2016 Presenters | Relevant Workshop
The Relevant Workshop is a place for wedding community members and creative business professionals to come together for a day of inspiration, education, and engagement which will elevate the wedding industry and strive to keep us relevant in our craft.
relevant workshop, maine weddings, maine wedding professionals, wedding education
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Our 2016 event was held Thursday, April 28, 2016 at the Barn at Flanagan Farm in Buxton, Maine!

Below is a recap of the 2016 speakers and topics.

Brea McDonald, Portrait and Wedding Photograher

Brea McDonald
Wedding & Portrait Photographer
Brea McDonald Photography

Brea’s been photographing weddings and family portraits throughout New England for over 15 years. Her timeless style has carved a niche in the market with couples that seek out a classic New England feel for their celebration and family memories. Brea understands the sentimental value of our region and why people travel here to make family memories. Her images reflect the beauty, energy, and character that call people to gather here.


Brea’s wedding photography has been featured on many blogs as well as the pages and covers of both local and national publications.  After growing up in Lovell, Maine and then spending her college years inPortland, Brea moved to the island of Nantucket for 8 years. You can now find her back in Maine living near the beach in Wells with her husband, toddler son and two adorable corgi’s!

“For me staying relevant has always been about education and remaining connected to your community. It’s at the core of running a successful business! It’s not about being trendy and trying every new thing that pops up in front of you. It’s knowing who you are, what your personal and business goals are and being open to how to achieve them!”

Meg Simone
Wedding Videographer
Meg Simone Wedding Films

Meg Simone is a charismatic and sought after wedding filmmaker who is fascinated with people, stories, and experiences. For the last 17 years, Meg (along with the elusive “Camera 2”) has traveled throughout New England and beyond, documenting in her unique style, stories about strangers that make us all feel like friends. Her adventurous spirit and genuine love of people is contagious.  Her vast referral network, ability to super connect colleagues and clients, and her enthusiasm for work and life, make Meg someone you are excited to know or do business with.  Meg co-founded the Relevant Workshop which takes place every April and loves sharing her passion for lifelong learning with her involvement in events like The Posh Retreat.


For the last 8 years, when the “off-season” hits you can find Meg (and Camera 2) skiing and adventuring around North America in her 4×4 Earth Cruiser named Temerity, conducting business and drafting contracts from teahouses to trailheads from Boston to British Columbia. In the summer months “Blanca” the Sportsmobile accompanies Meg to all weddings.

“Staying relevant to me means embracing education, meeting new people face to face, being involved within the industry, encouraging others and uplifting the community.”

Meagan Gilpatrick
Wedding and Event Design & Coordinator
Maine Seasons Events

Maine Seasons Events is an event design & wedding planning company specializing in expertly planned & designed, one of a kind, stylish and personal Maine weddings. With years of experience in management, hospitality, human resources and project organization, Meagan brings a unique skill set to expertly and professionally design and coordinate her clients’ events. Meagan’s work has been published in many regional, national and international publications.

“Being Relevant in the wedding industry means understanding changing client priorities and doing work that is simultaneously consistent and evolving, resonating with your passion and your client’s visions.”

Jessika Brooks-Brewer
CEO of French’s Point
Founding member of the Maine Wedding Planner Cooperative and Maine Wedding Venue Cooperative.

Jessika Brooks-Brewer is the CEO of French’s Point, a private 14 acre estate and wedding destination located in mid-coast, Maine. In a word Jessika is committed. She’s committed to excellence, to collaboration and to her fellow wedding professionals. As owner and proprietor of the French’s Point, she’s also an experienced member of the Maine wedding community. Her background in hospitality, business, and social services makes her uniquely qualified to work with a broad range of clients and colleagues. Jessika uses her (admittedly) geeky passion for statistics, her thorough market research, and her careful analysis of trends in the wedding industry to more accurately meet the needs of today’s wedding couples. With four children, a small staff, a premier wedding destination and an eye on the future, Jessika models for others what it means to be a striving entrepreneur and active small business owner.   Read more about Jessika here!

“By definition, “Relevant” means applicable, consistent, significant, and suitable.  I think in order to remain relevant in the wedding industry, it means my energy investments need to be applicable to my goals for my business, I need to be consistent about the message I am sending about my business, I need to be an active, engaged participant in the industry to have significant voice with my peers, and my offerings need to be most suitable to the portion of the market I seek to service.”

Beth Fitzgerald
Owner MaggPress LLC

Beth has been an award-winning member of the wedding industry for over 15 years as a wedding photographer, a consultant, and a publisher. Her technology company, MaggPress LLC, based in Portland, ME, builds large websites and mobile app projects for the wedding industry. Beth has built four six-figure wedding businesses over the years and loves teaching consumer psychology and advanced digital strategy to other professionals.

“Stay smart. Change fast.”

