New Direction, New Name—Always Planned is now Lúnasa Events

Fair warning - this is long! :)

2017 marks the 10th year since I entered the world of weddings—and my life forever changed.

I've told the story countless times, but I'll tell it one more time, probably not the last!  I had quit my job at a prominent physicians office, where I'd worked my way up to managing the medical billing department.  I seriously was crying to/from work almost every single day.  It was not my cup of tea, and after 7 years I'd had enough.  The idea was to open a boutique, selling cute clothes and home decor.  The year was 2006 and I was much younger. ha!!  I had a business plan and all of the right paperwork, had been to market and had done my research.  Then, I went to look at a space that was in the perfect location.  When I got there the listing agent (an older guy) asked me when my husband would arrive.... I was dumbfounded.  He was so confused as to why I was alone and didn't understand my lack of male supervision. 

I looked at the space and left with a sense of anger and completely "over-it".  About the same time, the economy was tanking and I took this guy, and his attitude, as a sign to look into starting something with a smaller upfront cost. 

Here is the honest real answer as to what happened next, and how Always Planned started. 

I was at a relative's birthday party and was discussing my situation with my aunt.  She then said "you should look into wedding planning" and I was like "you can make money doing that?", then she said "yes! I've heard of people out in California doing it, so I'm sure you can do it here."  And, just like that I had a plan. 

Always Planned was launched at the end of 2007.  I had no idea what I was doing.  Seriously I grew up in eastern Kentucky and weddings were in small town churches with cake and punch in the basement.  I lived, ate and breathed the motto "fake it till you make it."

Fast forward to now, 2017. What an awesome adventure this life has been!  Major highs and major lows, but that's life and business.  I've successfully planned, designed and executed over 100 weddings and still don't know everything, nor do I claim to.  But, I definitely know a bit more than I did 10 years ago. 

So why the name change, and why now?  For those of you that follow me, or Always Planned, you know my personal life has changed a bit over the past few years. And as with any business, we've grown quite a bit since our humble days when we first started.  One thing you know about me is that I LOVE to travel, and experience new things. One of the main reasons I love this industry so much is that it's afforded me incredible opportunities to meet people from all walks of life and to form relationships that make me a better person, and businesswoman. 

Most recently, we've been planning our own destination wedding in Ireland (shameless plug for our wedding website here), and it's sparked something in me that makes my heart sing.  We have nearly 50 people joining us on our adventure and there is nothing that means more to me than to share this experience with those we love and cherish most.  We've always planned destination weddings, but in honor of our tenth anniversary, we're growing up, into a new name and a new direction with a sense of purpose and love. 

We love the moments that a destination wedding create.  Instead of a 4 hour reception, it's a 4-5 day endless celebration in a location that makes everyone not there, absolutely envious. We'll still take design, flowers and decor for a limited number of local (Lexington, Louisville, Cincinnati) weddings and events, but our main focus is on helping couples and companies to create the moments in your life you find hard to describe, but are imprinted in your mind and heart, with those you love the most. 

Seamless tropical flower, plant and leaf pattern background

Lú·na·sa

1. An ancient Celtic harvest festival celebrated with dancing and bonfires.

 

Always Planned is NOW Lúnasa Events. 

Since we're getting married in Ireland, this August, and we hope to have lots of dancing and visions of bonfires (not going to have an actual bonfire...) the name Lúnasa spoke to me, and it feels oh so right to start a new life with Joe, and a new direction in my business by borrowing the name Lúnasa for our new firm Lúnasa Events. 

We're also launching The Lúnasa Group, offering destination wedding consulting for the hospitality world. 

Thank you for always supporting me and encouraging me to think outside the box! 


Cheers to Lúnasa Events, and a special thank you and forever place in my heart for Always Planned.  I wouldn't be who I am without it. 

 

xo, Rayna

 

 

 

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Paradisus Playa Del Carmen | All-Inclusive Resort Site Visit by Rayna

Oh hey guys.  So, I've been MIA lately.  And you may have noticed a few changes to our site... not to worry, we haven't been hacked.  We're simply undergoing some major changes... But, we'll get into that at a later date.  For now. We're in Mexico!  And not just Mexico, but the Riviera Maya area and more specifically the Paradisus Playa Del Carmen - la Perla.  Guys, this place is gorgeous!  I'm about to head to the beach... you know, to make sure it's worthy of your stay. :)  But before then, I wanted to make sure I got these images and my initial thoughts out to you.  So, as I pour myself another glass of champagne, here goes.

