Meet our Fabulous Speakers!

CONFAB 2013 Guest Speakers

Jessica Claire

I have been a wedding photographer for my entire adult life and love every second of it!  I have shot weddings all over the world over the past ten years everywhere from Maui to Moscow and everywhere in between.  The ladies of Details Details run a top-notch, world class business and I am thrilled to participate in the Coordinator Confab!
Jessica’s images are frequently published on multiple wedding style blogs and print magazines such as Inside Weddings and Brides.  She has also been named one of American Photo’s Top Ten Photographers in the World as well as one of PDN’s Most Influential Photographers of the Decade.
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George Nickels

George J. Nickels is the Director of Catering and Convention Services at the Montage Beverly Hills, the 201 room 5 Star, 5 Diamond property located in the Golden Triangle of Beverly Hills.

Nickels brings a wealth of industry experience to Montage. Most recently, he was Director of Catering and Conferences at the SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills, having just finished his tenure at The Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Coast, California as Director of Special Events.  Nickels opened the resort as Director of Weddings in 2008.

Originally from Philadelphia, Nickels moved to California in 1999 to pursue a career in hospitality.  He started his career at the Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel, where he worked his way up to Associate Director of Catering.  In 2005, he moved to Northern California to join the team at the Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley as their Director of Catering.

Nickels earned his varied credentials through an extensive career path that began when he was just 13 years old washing glasses in a local steakhouse.   He went on to work at several acclaimed Philadelphia restaurants including Le Bec Fin, Blue Bell Inn and Pollo Rosso Trattoria in a variety of roles, including bar manager, service manager and wine buyer.

George J. Nickels is also known as the Prince of Weddings and Events. Not only does he bring an incredible amount of knowledge and experience but his charismatic and ever magnetic charm exudes confidence which in turn mesmerizes the client to have complete faith in any establishment he manages.

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Summer Watkins

As a stylist for commercial, editorial and lifestyle photo shoots, Summer spends her creative energies fashioning ideas, trends and brands into photo-worthy subjects. Under the guise of her nom de plume, “Grey”, Summer uses her well-trained eye to spot trends and curate an array of wedding inspiration for her blog, Grey Likes Weddings. She’s an advocate for the proper treatment of details and is over the moon for fierce creativity, brave color palettes, and fashion inspired motifs.

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Rhonda Couchigian

Rhonda Couchigian is the founder of Rayce PR and Marketing, a boutique public relations and marketing firm representing clients in the special events industry. Graduating with a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota was just the beginning of her career in special events.

Rhonda has gone from being a Creative Director, where she designed and helped execute events like the grand opening of the Mall of America and numerous Super Bowl parties, to VP of National Sales and Marketing for Chameleon Chairs and currently as founder and President of Rayce PR and Marketing.

Her past and present client list is impressive and includes Walt Disney Studios, Paramount Pictures, Sony Studios, tic-tock Couture Florals, Revelry Event Designers, and Elite Productions International. Rhonda’s wealth of experience in the special event industry combined with her talents in design and social media, logistics, sales, business development and public relations allows her to create a superior brand recognition and reputation for her clients.

Rayce PR’s contacts in the special event industry are extensive and can put you face-to-face with the people you need to know to take your business to the next level. Over the years, Rhonda has built relationships with tenured planners and developed a deep understanding of client needs and capabilities.

Rayce PR team is designs specific plans to support your company’s overall growth strategy. From campaign management, social media implementation, public relations, copywriting, print and web design and brand management, they utilize the best tools for your brand. Their goal is to drive brand value through a comprehensive communication strategy tailored to your business. They will analyze short-term and long-term goals and create a specific plan of action to increase brand value.

Rayce PR and Marketing has its finger on the pulse of what’s happening now in the special event industry, with a clear vision regarding future trends. This boutique agency is small enough to deliver personalized attention and produce results that build long-term advantages for your brand.

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Nisie Vorachard

Nisie Vorachard, a former fashion designer for 10 years, established Nisie’s Enchanted Inc. in 1996 after leaving the fashion industry to begin her second passion in floral design.  She is known to go above and beyond the client’s needs and expectations to design and create the most unforgettable events.  Presently, Nisie’s Enchanted Florist includes a specialty-retail boutique and design studio in the City of Los Alamitos.

We have been privileged to work with countless brides since 1996, and are proud and honored to work exclusively as the in-house florist for The Resort at Pelican Hill, located in Newport Coast.

Enchanted Florist’s are experts at weaving the traditional with the modern, and the delicate with the dramatic.  We skillfully marry textures and colors to craft amazingly unique custom pieces for every event.  Our style demonstrates the refinement and meticulous attention to detail that is required to evoke every client’s floral fantasy.

Whether the overall appeal of an event may be modern chic, vintage romance, classic, edgy, rustic or an eclectic mix of organic elements, we consider every approach in transforming each event with meticulous details to design and produce the wedding of any bride’s dreams.

