Rachel J. Events launched a new event-planning business with a graduation party for an LA music biz family

Launching an Event Planning Company in Omaha

Rachel Wortmann is an event planner who understands the millennial bride. Having graduated from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln with a degree in PR and advertising, she saw an opportunity in the event planning space that fit her skills and aesthetic.

Though Wortmann explored other avenues, she said, “I enjoy weddings. I love the emotional connection of it. People invest a lot of money in it, and, for most people, it’s the most significant day of their lives up to that point.”

Her new company, Rachel J. Events, is “for the modern bride.” Wortmann said, “As a millennial, I think like brides who are my age. That translates through our planning, systems, and procedures.”

Wortmann also plans private parties and corporate events. When she launched her business in January 2019, she posted about it to Facebook. Her childhood dance teacher, Jessalynn (Jess) Siwa read the post.

The Siwa family had a roller coaster of a year. Their daughter JoJo had been a breakout success, starting with her appearance on the reality TV show Dance Moms. As a talented recording artist and performer, she was preparing for her first tour.

Her older brother, Jayden, has found a niche of his own as a YouTube vlogger with 78,000 subscribers.

Originally from Omaha, the family moved to Los Angeles during Jayden’s sophomore year to support JoJo’s career. Jess Siwa wanted to throw a graduation party for Jayden and all of his Omaha friends.

She had rented the Dave & Busters but didn’t have time to plan the party. When she saw Wortmann’s post, she hired her immediately.

Wortmann said, “Because I know Jess and what their family is about, she didn’t give me any sort of direction.” It was a tremendous vote of confidence, but it was also a lot of pressure.

Wortmann wanted to throw a party with a fun LA vibe for the Siwas. What she came up with was a fitting start for Rachel J. Events.

Handling Every Detail

The party presented two main challenges.

First, she wanted to give Omaha’s Dave and Buster’s a similar feel to the location in Hollywood. Second, the Siwa family wanted to hand every detail over to Wortmann.

“Their hope  was to show up like guests and have a party in Jayden’s honor,” she said. “It was an  open field for me as far as which vendors I wanted to use and what I was going to do.”

She knew Dave & Buster’s game room would be visually exciting, packed with sound and LED light from the arcade games. She planned to clear out the dining area and start from scratch, hoping to give it a similar look and feel to the game room.

She knew the key to transforming the space would be lighting.

Wortmann discovered FadeUp’s website after getting a referral from an area wedding planner.  “I saw they did concert-level work. I brought them in because they’re the best in town.”

Getting Creative with FadeUp Design Group

Jayden is known on YouTube as The Food Dude, so Rachel J. Events created the perfect photo op with a banner from Design 8 Studios. With the Siwa family’s history in dance, Wortmann chose Image Entertainment to provide the DJ for the party and paired it with an LED dance floor. She even had a “Food Dude” birthday cake created by Cake Creations Omaha!

Wortmann knew with a combination of food, dance and a party favor game card, there would be plenty of activities to fill out the evening. She spent the rest of her creativity on making the venue look and feel how she envisioned it.

That’s when she toured the space with FadeUp Design Group’s Lead Lighting Designer Heath Marrinan, along with Project Manager Chris Tsuji. As she shared her vision, they began showing her different lights and effects that would accomplish it.

As they walked up to the entrance, they decided to add up-lighting to the bare concrete walls. They also found the perfect space on top of the entryway to project “Congratulations Jayden 2018” using a custom gobo.

In the dining space, FadeUp planned featured lighting for some of the food, especially a custom cake Wortmann was having made. The main dining room would have the LED dance floor.

FadeUp added in moving lights and red and blue uplighting throughout to match the branding of “The Food Dude”. They added tube lighting to the wall, which Wortmann would echo with glow sticks for partiers to give the room a rave feel.

Additionally, for the DJ, FadeUp brought in their Road Dog DJ Case which includes its own video wall. It added another layer of visuals and dynamic to the dancefloor while allowing them to show a couple of the Siwa family’s custom videos.

Wortmann said, “I walked Heath and Chris through the space, explained  what I wanted to do, and they ran with it!”

A Celebrity Family Blown Away by an Omaha Event

Production day began at 9am the day of the event with Rachel’s team and FadeUp. When the family arrived later that afternoon, they were amazed by the results.

Most of Jayden’s reaction was captured in his vlog. He said, “There are so many cool things, it’s just ridiculous! It’s gonna be such a fun night.” His video features the DJ booth, LED floor, and lighting while JoJo and a friend dance for two minutes, then his reaction to his name on a giant outdoor gobo at three minutes and thirty seconds.

Wortmann said, “I loved hearing how excited he was. They all loved it—it was a huge success.”

Starting with a Bang

Even before Jess Siwa saw the final result, she was so impressed by the excellence of Wortmann’s planning process that she booked her for a second party that would take place the next day.

She said, “It was a fun weekend of crazy parties! Trusting me with all those big decisions, it helped give me a leg up for launching my business. There was some talk around it—a little buzz.”

Rachel J. Events had a great beginning of their first year. Wortmann said, “We had a pretty big season, and it snowballed into 2020. With a team of three of us now, we’re staying really busy!”

When asked about working with Heath and the FadeUp team, she said, “He’s just great. His team is top-notch. They’re on our preferred vendor list for everything we do. I love how they can bring a completely different vibe to an entire room.”


Who do you want to impress?

It doesn’t matter if it’s your first event or your thousandth. Every event planner needs to understand their client’s needs and desires. And when guests start to arrive, whoever they are, you want to get that “wow” reaction.

That’s what FadeUp Design Group does for our clients. Whether it’s the Henry Doorly Zoo, First National Bank of Omaha, or the local Dave & Busters, we collaborate with your creative process and help you achieve that “wow” effect.

To get started on your next party, give us a call.