If you were unable to join us at The Clubhouse at Peacock Gap on 11/06/2018, this video is the announcement we made that day; also, the written script is below, in case the dialog is hard to hear. Thank you for being a part of the BAWN family. xoxo, Gwen Helbush
Script: BAWN is dear to my heart, and I hope too many of you here today since you’ve been a part of the BAWN journey. You may remember the way our industry was back in 1999 when we began, but if not please indulge me for a moment as I paint the picture for you.
Marie and I were troubled…back then, being a wedding planner was tough mostly because no one understood what we do; not the clients, nor the vendors. We ran into roadblocks everywhere we went; we had doors shut in our faces because the value in what we do wasn’t recognized…which continues to be an uphill battle, but I sincerely hope not nearly as steep a climb.
Then there were the "other" wedding planners…you know the kind no one wants to work with, the bossy, pushy unprofessional type. Well, they are the "other" kind to us but to everyone else we were all the same. If someone had a bad experience with one wedding planner, then we were all guilty.
Marie and I were not going to let the bad apples ruin it for all of us, so we opened our Rolodexes, yes back then we had actual Rolodexes, inviting everyone we knew to lunch. From that lunch, BAWN was born, and for the next ten years, we thrived. BAWN events grew, we made strides to elevate our industry. My personal favorite was our Dancing with the Wedding Planners event with over 200 wedding professionals in attendance.
In 2010 things changed, life changed in many ways…the economy tanked, Marie lost her Father and decided to move to Gaum. And me…well, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, for the Second of what is now three times. All in all 2010 not a great year.
At that point, BAWN took a back seat to health and better life balance. People were focused on their businesses, other Bay Area networking groups, and industry associations began to grow. Things became noisy, splitting everyone's focus with too many messages.
At the same time, our wedding community and the potential clients began to change. Technology entered our industry in a big way, and with so many things to see and do, it’s no wonder BAWN was not on the top of anyone’s lists.
That being said, we’ve taken the last year to evaluate, soul search, and look to what our community needs and we've come to a sad conclusion….it doesn’t need more networking events. It requires cohesion and collaboration. BAWN events have served their purpose, so now nearly 20 years later it is time to move on.
Before we do, we have to thank all those who have supported BAWN in significant ways and tiny kindnesses over the years.
Let me begin with Kathy Newby our cheerleader and supporter extraordinaire, no matter what is going on Kathy is always there for us championing BAWN to her employers making sure we had what we need to make the events shine, not to mention being on hand at set-up and loadout. Always spreading the word about BAWN, to anyone who would listen. We love and appreciate you more than mere words can express.
Beautiful Robin and her team at Creative Coverings always there to provide color and texture.
The ever supportive Cristine Thomas at Today's Bride SF…a better advocate for our community you will never find.
The sensational Deborah Moody and her Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants, always willing to help.
The remarkably talented Michelle Walker, Misti Layne, Jim Vetter and so many others whose images show off everyone's hard work to perfection.
A special shout out to Ann Saavedra, Gwen Ortiz, Carol Leslie, Maxine Goulding, and Gina Lett Strewsberry for their valuable advice.
The fantastic Kate Patay, ever encouraging and gracious, but who never lets me stray from the mission.
My Parents, Patricia & Arthur, my Cousin JoAnn and my Husband Alan, for all they do for me.
Marie’s Mom Marianne and her Son Tony for always being strong for Marie.
And last but by no means least my partner in crime for these past 19 years, my friend Marie, you always have my back, your open mind and heart combined with your can-do spirit allowed me to take risks and follow my crazy ideas where ever they lead us. We have had bumps in the road, but I have never been afraid because I knew you were there, even when you were thousands of miles away in Guam.
BAWN events have been a joy to produce and productive for attendees, thank you for being a part of them. Times have changed though, our wedding community has changed. It's time to try something new that will help all of us in the future; the way BAWN did in the past.
It’s time we stop standing in the shadows of the broader event industry it’s time we pull together to create “the definition” of wedding community, we can no longer afford to let others define us. We are skilled professionals it is time we act like it. If we don’t respect ourselves, we can’t expect anyone else to recognize our collective talents, skills or work.
Everyone who has a wedding is not a professional wedding planner, anyone with an iPod is not a professional DJ and just because there is a camera on a cell phone does not make them a professional photographer.
We know this it’s time we learn how to defend each other, root for each other it’s time to Champion each other because if not us, then who?
This is the new mission; this is what I'm going to spend my spare time and energy doing.
It's hard to say goodbye to BAWN events, but it is time. Marie and I have loved creating these events for you, and we want to stay in touch, so the BAWN website will remain active for the time being, and I'll send occasional updates with news and fun stuff.
More than anything we look to you to support our new mission…to champion our wedding community. We cannot do it alone, we will continue to strive for excellence and unity in our community, but in new ways, this is not goodbye, just “until we meet again.”