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Brian Press 

Brian Press, owner and founder of Impressive Creations, got his start in video editing many years ago as a professional surfer. Brian’s father would spend hours at the beach filming Brian surfing. Brian, would then go home, and take that footage, and do his best to edit it together with two VCR’s! (Remember Those?) Brian’s first promotional surfing videos were done by him editing between two VCR’s! Years later, Brian, a well rounded, self taught musician, bought his first Mac in 2000, to pursue a career in music production, combined with sound design video production. The pursuit of these passions became the foundation of what Impressive Creations is today. Impressive Creations has evolved tremendously over the past 12 years, through Brian’s  focus, on growing a team of highly trained cinematographers and film editors that share his vision for excellence, uniqueness, creativity and passion. Brian likes to say, “Impressive Creations’ team has evolved organically, and that the team has shaped and molded Impressive Creations into what it is today.”

Brian Now enjoys his Beautiful Wife of 12 years, Holly and their 4 home schooled kids. Today some Brian’s favorites loves are: Jesus, All you can eat Sushi, Watching Movies with His Wife, Chasing tornadoes, Playing music with his kids, Geeking out with technology, Our new Bearded Dragon, Lazer, Just to name a few…

Click here to check out Impressive Creations Wedding Cinematography website!

Don’t forget to also check out their NEW Impressive Blog here

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Taraneh Ajdar

Taraneh Ajdar is a sophisticated and enthusiastic wedding designer, whose understanding of today’s trends has helped her establish one of the most innovative sofreh design houses in the Persian community.  Taraneh specializes in unique, one of a kind, contemporary sofreh designs, offering fresh ideas for today’s Persian bride. Unlike the cookie cutter designs of the past, Taraneh’s fresh, colorful, yet elegant designs have captivated the eye of hundreds of brides searching for the perfect balance of tradition and todays clean style for their ceremonies.

A Trend-setter at heart, Taraneh has been able to create some of the most innovative designs, with strong visual and memorable scenarios, that are tailor made to each client. Always providing the highest quality standards and finishes, Taraneh makes sure to deliver unique and customized concepts.

Before establishing Elegant Sofreh Design in 2008, Taraneh worked as an Interior Designer for over 10 years and has worked with several fashion houses (Gucci, Adrienne Vittadini, Mondi, and more) in position of management.  Taraneh holds an Arts degree from The Interior Designer Institute and is able to use her skills to bring many visions to life on paper, which is a big bonus before a wedding.  Taraneh’s work has been featured in: Bride & Bloom, Ceremony, Aroos, Anhelo, and The Bride’s Café online.

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CONFAB 2012 Guest Speakers 

Mike Colón

Mike Colón is an international wedding and lifestyle photographer based in Newport Beach, California. He has been shooting professionally for twelve years and has traveled the world photographing extravagant weddings, fashion, and editorial assignments for his discerning clients. His resume of celebrity clientele boasts some of the biggest names in Hollywood, the music industry, and professional sports.
Mike’s gift for capturing life has been recognized by numerous publications worldwide including Grace Ormonde Wedding Style, Marriage, People, Us Weekly, Instyle, Rangefinder, Photo District News, Popular Photography, American Photo, Shutterbug, and dozens more. His work also appears in many of the Amherst Media and fine art photography books found in bookstores today.
Colón travels the world teaching professional photographers the latest techniques in digital photography. He is a regular speaker for the wedding industry teaching at virtually all of the major photography conferences in the country. He has taught classes for several accredited photography schools including the prestigious Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara.  Mike is also a spokesperson and on the advisory boards of top corporations like Apple, Epson America, Lexar Media, Pictage Inc., and Tamrac Inc.
Mike resides in Newport Coast, California with his beautiful wife and four children. Mike is a man of faith who exhibits integrity and generosity in his business and personal relationships. In his free time, he enjoys surfing, snowboarding, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and most anything else that keeps his body and mind active.
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Julie Hill

Julie & Alex Hill founded Elysium Productions in 2000 after a not so great experience with their own video in 1999.  Let’s just say that they thought they could do it better.

Julie Hill has a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Eduction, and Alex Hill has a Masters Degree in Marketing.  Not exactly the degrees needed for this profession, so they quickly set out to learn everything about event filmmaking as possible.

Being passionate about what they do, Julie & Alex set a high standard for Elysium.  Their goal is to produce the most high quality wedding films available and films that are always extraordinary and unique.  This has earned them many awards for their work and has the trust of the most prestigious wedding planners, venue, and photographers in the world.

Julie & Alex are most proud of their business achievements.  They have grown Elysium into a studio that is sought after locally and all over the world.

Elysium is often published on the most read wedding blogs such as Style Me Pretty, the Brides Café, Wedding Chicks, Green Wedding Shoes, and Travel To I Do among others.  They are also often published in top wedding publications like Grace Ormonde, Bride & Bloom, Brides, The Knot, and even People Magazine.

