In this engaging interview with Brianna Long, the events manager at Rava Wines + Events, she shares her experience in event planning and highlights the diverse range of events hosted at Rava Wines. From weddings to fundraisers and public events, Rava Wines offers a beautiful venue that can accommodate up to a thousand people.
Brianna mentions that the wedding industry has seen some changes over the years. One popular trend has been the use of cold sparklers, which add a magical touch to special moments such as the first dance or grand entrance. On the other hand, grand exits, which used to be a common tradition at weddings, are now becoming less frequent.
When it comes to wedding décor, Brianna notes that the current trend leans towards a neutral color palette, particularly shades of beige. She describes the year as being “the year of the black and white wedding,” with many couples opting for a timeless and classic look.
Overall, Rava Wines + Events prides itself on offering a variety of events that are not limited to weddings. With their spacious indoor venue, complete with a stage and AV team, they are able to host concerts, live music performances, comedy nights, and more. Their goal is to create a fun and enjoyable experience for all attendees.
To learn more about Rava Wines + Events and their upcoming events, visit their website. This interview was provided by Felix and Fingers Dueling Pianos.
Shawn Grindle (00:01.546)
All right, welcome to Eventful Endeavors. We are here today with Brianna Long, who is the events manager at Rava Wines, which if you ask me is one of the prettiest wineries in Paso Robles. I love, I’ve played there a few times. It’s fantastic. It’s amazing. And correct me if I’m wrong, so you’re from Paso, correct? So you’re from Paso, and then you went to Cal State Long Beach and started doing all your event planning stuff there on an internship.
Yes, I did during college and then I kind of stayed for eight more years.
Shawn Grindle (00:34.914)
Yeah, I mean, it’s one of those things once you get into it, it’s hard to get out of. So now you’re back in Paso and you’ve been with Ravva for the last like couple years now. Yeah.
Yeah, I started in May of last year, so it’s been about a year and a half, coming up on two years in the spring, but it’s been really fun so far.
Shawn Grindle (00:53.45)
Perfect. And so tell me, do you guys mostly do weddings there? Is it a little bit of everything? I know last night we were just talking before we started, like our team did a fundraiser up there. Do you do a little bit of everything? Is there something you do more of? What’s kind of the main focus?
Yeah, we have a really nice mix. So we have about…
10 to 15 weddings a year, and then we have a handful of community events as well. So like your fundraisers, we have a few school dances, and then we do quite a few public events. We try to do a concert once a quarter. We do a lot of live music in the summer. We’ve been having like comedy nights, obviously dueling pianos. Basically anything that sounds fun, we’ll host.
Shawn Grindle (01:34.43)
Shawn Grindle (01:38.11)
Yeah, and just so anybody who’s listening or watching knows, they have a fantastic space. It’s a, I mean, how many, that indoor, I mean, it’s almost like an amphitheater at this rate, but how many people can that actually hold? Because it’s huge.
I think we advertise up to a thousand.
Shawn Grindle (01:54.238)
A thousand, well, yeah. It’s a really great spot. They have a nice stage with speakers and a whole AV team. And you know, it’s one of our favorite places to play. I’ve not played a wedding there. I’ve just done like the dueling piano nights, but I really would love to see how that works. And we’ll get into that in a little bit, in a little bit here, but to start off. So I always ask people kind of just some generic, you know, you’ve seen a lot of weddings, a lot of kind of events over the last several years. So.
One of the questions I’m always interested in is like, since you’ve gotten started in this to now, what are some of the big changes you’ve seen in the wedding industry overall? Like something people are doing more of, something people are doing less of, you know, is there anything that pops into your mind as like a, this is like a new trend or something that everybody’s steering towards?
Oh gosh, you know the past couple of years, I feel like everyone’s doing cold sparklers. You know those boxes on the ground that like shoot up sparks for like their first dance or their grand entrance or something. Those have been really popular. Something that’s not happening anymore is like a grand exit. I have not seen a single one in like a whole year.
