My 1st Time at Engage! – An honest review of the Dove Mountain 2022 Summit

There’s no better way to conclude the year than time under the breathtaking Arizona skies at this winter’s Engage! Summit. Founded by Rebecca Grinnals and Kathryn Arce, this luxury gathering has garnered worldwide recognition as one of the wedding industry’s premiere events to attend, due to its ability to strengthen your network, further your innovation, and provide a tactical strategy to take your business to its next level of success.

2022’s final gathering was held at Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain, a 5-star property about thirty minutes north of Tucson, Arizona with Imoni Events spearheading the overall vision and design of the week, and multiple vendor partners (like the wonderful TPD Design House who curated all of the paper goods and gifts) who collaborated together to carry everything to fruition and produce an experience intended to delight and amaze the 365 attendees that spent the week at the property.

Engage! focused heavily on creating a space and atmosphere that allowed professionals from every category to have the opportunity to partake in a fully-immersive, opulent event and gain access to a fresh group of professionals operating and serving at a level that would render anyone speechless.

Photo by Ben Finch

Photo by Ben Finch

One special thing to note about this particular iteration of Engage! was that it was a property buyout with all of the events taking place on its campus, with minimal transportation needed — which isn’t always the case based on some of the previous Engage! gatherings.

To pay homage to the vibrant sunsets and the area’s vast array of textures and foliage, much of the week’s visual elements and attire inspiration was focused on multiple elements of the desert and the culture. Each day had themes and designs to enjoy – from pastel and western tones on day 1, to sunset colors and a starry blackout night and an astronomer on day 2, to a vibrant gemstone gala to conclude the week on night 3.

Photo by Ben Finch

Photo by Garrett Richardson

I was prepped on what to expect before my first Engage! event and given tips on what to (and what not to) do, and for that, I’m grateful. As a first-timer, I’ll be honest: it was a lot to take in; even with all of the insight that I received beforehand. Now that I’m back home, I’m excited to share a bit more about my experience, in addition to the snippets I shared in real time! I’ll be addressing some key distinctions between it and Emergence, the overall experience, what it was like as a 1st timer, what it was like as an introvert, and more.

A week before landing in Arizona, Rebecca and Katherine reached out introducing us to our first-time Engage! Ambassadors Sarabeth Quattlebaum of Sarabeth Events and Sam Riseborough of the Jordan Kahn Music Company, who had attended multiple Engage! events before. Sarabeth and Sam were incredibly welcoming, offering a 1st-timer zoom call where we could ask questions, and were gracious to give us their contact info and create a group text should we need help throughout the week. Upon arrival, they made themselves completely available throughout, sharing that they too, were once in our shoes and knew how we felt. They were so kind and invited our group for lunch, offering to be our safe space if we ever needed a moment throughout the week to re-charge.

We then went to the Engage! first-timers session where the other ambassadors shared tips for experiencing and making the most of the week. I learned later on that other first-timer groups weren’t as united/involved as ours, so all that to say, Sam and Sarabeth were so gracious with their time when they didn’t need to be, and as a result, absolutely made me feel so welcomed and helped set me at ease for the week – and for that, I feel incredibly grateful.

The check-in and gifting experience was such a delight – I was told beforehand that it would be wise to bring an empty carry-on to fit all the items we would receive, and I’m glad I did! We were gifted items like a custom tote, artisan blankets, a custom hat, a full-sized Vanity Planet face humidifier, facial tools/products, a full cocktail kit, a cashmere scarf, snacks, and much more. We were also given custom itineraries and a book containing information about all of the sponsors, speakers, and attendees with their contact information.

Photo by Ben Finch

Photo by Ben Finch

There were 2 jam-packed days of educational presentations and speakers from the main stage, and a final day of breakout sessions with a more intimate, conversational approach. I thoroughly appreciated the education and insights from each of the presentations, and how each speaker had their own zone of genius: from mindset, to self-empowerment, to tactical business strategy. Engage! did a fabulous job at being inclusive and uplifting and giving a platform to professionals from multiple backgrounds. The third day featured various tracks for different disciplines and a final panel/peer discussion for each segment of the market.

