Welcome to the Coterie Retreat, MunaLuchi’s annual three day conference for wedding and event professionals servicing the multicultural market. Launched in 2014, the Coterie Retreat connects vendors with giants of the industry, to continue mastering the best practices of their craft. More than just your average conference, the Coterie Retreat is a complete experience, championing inclusion, diversity, and community within the multicultural wedding and events industry.
Following a highly successful 2017 Coterie Retreat in South Africa, the 2018 Coterie Retreat was hosted on the beautiful island of Bermuda, at the luxurious Hamilton Princess Hotel & Beach Club. The iconic “pink palace” offers fine dining, stunning views, shopping, a full spa, plenty of relaxation, and displays numerous works of art by legendary artists - including Picasso, Matisse, Hockney, Warhol, Shepard Fairey, and Banksy to name a few.
From December 3-6, Retreat attendees enjoyed the finest in professional education through keynote speakers, hands-on workshops, breakout seminars, and curated events. The Retreat began with a Sunday evening meet-n-greet gathering at the Alexandra Mosier Jewelry Studio located on the chic west-end of Front Street in Hamilton. Alexandra Mosier’s one-of-a-kind handcrafted jewelry reflects the natural elements found within the island beautiful tropical blue waters and lush gardens.
Guided by the official city of Hamilton Town Crier Ed Christopher dressed in colonial attire, the Retreat attendees were treated to a guided walking tour from the Hamilton Princess to the Alexandra Mosier Jewelry Studio - learning about the rich history and culture of the island along the way. Historical anecdotes included the romantic Bermuda Moongates found all over the island, consisting of limestone arches first making their appearance in 1860, and believed to make love everlasting for those couples passing through them.
Within the tropical pink themed jewelry design studio of Alexandra Mosier, Retreat attendees enjoyed champagne and confections while networking with friends old and new long into the night.
Day one of the 2018 Coterie Retreat officially kicked off with an introduction by author, speaker, all-around influencer, and event moderator Karli Harvey Raymond. Also the event moderator for the 2017 MunaLuchi Coterie Retreat in South Africa, Karli began with reflections on her previous Retreat experiences, and offered guidance on how best to the make the most of what the next few days had to offer.
MunaLuchi Co-Founder/Editor-in-Chief Jacqueline Nwobu and Co-Founder/President Chike Nwobu provided the opening statements, telling the story of MunaLuchi’s inception as a bridal magazine created to fill the obvious need of multicultural representation within the wedding and events industry. They spoke not only of the struggle to achieve this goal but also the struggle to be a vendor within an underrepresented community, and the steps taken to overcome these obstacles and more as “collectively, little wins became big wins” over time.
A representative of the Hamilton Princess provided a brief welcome, discussing the recent one hundred million dollar renovations complete in 2017, began in 2014, to the four hundred room, three ballroom hotel originally built in 1885.
Husband and wife, Nanna and Vee Annan (Nana Annan Photography), spoke on the importance of community, citing their “six degrees of inclusion,” as well as how to define yourself in relation to your business by establishing values, creating goals, and taking action. Attendees were lead through a series of beneficial development exercises discussing ways in which they could apply these processes to their own vendor platforms.
Yvette Thomas-Henry, Regional Vice President of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, followed with “The Keys to Attracting the Luxury Consumer: Creating an Emotional Connection.” Key steps included finding relatability, developing trust and openness, empowering those around you, communicating and leading with transparency, and expresses a vision of the future.
Internationally renowned event production and designer Marc Wilson of The Style Marc by MWD Lifestyles spoke on “The As to Zs of Wedding and Event Design: Understanding the Creative Process.” With two decades of industry experience, Marc provided attendees with valuable insights into nurturing inspiration, recalling his own journey from the ground up, and how those experiences have come to shape who he is and how he approaches the creative process.
Retreat attendees were treated to lunch at Hamilton Princess Hotel Restaurant, Marcus’, one of numerous restaurants under the culinary direction of world-renowned Chef, author, and television star Marcus Samuelsson. Following an unforgettable culinary experience, Chef Marcus himself spoke to retreat attendees about his journey in life, from humble beginnings born in poverty stricken Ethiopia, to being adopted by a family in Sweden, and how those experiences shaped not only himself as a person but his relationship with food. Marcus spoke with attendees in a Q&A before making himself available for a signing of his latest book, The Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem.
Two breakout sessions followed, one featuring Mocha Ochoa-Nana, founder and CEO of the Oracle Group International in Washington DC, an internationally recognized public relations firm specializing in connecting clients with opportunities that engage, uplift and empower local, national and global communities. Mocha spoke to the book writing process in a session titled, “Write that Book and Enlarge Your Territory.” Another breakout session was lead by veteran photographer and legal expert Nana Annan, on “Legally Sound (Legal Tips for your Contracts).” With an extensive professional background, Nana offers invaluable advice in numerous aspects of operating a successful business, and the legal understandings absolutely necessary to achieve that success.
Author, speaker, social influencer, and voice behind wellness/active lifestyle brand for women of color - Beyond Her, Brandi Harvey gave an inspirational talk on opportunity in disguise. Using her own career path as an example, Brandi opened up about overcoming losing her professional position, and how she came to realize it was a necessary step - life’s way of “releasing her into her destiny.” And that when “life forces us to level up, be on ourselves, and play to win.”
Rounding off the end of MunaLuchi Coterie Retreat day one, attendees were escorted to the evening welcome party hosted at luxury hotel & resort the Loren at Pink Beach. On a balcony overlooking the ocean and under a starlit sky, attendees enjoyed signature drinks and delicious hors d’oeuvres, dancing, laughing and networking into the night.
Special thanks to the 2018 Coterie Retreat partner, Bermuda Tourism Authority!
Special thanks to Conference Planner Claire-Ann Raynor of Rose of Sharon Wedding & Event Planning!
Video by Yamean Studios Films
If you wish to be considered for membership to The Coterie, please complete this form or send an email with the information below to: firstname.lastname@example.org. We carefully handpick our vendors not just based on the number of years in business, but the quality of your work. So new businesses are welcome to apply. Just make sure your work is top-notch!
Looking to enhance your business practices and professional abilities during a three-day conference for wedding and event professionals of the multicultural market, all set within a gorgeous tropical escape? Register today for the 2019 MunaLuchi Coterie Retreat, hosted in beautiful Nassau, Bahamas. Early-bird pricing available until March 31st! Reserve your spot now before it fills up!