If 2022 was the year for getting back to pre-pandemic event levels, then 2023 is the year for getting re-inspired. That is exactly what happened at Catersource + The Special Event, where a plethora of educational sessions provided information, tips, and creative ideas for event professionals of all sectors. Whether revealing the latest wedding trends or discussing new sustainability approaches, every stage and classroom was a place for rejuvenation and motivation.
Trend forecasts from top tier planners and caterers
Every year, Catersource + The Special Event is a place to spot the latest trends. This year was no different: Justin Ball (Bespoke Event Group LLC) talked event wellness in his session
Five Wellness Trends Meeting Planners Need to Follow; Gala Award Designer of the Year Kristin Banta (Kristin Banta Events) gave a rapid-fire trend presentation during her well-attended Kristin Banta's Design to Impact in 2023; Liza Roeser (FiftyFlowers) and Darin Bahl (Tailored Twig) dove into the latest in florals in their 2023 Wedding Floral Designs & Trends session.
Jeff Selden and Justin Pasha share the latest cocktail trends. Photo courtesy WASIO Faces
F&B trends were shared in Andrea Correale’s Culinary Inspiration & Trends with Andrea Correale, and Justin Pasha (The Cup Bearer) and Jeff Selden (Marcia Selden Catering & Events) brought the current bar favorites in Cocktail Trends with Pasha & Jeff. And of course, David Merrell (AOO Events, Inc.) packed the room full in his annual highly anticipated session DAVID MERRELL PRESENTS: Current Trends in the Events Industry.
CS+TSE Favorite David Merrell Presents: Current Trends in the Events Industry packed the room full. Photo courtesy WASIO Faces
The many facets of sustainability
Sustainability was a hot topic at this year’s sessions. In her session Future-Proof your Business through Technology-Enabled Sustainability, Erin Rooney (Allseated) shared a variety of platforms for tracking sustainability measures and creating more environmentally-friendly events. Suzanne Morrell (Creating Environments) brought in several sustainability advocates in her sessions Go Big and Go Home: Local Solutions to Planning Circularly and Saved by Zero: Put Your Event on a Carbon Diet.
DEI got a helpful re-defining and thorough breakdown in Angie Senter’s (Washington State University) session Creating Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in Events: More than Words. As inclusion makes its way into every aspect of events, Tracy Stuckrath showed how food trends can be catered to all in Eating at a Meeting: Top Food Trends for 2023 & How You Can Use them to Enhance their Inclusiveness.
If event planners have learned anything from the past few years, it’s that risk management is more important than ever. Knowledge and tips were shared across a variety of classes: Kawania Wooten’s (Howerton+Wooten Events and The Enlightened Creative) Emergency Preparedness for Creative Pros: What to Do When "Stuff" Hits the Fan; The Importance of Continuing Education in Event Safety Management with Mark Catuogno (MC Event Consulting LLC); and What Would You Do? An Interactive Risk Management Panel, discussed by Jay Klein (M-Plus Global Events), Terry Matthews-Lombardo (Independent Meeting Planner/Professional, TML Services Group, LLC), and Becky Basile (LogiPlan Global Meetings & Events).
Getting down to business
Joining forces: A stellar lineup of event and catering professionals teamed up to present You Did What?: The Real Reason Your Referrals Have Dried Up. From left to right: David Hanscom, Fausto Pifferrer, Brian Green, Christopher Taylor, Tamara Gibson, and Terrica. Photo courtesy WASIO Faces
Marketing pros united to share their expertise in the panel What Veteran Marketers Want You To Know, But Are Too Polite to Say. From left to right: Christie Osborne, Renee Dalo, Meghan Ely, Shannon Tarrant, and Anna Coats. Photo courtesy WASIO Faces
It’s always helpful to hear what works (and doesn’t work) from the pros, and that’s just what attendees got across the board. CS+TSE favorite Terrica (Cocktails & Details® / Terrica Inc.) led a conversation with event pros breaking down successful processes in the panel You Did What!?: The Real Reason Your Referrals Have Dried Up. Alexis Amato (Manifest with Alexis) guided attendees through the best way to use social media for business in Posting for Profit!; Charessa Sawyer and Sierra Reed (SC Visionary Planning and Production) led a meditation and talked ins and outs of mental health in Discovering Mental Health: Why Event Professionals Should Consider Therapy; and Brian Green (By BrianGreen) walked the audience through a successful, highly-detailed timeline in Customizable Event Timelines. From marketing to company culture to sales to design, event pros got to the stage and shared the wisdom gained from their experiences.
Attendees always enjoy learning from industry leaders. Photo courtesy WASIO Faces