Wow! Thanks ralph.m for that quick response!
Makes sense for sure. I like the idea of designing the registration form and having the payment portion handled by a "3rd party site" that is in the business of doing exactly that - handling the processing of payments.
Thinking ahead now - I'd have to design the registration page such that the personal info (name, member/nonmember status, events attending, etc.) info gets passed to me / conference coordinators and I'm guessing a confirmation would come from the 3rd party payment people that the payment had been successful.
I've moved slow over the last four years, taking as many CSS / HTML / XHTML / Dreamweaver / Photoshop courses as I could afford to ensure that I am able to design sites that meet the W3C standards for both functionality and accessability. Many of the subsequent work after courses is trial and error, with the great feeling that comes when something works.
Guess it's time now to dip the big toe into a bigger lake and see what happens when I try this!