I personally felt that my own itinerary due to being a first timer was a little bit fuller than I would’ve liked, with less downtime for deeper conversations to take place; again though, I think that was due to being a 1st timer. Most of the better conversations, I found, occurred at the mealtimes throughout the week, at the themed pool party, or if I happened to get to one of the sessions/activities early. It was interesting to hear from others that the pace of this particular Engage! event was considered to be more low-key than others held in the past.

Photo by Ben Finch


Photo by Ben Finch

The evenings featured live entertainment, dancing after dinner, and after parties which is where more rapport was built and deeper conversations were had. Ultimately, the evenings were where I was my happiest and had the best connections. I also appreciate that there were assigned tables on days 2 and 3 for some of the meals.

On the final evening, all of the attendees were invited to the ballroom for the gemstone gala. The floral design by Carte Blanche Design absolutely stole the show and took my breath away, in addition to all of the entertainment provided by the Gold Coast All-Stars. The tumbleweed used was foraged over the course of 6 weeks, and floral from the terrain was paired with some of the most beautiful elements to truly create a one-of-a-kind experience that stretched creative minds and was unlike anything I’d seen before. It was truly the best way to end the week and realize that I had made more connections than I thought. It was a whirlwind of a week but in the best way.

Photo by Jacqui Cole

Photo by Jacqui Cole

Photo by Corbin Gurkin

Being an introvert by nature, Engage! at first, was a bit of a shock to my system. I absolutely had a microsecond moment where I asked: “What in the world did I sign up for?” But those fears melted away after so many people quickly welcomed me with open arms. I have much gratitude for the 1st timer session and my 1st time Engage! ambassadors for creating such a safe environment to ease into the rush of the week. Much like anything else in business, mindset and getting out of your own way are half of the battle. During the 1st timer session, everyone who spoke was so kind to remind us that we deserved to be in the room and that while we were new to Engage!, we were not new to business. In one of my personal conversations, I was advised that by my 3rd Engage! that I would feel most at home and start to recognize the same people over and over – and I think that’s great advice. This past week was so much fun. It was such a delight. And I left with some really wonderful new relationships and a deepened sense of friendship with others whom I’d met earlier this year. All that to say, I’m naturally more drawn to some of the smaller gatherings for future Engage! events; I’m not sure the summit is my cup of tea (but then, who really grows when they’re comfortable? To be uncomfortable is to grow, right?).

That being said, I wouldn’t recommend attending if you don’t know anyone who’s also going (unless you’re ok with that). There were occasions when you may need to walk up to a group of people and be comfortable introducing yourself. I occasionally found that you’d sometimes find established groups of friends who would be reuniting with each other, and those parts of the day weren’t as inviting/approachable compared to the evenings or meal times. I’d advise that your mindset really needs to be in a place where you won’t be deterred by that. You absolutely need to be in a place mentally where you don’t take things personally, and go into Engage! ready to receive all the good that’s there for you.

I didn’t go into Engage expecting an immediate ROI or an insane wedding booking as a result; I went in with the desire to play the long game and take intentional steps to strengthen the roots of my business. I walked away feeling more confident and encouraged that I was taking all the steps in the right direction for my goals. I walked away feeling excited about all the possibilities to come.

If you are more of an introvert, a summit like this will positively stretch you. I feel grateful that I went into this experience knowing a handful of people and for the prep I received beforehand. I frankly didn’t go in with a game plan or a detailed “list” of people I needed to meet – I went in to experience it all and, if I was to meet someone, then I was going to be fully present for that. With that being said, I will be making a return to future Engage! events and am so excited for all that’s to come: the deepened friendships, the once-in-a-lifetime experiences, a deeper sense of community, and a heck of a good time. I can’t wait to go back.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Learn more

I'm Hannah and I'm so happy you're here. This blog a journal about our most recent imagery and heartfelt stories. Stay a while and say hello!



The Clover club Wedding guide

Dolor mixtape food truck Austin, assumenda Odd Future Carles ani Echo Park cillum.



© Hannah forsberg 2022