Anticipation Events is a boutique event planning and styling company specialising in atypical and stylish weddings, social occasions, and special events. They are crazy good at making sure every detail is in place down to the last disco ball. With attention to detail and ability to organise, paired with an eye for style, this essentially means you get the best of both worlds: planner and designer.
With hundreds of events planned, dozens of crises averted, and countless candles lit, Team AE is your secret weapon to a stress-free event. When we’re not at a party, we dabble in music, food, interiors, and travel to keep our senses honed and inspiration flowing. Calling Chicago home, you can book them worldwide, so we find out how founder Elizabeth Tulipana got started, the DNA and the team behind Anticipation Events.
Can you take us through your journey to where you are now?
After moving to Chicago post-college, I was working at a not-for-profit planning events, which I loved, but after several years I wanted more freedom to explore the creative side of bringing an event to life. Temporarily trading one passion for another, I traveled through Central and South America for six months, planning and plotting what life in Chicago would look like upon my return. I came back to Chicago after that time abroad and hit the ground running, coordinating several weddings in exchange for web reviews.
From that point on, Anticipation Events grew organically. In the beginning years, I was a living the true entrepreneur life: I launched a Website and our social media presence on Facebook, along with old school business cards. That was 10 years ago, and today, my vision includes several amazing lady collaborators, a packed calendar and a finger on the pulse of weddings, holiday parties, bridal and baby showers, milestone birthdays and even home and event styling.
How much research did you do on the market prior to launching Anticipation Events?
Not enough! I have a vision and march to the beat of my own drum. Ten years later, it has served me very well to keep the focus on my clients and my creativity.
Can you tell us more about the brand DNA and ethos of Anticipation Events?
Anticipation Events is a boutique event planning and styling company specialising in atypical and stylish weddings, social occasions, and special events. We specialise in making sure every detail is in place down to the last disco ball.
Our attention to detail and ability to organise – paired with an eye for style – mean you get the best of both worlds: planner and designer. We often find ourselves building events in uncommon places: private residences, campgrounds, and lakesides for really rad clients who eschew the norm. With hundreds of events planned, dozens of crises averted, and countless candles lit, Team AE is your secret weapon to a stress-free event.
Can you give us 3 tips to succeeding within the events and hospitality industry?
Customer Service. I have always felt strongly that the customer comes first, and I think that’s essential in the wedding world specifically. It’s such an important day, and it’s their day, so everything else is secondary.
Response Time. One of the things I think we are great at is being responsive to our clients and vendors we collaborate with. Especially as event day gets closer, nerves get frayed and it becomes more and more important that we get back to clients quickly so they feel assured they are in good hands.
Personality. This one is a bit more subjective, but I believe this is key to succeeding in the events and hospitality businesses. Integrity, flawless execution in a calm and consistent manner, and simply being pleasant to be around while upholding professional standards is the method behind our mission to success. I always encourage clients to hire a planner they think is great at their job, and that they also enjoy to be around, our team will be with them all day long.
Where can you see yourself within the next 5 years?
I’m continuously grateful for the amazing team of women I am surrounded by, and as the fearless leader of Anticipation Events it is my responsibility to keep pushing things forward.
In the next five years we hope to add services, new programs, and new ventures to keep us challenged and forever passionate about the event and design world.
What outlets do use to promote Anticipation Events?
We’ve never been huge about advertising, but over the years have participated in various local wedding shows, and used social media to showcase what we do. Client and vendor referrals are our best promotion and we feel hugely fortunate that we have those relationships.
What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?
When a client says “we could never have done this without you.” Clearly, they all could have, but it gives me great satisfaction to hear that because I often feel like it’s hard to explain our worth before they actually see us in action.
People have events without planners all of the time, we acknowledge it’s a luxury to include us in their event and appreciate when a client realises just how worth hiring AE truly was.
What challenges have you seen to have been presented during the growth Anticipation Events?
I think one of the things that was challenging was when we had a year where it just felt like too much. Too many weddings on one weekend and not enough attention to go around. After that year, I really pulled back and focused on the kind of clients who felt like they were a good fit for our brand and capped the number of clients we would take in a year and in a weekend.
The amount of time and attention we want to give each client is of utmost importance to us as a team. I am also (not shocking) a control freak, so I somewhat purposely put myself in a situation where I would have to lean on a team. Our Chief Coordinator, Laura, is so much more than that, and knowing how much our clients love her and how much she does for the business has really enabled me to focus on running the business itself which includes bringing on and training a select few event coordinators to produce events the “AE way” so we can grow and scale at a reasonable rate.
Top 3 go-to Podcast channels?
Great question. It’s so tough to pick just three because I am pretty into A LOT of podcasts. I love ‘How I Built This’ and ‘Second Life’ to hear how entrepreneurs created their brands, as I find that really inspiring. I love ‘My Favorite Murder’ (true crime and comedy) for something a little wilder.
How do you define your own success?
My level of happiness is a keep indicator of my success.I have a hard time working in a job that doesn’t make me happy. I like to work, and hard work will always be a part of my life (and my daily routine!)
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
#BEYOUROWN constantly evolves, but to me, it means staying true to my values and to myself; and always doing what’s right for my team, my clients, the business and the world.
I am working on understanding that the standards I hold myself to are not the same that everyone else does, and figuring out how to find balance and comfort in “being my own.”
Finally, what are you working on throughout 2019?
Let this be the year for a boatload of beautiful things to happen. We are working with some amazing clients, in some amazing spaces, and I have had some of my most creative ideas yet, so I’m excited to bring them out into the world and just keep making sh*t happen!