I have the honor of being one of the “Haven Team” organizers and last weekend we wrapped up our 4th successful Haven Conference!
If you are unfamiliar with Haven, it is a blogging conference for bloggers who love “all things home” which takes place annually in Atlanta, GA. Haven is a dream realized for all of us on the Team and something very near and dear to my heart! You can read all about Haven’s backstory and how it ALL began here if you’d like. It’s a fun story, so I encourage you to check it out! We are so proud of our event, attendees, sponsors, and community!
The Haven Team consists of Rhoda, Chris, Kristin, Me, Traci, and Sarah. Unless you’ve planned a 3-day event for 500+ people, I’m not sure you can fully appreciate all the many, many hours of work that go into orchestrating this type of event! Our team has become very close over the years, and we’ve learned each other’s strengths, weaknesses, quirks, and gifts. We work really well together and I love these women dearly! Haven is truly a second job for all of us, and it’s an honor to serve our niche in this way.
The Team lives all over the country with only Rhoda & Kristin in Atlanta, so there is a lot of work to be done the day before the conference begins. One of the tasks that usually takes us the longest is filling the Haven swag bags.
Each attendee receives a bag-full of goodies from our sponsors and vendors valued at the price of a Haven ticket! We had amazing volunteers this year and had 450 swag bags filled in no time! Look at all that swag!
Our Team also decorates for the opening cocktail party which is always a highlight of Haven. Kristin, our events planner, did an amazing job of carrying out our vision for each themed party and prepared a lot of our decor beforehand, so our prep this year was minimal.
The first night we had an outdoor “Haven in the Garden” cocktail party. And yes, it was hot! They don’t call it Hotlanta for nothing! The hotel grounds at the Grand Hyatt Buckhead are gorgeous, and we wanted to take advantage of the double patio space.
To beat the heat, we served blueberry lemonade cocktails in complimentary glasses which looked so cute! The first night at Haven is always electric with so many blog friends meeting for the first time and others reuniting after a full year of separation. It’s a special night!
Below is a picture of the team pictured with Jon Acuff who popped in for a bit at our opening cocktail party. Jon was our Keynote speaker this year and did such a great job! He was funny, insightful, entertaining, and encouraging. Many of our attendees were unfamiliar with Jon, but I KNEW they would love him and that he’d be the perfect Keynote for our Haven Mavens. I started following Jon back when his blog was fairly unknown, and over the years have enjoyed watching him grow into a New York Times Bestselling author of 5 books. Go Jon!
Jon’s talk kicked off our Friday morning session and was based on his most recent book–that I just started reading and am loving–Do Over (affiliate link). The book is about not getting stuck in your career and propelling yourself through those difficult times at work. If you have a career, or are hoping to have one someday, then this book is for you! It will inspire you our of a rut and have you thinking differently about your work life.
If you’re wondering what in the world bloggers do while at a blog conference (besides take selfies) ;-), we network with brands, network with each other, and take classes that build our skills in blogging, decorating, social media, branding, and DIY. Our sponsors and vendors put a lot of effort into making their booths stand out, and this year did NOT disappoint!
This booth by Rheem really impressed me. How do you make HVAC supplies and water heaters sexy? Well you add gorgeous home decor, handsome gladiator models, an interactive “Goddess” quiz, and fun head jewelry swag, of course! Nicely done Rheem!
Rheem was new to Haven this year and they definitely brought their A-game!
Home Depot has been our Platinum sponsor since the beginning. We are forever grateful to them for taking a risk on us over 4 years ago and believing in DIY’ers everywhere! They sponsored a fun breakfast for our attendees complete with these fun retro-polaroid cameras. More selfies!
Home Depot also does a #DIYHallofFame hashtag on Instagram to feature fun projects by bloggers at the conference. You can go to the hashtag if you’re on Instagram to see the entries and winners. It’s fun to see what everyone has created over the year.
Rust-oleum has also been with Haven since our inception, and they truly get what DIY’ers are all about! They provided free massages, a device charging station, as well as lunch for our attendees. Thoughtful and pampering touches like these are what we really wanted to bring to Haven this year, so we were thrilled with all the special details provided for our bloggers.
We couldn’t do Haven without the generosity of our speakers and this year we had so many great classes that is was difficult choosing which ones to attend! I’ve been blogging for over 8 years. I read a lot about blogging and building my brand on the side, and I always learn something from the classes at Haven! The trick, I think, is to remain teachable and come ready to learn.
Lucy from Craftberry Bush taught a great class on Photo Styling.
And between classes bloggers can be found doing what bloggers do best!
Our Friday night cocktail party turned out so cute, so before I sign off I wanted to be sure to share the pictures with you. Our theme for this night was “Smile & Sparkle”.
When we serve champagne and cotton candy, how can you NOT smile and sparkle just a little? 🙂
We served champagne and berry cocktails with a blue sugar stir stick! The drinks were delicious and decadent.
My sister is Kim from Sand & Sisal and it’s always fun to see her at the conference!
At the root of Haven is community and relationships. Our blogging niche is truly a special one, and I will forever be grateful for the relationships, opportunities, and friendships blogging has afforded me over the years! Being able to do what I love every day is a privilege that I don’t take for granted!
I hope you’ve enjoyed a little peek into our conference and if you’re a home blogger I hope to see you at our next event!