Elizabeth Tulipana owns and runs Anticipation Events, a wedding event planning company. She also keeps her own little Etsy shop. And is the private events manager at Thalia Hall. And sometimes writes for Marie Claire. And we could go on.
The list of what fills Elizabeth’s days is so big and bold, it really shows us what’s all possible.
So now it’s your turn. Make a list. What takes up most of your time—at work and at home? Does it align with your values? Elizabeth has an incredibly full life and loves her work. What would make you feel like you’re living life to the fullest?
We connected with Elizabeth after Kate met her at Forget Me Knodt. We started talking about her original endeavor, Anticipation Events, when we caught up with her at her Chicago apartment.
Elizabeth Tulipana: When you have a small business, you don’t want to turn anybody down. It’s so unlike having a job where you get a paycheck every two weeks. For every client you book, you pay rent. But then you try to have that balance of not working every single weekend and enjoying life, which I think is why people run a small business anyway—so they can have more control over their life.
People with Panache: Yes! We notice that theme in many of our interviews.
ET: I’ve found with Anticipation Events I’m never not working. And now I started working in August for Thalia Hall, owned by Bruce Finkelman. It was built in 1892, modeled after the opera house in Prague. It’s stunning, super ornate and incredible-looking. People in the city have been fighting over it for years: eight apartments, our restaurant and bar, and a third-floor concert (and wedding) venue, which is why I originally got interested in the project. I love live music, and the owner is well-known for having great restaurants and music venues.
“I want to let it grow, and to do that I have to let go a little bit, have other people help me.”
It’s a huge building. It was originally designed for opera and plays, town halls, and a bar in the space where we rebuilt this bar. It’s got a really interesting history.
PWP: So who runs Anticipation while you’re working at Thalia Hall?
ET: This is actually the first year it’s not just me—I have four employees. It’s less work but more work, just because I’m still involved in all of it.
PWP: So why take the new job?
ET: I had been running Anticipation Events for four years, and I had it down. It’s not that I don’t want to do it anymore. I want to let it grow, and to do that I have to let go a little bit, have other people help me.
And now with Thalia Hall, there’s space within the company to grow, too. I was sort of looking for the next thing. And I think I’m always doing that. Hopefully this is a job where I can stay with the same group and constantly do new things. I love the opening process because it’s crazy, stressful and chaotic, and I love that.
PWP: And how did your Etsy shop Bad Loo Loo come into play?
ET: I love to make things just in general, and when Etsy came around I thought it would be really cool to have an Etsy shop. So last year I finally did it! It was on my list of things to do for years. I have plans that hopefully next year I will sell in more stores. I still get a little thrill when somebody buys something that I make.
PWP: Then, I can’t believe after all this, you still find time to write. How often do you write for Marie Claire?
ET: When they send me a check to do that… well, I would pay them to let me do it. So far, I’ve written four pieces. I love to write, and I got really lucky. One of my college roommates worked there and emailed me out of the blue: “You’re a good writer, and you know the entertainment world. Would you ever write something?” I said, “Absolutely. What took you so long?”
PWP: Of all these things, and life in general, what would make you happiest?
ET: I would like to set myself up someday so that I can reap the benefits of working really hard for a long time. If I work in a job that I hate, I can’t last very long. I’m not the kind of person that can just suffer through. So I just push myself to do.
I quit my job at the Shedd Aquarium to backpack through South America for six months. I came home, had to pay rent, and had put myself between a rock and a hard place, so I figured it out. I started Anticipation Events not ever really thinking it’d be my full-time job, or that I’d have people who worked for me.
My end goal is to travel, see the world, and still have the job and the life and the ability to do what I want every day.
PWP: Do you remember your first wedding ever?
ET: The bride’s parents had divorced, and she had a great relationship with her stepmom and dad, but not a great one with her mom. She didn’t want her mom in the room while she was getting ready, which I found out [much too late] as people were coming into the ceremony.
Now I ask my clients to tell me where there’s tension. Im really good at diffusing it—I just need to know.
At another beautiful wedding reception, in Michigan, the bride was so relieved and ready to party. She popped a meatball in her mouth and then I saw her on the side of her house, coughing and choking, and her mom was with her. She basically missed her whole reception and was trying to cough it out for three hours in the bridal suite. Eventually we called an ambulance and at the hospital she found out she had a piece of meatball down the wrong pipe—and it’s not like I could have done anything about that but she and her husband were so sweet and grateful that I was there to make everything happen anyway.
PWP: Oh gosh—no meatballs at our weddings! Any other stories?
ET: I had a groom call five minutes before he was supposed to get on a trolley for pictures. “My pants don’t fit. They keep falling off.” I was like, what do you mean your pants don’t fit? “I don’t know, they just keep falling off my body!”
So I run to the tux shop, get one size smaller, and meet him at the church. It was the funniest hand-off ever: Three groomsmen yelling “YES!” running out for the pants. The groom pulls them on five minutes before he has to go stand before God and his people and have his pants falling off—and the bride didn’t even know till after the wedding.
[Color photos by Alysse; black & white photo by Cathy and David Wedding Photographers.]