Leading the team of her namesake company, Shelli Armstrong Events, Shelli has been guiding countless clients and producing fabulous events for over 30 years. Shelli has successfully executed many events from weddings, showers, and birthday soirees, to team building events, philanthropic fundraisers, and corporate functions. Known for her attention to detail and gift for making clients comfortable, Shelli has established herself as the professional to call when you want a creative event handled with class and style. Having a calm demeanor provides an ease of mind, body, and soul benefiting all of Shelli's clients. Believing that the planning process should be just as fun of an experience as the event itself, Shelli brings an excitement to the table that's contagious to all her clients. This wife and mother, when not at the office, can be found poolside supporting her son's water polo or swim team, or at the dance studio watching her daughter do what she loves the most. Holidays are spent at home, hosting family and friends—which is Shelli's favorite thing above all!
What inspired you to enter the wedding industry?
My inspiration comes straight from my crazy inner drive to make things happen the best way possible, especially if someone tells me it can’t be done. As a high school leadership student, I was voted the Commissioner of Social Affairs for my class and student body, so for four years I learned how to plan and coordinate all student activities. At the time, I didn’t realize how much I was learning or that I would carry these skills into a field I'd learn to love. In the '80s, a “wedding coordinator” was a volunteer at the church who helped get the bridal party during the ceremony. I soon learned there was a market for more. I was asked by the mother of a friend to help with her wedding in late June of 1987, just weeks after graduating high school. After that, I was hooked. Balloons were the big décor item of the times, so that’s where my main focus held for about four years when I realized that I enjoyed the design and production side much more. I held miscellaneous jobs on the side to help support myself while growing a business in an industry that literally didn’t exist at the time. I soon realized that as long as I was part of the planning process, I was completely happy with trying to explain what a wedding and event planner was. I volunteered in my community as much as possible with not-for-profit groups and sporting organizations all while operating a small wedding planning business, trying to learn as much as possible about different types of events.
Why did you start Shelli Armstrong Events?
After my second child, I realized that I wanted to push forward with a career that enabled me to have the flexibility a working mom needs and run my business the way I needed it to run. I wanted to be in control of creating a business that ran on principals and integrity, which I'm very proud of.
If you could change one thing about the weddings and special events industry, what would it be?
Hoping this doesn’t come off the wrong way, but I think I’d change the amount of time spent on pictures and styled shoots and spend more time trying to educate clients on the importance of fundamentals of their event, not just making it pretty.
How does using Aisle Planner help you deliver the client experience you want to?
AP helps in so many ways! I love that by using AP together with my clients, it helps keep them focused on specific, time sensitive tasks, yet gives them the ability to play around with other tasks that may be more enjoyable to work on. It also helps hold them accountable when they're working on a project (like the guest list, addresses, seating charts), because they can be assigned deadlines. I love that everyone involved in the planning process is connected on one platform. Being able to personalize the budget and see it all together gives my clients an overview that helps keep them on track and realize from the beginning where they may need to cut back or add to. Having the contracts/invoices for all the contacts/vendors all in one place enables my clients to see everything at anytime—no searching through emails, and no panicked phone calls asking where something is or when it's due. It’s all just brilliant!
What's your favorite Aisle Planner feature?
I think my favorite is the Notes. Not only can I provide personalized templates and worksheets for myself for each event, but I give the client templates with personal tasks. I keep a note that has all communication during meetings and conversations as well so that the client can refer back to decisions or changes that were made. I also provide a "Homework Note" that my clients can review and see what tasks are needing their attention, or answers that I’m waiting for. I love that the client can look at any of the notes, and find the answer they're looking for if I’m unavailable. I’ve also realized that when a client looks at some of these notes I have, they realize how much work actually goes into the project.
If you weren't the Owner + Principal Planner/Designer of Shelli Armstrong Events, what would you be doing instead, or what would your life be like?
I think I would either be teaching or volunteering more.
What are three things you never show up without on event day?
1. Dr. Pepper (my lifeline since I don’t do coffee).
2. My Box of Trix (It has my scissors, tape, pins, glue gun, emergency kits, batteries, magnets, etc.)
3. Snacks for the vendor team (No one likes to work hungry!).
What’s your personal philosophy on becoming a great wedding and event planner?
Run your business with principals and integrity. Learn as much as you can about events as a whole, not just the fun part. Really listen to your clients and learn who they are because you’ve got one shot to get it right. And, know that you’re going to put in a lot more than you get back.
What’s your trademark in the client or event experience?
My attention to detail and how it affects the event as a whole and my loyalty. I have their backs from day one.
Is there anything you're particularly excited about working on this year?
There’s two in particular. I have a 90th birthday party that I’m working on with a family that I’ve worked with for 13 years. This woman is so special to so many people and I’m so blessed to be a part of their celebrations. The other is for a five year old, and we’re having lots of fun with the theme! Oh, and a wedding for a bride that I did her high school graduation for eight years ago. I love my event families!
Just for fun
Three things you wouldn't board a plane without?
Ear buds, a blanket, and socks. (I get really cold!)
I’m dying to take a trip to…
Ireland! It just seems so serene and incredibly romantic.
Dogs or cats?
If you owned a restaurant, what food would it serve?
Well, I’m not a good cook, so it'd have to be a bakery and I make a great Banana Nut Bread!
What skill would you like to master?
Baking more than just Banana Nut Bread for one, and probably graphic design.
What’s your go to casino game?
Slots! I don’t have to think about a single thing!
What song do you know every word to?
Champagne Supernova & Wonderwall by Oasis—and yes, I sing them out loud wherever I am if they come on the radio!
Favorite book of all time?
The Harry Potter series because of the times I spent reading them with my children.
Non-work related hobbies?
Music festivals, concerts, and snowboarding.
On my days off you can find me…
What’s a day off? I’m really bad at the work-life balance. Since my family and I moved a year ago, I spend my time split between my two locations, which results in lots of driving!
If you catch me out and about I’m always wearing…
Leggings, a flannel, and my chucks.
Want to see more from Shelli? Check out her website shelliarmstrong.com!