Oh, and side note.  Please forgive my photo skills.  I'm totally still learning how to use my camera.

A.  It's super stylish and modern.  I feel like I'm in an art gallery, but in a good way.  Where you just wanna hang out there.  This is the lobby. 

Paradisus Playa - La Perla Lobby - Destination Event Planner- Lunasa Events
Paradisus Playa 2 - La Perla Lobby - Destination Event Planner- Lunasa Events
Paradisus Playa - La Perla Lobby 3 - Destination Event Planner- Lunasa Events

After my check-in I was escorted to my Junior Suite. 

B.  I love the closet space, full mirrors and luxury tub!

Paradisus Playa - Junior Suite - Destination Event Planner- Lunasa Events
Paradisus Playa - Junior Suite - Destination Event Planner- Lunasa Events
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Paradisus Playa - Bathtub - Destination Event Planner- Lunasa Events
Paradisus Playa - Amenities - Destination Event Planner- Lunasa Events

Not going to lie, this place is pretty big (2 resorts 900+ rooms).  But if you upgrade to the Royal Service you receive an elevated level of service, plus butler service, and a more intimate resort feel with exclusive use restaurant and pool with butlers... so yeah.  It's worth it!

Here are a few shots of the property.  I honestly didn't take photos of everything. You need to see if for yourself!  But, I can say it's beautiful and clean and luxury.  I can definitely see some great destination events here, couples in love, families on vacay and would even bring my girlfriends here for a girls trip.  There's a kids section, adult only section, party pool and relaxing pool. The only thing is that the beach isn't completely ideal.  Actually, I'd much prefer a better beach.  But, if you're pool people, and you love good food and great service - it's a win-win.  Enjoy these shots!

D.  Not idea for beach lovers.  Pool lovers UNITE, by the pool bar. :)

Paradisus Playa - Swim Up Suite - Destination Event Planner- Lunasa Events
Paradisus Playa - Royal Service Pool - Destination Event Planner- Lunasa Events
Paradisus Playa - Pool Beds - Destination Event Planner- Lunasa Events

Ok.  That's all I have for now.  And since my glass of champagne is now empty, it's time for lunch.  Off to La Palapa for some guacamole!

See you soon!

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The Business of Weddings & Events

Guys, 2017 marks 10 years since I launched Always Planned.  It has absolutely been a roller coaster.  A fun, wild, exciting ride that has taken me places I never thought I'd go, and introduced me to so many amazing people and opportunities.  I'm blessed beyond my wildest dreams! 

But let me tell you, it's not always easy to own your own business, be your own marketing/PR firm, and planning/designing 12-15 large scale weddings and events each year.  It's hard work, and incredibly stressful. In the ten years I've been doing this, I won the SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, have had my work published in print and on several national wedding sites, plus I've successfully launched three additional brands and "not so successfully" tried a few others - HA!  Needless to say I don't stop.  So this year–2017–I've decided to simplify my life.  Those of you who know me, are probably giggling a little right now.  Because, you know how hard this is for me to even admit, let alone take action and focus on the bigger picture. 

What does SIMPLIFY mean to me?  Well, in this instance it means I've taken a step back, written out my life goals, and adjusted my course.  What it means to Always Planned, is that we're getting a new name, going a new direction, and making some bold moves.  We've always loved to think outside the box, but this time - we've shattered the box and stepped over the rubble. 

Yeah, it's slightly dramatic.  But, honestly, I feel like it's a little dramatic.  At least it is to me - because in my year of Simplify, I'm facing my fears and forgetting the past, getting lost in the future and diving in to what really motivates me.  I kind-of feel like to simply may be my best year yet.

What's your word for this year? 

xo, Rayna

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What we're crushing on lately: Bridal Gown Edition

We are seriously crushing on some Bridal Gowns for the 2017 year. Scroll below to see what we are loving. Better yet, are you interested in where to shop these gorgeous gowns? Well, you just might have to connect with us to find out.