Shawn Grindle (02:47.694)
Shawn Grindle (02:52.885)
Shawn Grindle (03:02.346)
They used to do, like every wedding I feel like used to do a grand exit with like sparklers or bubbles or something, but they’re really not happening anymore. I was thinking about this the other day, gosh. I feel like it’s a lot of beige. I thought it was very like white, cream, beige. Yeah, it’s been like the year of the black and white wedding, I think.
Shawn Grindle (03:19.826)
Lotta beige? What do you mean by a lot of beige? Like color palettes?
Shawn Grindle (03:32.174)
Sure, sure. Yeah, I’ve seen a lot of that too in the last year or so. It’s been, it’s interesting how like it used to be, one of the things I always think about is it used to be kind of, I see a lot of bouquet and garter tosses. Do you see a lot of those still?
About 50% of the time. I feel, yeah, I feel like a lot of couples are skipping those traditions and just making more time for dancing or the party aspect, which I totally get.
Shawn Grindle (03:47.498)
Okay, yeah, I used to, it used to be like every time. Now it’s like, eh, maybe.
Shawn Grindle (04:01.01)
Yeah, yeah. I mean, you only have one day to do it, so you gotta do it big, right? This is always one that I, this is my favorite question because I get so curious. What is the one thing that is the most cringeworthy thing for you to see at a wedding? Like something you don’t recommend anybody does on their wedding day, because it’s just like, awkward.
No open mic speeches. That’s a bad idea.
Shawn Grindle (04:24.978)
Yes. Okay. Perfect. You mean like open invitation speeches, like not planned out, is that what you’re saying? Yes, thank you. As somebody who, yeah.
Yeah. Yes. I think that you should screen your speeches. Ha ha ha.
Shawn Grindle (04:37.95)
Yes, thank you for saying that. As somebody who has to MC all that stuff, when somebody’s like, oh, I think we’ll just open it to whoever, I’m like, you are opening a can of worms that you don’t wanna open, you know? Cause it’s always like this strange uncle that like they only kinda know that wants to say something after like six cocktails. So yes. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, no, that’s great. And same kind of thing. So what’s the most, cause I noticed a lot of people when you even kinda…
Oh my god.
Thank you all. Yes.
save it for the rehearsal dinner.
Shawn Grindle (05:06.67)
Let’s talk about the sparklers and stuff. I feel like people are doing a lot of extra stuff nowadays. So in the last couple years, what’s kind of one of the cooler things you’ve seen? Maybe something you’ve not seen before was really unique to a wedding that you were like, that was awesome. More people should do that.
Yeah, I mean, I feel like I just love watching everybody, like every couple put their personal stamp on their wedding. But something I’ve seen, like this year particularly, that I think is really cool is, it’s kind of silly, like wedding content creators, like it’s a separate vendor and their whole job that day is to take videos and pictures like on a cell phone and they like kind of facilitate, you know, like wedding TikTok, there’s like different trends. So they’ll like facilitate trends,
Shawn Grindle (05:48.855)
and then they’ll kind of stay the whole day and like take behind the scenes pictures and videos of like family members. And then they’ll put together like a bunch of content and send it to you and like post and tag you and stuff. And it’s just been really cool to see like a whole new kind of vendor within the wedding industry pop up because of basically TikTok and like reels and stuff.
Shawn Grindle (06:11.915)
But I just think it’s really cute. And then you have somebody to take care of that. So you as a bride or your bridesmaids, friends, whatever, they don’t really have to worry about it. And you can also end up getting some pretty meaningful, cute content that maybe the photographer and the videographer don’t get. Whether it’s during getting ready in the bridal suite or during speeches or something, you just get another perspective.
