WHAT A WEEKEND. I spent the beginning of this month at the AKP Retreat and it was an experience I will never forget. If I am being honest, I was crazy nervous going into the weekend. I was the only planner attendee among 20+ photographers and I didn't know what I was getting myself into. Thankfully, three of my wedding BFFs were attending and we were all able to ride to Deep Creek together.
We packed into the car on Friday morning, made a quick stop at Panera & Starbucks and were on our way. After a detour to Chick-Fil-A for lunch and a 20-minute wrong turn, we had arrived at Herrington Manor and were greeted by the AKP Squad with champagne and welcome bags in hand.
The first thing/person I need to brag about is Ashton Kelley, the founder of the AKP Retreat. She is the most kind, caring and welcoming host. Besides going out of her way to make everyone feel welcome, she greeted each of us with a smiling face and a hug. If there is one thing to know about me (and my mom) we are huggers! This was the perfect welcome.
As we were guided through the house to our room I was amazed by the stunning details within the house. We basically stayed in a castle and I'm not complaining! The bedrooms seemed to go on and on, around every corner was an even cooler room- from movie theatre to game room and ballroom to library, it was SO COOL.
The retreat kicked off with a welcome talk by The Welcome District founder, Alicia, where we learned about all things client experience. Followed by a delicious dinner and an epic 90's dance party. We listened to the most epic 90's jams, danced for a few hours and ended the night in our bathing suits hopping between the hot tubs and pool.
Saturday was full of educational talks and more amazing food by Jaki. It was so nice to learn about marketing, SEO and other business topics that a lot of people are left to figure out on their own. As a business owner learning how to do things without the huge expense, it's often really hard to discover the nitty gritty details. Ashton had an amazing presentation on all of these topics and more.
Lara-Jill from Simply Gorgeous Events styled a wonderful shoot for all of the photographers to get in on, and I even played around with photography and editing myself. The models were stunning and the styled areas were gorgeous. It was a shoot fit for a queen!
As if the educational portion of this retreat wasn't enough, I was able to meet SO MANY amazing women. We had cry circles, shared stories of entrepreneurship and dished about reality TV and other shows that need to come back...I'm looking at you, Parenthood. Something else I didn't expect to leave with was more self-confidence. When you are in front of so many cameras and other girls telling you that you look great, the dress you have on is flattering and that you don't look like a fool in heels, it really makes you feel much better about yourself! Who would have known this many girls could actually be THIS NICE to each other for a weekend.
All in all this retreat in Deep Creek was exactly what I had no idea I needed. I'm so thankful for the few days we all had together, the beautiful location, the awesome food...and the hot tubs. Can't forget about the glorious hot tubs.
AND here is a video because YAS!
Event | AKP Retreat - Photography & Videography | Ashton Kelley Photography - Design, Florals, & Coordination | Simply Gorgeous Events by Lara-Jill - Swag Bag | The Welcoming District- Tees & Tumblers | Taylor Monograms - Notebooks | Harless Printing - Desk Print, Lanyards, & Styled- Shoot Paper | Rock Paper Sisters - Guide | Magcloud - Macarons | Dear Macaron - Catering | Jacquelyn Boyce - Confetti | Pops of Colour - Keychain | Sucre Shop - Pencils, Chair Backs, Hanger, & Cake Cutter | BHLDN - Succulents | The Succulent Source - Votives & Cake Topper | Kate Aspen - Koozie | All She Wrote Notes - Enamel Pin | Pin Mart - Hair Ties | Peak Bloom Rentals | W. Rentals and Events - Cake | Sorby Sweets - Linens | La Tavola Linen - Hair Piece | Kata Banko Brides - HMUA | Sarah Khan Artistry - Ribbon | Bella Me Ribbon - Ring Box | The Mrs. Box - Tux | Asos - Gown | Baby Online Dress - Cookies | Sugar Batch Cookies - 90’s Backdrop | Mpress Art