And... commence...

The sweet simplicity of this dress never gets old. Beautiful cut/fit up top with a loose cascade down low. This combo is always a winner.

Dresses with pockets. Because who doesn't love pockets. Need I say more?

Pretty much everything about this image. You can never go wrong with an all lace, especially when it includes a gorgeous train.

I'm a huge lover of the backs of wedding gowns for some reason. I'm not really sure why. But this one had me dying.

I'm all for the boho look. When you compliment this killer sweetheart with loose cap sleeves. All the applause.

Keeping it fun with the two piece. I'm not mad these came into style. You shouldn't be either.

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Loose flowy gowns, perfect for destination weddings. Cough Cough. I'm ready to be your personal wedding coordinator and travel companion.

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The sleeves. The beading. The detail. YES.

Out of all of them, this one has my heart the most. Loose fitting, bohemian style, incredible sleeves, enchanted scalloped detail in the back. What more could you want?

This timeless number. You can't go wrong, ever.

AND, that's a wrap.

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Pantone Inspired

We are jumping on the bandwagon when we say- We are obsessed with this years Pantone color, greenery!

As we began to concept our ideas for the 2017 calendar, we thought it would only be fitting to kick the year off with a Pantone inspired Bridal Booth set up. If you have spent any time with us, however, you would know we couldn't just stick with the "trend."

So, here it is. Our Pantone inspired backdrop courtesy of the cold, or possibly our desire to travel right now. If you know of anybody that is interested in planning a destination wedding, we promise we are your girls.

Photo Credit: Rebecca Stephenson

Photo Credit: Rebecca Stephenson

Big green botanical leaves were the first thing to catch our eyes as we began envisioning the year. I think Jamaica might be calling our names.

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Photo Credits: Rebecca Stephenson

Photo Credits: Rebecca Stephenson

Each small addition brought our team's passions to life. Rayna's design vision for travel and adventure, mixed with a little bit of romantic and hand written touches from Lauren made this one of our favorite bridal booths yet.

2017, we can't wait to see the incredible designs that fill our couples' celebrations. 

Also, a big shout out to each of the lovely couples we met and talked with this past weekend. We are thrilled to add you to our 2017 and 2018 calendar years.

Comment below and let us know what you think of our bridal booth!

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Engaged!!! It's about time.

Lately, I've been really getting personal with my blog posts, and well, this one is no different.  If you follow me personally, or our AP Instagram, you probably already know that... I'm engaged!  And I–we–are super excited! 

Our proposal story is random, and perfect, and absolutely us.  We've had some awesome experiences during our relationship, (think fairy-tale stuff; hot air balloon over Napa, private sailboat UNDER the Golden Gate Bridge and countless romantic walks through San Francisco), so I had no expectations for the big moment,  In fact, I helped pick out the ring and even discussed how I'd prefer he propose.  We tend to do our own thing, and would prefer to share in the experiences than follow what tradition tells us to do.  So on November 14, in the middle of a normal evening, during a super moon, after adoring the night sky, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! It was utterly romantic, and the most special moment we've had.  It was completely perfect!  We even bought a small token to remember that moment–a Christmas Mouse ornament we named Henry Pierre.  (We can be a bit quirky.)

 

So there you go!  I'm, WE, are officially engaged!  This year I'm joining all of the other fabulous Always Planned couples and I'm planning a wedding.  This one, though, is in Ireland. 

Oh, and Henry Pierre is coming along! Stay tuned.

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Kentucky's Newest Luxury Wedding Venue & Bourbon Distillery - Castle & Key

We're not going to bore you with how awesome this collaboration was, we'll just show you and let you decide for yourself.  We're pretty confident you're going to love it – almost as must as we do.  Enjoy!

Venue:  Castle & Key – Frankfort, Kentucky|  Photographer:  The Malicotes   |   Design/Flowers:   Always Planned

Calligraphy by Kelsey Marie

Calligraphy by Kelsey Marie

Flowers & Design by Always Planned

Flowers & Design by Always Planned

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Furniture provided by Market on National

Furniture provided by Market on National

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