Shawn Grindle (06:25.183)
Shawn Grindle (06:40.542)
Yeah, I’ve actually, I’ve seen that before too. I’ve never seen somebody actually be hired for it. I had a bride and groom once that just did like a QR code that was like, drop all your videos into this folder. And then there was one guy who was gonna edit it all together. But I liked the idea of actually hiring somebody to do that. Like just basically be on their phone.
That’s pretty slow.
Yeah, I mean, it was like kind of out there and extra, but at the end of the day, you know, years later, you’re still going to have your photos and videos. So to have like another set of memories, I think that’s kind of cool. Yeah. Also, like it’s no time. I can’t imagine like trying to make TikToks while you’re trying to get married and do all your pictures and stuff. Like, who has the time?
Shawn Grindle (07:05.281)
Yeah, and the internet’s forever, you know? That TikTok’s never going away. I’m sure you could probably still find my MySpace.
Shawn Grindle (07:22.322)
I don’t have the time to do it on like a Monday afternoon. Like I forget to do it then, let alone at my wedding. No way. Yeah, no, I’m different generation, I guess. So I’m not good with TikTok. I’m trying to be, but I’m not. Yeah, yeah. So what about anybody, like if you had a bride and groom that just got engaged, what’s like the biggest advice you would offer upfront? Like don’t do this or do this. What’s your number one like?
Oh yeah. And I’m like genuinely not good at it, so.
There’s a learn. Yeah.
Shawn Grindle (07:52.095)
Here’s my advice.
Hire a wedding planner. Once you like, you know, even when I got married or like when my friends in the industry have gotten married, like they’ll hire a planner because they know it’s so much work and like it’s so much email correspondence and like knowing when to do what. It’ll just make your life so much easier and it really helps to enjoy the process.
Shawn Grindle (07:56.914)
Yes, that is the best answer.
And I don’t think it has to be like this big stressful thing. Like if you just hire your vendors and trust them to carry out your vision, like it should be really fun and less stressful than you might think.
Shawn Grindle (08:29.694)
Yeah, I’ve had people be like, I’m gonna hire my friend to play my wedding. Bad idea, bad idea. Never goes well. Yeah, do you guys, actually, this is a good segue. Do you guys require your couples to have a wedding planner?
That’s a red flag.
We do, yeah, we do require a planner. I always suggest, especially because a lot of our clients are from out of the area, so I always suggest hiring a local planner a year to six months out to kind of help get everything in order so that they’re not scrambling last minute. I mean, I’ve had people the day before their wedding, they’re like, oh, I guess we need to buy ice. I’m like, yeah, like a lot.
Shawn Grindle (09:08.139)
These are things you probably would have thought of had you had the wedding planner. Yeah, I noticed a lot of venues are requiring wedding planners and I think it’s a good idea because I got married a couple years ago and when I got married, I was sort of in the industry but I was not totally in the wedding part of the industry and they required it and I was like, why do we need a wedding planner? And then I quickly realized, oh, yeah, of course, I needed this a lot.
Yes, cups, ice, brand new stuff.
Yeah, I get that question a lot. And I wanna just be like, trust me, you need one. But I try to explain it. Yeah, it is an investment, but it’s so, so worth it.
Shawn Grindle (09:37.758)
Yeah, it is probably going to be the best money you’ve spent on the whole thing. Like you, yeah.
Yeah, it’s so mandatory, I love it. Yeah, so let’s, last one, and then I wanna get into kinda some more stuff about your venue specifically, about Rava, but, you know, what, with you guys, like what would you say is kinda the most unique thing about your venue? I mean, I know how I’d answer, but I’m curious what you think, your favorite thing about it, or what’s the biggest selling point?
Yeah. Well, I think an obvious selling point is it’s really pretty. It’s like one of the most beautiful venues that I’ve ever seen.
Shawn Grindle (10:16.033)
And so I just think it’s an easy sell. Like the whole atmosphere is very peaceful. You’re surrounded by the vineyards. It’s very like thoughtfully designed and built. I would say the most unique part is probably the size. We’re one of the largest venues in the county. So weddings over 200 guests, they kind of are limited in where they can choose in Slow County and we can accommodate up to a thousand. So we get a lot of those high guest count weddings. We get a lot of Indian weddings and we also get a lot of like
big fundraisers and galas because we have huge indoor space that can seat 800 people if needed.
