BRYAN RAFANELLI

Bryan Rafanelli was named one of the Top Wedding Planners in the U.S. by Harper’s Bazaar in 2016 and in Martha Stewart Weddings in 2015, one of the World’s Best Event Planners by Departures in 2014 and “Man of the Moment” by Town & Country. Bryan's sense of style and ability to transform clients’ visions into unforgettable celebrations has made him a go-to planner for the nation’s most exclusive and high-profile events. His company, Rafanelli Events, has been highlighted in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, People, New York, CBSNews.com, VanityFair.com, NewYorker.com and more. Notably, Rafanelli and his team led the concept and design of Chelsea Clinton’s wedding, as well as Allison Williams’ nuptials, many of President Obama’s White House State Dinners and events, as well as the White House holiday décor in 2015 and 2016. In this inspiring video, Rafanelli speaks of finding the right balance between the highs and lows in life.

The Lesson That Changed My Life

Bryan: I like this phrase around pressure, when I'm feeling pressured, that "I just want to work the problem".

So, I grew up in Rhode Island in a tiny little place, which is really another part of my story, of this idea that I was the kid who always wanted to get out of that tiny little place. I started with a classic American family, five kids, I was number four. I'm very proud of that. The most influential person in my life had to be my mother. And given that I throw parties for a living and do celebrations, every day was a celebration in my family with my mother. She would just make you feel and make the whole family feel like every day was special. And I have to believe that it is carried forward to, not only what I do for a living and my success, but this sense of being positive and being happy and making everything feel like a celebration.

I had experienced a friend passing away at a very young age. And I actually watched him die over a six-month period, and that definitely changed my life about how precious life was. What I have seen in life using that lesson was this idea that although it was sad, I've tried to sort of even out a high experience in my life or something amazing happening and something horrible happening. Because what I've realized is that really sad stuff can really draw you down and how much energy it takes you to get back to the middle, the same thing with some amazing thing happening. And I really learned to bring it back and enjoy life, but not make one more important than the other.

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