• Selina Arnall

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, or so they say.

The usual case is that any scandalous activities that happen when one travels in a group to Las Vegas are not to be discussed with other people afterward. Alluding to the fact that Las Vegas, a popular vacation destination with a solid reputation as a city of hedonism with its casinos and clubs can create a myriad of stories that in the majority of cases are actually best left where they happened, in Vegas!

However, after this trip to Vegas, I had a lot of information to share...

In October 2019, I ventured to the Entertainment Capital of the World, Las Vegas, Nevada and boy oh boy did my eyes open wider than they have ever done before. Disembarking from the plane the antics start from the minute you come into land, gaming tables, bright lights, and slot machines command the arrivals hall, the desert heat, and excitement mixed with anticipation take over your bloodstream. You've seen the movies, you've heard the stories, but is Las Vegas really larger than life? is it really a City of Sin?

Thats is an absolute yes and yes...

I was in Las Vegas for work, lucky me, and I mean that sincerely I was ever so lucky to be in the States for the Worlds largest wedding industry event and once I had managed to find a happy medium for the wideness of my eyes and all the things I was seeing, I settled comfortably into this adventure.

#TheWeddingMBA held at the Las Vegas Convention Centre hosts over 6,000 attendees, 180 exhibitors, and delivers over 150 educational seminars to professionals looking to take their business to the next level, from the latest in business, tech, trends, and more, everything is packed into 2.5 days in the City that appears to never go to sleep (and neither did I). As an event creator, this is some show to see in action, the movement of thousands of guests, the AV set-up's and the speakers themselves was impressive indeed, the Americans really do embrace the phrase 'go big or go home' and the reason to why I was gifted such an opportunity was to see how we in Australia could bring something of this scale to our shores and industry!

I know when I was imagining what this event would look like on arrival, I was thinking big, bold, daring, some of the Worlds greatest event stylists reside in the US, so I was expecting a lot of WOW, WOW, WOW moments, however, I was pleasantly surprised upon arriving at the MBA that this wasn't how they rolled. What the MBA did deliver was solid content, the emphasis they place on the learnings you will take from this event completely supersedes the need for all the added expense and backend work of styling and catering. You are there to learn about the Wedding & Events Industry, how to price your venue packages, how to operate and navigate through selling in this new World of Millennials and Gen Z, the statistics of the industry, how and when to pivot as those who operate in the industry get older the target market pretty much stays the same age and these learnings were tailored to match the supplier types that operate in the industry itself.  It really did cater to all attendees, even to event managers like myself, the resources and material presented were invaluable, I took a lot more from this event than just how it operates.

After sitting through nearly 20 hours of content, after-hours networking events and securing meetings with the keynote speakers that would suit the Australian stage, I was exhausted from using all my big girl words, but I was now more than ever assured that the event I was tasked with creating could be delivered to the Australian audience, and we were so close to the finish line when sadly the World took us on a new adventure with #COVID19 whether we will get the chance to organise this again in 2021 I do not know as yet, fingers crossed. My goal was to write this post after our event had been held in May and how my experience at the Wedding MBA played a part in the success of #EVOLVE20, due to the current situation and events as we know them to be on hold for the foreseeable future this is now written as an overview of my attendance at an amazing event, which was a fantastic learning opportunity as an event manager, one that I will never forget.

So anyway back to #LasVegas, did I do as much as I could in my 7 days, I sure did, The Valley of Fires blew my mind, a morning helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon brought tears to my eyes, 2.5 days of event learnings with some of the best operators in the US was insightful, the fountains at the #Bellagio gave me goosebumps, playing poker and winning on slot machines was entertaining, the #Venetians gondola's was a must-do, drinking Piña colada's from a yard cup I shall say no more about that one, visiting Old Vegas and the madness that ensues on that side of town, Tim Burton's sign graveyard and learning the history of Las Vegas was interesting and everything Vegas had to offer, it was an all-round back to back trip. I said my goodbyes to Las Vegas at midnight hopping on a night bus to San Diego to enjoy taco's for breakfast with a Modelo in hand, I ticked a few things off the bucket list before traveling to Los Angeles along the Pacific Surfliner route, traveling solo around L.A was a crazy experience and the best way to end this trip!

If you would have asked me in October would you ever go back to Las Vegas, my answer would have been I'm not sure I can ever do that again, no, especially after I had gotten lost in Caesars Palace, however, I did find an All Saints store so I believed this little lost in the #Caesars clouds moment to be fate (I am not sure my credit card feels the same) as much fun as I had Vegas it is absolute madness, a sensory overload, however, if you were to ask me that question again now it would be "hell yeah" absolutely I want to go back to Vegas and I want to take all my friends with me, heck I even want to get married in Vegas. You realise there is nowhere else in the world quite like it, and yeah there are some stories that are best left where they happened (aka the yard of Piña colada), but it is like Disneyland for adults and it's addictive. #takemebacktovegas.

So, all in all, it is a massive shame that 9 months of hard work had to be said goodbye too due to the circumstances, but there will always be more events, and I believe once we come out the other side of this life episode events more than ever will be in demand, I know I am certainly looking forward to reconnecting with the industry and preparing a event run sheet or two.

If you are an event manager with no events at the moment (like me) what are you doing right now? how are you keeping busy? Are you using this time to rest and refresh or are you working on taking your events into the digital realm? Is your 2021 calendar now in the planning stages? I would love to hear how you are all getting through this time of event decompression.

Speak soon Selina x