Elysium prides itself with its innovative filmmaking/editing techniques and strives to provide a unique yet authentic film to their clients each and every time.

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Ed Libby

Walking into an Ed Libby designed event; whether it be a lush wedding, an engagement reception, or a lavishly outrageous and personalized party for Kelsey Grammer or Carmelo Anthony, one is at first struck by the originality, color, grandeur, scale and magnificence of his created interiors. Libby’s “signatures” include huge floral & crystal chandeliers dripping from the ceiling, majestic columns & fountains bearing candles & profusely surrounded with floral bouquets and, at some events, human statues created by BodyCastTM, an Ed Libby & Co. Corporation.

Full environmental experience and close attention to details are hallmarks of a Libby Event. The ever so subtle fragrance that wafts now and then, the texture of each seating design; velvets, silks, tablecloths decorated with hand sewn paillettes or feathers, silverware wrapped to look like art, media screens further presenting themed images and the statues, guests slowly realize, are models, painted, bejeweled and costumed. “Every event should be a feast for the senses. I live for each detail – it must be just so. Each aspect of the design is personally governed by me” says event designer extraordinaire, Ed Libby. “Straight off next seasons fashion runway, couture approach to atmospheric event design,” and that it is.

Ed Libby & Co. was chosen as event designer for the innovated “Wall Street Concert Series” hosted by Cipriani from 2005 to 2007 featuring such artists as Rod Stewart, Alicia Keys, Cheryl Crow, Lionel Richie, Marc Anthony, Mary J. Blige, Fergie, Kanye West and Beyonce Knowles. He designed not only the 75 full-dinner tables but also worked with these performers to create their artful stages. Libby has been featured in Grace Ormonde Wedding Style & Brides Magazine and he was interviewed by NY Magazine Wedding Guide as “the even design expert” in “Ask The Expert”. For years Ed Libby & Co. teamed up with wedding experts from Brides.com on Valentine’s Day each year to create a romantic-meets-glam décor once in a lifetime event. Twelve lucky couples from around the globe gather at New York City’s legendary Empire State Building to tie the knot in high-wattage style.Ed Libby television credits include a guest appearance on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Art Director on the Season 2 Premier of America’s Next Top Model, the featured event designer on Arts & Entertainment’s Growing Up Gotti, Style Networks special Party Fabulous: Kimora Lee Simmons’ Fashion Week Party and most recently VH1’s LaLa’s Full Court Wedding and Style Networks Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane.

Libby’s client roster includes Kelsey Grammer, Jennifer Lopez & Marc Anthony, Kimora Lee Simmons, Carmelo Anthony & LaLa Vasquez, Diddy, Naomi Campbell, Usher, Denise Rich, Robert DeNiro, Giuseppe Cipriani, Tyra Banks and Sting. Among the corporations that have entrusted Mr. Libby to design for them are Tommy Hilfiger, The ASPCA, American Express, The New York Stock Exchange, City Harvest, Disney, Electra Records, The Blackstone Group, The Patrons of Vatican Art Collection and The Super Bowl.

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Kelly Aguilar

Kelly Aguilar is a technology super geek, she secretly always was, but before she finally came to terms with this fact, she spent a number years in the event industry as a successful wedding planner.

In late 2009, after seeing that her fellow event professionals were struggling with what to make of and how best to use social media, Kelly launched The Chic Geek.   Since then, Kelly has trained literally hundreds of clients through her workshops and one-on-one coaching.  Check out her website here.

Kelly’s session at Coordinator Confab will be covering the building blocks of a successful social media strategy.

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Michelle Gertzman

A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology, designer Michelle Gertzman’s love of couture and passion for cutting edge design has always been the driving force behind her work. Not until designing her sister’s wedding gown did Michelle get inspired to pursue launching the Michelle Rahn collection in 2006, with the goal of infusing high fashion into the traditional world of bridal. Michelle’s “modern vintage” aesthetic flawlessly merges timeless silhouettes and deco-inspired flourishes with a contemporary sensibility, creating a look that is both cutting edge and classic.  The collection features the world’s most luxurious fabrics – sumptuous Italian satins, laces straight from the finest mills in France, hand-crafted embroidery and beading from India, and custom Swarovski crystal detailing inspired by vintage jewelry pieces.

Designer Michelle Gertzman’s personal touch’ philosophy is the foundation of the collection, allowing brides to mix and match silhouettes, fabric, and embellishment for a gown uniquely their own. All the while, the line has carved a niche amongst chic, sophisticated, and fashion forward brides, gaining recognition by some of the nation’s leading media.

Since the brand’s inception in 2006 Michelle Rahn has launched an online shop so brides everywhere can have access to the collection, been represented by some of the nations foremost bridal salons and recently opened a flagship atelier in Los Angeles.   Here bride’s will have a yearly collection to choose from as well as the option for semi custom and completely couture services that cater to every brides’ discerning taste and style, creating a beautiful trousseau experience that is as luxurious as it is memorable.