Abbie McGilvery
Owner/Social Media Strategist
From the Nest Social

Abbie McGilvery has a passion for helping businesses get bigger and braver through the use of social media. She specializes in social media strategy, content creation, strategic network-building, and audience engagement. She has 5 years of robust experience helping Maine businesses leverage a number of social media tools and  has been involved in web design, crowdfunding, marketing strategy, and communications for a number of local organizations and has experience building creative, professional, and business-to-business networks in Southern Maine.

“To me, staying relevant in the industry means being visible. Part of gaining visibility is telling the stories of the clients and partners you work with so that your entire community is relevant, too! Sharing stories and images from your work adds to the sparkle of your business and tells people the “inside scoop” on what makes you unique. Staying relevant with your audiences on social media requires creativity, experimentation, and consistency.”

Kate Martin
Floral and Event Design, Event Planning and Coordination
Beautiful Days

Kate. Owner and Big Chief of Beautiful Days since 2005. Designer, bon vivant, renaissance gal, flower lover and creative adventurer. Seeking beauty, knowledge and inspiration from art, music, food, architecture, interiors and fashion EVERYDAY.


Every Sunday morning my dad would come home with New York Times. I would flip right to the fashion section then I’d eat up the arts and leisure section, exploring all that was “happening” in the world beyond the small island of Nantucket where I grew up. Fast forward through many worldly adventures; styling window fronts with chic clothes combined with vintage and antique treasures, landscape design on Nantucket, interior design in San Francisco, ultimately leading to being a design assistant and project manager for one of the top designers in the Bay Area and then landing in southern Maine. My current world of planning and designing parties allows me to translate my love of flowers to create florals for special events with Beautiful Days. I am also the Treasure Hunter of Maine Prop House which offers unique rentals and custom builds for special events and styling services for media production.

“Staying relevant means being open and honest, adventurous and ambitious, genuine and curious.”

Maria Northcott
Wedding Officiant •  A Sweet Start
Creator of The Maine Wedding Network

Native New Englander. Former school teacher. Sought-after wedding officiant. Of all the labels that describe Maria Northcott, however, the one you’ll hear most is “creator of community.” It’s not just weddings that are Maria’s passion- it’s the people at the heart of those weddings. Whether it’s couples planning their wedding or the professionals who serve them, Maria thrives on building relationships and making connections. Not only is Maria in demand as an officiant by couples across the country, but she’s also the founder of the Maine Wedding Network fostering a sense of collaboration and support among professional wedding vendors throughout the state. Whether it’s a discussion by the wood stove in her midcoast cottage or at one of the 20+ weddings she officiates each year, Maria exudes a warmth that draws people in, makes them feel comfortable, and sends them back into the world with a brighter spark in their eye.

“Being relevant means always being open to learning new things. I stay relevant by actively seeking out new information and different ways of perfecting my craft. Being relevant means searching, striving and exploring. To me, it’s not about using the newest technology or downloading the most recent social media app, it’s so much more than that. It’s being open to new messages, to new language, to new ways of being. It’s about self-reflection and not staying stagnant. Routines are good, but stretching and reaching is what allows us to grow and keeps us relevant.”

Leah Haydock
Wedding Photographer
Leah Haydock Photography


With twelve years experience in the corporate world behind her, Leah Haydock started her photography business in one of the worst recessions this country has ever seen. Leah is now in her ninth year of running her successful six-figure photography business all without ever paying for advertising. Her award-winning work has been published in numerous magazines and wedding blogs and Leah has spoken on the topics of profitability, client communications, finding your target clients at various photography conferences and workshops. In her spare time, Leah documents her love of home cooking and fine dining in the great state of Maine at www.MainelyEating.com. Leah lives in Casco, ME and Boston, MA with her two miniature dachshunds.

“Staying relevant in the wedding industry doesn’t mean slavishly following trends and panicking over new forms of social media! Staying relevant means being closely connected to my clients and other wedding professionals. The wedding industry is a people business and you have to treat people well and work incredibly hard.”

Jay Curcio
Executive Chef/Owner of The White Apron and Sofi & Luca’s
The White Apron and Sofi & Luca’s

“The difference is in the details.”  Chef Jay Curcio has been actively involved in the culinary world for most of his adult life, having had the pleasure of sharing food knowledge and impeccable catering services with the Seacoast area for more than 11 years now. The variety of experiences Jay gained during his early career in the food industry all led him to open The White Apron, where he currently is owner and executive chef. He loves the fact that The White Apron allows him to oversee a team of incredible talents, and has brought him the opportunity to cook for clients from a variety of backgrounds. From corporate events to weddings, local fundraisers to cocktail parties, private corporate jets to elegant events around Lake Winnipesaukee, The White Apron has done, and continues to do it all!


In addition, Jay also owns Sofi & Luca’s (named after his two children) a made to order bakery hand crafting freshly-baked cookies and treats. You can sample these “treats” at the Relevant Workshop!

“I consider my understanding of industry trends, while maintaining the integrity of the food I prepare, to be relevant in what I do for a living. Being able to communicate with a client, giving them an understanding of how we successfully contribute to their important day, and exceeding their expectations, is what I strive for. After all, food isn’t just what sustains us, but what also brings people together.”