Today we’re so excited to bring you this interview with Raquel, of Napa Valley-based ROQUE Events! Without further ado:
Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.
Founded in 2014 and rooted in Napa Valley, ROQUE Events is dedicated to flawless event concepts that punctuate the importance of individual style. Driven by a desire to create, our events are unique visions that come to life in one of the most stunning destinations in the world. We work with exclusive venues and wineries in Napa Valley to produce lifestyle and corporate events with elevated food and wine experiences.
Raquel Bickford Oranges has spent years creating a detailed process that helps her clients develop a vision efficiently and beautifully. After graduating from FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design + Merchandising) and working with international brands, she returned to her home of Napa Valley to bring together her passions of event design and hospitality. In 2014, she founded ROQUE Events, an event and wedding production company dedicated to flawless event concepts including social, corporate and weddings. In just four years, ROQUE Events has expanded nationwide. We have had the pleasure of working on weddings for several media + sports stars with numerous press pieces on their events and services.
See the rest of the interview after the cut!
How did you get into wedding planning?
I am Born and raised in Napa Valley and grew up working in the hospitality industry and at the age of 17 started working at a 2 michelin starred restaurant. Hospitality is in my blood and that is why I knew Napa Valley was where I wanted to start ROQUE Events. Napa Valley is the mecca for quality service and over the top hospitality. When people visit they expect the best food, wine, and unique experiences. I wanted to contribute my talents and passion for high end events + experiences by creating a truly unique production and design company in the heart of where expectations are high.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
My favorite part is always receiving the photos from a wedding we have produced and designed. It lets us relive every second of the wedding. We work with some amazing photographers who capture the best moments of smiles and tears throughout the wedding day that takes us back to how happy the bride and groom were that day. That’s our main job at the end of the day.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to other new wedding planners just getting started?
Times were not always easy. Unforeseen expenses, moving the business to an LLC, having employees, paying payroll taxes and workman’s comp insurance — all of those were tough learning experiences. Growth was hard. Many people don’t quite understand what it takes to be an entrepreneur and have a business with employees. My advice and a great proverb says, “It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.”
What are your hobbies or non-work-related activities?
I obtained my 1st level sommelier certificate from the Court of Master Sommeliers. Being in Napa Valley with a history of being in the hospitality industry, I have always had a passion for food and wine. Napa Valley provides the perfect blend of that. In my free time, I love trying out the new restaurants and wineries that keep popping up in the bustling Napa Valley.
Any great stories from working with a client?
A true testament to the benefit of developing strong client relationships came when a ROQUE bride introduced us to her Fortune 500 company to design and produce a 350 person event. Amidst the peak of high-season while attending to weddings, corporate and winery events we pulled of the planning of this top budgeted event in just 7 short weeks. We nailed it. Bringing in all of our strongest vendor teams we designed a unique atmosphere with custom food & beverage service.
What is your current favorite color combination?
Himalayan Rock Salt Peach, French Blue, and Grey.
Are there any trends that you absolutely love or would love to see brides leave behind?
One trend that I am loving is using different elements throughout the wedding design. For example, in an upcoming wedding we are using himalayan rock salt slabs for table numbers and crushed rock salt in white boxes to hold guest escort cards. I love to think outside of the box as everything has really been done before!
A trend that I think should step down for awhile is the traditional pink, light green, and ivory color inspired weddings. Let’s be fun and add a few pops of color throughout the design; this will seriously WOW your guests!
What tips or advice can you give to couples who are in the midst of planning?
We hope you hired a planner that can stay calm through the storm and continue to show you the rainbow each and every day. Make sure you have set your budget early on in the planning process so that when your proposals from your favorite vendors start coming in you have something to reference and adhere to. Money is stressful and the politics of who is paying for what can be challenging. Keep calm, revisit your budget, and have faith in your planner who is going to help make the millions of decisions you are going to make during the planning process. They will help you make cuts where you can and give you tips on what to keep in your design!
Thanks Raquel! For more about ROQUE Events, check out their WeddingLovely profile here or head straight to their website.
Any questions for Raquel? Leave them in the comments below!