Vendor Spotlight: Elle Ellinghaus Designs

Tell us about yourself and your company.

elleDesigns is a wedding planning and design studio that I can proudly say is a little different than a typical wedding planner. OK, true, we are O.C.D. into details, organization and fabulously executed events, but we like to call what we do “pretty planning”, not just plainly “planning”. Why? Because we know there is more to an amazing wedding then picking out perfect vendors, our meticulous 10 page timelines that bring it all together and being the gals in heels behind the scenes making sure you and your guests don’t know any of the disasters that are occurring. elleDesigns is also about the faces of your guests when they walk in and their mouths drop; the ambiance carried from the first minute they enter, until the last song; the design of the day, whether extravagantly fancy schmancy or simply elegant; the way the music makes the guests sway; the calm couples exchanging goosebump-inspiring looks across the room without a worry in the world. This, to sum up of course, is what we like to do.

I am Elle (Hi!) and I am the owner of Elle Ellinghaus Designs. I design with those couples interested in full planning and I have a serious love-hate relationship with the color pink. Jillian is our lovely event planner on the team who works with those interested in “month of” or “day of” coordination and she, on the other hand, adores the color pink. Gina is my oh-so talented design and coordination assistant that also offers ridiculous dance moves to any of our nervous brides (usually leaving them, and I, bent over laughing). We offer completely customization packages from full planning and design, to “day of” coordination and everything in between…bringing Ooh La La’s to I do’s.

Vendor Spotlight: Elle Ellinghaus Designs

Photo Credit: Carly Fuller Photography

How did you find yourself in the wedding industry?

I get this question a lot, and people can’t really believe the answer. It all started because I never wanted to get married or believed in falling in love—yes, you read that correctly. I started my career after college with my heart in interior design, until one of my clients asked me to design her daughter’s wedding. I remember thinking to myself, “Wedding? Absolutely not.” However, I decided to try it anyway. It turned out quite lovely, which led to more and more. I must be honest and say that at each wedding I did, no matter how lovely, inside I would be thinking from a personal aspect and from a career aspect, “This is just not for me.”

Then, one fall day everything changed. I met someone. No, no, I explained that wrong. I didn’t just meet someone; it was more like earth-stopped-turning type of “meet someone.” The moment I laid eyes on a blond hair, green eyed boy my entire thought process of love, marriage and walking down the aisle, flipped. He introduced himself and a split second later we fell in love. From the moment we met, my heart no longer belonged to decorating rooms, it belonged to beautiful brides. I understood the butterflies, the first dances, the teary-eyed grooms and I wanted to be part of other couples’ love stories. I became a certified wedding planner and the rest is, as they say, history. I can’t even count how many weddings later, and yet still every single “I do” brings tears to my eyes. Oh and yes, the blond, green-eyed boy asked me to marry him shortly after we met; I now call him my husband and my inspiration {insert ooey-gooey smile here}.

Vendor Spotlight: Elle Ellinghaus Designs

Photo Credit: tPoz Photography

What inspires you or your work?

Inspiration comes from everywhere depending on what project I am focused on. If it is a photo shoot, I get the best ideas when the windows are down in the car and I am driving to the beat of the music (typically Stevie Nicks). On the other hand, if I am designing a wedding, there is a different process. I preach to everyone (past couples will tell you this) about making sure their wedding is infused with their personalities and love story. We sit and I listen to their loves, likes, dislikes, how they met, and of course, I ask for what they want their wedding to feel like in just a few words. They don’t realize this, but I pay close attention to the movement of their hands and feet…it really tells a lot about the person if they have their arms crossed, a hand on their love’s knee or feet they can’t stop shaking. All these things inspire me. Then the colored pencils and sketch pad come out. I tend to stay away from looking on Pinterest, believe it or not, and I honestly can say I am not one to look on other designers/planners work for inspiration. I want my work to be original, one of a kind and from the heart.

What do you love about working weddings?

Although I love the wedding day itself, I would have to say designing it with the bride-to-be is what I love most. There are so many amazing women in this world, and I get to spend time with so many of them planning the most intimate day of their lives. They can tell you for sure that planning a wedding with me is definitely not a traditional business meeting. There is a lot of laughing, typically a glass or two of wine is involved, and each meeting always ends with a big hug goodbye until the next time we speak (which is usually through a text on the way home, or email the next morning). If I had a party, the invitation list would be filled with elleDesigns brides because I stay in touch with so many of them. Would I be bragging too much if I said my brides are just amazing?!

What’s your favorite part about a wedding?

How much time do you have to read?

Vendor Spotlight: Elle Ellinghaus Designs

Photo Credit: Dani Leigh Photography

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your field?

  1. You do not need a million dollar budget to have an amazing wedding. Simple, personal touches equal big memories.
  2. A smile is the best accessory any person can put on.
  3. Photography & Videography: Do both and do the best you can for your budget. Capturing these memories is priceless.
  4. Success is 45% hard work, 50% heart, 3% coffee and 2% killer shoes.

A good piece of advice for brides and/or grooms to be?

This is something I tell every couple: This is the first “party” you are going to throw as husband and wife… make an impact.

Mount Vernon Engagement by MISA ME Photography
Enoch Pratt Library Wedding by Theresa Choi Photography
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