Vendor Spotlight | Ragen with the John Marshall Ballrooms
Meet Ragen, intern with John Marshall Ballrooms. As a current Virginia Tech student, she became a new addition to the team this Summer. With a passion for the wedding industry, and a background in event coordination Ragen is going to tell us all about what life as a working college student is like and the beautiful John Marshall Ballrooms!
If you care to share, how did you get to where you are now?
Entering my freshman year at Virginia Tech, I was pursuing a major in Interior Design with little to no experience other than wanting to create. After realizing that Interior Design was not the path I wanted to go, I switched my major to Communications with a minor in Event and Experience Management. This switch has been so beneficial to me and has helped me grow in different areas of my work. Two years ago, I was curious as to what it would be like to work in weddings and having a wedding venue close-by to my house, I thought I would apply for a summer job. I absolutely fell in love with this job and the atmosphere that working weddings gave.
Since switching my major, I work at the Student Engagement and Campus Life as a Lead Events Coordinator for various events happening throughout campus. This 22-23 school year, I will be the Concert Director for my A Cappella group, Soulstice A Cappella, Virginia Tech’s independent student-run newspaper, The Collegiate Times, as well as working as Director of Ceremonies and Rituals for my Sorority’s Chapter Programming and Development team. Being able to work on different projects throughout my time at college has truly given me so many opportunities to grow into different areas of my life and has also given me the ability work with many different people, whom I’ve grown very close to. After Maria Hall, lead event specialist at The John Marshall Ballrooms gave me an opportunity to work here this summer, I was ecstatic to delve deeper into what it was like working in the wedding industry.
What makes you or your business stand out and why should a couple hire you?
The staff at The John Marshall are all so dedicated to their job and put in 110% effort with whatever task they’re given. It inspires me to give that equal amount of effort in the tasks given to me because we’re all working to maintain the reputation of The John Marshall. Maria Hall has been nothing but an amazing mentor this Summer and will go above and beyond for The John Marshall. This is a perfect venue for anyone wanting to share their special day with us just like we’d love to share it with them.
What’s your favorite thing about working in the wedding industry?
Working in the wedding industry, you’re constantly meeting new people and that has been one of my favorite parts. From the staff at The John Marshall, to the couples at tastings and tours, and working the events, I’m always meeting new people. I love being able to see all the behind the scenes work during the wedding, as well as learning about the couples and their story. When getting to sit down with the couples at tastings and tagging alongside Maria Hall for tours, it’s always so much fun hearing how the couple met and all the different things they’re anticipating for for their big day.
What’s your best piece of advice for couples planning a wedding?
Always make sure you have a planner on deck and work as far ahead as you can! Plan your wedding day as if the date is closer than it really is. Being ahead of schedule can make it immensely easier on the whole planning process, especially as your wedding day gets closer.
What’s your favorite moment during a wedding?
Getting to see the bride after the whole wedding party and the groom has entered our ballroom. The giddiness and emotion that fills up the space immediately after everyone else has left it is something I can’t help but feel so grateful to experience on someone’s special day.
What are your favorite wedding trends right now?
I love the idea of a vinyl record as a signed guest book! Another thing that can be a special gift for your guests can be a personalized letter to each person that includes memories or things you love about them.
How do you de-stress?
Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed, I enjoy listening to podcasts, reading a good book, going for a bike ride, and listening to music. My dad and I love to bike our favorite trail, The Western Maryland Rail Trail, which is 28 miles long and runs through Maryland’s panhandle. The right song is sure to put my mind at ease and I will never not have music playing, no matter what it is I’m doing.
What’s your favorite food/dish/cuisine?
My favorite dessert is Häagen-Dazs Vanilla Swiss Almond Ice Cream!
If you were to meet any celebrity, who would it be?
If I were to meet any celebrity, I’d love to meet Dolly Parton.
What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to?
I’ve seen John Mayer three times in concert and every time, he amazes me with his guitar skills.
Do you love to travel?
If so, what are some must-see destinations? Yes! One of my favorite things to do is travel. My family has always taught me that experiencing other places for ourselves is important. Last Summer, my family and I went out West and it was the one of the coolest trips I’ve ever gotten to go on. We started in South Dakota and worked our way towards Arizona, visiting places like Custer State Park, Badlands National Park, Mount Rushmore, Devils Tower, Bighorn National Forest, Yellowstone National Park, Arches National Park, Horseshoe Bend, Las Vegas, and Route 66. This was such an amazing trip and we got to do so many fun things like feeding prairie dogs, surfing the sand dunes, hiking all of the national parks, seeing all different types of wildlife, experiencing the abruption of Old Faithful, swimming in the Yellowstone Hot Springs, going on a nighttime boat ride through Moab, and going to a light show of abandoned signs in Las Vegas.
What’s a fun or unusual fact about you?
I went skydiving last Summer and it was such an amazing experience!
What is your favorite season of the year and why?
My favorite season is Spring because all of the flowers are in bloom! It’s the final push between school and Summer starting and all of the fun end of the school year activities are in full effect.
What’s your favorite family tradition?
Every year since I was little, my family and I travel to our favorite beach for a week of rest in Topsail Island! We always stop at Max’s Pizza for our first meal, go cast net fishing at the Inlet, and shop at the local stores. This has been one of my favorite Summer activities and it’s even more special getting to go as a family since the years have gone on.