Shawn Grindle (10:52.621)
Shawn Grindle (10:58.454)
Nice, yeah, and again, I love it. I was gonna say, and I’m gonna get into this, but I think my, the thing that I think is the best is, so you guys, one of my questions was also gonna be, is there a spot for like a bridal suite or anything like that, where like the bride and groom can get ready? So talk to me about this, because this is my favorite thing about the venue. So.
Well, I’m coming at you live from our bridal suite. Ha ha ha. The best place to take Zoom calls too. Yeah, I love our bridal suite.
Shawn Grindle (11:21.298)
Oh yeah, I can see, yeah. So yeah, go ahead, you explain to them, because I can go on about it. Yeah, I can go on about it, but you tell them about it.
Sure, so it’s kind of like an apartment just upstairs from our tasting room. So it’s a three bedroom, two bathroom guest house. And we’re in the living room and kitchen. And then behind me in the hall is all the bedrooms. So it’s a really conveniently located because you’re right in the middle of property. So it’s great for brides when they’re getting ready on site. They can kind of look over and see all of their setup going on. And it’s really spacious for everybody to come and get ready. And B, it’s really pretty. It’s like beautifully designed.
very peaceful, very photogenic, you know, everybody likes to get their getting ready shots. It definitely helps.
Shawn Grindle (12:07.063)
Yeah, we’ve been lucky enough, we did a dueling pianos night there and we were lucky enough to stay there and I was just like, oh, this is the best. And it’s like 100 feet from the venue where we play. It’s amazing. So it’s a really, really nice spot. Yeah, yeah, that’s the goal. I mean, but that’s also how you wanna feel on your wedding, right? You wanna feel like you’re not stressed, you wanna have a nice place to decompress both before and after, and that place is fantastic.
Yeah, it’s perfect. It’s like you’re working, but you’re also kind of on vacation. Ha ha ha.
Shawn Grindle (12:36.37)
And it’s on site, so you don’t have to go anywhere. Like you just get ready there, you have all the time. Okay, so this is kind of going to be just kind of like a couple, you know, not rapid fire, but kind of quick stuff that I’m just curious about. And people might be curious about as well. You know, what’s your kind of availability? Like how far out do you guys book? Like do you book far out? Do people need to get in touch too early? What’s that? How do you guys kind of book?
We book anywhere from six to 18 months out. I would say that’s for the average right now, although sometimes we have shorter bookings like within the four month window. So it’s totally doable. We have a fair amount of availability in 2024 still. So like a couple of dates every season. So like spring, summer, fall.
Shawn Grindle (13:05.206)
And we are getting quite a few increase for 2025 already. So I haven’t I haven’t actually booked anything yet, but I think it’s definitely coming in the next few months. Well, it’s so crazy, but it’s going to be here in like a minute.
Shawn Grindle (13:32.846)
They’re starting. Yeah, yep, they’re starting.
It’s already almost November, that scares me. Do you guys have, do you guys have in-house catering or do people have to bring their own from outside?
We don’t have in-house catering, so everybody has an opportunity to bring in their own caterer. We have a handful of preferred vendors that I like to refer for catering, but there’s so many great vendors in the area, so every once in a while we’ll get somebody from off the list. It’s always been a good time.
Shawn Grindle (14:01.558)
Great, well you just answered my next question was, well do you have a PPL and are you required to use those people? So you do have one and it’s always recommended because you know them, they’ve been to the venue but they don’t necessarily have to be from that. People can do outside stuff, great, cool.
Yeah, so we try to get clients to book from the preferred vendor list for planner, catering, and bar service because those are kind of the most like labor intensive I feel like. And those vendors like would really benefit from having been here and worked here before. So they kind of know where everything is. They know how it runs. They know who to look for if they have any questions. But I’m really pretty flexible about approving people off.
