Elizabeth Tulipana Owner of Anticipation Events
A fun, fearless leader with foresight on wedding and event trends. Prior to founding Anticipation Events in 2009, Elizabeth worked as an event planner for four years at one of Chicago’s most beloved cultural institutions, Shedd Aquarium. Yes, she even planned her own wedding this year! She stays busy in her free time with a variety of creative pursuits—she’s written pieces for the likes of Marie Claire Magazine and Conde Nast Traveler, and she continues her globetrotting adventures every chance she gets.
Anticipation Events is a boutique event planning and styling company specializing in atypical and stylish weddings, social occasions, and special events. Anticipation Events is crazy good at making sure every detail is in place down to the last disco ball. Their attention to detail and ability to organize, paired with an eye for style mean anyone gets the best of both worlds: planner and designer.
With hundreds of events planned, dozens of crises averted, and countless candles lit, Team AE is a secret weapon to a stress-free event. When they’re not at a party, they dabble in music, food, interiors, and travel to keep their senses honed and inspiration flowing. Anticipation Events call Chicago home, but anyone can book them worldwide.
How did you get into wedding planning?
I was working at Shedd Aquarium planning events, which I loved, but after several years, I craved a bit more of the creative side of event planning. I am insanely detail oriented and organized but also really love aesthetics and styling. Weddings fit that bill for me and I love getting to do both!
What motivated you to become an entrepreneur?
I knew I wanted to keep planning events, but I also knew I wanted a variety a traditional event planning job wouldn’t give me. I was young and naive which helped immensely. I encourage it. Now, and once I realized wedding planning was a niche that fueled me creatively, I stay motivated because the wedding world can be insane and we enjoy finding clients looking to plan an atypical and nontraditional party of a lifetime.
What does a day in your life consist of?
My life is something totally different every day. Client calls, proposal writing, timelines, walkthroughs, social media, business planning, working with the team, rehearsals, industry events, designing, researching, communicating with vendors, working up floorplans, searching for inspiration, executing wedding days and like most entrepreneurs answering a whole lot of emails while drinking a whole lot of coffee!
What are your hobbies or non-work-related activities?
Travelling, reading, swimming, shopping for antiques and vintage things, and exploring new places in Chicago to eat and drink. I love new places and seeing other cities, cultures, and corners of the world. I also enjoy working on the home (I now share with my husband!), life “styling” and working on the interiors of homes.
As an entrepreneur do you have innate qualities, or is it something that you learned?
I think a lot of the qualities that make me a good entrepreneur can be helpful and hard just being a human. I’m a perfectionist, I work extremely hard and have a great work ethic and I can just keep going and going, it’s hard to say no to things.
What tips or advice can you give to couples who are in the midst of planning?
Pretend your wedding is two weeks before it actually is and finish all of your big projects and don’t take any new ones on. I always say there will be no typing ribbons the night before your wedding. I also think an important thing to keep in mind when hiring vendors is to take social media with a grain of salt. Some vendors are really great at social media but that’s a whole different ballgame than what you actually might be hiring them for (catering, floral, etc.) You are going to be grateful for vendors who are responsive and direct when it gets down to it. Also, make sure you actually like (as people, along with their work) your photographer, videographer, planner, etc. They are going to be with you ALL DAY on your wedding day and if you don’t like them, it’s going to be a tougher day than it needs to be.
What do you do when you’re not working?
Traveling! I love new places and seeing other cities, cultures and corners of the world.
Discipline and creativity: are they two forces in opposition, or are they complementary?
I think they can be both, I do some of my best most creative work under pressure. When I am working at an event and something goes wrong (it usually does) I have to come up with a creative solution instantly to solve it. While I never want things to go wrong, I am excellent at “McGyvering” things, as I call it. I also can find myself in situations where I cannot come up with something, usually when I am trying to figure out the next paint color/wallpaper/furniture piece and I have to wait until the vision comes to me.
What sacrifices have you had to make during life as an entrepreneur and a leader?
Time mostly. I always have to be on, checking email, checking in and available. Weddings are a big deal to people (and they should be, they are damn expensive) so I feel like I can’t ever really turn off. That’s a hard mindset to live in some days and definitely annoys the people closest to me sometimes.
What is your life motto?
“Under promise and over deliver.”
How would you describe your work style during the days?
Efficient and focused. Everyone is always befuddled at how I can do so much and get so much done. Make a list and knock it out. I am of the work hard/play hard school of thought, I can really get into work mode and not have a day of for months, and then I’ll definitely take a two-week vacation and check out as much as possible.
What popular entrepreneurial advice do you agree/ disagree with? Why?
This might be controversial, but I disagree with the notion that you always have to know what your competition is doing. 1. I don’t have time, 2. If you are always comparing yourself to someone else you are going to be miserable, 3. Most of my peers have completely different brands/clients/business plans than I do and luckily we work in a market that has room for all of us.
If you had one piece of advice to our readers to those just starting out as a business owner, what would it be?
Take a week off before you begin! You’ll be glad you did because it’ll probably be the last for a while!
Check out Anticipation Events if you are looking for an event planner!