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Interview with Event Planner, Rachel Weisman

Cara Pearlman

With over two decades of industry experience, Cara possesses an extensive knowledge of the local real estate market...

With over two decades of industry experience, Cara possesses an extensive knowledge of the local real estate market...

Mar 7 7 minutes read

Today, we're excited to spotlight one of our favorites, Rachel Weisman, the creative force behind Events by RAW Design. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for crafting unforgettable experiences, Rachel's expertise shines through in every event she plans. Join us as we delve into her journey, insights, and memorable moments in the world of event planning.

How did you get started in event planning?

My senior year of college I took an art class which inspired me to find a career where my detail-obsessed brain could marry my creative and imaginative side.

I have always been somewhat obsessive (maybe a necessary evil in this industry?) but from an early age, I learned the benefit of keeping myself organized.  

After I graduated from the University of Maryland, I went into event management and earned a certification in meeting planning.  I stayed in the government/non-profit world for about 10 years which taught me a lot of the fundamentals I still make use of today - like laying out a room, formulas for food & beverage, etc.  In 2013 I transitioned to social events which I think I’m best suited for.

What is your favorite event to plan? 

Weddings are so joyful and watching two people begin a whole new chapter of their lives together is obviously so exciting.  Planning Mitzvahs makes me feel connected to my youth and gives me the opportunity to be a bit more playful which I love.  It’s hard to choose!

Are there any trends or innovations you're particularly excited about right now?

I wouldn’t call it innovative, but what I’ve been the most excited about in recent years is branding each client’s event and fabricating event décor specific to that party.  Custom elements (no matter how big or small) provide each event a unique identity.  This makes guests feel that the person they are there to celebrate is being reflected.  

I ended up learning graphic design a few years ago so that my clients no longer had to outsource logos and artwork.   This allows for much more flexibility in terms of the possible branding applications. 

Tell us about a standout or memorable event that you planned.  What made it special?

My favorite events to plan are the ones where my client’s excitement for the concept/direction is matched with my own.  That cohesiveness is what I think all event planners hope for.  I especially loved the Little Riss themed Bat Mitzvah I planned last year.  We played on our Bat Mitzvah girl’s name (Riss - short for Marissa) and her amazing, multi-faceted personality.  We married that with a nostalgic memory from back in the day that happened to be making a resurgence at the time we began planning.  It was youthful but elegant and incredibly fun to plan.   

What advice do you have for individuals or businesses who are considering hiring an event planner for the first time?

Planning an event can be highly emotional.  You are dealing with finances, family dynamics and usually juggling multiple opinions.  It’s important that the planner is someone you feel you can connect with on a personal level and who makes an effort to understand your specific priorities.  It’s equally important to find someone who’s experienced in the type of event you are planning.  There are a so many vendors out there so you should look for a planner who has the lay of the land and can target the right vendor team for you.

How far in advance should clients begin working with an event planner?  Can you walk us through your process?

I begin working with some clients up to three years in advance and others come with less than a year to plan.  Obviously the longer the planning period, the more opportunity they’ll have to hire preferred vendors.  My preference is start with clients before they’ve booked any vendors and to help pace the planning.  Ideally, I’d want to understand the client’s priorities (whether entertainment, décor, food & beverage or all of the above) and simultaneously create an event budget to tailor my recommendations. 

What's the most unusual or unique event theme that you brought to life?

I think at this point it’s a tie between Little Riss mentioned previously and actually Cara’s daughter’s recent Bat Mitzvah which was dubbed PARTY AT THE disCHLO where we played on Chloe’s name and her love for all things shiny and fun.  What’s not to love?

What would be your dream event to plan with unlimited resources and budget?

I feel that the formula is somewhat the same regardless of budget.  It’s all about creating an atmosphere where guests feel well taken care of.  The way you would want them to feel if you were entertaining them in your home.  But obviously, a limitless budget (is this a real thing?) allows for more creativity and innovation – perhaps a unique venue, a more decadent or exciting menu (a celebrity chef?), stellar and over and above service, unique/A-list entertainment, and of course beautiful things to fill the space!

What's the most rewarding part of being an event planner?

I am so grateful to be able to say I love my job.  I am with my clients, whom I’ve come to know and love during the course of the planning process, on their happiest days.  This brings a lot of joy and fulfillment to my own life.  I have a real appreciation for how precious and short life can be.   To have a hand in creating days filled with love and life-long memories – I can’t think of anything better.

What is your favorite room in your house?

We moved into our house about 5 years ago and slowly have started making it our own.  Truthful the favorite room in the house depends on the time of year.  I love the outdoor space at my house and I love being outside when the weather permits so I'd say our deck.

As we wrap up our Q&A session with Rachel, one thing is abundantly clear: her dedication, creativity, and genuine love for what she does make her a standout in the industry. From weddings to mitzvahs and everything in between, Rachel's ability to bring her client's visions to life is truly remarkable. We're grateful to have talented individuals like Rachel in our community, continually raising the bar and inspiring us all. Here's to many more celebrations and unforgettable moments ahead!

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