Shawn Grindle (14:28.226)
Shawn Grindle (14:39.53)
list just kind of reach out and try to give them like a tour of the venue before they sign on to anything. So I mean it helps the vendors too so that they can properly prepare and like properly price out their services too because some venues are harder to work than others.
Shawn Grindle (15:01.194)
Yep, for sure. And that actually, you’re leading me right into my next questions, which are awesome. Because while I’ve never done a wedding up at Rava, I can only imagine that it’s pretty convenient in the sense that it’s kind of remote up there, right? So are there any like noise ordinances or anything like that people have to be wary of?
Yeah, so we’re lucky enough to have very few neighbors and the neighbors we do have are the owners and the owners’ parents. So we’re not getting any noise complaints from them. The city does have a noise ordinance, so outside we have to end amplified music by 10 o’clock.
Shawn Grindle (15:25.806)
sure. That makes it nice and easy.
Shawn Grindle (15:36.718)
Sure, okay cool. And then parking, I mean you guys have, it’s so easy to get in there because you guys have just that giant parking lot, right? So it’s usually not a problem there.
Yeah, we have a huge parking lot so that’s never an issue. It’s just a very big venue and part of having a big venue is having plenty of parking and room for people to use.
Shawn Grindle (15:54.366)
Yeah. Perfect. Yeah. That makes it so convenient. I mean, I’ve done like downtown LA weddings where it’s like, where are we going to park? Yeah. I live out in LA right now. So it’s, I do a lot of those and it’s definitely a little bit more tight. But, um, anyway, so last thing, do you, are you on site for mostly all the events?
I don’t want to go back there.
Yes, yeah, I am here pretty much every event with the exception of when I’m out of town. But I am basically your first point of contact and then I will also be there during the event start to finish. So it’s kind of nice because I get to get to know my clients and then I actually get to be there on the day of their event and kind of see everything through.
Shawn Grindle (16:21.326)
So you’re there a lot.
Shawn Grindle (16:27.159)
and get lots of pictures, get to interact with a lot of vendors, it’s a good time.
Shawn Grindle (16:50.754)
Good. So you’re pretty involved in like the planning process from the beginning, even if they do have a, um, a wedding coordinators while you still are involved in that, right?
Yeah, I mean, I have a lot of information to share and some clients I’m more involved than others. It kind of depends on when they get their planner involved. Some people get their planner right away. Some people wait and try to do a little bit of planning beforehand. So I am here to help as much as people need me. There’s some things that I don’t have a ton of knowledge on, namely like pricing of other vendors. Like I don’t know how much catering costs these days, but.
Shawn Grindle (17:03.054)
Shawn Grindle (17:26.462)
I do have a long way of wedding knowledge, so I’m happy to share.
Shawn Grindle (17:29.662)
Yeah, great, great. Well, listen, I think that’s about it for everything I really wanted to ask. So Brianna, thank you for doing this. I appreciate you being here. And we’ll link to all of Rava’s stuff in our notes and everything so people can check it out. If you’ve not been there, I recommend just going and getting a glass of wine anytime because it’s just a great vibe. I’ve been there, you know, if I’m ever in Paso and I’m not working, I usually go anyway, just to…
half as fair.
Shawn Grindle (17:57.21)
sit and have wine out there and check out the view, because it’s a fantastic spot. So thank you for doing this and I’m looking forward to, I think we’re playing up there in January. So I’ll be back. I’m really looking forward to that. It’s always one of my favorite shows of the year and it’s a good way to kick off 2024, which is gonna be fun. So I know we’re doing that. All right, so thank you so much for doing this and we’ll talk to you soon and have a great rest of your day, all right?
Yes, we’re excited.
Oh my gosh, I can’t believe we’re doing that.
Sounds good, thank you.
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