Ashlee Erlinger is the owner of Signed Sealed Delivered Events, an award winning wedding and event planning firm based in the St. Louis metropolitan and happily planning weddings from sea to shining sea. Ashlee is addicted to love. She loves people. She loves making people happy. She loves weddings. And she loves all the little details and making them happen. It brings her so much joy to see her clients fully present in all those once in a lifetime moments while her team manages the details of the day! Keep reading to learn how SSD Events got started and Ashlee's favorite Aisle Planner features.
What inspired you to enter the wedding industry?
I started out in nonprofit event planning then jumped into small business development and then weaseled my way into the hotel world (Really! I stalked someone for like 9 months to get an interview.). I love to make people happy and I love LOVE. I spent a good portion of my job assisting and planning weddings when I was supposed to be selling the space and detailing events of the day. I ended up arriving before the first vendor and leaving after the couple was tucked into their hotel bed. Basically I was like Aerosmith; I didn’t want to miss a thing! But then my feelings would be hurt when the brides hired a planner… I was like, "I’m right here! You're cheating on me!"
After some serious signs that I should jump, I began designing what I wanted this business to look like—which took a few months. Okay, it took nearly a year! Anytime I would question myself, another couple would show up and we'd fall in love and skip off into the sunset while planning their wedding.
Why did you start Signed Sealed Delivered Events?
I started SSD so couples (and their mama bears) could enjoy every moment of the planning process from the engagement to the last dance. Our everyday lives are so busy and the pressure to have an event that meets your family's expectations, your fiancé’s expectations, and is the wedding you've been dreaming about is hard to manage. There are so many elements involved and not to mention, so many options (and opinions) that the stress can take away some of the joy of that process. We want our clients to savor this time and go into their wedding weekend, relaxed, excited, and present!
If you could change one thing about the weddings and special events industry, what would it be?
The idea that it’s going to be perfect. Perfection, in my humble opinion, doesn’t exist. We strive for practically perfect (like Mary Poppins). There are things that will happen, things that are out of our control, and going with the flow, trusting the team you have in place, and overall knowing that the most important thing of the day is that two people are promising forever and ever to each other is key (can I get an amen?).
How does using Aisle Planner help you deliver the client experience you want to?
We love AP and will shout it from the highest mountain while dancing (think Sound of Music style)! It truly is the reason we're able to sleep at night knowing everything is in one place and trackable. Not only is it part of our planning process, but it’s part of our consultation process too! So many times our potential clients say how they're so excited to start using the online planning portal. We're able to not only keep things organized, but it also allows us to communicate efficiently and effectively with our clients while offering a personalized experience.
What's your favorite Aisle Planner feature?
The timeline, hands down! Being able to have multiple versions for the planners, vendors, and clients is such a relief. When we started AP in 2015, I was able to say so long, farewell to Excel with no hesitation!
If you weren't the Owner of Signed Sealed Delivered Events, what would you be doing instead, or what would your life be like?
I would have four kids and bake, craft, garden, and sing Disney songs all day long!
What are three things you never show up without on event day?
I'm cheating here when I say our dream duffle, Hillary (Duff). She’s a scrapbook organizer on wheels that comes to every event with us. Hillary is stocked full of emergency items (mints, scissors, snacks, blister block, pins of all kinds, a mini pharmacy, etc.). And, we always have printed timelines and diagrams and a cell phone charger!
What’s your personal philosophy on becoming a great wedding and event planner?
1. Be kind, always! No matter what. 2. Get educated on your vendors’ jobs. If you know what they need to succeed, then you can allocate that in the timeline and budget, not to mention the expectations of your clients. If everyone on your vendor team has the tools and time they need to do their jobs to the best of their ability, then you're set up for success.
What’s your trademark in the client or event experience?
We're addicted to love! Love for our industry, love for logistics, and love for our clients. When our clients book they know they're not only getting an awesome planning experience, they're getting a genuine relationship. So many of our clients stay in touch after their wedding and that makes our hearts so happy. They become family.
Is there anything you're particularly excited about working on this year?
We just launched education and business coaching and I'm so so so excited to help people live out their dream!
Just for fun
Three things you wouldn't board a plane without?
A book, my laptop, and chapstick.
I’m dying to take a trip to…
The Mediterranean—the blue waters, crisp white walled communities, vibrant bougainvillea trees—it’s truly the colors that give me life!
Dogs or cats?
If you owned a restaurant, what food would it serve?
Mexican. Tacos and margs for life!
What skill would you like to master?
Don’t make me choose just one! Graphic design, photography, public speaking, baking!
Favorite book of all time?
Anne of Green Gables—still crushing on Gilbert!
Non-work related hobbies?
I love to dabble in photography, playing in the dirt (plants make me so happy), listening to Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton.
On my days off you can find me…
Snuggling my baby, baking, planting, or crafting valentines! Let’s be real, you all know I’m probably Netflixing in my sweats with my hubs.
If you catch me out and about I’m always wearing…
A baseball hat.
Want to see more from Ashlee? Check out her website signedsealeddeliveredevents.com!
Hero photo courtesy Abbie Takes Pictures