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Meet Shauna Jackson of aRay of Events

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shauna Jackson.

Hi Shauna, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I graduated from Pacific High School in 2011. After high school, I went on to earn my Bachelors in Elementary and Special Education in 2015, from the University of Missouri St. Louis, and started my teaching career. I continued my education and received a Master’s in Administration in 2017 from Missouri Baptist University.

My husband, Austin and I were married in 2013. After four years of failed fertility treatments, I became a mom in 2017. Austin and I took in three amazing children from foster care and officially adopted them in 2018. That is a whole other story in itself.

Once my family and friends started getting engaged, I started managing and planning weddings as a hobby. I stepped away from my career in special education in 2019 to run a wedding venue, which gave me the flexibility to go on mission trips and spend more time with my kiddos. In order for both Austin and I to accept the positions to run the venue full time, we had to sell our home and move into the house on the property. We loved the job, loved serving the brides and their families, and learned so much about the wedding industry. Unfortunately, we also learned that we did not have the same vision for the business and disagreed with many decisions the owners were making. Which eventually left us jobless and given less than three weeks to find a place to live during a pandemic. It was March of 2021, I couldn’t find a teaching job for at least 5 months. I was at an all time low and felt like a complete failure. I felt like every time I would accomplish something in life, it would be taken away in a blink of an eye over something I couldn’t control.

My faith kept me going and I just could not allow myself to give up. I knew I loved managing and planning weddings and all sorts of events. So after consulting with a long time friend and wedding professional, I decided to start my own business called aRay of Events to continue serving my clients and create stress free memories!

I created the company in March of 2021 and booked my first wedding in April. By the end of 2021, I completed 48 events, became a Wedding MBA Elite Level Certified Wedding Planner, and grew a team of amazing wedding professionals that help me bring our couples’ visions to life!

On top of successfully starting aRay of Events (www.arayofevents.com), I also founded aRay of Services (www.arayservices.com) and co-founded The Royal Theatre Event Center (https://www.theroyalpacificmo.com) during 2021.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Honestly, once I went all in everything fell into place. I have an amazing support system and continue to push myself to learn and grow. There have been times I have had to deal with difficult clients, or negative people. However, I do not allow it to hold me back.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
aRay of Events is an Event Planning and Wedding Management company. The business name comes from my maiden name, Ray, and a play on words since we offer a variety of event planning services including: planning, managing, coordinating, design, timeline, decorating, and more.

We meet couples wherever they are in their wedding planning journey. When couples come to us right after the engagement, we help plan the entire event from creating a budget and booking a venue to finalizing a timeline and running the event.

We are most popular for our Wedding Management Collection. This is when couples are able to ask questions and get recommendations throughout the booking phase of planning. Then, we help organize and make sure nothing is missing, create a master timeline, and provide them with two day of coordinators to ensure everything runs smoothly.

I currently have a team of 7 and the ability to book multiple events in one day. I am truly blessed with amazing staff members. They go above and beyond for our couples. We love working in different venues, with different wedding professionals every weekend. We mainly stay in the St. Louis area, however, we have and will travel wherever a couple needs us to go.

Our couples enjoy every moment of their stress-free, special day, because they allow aRay of Events to bring their vision to life.

How do you think about luck?
I do not consider myself to be a very lucky person. I have always needed to work twice as hard to accomplish what came naturally for my peers. I have always felt misunderstood and struggled with communication. I have always been let down and hurt by people. Looking back at the worst things that have happened to me, I realize they were some of the best. I would never be where I am today without all those trials and lessons that I had to learn.

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