walked through the town of Ravello on my own one day before the event started and there were lemons the size of a giant’s fist growing on trees along virtually every side street! Post-lunch attendees enjoyed intimate group discussions moderated by industry leaders Michelle Rago, Bryan Rafanelli, Rishi Patel, and Carrie Goldberg.

Finally, the Engage!24 Amalfi Retreat came to a theatrical finale with the final dinner, themed after “Il Teatro.” The event was designed with bold, dramatic reds featuring whimsical upside-down-rose centerpieces and the entertainment was on point, just as it was throughout the entire three days. Talk about living la dolce vita!

 

 

Bright and early the next morning, I headed down the mountain and bid Ravello goodbye. The sunrise was beautiful! (I had first arrived in Amalfi at night, so I didn’t have a chance until my departure to see this part of Italy in its full glory.) In the light of morning, I captured a wonderful pic of Mt. Vesuvius – a reminder of the history of this part of the world. Arrivederci beautiful Amalfi…  

 

ps:

Special thanks to the five-star Palazzo Avino where I stayed during my time in Italy. I’ll be daydreaming about the Pink Lady (Raspberry Lemon) Martini until my next Italian adventure…


Event Partners

Event: @engagesummits #engage24
Host Property: @belmondhotelcaruso
Art Direction, Branding, Gift Curation, Paper, Signage, Event Design Support: @tpddesignhouse
Creative Director, Event Design, & Floral: @vincenzodascanio
Planning Partner: @kl_kluxury
Entertainment: @alessandrodeangelis
Planning Day 3 Experiences & Day 2 Dine Around: @the_amalfi_experience
Sailboat Cruise: @velierotortuga
Coasters: @les_ottomans
Early Morning Visit of Villa: @villarufolo
Dine Around Locations: @mimi_pizzeria_cucina, @trattoriadalorenzo, @risto_palazzodellamarra
Official Event App: @odacreative
Day 3 Experiences: Centro Restauri di Amato Raffaele, @tenutasanfrancesco, @donnastellapizzeria,
@amalficoast_home_restaurant, @amalfi_lemon_tour, @amalfi_lemon_experience, @salvatore_farmer, @costieragrumi
Rentals: @geg_party_service
Transportation: Ravello Car Service
Lighting & Sound: @Fratellipizzasrl
Breakfast in Ravello: @caffecalce
Team Hotel: @palazzoavino
Photo Director & Team: @abbyjiu
Video Director & Team: @Storyboxcinema
Group Photo: @hausofbirkhof
Social Media Director: @samantharoberts
Team Engage! & Flatlay Styling: @_shiramisu
Graphic Design: @trishahay
Team Engage! & Hair: @shawnleech

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