Planning the Perfect event with Elizabeth Tulipana

Some of us go through daily silent suffering, working at a job that’s just that- a job. Unsatisfying or lacking a challenging, what you end up craving is a career you’re passionate about and deeply satisfying. Elizabeth Tulipana (owner of Chicago-based Anticipation Events) suggests: “Save up, hop on a plane to recharge, reset and refine your vision of the future”. Her love for travel and culture exposure got its kick-start during her childhood, right from the back seat of the family car. One trip in particular became inspiration for this bright, creative and energetic woman needed to hit the ground running. Meet Elizabeth, owner of Anticipation Events, a boutique event planning and styling company.

How did you start Anticipation Events?

I was working at the not-for-profit Shedd Aquarium 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.

Turning the vision into reality

I came back to Chicago after that time abroad and hit the ground running, coordinating several weddings for free in exchange for web reviews. From that point on, Anticipation Events grew organically. In the beginning, it was just me. I set up a website, made some business cards and launched a Facebook page. That was nine 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. You name it, Team AE has planned it!

Success is

I believe the secret to my success boils down to staying true to myself and my talents. While every day here differs, what never does is my approach. I work really hard to marry my flare for a sensationally designed party/space with my attention to detail and ability to organize/multitask. It is this very specific skill set, as both planners AND designers, that leaves the team and I perfectly suited for specializing in atypical and stylish occasions! It’s simple, really, I spend my days doing what I’m good at but also what I’m passionate about, and every day feels like an adventure.

What does planning a party really look like behind the scenes?

We seamlessly juggle an endless array of tasks including taking client calls, writing proposals, timelines and walkthroughs, managing social media, attending rehearsals, designing, searching for inspiration, and seeking out the best vendors in the city and beyond. I’m a perfectionist, so this job provides me the ultimate thrill. There’s just something really wonderful about helping to provide lifelong memories for my clients.

What is one tip you give to all your clients?

I always tell clients to pretend their party is two weeks earlier than it actually is.

This mindset will help them tackle projects they have and prevent them from taking on new ones before the big day. Who wants to spend the night before their wedding tying bows or the morning of their bridal shower organizing party favors? I prefer that they savor the moment since it passes all too quickly. I also advise them to pick their vendors carefully. You want someone who is going to be responsive and direct and also someone you’ll actually like having around you ALL DAY on your big day. Surround yourself with a team that gets you and your vision and will add a positive memory to a milestone day in your life.

How do you stay positive in a competitive event space?

I truly believe there’s room at the table for everyone. To be honest, my team is usually too busy to worry about what the competition is doing. Besides, most of my peers have very different brands/clients/business plans than I do and, luckily, we work in a market that has space for us all to succeed. Collaborative over the competition, all day, every day!

Advice for future leaders:

I pursue my passions and listen to my gut, daily. I need to be 110% invested in my projects. If a project comes along and I’ve decided it’s not for me, it’s a losing battle trying to muster the excitement and ability to get up every day.

Life Quote:

Under promise and over deliver. It’s a tip I like to share with other women just getting started on their own career journey. Efficiency, focus and organization will never let you down, and I really believe that this “work hard/play hard” makes working with my team so rewarding (and also a lot of fun).


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