Today we’d like to introduce you to Rachael Kissel and Karen Raehpour.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Rachel and Karen. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
In 2014, on a random Tuesday, Karen and I were getting to know each other over drinks (she had moved to McKinney from LA and I moved from Philadelphia, and our girls were in preschool together). As we talked more, we realized we were both looking for something different than our current work situations. I owned my corporate event business solely and was looking to do more creative events, and Karen had recently left her job as a sales manager and was looking for a new and different challenge. I told her about this cool social event that I recently heard about and wanted to bring to Dallas, called Diner en Blanc – the world’s largest pop-up picnic. After doing some research, we both fell in love with the concept, and decided to form an official company together to bring the event to life here in Dallas. We produced DEB Dallas very successfully for 3 years, and in that time grew a crazy friendship and working relationship as well.
We were loving where our company was going while having so much fun in the process. We then decided to expand the company to include weddings, as a complimentary service to our corporate and social events. I had prior experience planning weddings back in Philadelphia and Karen went and got her TWP certification with the American Association of Certified Wedding Planners, so it was a natural progression for our company to evolve.
So with that, we officially rebranded our company to include weddings and this coming April we will be celebrating our 5th year in business together and couldn’t be happier!
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Event planning is a tough business and never an easy road, but we have been so lucky to have each other to lean on and amazing clients that value the services that we provide them. We are entrepreneurs with small children and so we have to work a little harder, and a lot smarter to get it all done.
Our first three years had their ups and downs, as would be the same for any new business owners or partners. It takes time and hard work to get into a working groove together. I work fast and furious and am forward thinking, and Karen works at a slower pace and is more thorough and calculating in her decisions. I work 24-7 (mostly because I love it so much) and Karen is much better at maintaining “regular” working hours. Because of these different working styles, to help us stay aligned, we spent a lot of time writing a cohesive business plan, and developing a shared mission with the help of Sage Wedding Pros.
We are in a great place now because we agree on the vision of the company, we make sure that both of our needs and expectations for the company are met, we utilize each other’s strengths (and weaknesses!), and we laugh, A LOT. But most importantly, we agree that our #1 core value of the company is that we are friends first and we always have fun, because life is too short to plan a boring party!
Please tell us about RK Weddings & Events.
RK Weddings & Events is a boutique event planning agency based in historic downtown McKinney, right on the square, but we work all over Dallas. We are known for our unique and fresh approach to planning, while bringing almost 20 years of event experience to the table. Our team of four planners work with our clients to design, plan and coordinate gorgeous events with the help of our large network of trusted vendors, including venues, caterers, photographers, florists and more.
Our team is incredibly inspired by our clients and love to tell their story. We laugh a lot, love celebrating the journey with them and believe that their event should be an extraordinary experience unlike any other. To accomplish this, we pride ourselves on keeping up with the latest event trends, knowing about all types of cultural and religious celebrations, take pride in really getting to know our clients and care for not only them, but their family, friends and their other vendors, too. We also believe that communication should never be limited, which allows our clients to have that solid trust in us and feel like their wedding is most important to our team.
On the day of the event, we pay particular attention to detail, ensuring that everything is just right. Sometimes pulling a chair out an inch or straightening a napkin can make all the difference and you will often see us going over each table before we reveal the reception to the couple. We strive to execute only the best for our clients. The result is an event designed not just for celebrating but one that creates an atmosphere that fosters joy and creates memories.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If we could start over, we would most definitely hire a business strategist sooner who could have helped us grow the business faster and avoid some of the mistakes that we as new business owners made.
We spend, and are still spending a lot of time perfecting each process in our business: each form we use with our clients, the way we run a wedding rehearsal, the way we email clients, our contracts, our billing, etc. It’s constantly changing as we learn and grow and while that is completely a good thing, Karen and I wish we had invested in and spent the time in the very beginning to get us on track sooner. We did it in year four and while we are so glad we did, it’s hard to think about all the time we wasted before we really knew how to run a business. We hope to inspire and mentor other new event businesses to take the time to define the plan before jumping in.
- Full Planning & Design starts at $5,000
- Partial Planning starts at $3,000
- Wedding Day Management starts at $1,500
- Address: 207 E. Virginia St.
Suite 210 McKinney, TX 75069
- Website: www.rkweddingsandevents.com
- Phone: 443-852-0626
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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