If you already follow Weddings & Events by Raina on Instagram or you've liked our page on Facebook then you have already gotten to know me through my weekly Friday Introduction posts. If not, now is your chance to "Meet the Planner!"
I've been in the business of weddings since before I could walk. My mother was a wedding & event decor designer, so from a very early age I was assisting at events and eventually taking consultations as well. I have worked in nearly every facet of the industry from assisting wedding photographers or catering. The largest event I ever did was on the Intrepid Aircraft Carrier. That was certainly an exciting challenge!
When I went to college there wasn't a major for "wedding planning," but I knew what I was passionate about so I decided to wing it. I double majored in Art History and Technical Theater. Art History for the love of it and Technical Theater because every wedding, every event is actually live theater if you think about it. You have months and months of preplanning and design. Then you have a dress rehearsal. The only difference is, this show opens and closes on the same night so you better get it right!
While I was in school I met this wonderful man when I was filling in for someone who was double booked to work tech at two different theaters on the same night. His mistake turned into my good fortune. We became instant friends as if we had known each other all our lives and eventually started dating. We ended up dating all through the rest of college for me and grad school for both of us. I am sure you can see where this is going....
That's right!! Cue the wedding bells! Ten years after our courtship began we finally tied the knot, but now before he proposed to me at the world's smallest post office!! Confession time. I kind of have a thing for the world's largest and world's smallest random objects. I was once part of the team that baked and assembled the world's largest brownie. It's in the Guinness Book of World Records!
After we got married we packed up our lives and moved to Tennessee. Only a week after being there I had a run in with a horse. Living in upstate New York, riding is second nature. After all, that is as much horse country as Kentucky...just different kinds of race horses. They are known for the trotters. This unfortunate incident of where both the horse and I went down during a ride resulted in my knee being obliterated. I was told I would never walk again and if I did I would have a severe limp. Well, I'm stubborn. After a year of therapy, an entirely new knee and a metal plate in my leg, I not only walked, I wowed my surgeon by running in a half marathon! Of course, that was only to prove a point. I don't run much anymore. I am not what you'd call "athletic."
Most people assume that New York is all New York City. However, that is only the smallest portion of the state. The rest of the state is very much like Tennessee which is one of the reasons why I feel so at home here. I can't imagine ever returning to New York. I am not a fan of the cold nor do I enjoy snow, at all, unless its on TV. Here, the people are friendly and despite the small town I moved to exploding into a big city seemingly over night, you still get those small town vibes, like the man who takes his horse to town once a week...really reminds me of the small (one traffic light) town I grew up in.
Very often people ask me if I am Irish...I can certainly understand why. Red hair, green eyes, freckles...it is an honest but wildly incorrect assumption. My father's family is originally from Syria, although they emigrated to Romania at one point and my mother's family is Prussian. It always cracks me up when people realize that the Irish one in the family is actually my husband who is of Belgian, English and Irish decent.
As you continue to get to know me, you will realize that I have a rather snarky sense of humor. I try to reign it in as I realize not everyone "gets it," but it doesn't always work...
You will also come to learn that I am all about anything mid-century. I love the furniture, music, clothing, architecture and style of that era. Granted, I can totally pull off modern as well, but why bother? When you are passionate about something let in infuse your everyday life! So, when we meet you will almost never see me without a petticoat or in pants, to which I refer to as "leg prisons." I just don't find them comfortable.
Since it is difficult to find mid-century clothing for my tiny 4'11" stature I taught myself to sew and make most of my own dresses. I don't have time to make new creations as often as I would like, but it is one of my favorite ways to relax and blow off steam.
When I am not sewing, going to the movies or reading, I am usually baking. My friends who live close by love and hate this passion of mine because they get treats, but they have also gained some weight since getting to know me.
I do have a bit of an obsession with Christmas. It is not uncommon for those same recipients of my baked goods to receive Christmas cookies in June. After all, my husband says that he's pretty sure I'm an elf. We have six Christmas trees and counting, one of which I leave up all year long because it made me too sad to have to pack it all away at the end of the holiday season.
I also love travel and I am always excited to hear about what your plans might be for your honeymoon. My husband and I are all about road trips. We enjoy the journey just as much as the destination. After all, you never know what you might encounter along the way!
My favorite road trips were when we drove Route 66 as well as the time we drove the length of the Mississippi River. So many interesting and unique sites you just can't see when you are stuck on an interstate.
While I am a huge anglophile, so much so that the Queen and I even have matching purses, my favorite international destination that we have explored so far has been Italy. Although, I have yet to meet someone who doesn't instantly fall in love with that gorgeous country, so that should come as no surprise.
What may come as a surprise to you is that I used to be a kindergarten teacher. I was teaching during the day and doing theater, both on and off Broadway, in the evenings. It was a crazy schedule that you can only swing when you're young and crazy. However, this has given my the unique ability to relate well to cute little ring bearers and flower girls. Although. I am sure that having six nephews that range in age from three to twenty-three doesn't hurt either. My older nephews refer to me as their "pocket-sized" aunt since I am so short. They younger ones call me "fun-sized" and dream about the day they will eventually tower over me.
Now, I know you know I am Christmas obsessed, but that doesn't mean that I don't give fair time to all the other holidays, too. Thankfully my husband doesn't mind being seen in public with me, because I tend to go all out! I don't mind if I look a little crazy when I am doing it. They smiles I get in return make it all worth it!
Perhaps I am so goofy and light hearted because I am an eternal optimist. No matter how dire things may be, I will always search for the silver lining. I like to tell my brides that there are no problems,
only solutions! I even became an ordained officiant after one of my couples who were getting married had an officiant get stuck in a horrible mess of traffic and ended up being an hour and a half late to the wedding! My solution for that was to flip the order of things. We had the cocktail hour first, then the wedding followed by the reception. However, now, that will never be an issue again. I can seamlessly slip in and ensure you are married! I like to joke that my event day emergency kit can handle anything short of the apocalypse. (Unless you need a hammer. Venues frown on people who put holes in their walls.)
One of the hazards of working in the wedding industry is the odd hours. I am so thankful that all the vendors I work with have become good friends. It truly improves your work day when the best people you can team up with happen to also be some of your favorite people! (I spy those "leg prisons." In my defense, it was a REALLY cold day.
So, if you are looking for someone with a silly sense of humor who will always be excited about your wedding even when your maid of honor is tired of talking about it give me a call! We can meet for coffee and discuss all the details! If you aren't looking for a planner just yet, but you'd still like to get to know me, comment below with something interesting about YOU!
Looking forward to meeting you soon!
For planning or officiating, please contact Raina via email, text or phone (615) 956-1313.