7 Conferences for Event Pros to Attend in 2019

By Holly Edwards | 4 min read

When you’re in the events industry, you’re probably often working long hours trying to pull off amazing events for your clients. But finding time to brush up on trends in your industry and meet other professionals is just as important to your career. Attending a conference is a great way to do just that.

So, what are some of the best conferences for event industry pros? We compiled a list of seven conferences that are worth attending in 2019. Read on to see our recommendations — and why they’re worth your time.

The Special Event 2019

January 8-10, 2019 – San Diego, California

Want to kick off the new year right? In January, The Special Event (TSE) trade show will be hosted in sunny San Diego. This event draws attendees including wedding pros, caterers, corporate event planners and more. Get the chance to network and learn about new creative ways to market your business.

Some highlights you won’t want to miss:

  • More than 100 education sessions, ranging in topics from food photography to best practices for handling event emergencies
  • Your choice of 11 showcasing events, including an opening night party, and an immersive event showcasing trends
  • Speakers include event designers, event planners, and celebrity chefs

Related: Check out our guide on what makes a great event manager. 

7 conferences event pros should attend in 2019

ESPA Annual Conference

January 11-13, 2019 – Charlotte, North Carolina

Looking to learn about emerging event technology, how to overcome career burnout, and upcoming trends that will keep your events program fresh? Consider attending ESPA Live in Charlotte. This 3-day long conference consists of networking meetings, workshops, and breakout sessions. They’re all designed to help you advance your career as an event manager.

Some highlights you won’t want to miss:

  • A leadership track with sessions custom-planned for attendees in managerial positions
  • Keynote speakers including David Rendall, author of the book The Freak Factor, and comedian Mike Rayburn
  • Custom tours of breweries and historic Charlotte homes to help you experience the city

7 conferences event pros should attend in 2019


February 24-27, 2019 – New Orleans, Louisiana

This award-winning trade show will bring together caterers, culinary pros, event pros, and business owners in the Big Easy. During Catersource, you’ll get to hear from experts on trending innovations that are shaping the events and foodservice industries. You’ll also have access to more than 400 exhibit booths that feature interactive demos, and trending foods in the catering industry.

Some highlights you won’t want to miss:

  • Networking opportunities to mingle with more than 5,000 projected attendees
  • Riveting competitions from some of the world’s top culinary masters, and galas like the ACE (Achievement in Catering & Events) Awards
  • The Art of Catering Food, an immersive, culinary-intensive boutique event with sessions and demos from well-known chefs

7 conferences event pros should attend in 2019


June 15-18, 2019 – Toronto, Canada

Meeting Professionals International is the largest meeting and event industry association in the world. Each year, they host a World Education Congress (WEC) that event pros across the country attend. This year’s event in Toronto aims to inspire attendees while helping to foster creativity, collaboration, and community. Sounds pretty great to us!

Some highlights you won’t want to miss:

  • Engaging subject matter experts, including scientists, artists and business leaders, to learn from (past speakers include Deepak Chopra and Mel Robbins)
  • Live musical entertainment (past bands have included The B-52s and Train)
  • Education sessions designed to change how you think about your business

7 conferences event pros should attend in 2019

IMEX America

September 10-12, 2019 – Las Vegas, Nevada

This four-day conference in Las Vegas prides itself on being the best worldwide exhibition for events professionals. The event offers industry pros the opportunity to hear fresh ideas from experts and innovators. You can also meet all of the vendors (including venues and event tech providers) you need for your events. At IMEX America, sessions cover topics like tapping into event tech and polishing professional skills. There’s something for every kind of events pro.

Some highlights you won’t want to miss:

  • Reps from 3,500 venues and suppliers from 150 countries
  • A free professional education program with keynotes, hands-on workshops, and one-on-one time with experts
  • A 5K fun run that’s open to all IMEX participants on the second day of the conference

7 conferences event pros should attend in 2019

Wedding MBA

October 15-16, 2019, Las Vegas, Nevada

For those in the wedding industry, this conference is for you. Wedding MBA, also in Las Vegas, is catered to wedding planners, venue owners, caterers, photographers, rental companies, and more. Learn from countless experts covering a variety of topics, including upcoming wedding trends, turning cold prospects into clients, and managing expectations.

Some highlights you won’t want to miss:

  • Networking and opportunities to learn from wedding industry leaders
  • Insight into new tools that you can use to give your wedding business a boost
  • Can’t-miss parties held by the likes of WeddingWire and The Knot

7 conferences event pros should attend in 2019

The Event Planner Expo

October 2-3, 2019, New York, New York

The Event Planner Expo is a two-day event in New York City slated to be attended by over 3,000 event planning professionals, industry leaders, and exhibitors. This expo gives you the opportunity to discover amazing partners for your upcoming events. Plus, you’ll get to hear from keynote speakers (past speakers include Barbara Corcoran of ABC’s Shark Tank) that will change the way you think about your events business.

Some highlights you won’t want to miss:

  • A VIP networking lounge where you can mix and mingle
  • An opening party and afterparty complete with delicious food and cocktails
  • An all-day, education speaker series featuring multiple sessions to help you build your events business and advance your career

7 conferences event pros should attend in 2019

Now that you know about the top conferences for event pros in 2019, see how our event management software can help you streamline your private events process!

Holly Edwards
Content Marketing Specialist

Holly Edwards is Gather's Content Marketing Specialist. She crafts blog posts, social media content and thought leadership pieces that help restaurants and other venues streamline their planning process and host successful events.

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