Dazzling, sparkling, and, INSPIRING. That pretty much sums up the ISS experience in Mexico. The luxurious event, held in Cancun, Mexico, was filled to the brim with exquisite details, expert speakers and an electrifying atmosphere. It was absolutely amazing to shoot and participate in such a creative, fun-filled environment. I can’t thank Stacie, founder of Inspire Smart Success, enough for trusting me with such a huge endeavor. Each day was filled with so many unforgettable details and experiences. It’s hard to pick a favorite from the event, but shooting the fire-dancers during the Blanco Party was definitely a thrill! Everyone at the event was warm and welcoming and we built an instant bond. I can’t begin to describe and count the immense talent behind this event. The gorgeous paper products created by Tifany of Gourmet Invitations, the beautiful cinematography of Ryan and Eric of Epic Motion, the unparalleled service by the staff of Now Sapphire resort, just to name a few.

Last summer I had the privilege of attending ISS-Orlando as a guest and it was an incredible experience but it could never have prepared me for what I experienced in ISS-Mexico. I must admit that shooting this event was not an easy task, especially without my amazing second-shooter (aka: my hubby) but I couldn’t have done it without the help of Karl & Nanette of Luminaire Foto. We had a blast together (you’ll see a bit of the fun in their photobooth at the end of this post) and it was a blessing meeting both of them.

Besides making new friends and sharing unbelievable experiences together, here are some mentionable highlights of my time in Mexico:
-Almost (accidentally) throwing Mike Colon off a lifeguard tower, this one to be exact. (Thanks Austin for the snapshot, priceless memory and thank you Ana, our talented model)
Preston Bailey complimenting our work and autographing his book with, “Mariana & Khaled, you both have an amazing eye.” Yes, right at that moment life couldn’t get much better.
-Rooming with Krystyn of Bridal Beauty Chicago. I had never met her before and instantly felt like she was family.
Christopher Confero and Clayton Gray. LOVE them both to the moon and back.
-Opening my dinner invitation on Day 2 to find that it was with Sonny Ganguly…you know, the guy that created Sony. (I guess it’s a bit of an inside joke).
-Working closely with Sandie (Stacie’s mom), Rachel, The Jens and the rest of the crew. They did a phenomenal job and it was such a pleasure.
-Getting to know Ceci Johnson. I met Ceci before in Miami last year and I’m thankful I had the opportunity to chat more with her in Mexico. She’s a big inspiration and I absolutely love her work.
Tajin Seasoning. Lisi Korn, although we didn’t get to hang out as much as I would have loved, a big thank you for introducing me to the delicious seasoning. I finally found it in Tampa and use it on everything!
-It was hilarious and fun to spend time with Dana Larue and her hubby, Hunter. The monkey showing his ‘affection’ to Hunter was probably one of my favorite memories.
-Riding the van from the airport to the resort with Youngsong Martin and getting to know her and her hubby was a great experience.
-Traveling with my airport pals ❤ Petronella, Eddy and Marilyn, Eileen and her hubby, Brad.
-Meeting Kathy Romero. I can’t describe what a wonderful and inspiring woman she truly is. It’s no wonder why her beautiful face is gracing the cover of the first issue of  ISS Magazine. I might even have to create a blog post to feature her and how she’s motivated me in many ways. Kathy…We’re.On.Fire.
There are just too many memories to list, but I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to work with and share amazing memories with such a wonderful group of top-industry professionals. Wishing 2012 is full of much success and happiness for each of you!

If you haven’t attended yet, I highly recommend you check out and register for one of the upcoming ISS events!

Stacie Francombe {Founder of Inspire Smart Success}
Preston Bailey {Celebrity Event Designer}
Diann Valentine {TV Host, I Do Over}
Sasha Souza {Celebrity Event Designer}
Jen Campbell {Editor, Green Wedding Shoes}
Dana LaRue {Editor, Broke Ass Bride}
Robert Evans {Celebrity Wedding Photographer}
Mike Colón {Celebrity Wedding Photographer}
Youngsong Martin {Founder and Designer, Wildflower Linen}
Ceci Johnson {Celebrity Invitation Designer}
Bernadette Coveney Smith {Leading Same-Sex Wedding Expert}
Andy Ebon {Owner, The Wedding Marketing Authority}
Sonny Ganguly {Chief Marketing Officer, Wedding Wire}
Dave Francombe {Executive Producer}
Christopher Confero {Event Designer}
Julie Goldman {The Original Runner Co.}
Ashley Baber {Ashley Baber Weddings}
Siri Eklund {Two Bright Lights}
Now Sapphire resort