We're Elevate

What started as a side hustle for two creative, driven sisters has now become one of the Midwest’s premier event planning and design firms. At Elevate, we find pure, unbridled joy in celebrating all aspects of life - big moments, small gatherings and anything in between.

Elevate Exclusive: 2015 FAQ’s

While we were hanging out with our family and friends over the holidays, we had a funny revelation: a whole lot of you have expressed some major interest in our company and were consistently asking how our first season in business went; so we thought: why not put it all out there in a Q&A format to get everybody caught up!? Below you will find a series of the frequently asked questions asked of us regarding our first year as Elevate Events, year 2015, and our lives as business owners in general.

Before we begin, however, we just want to say THANK YOU, so so so much. THANK YOU to our family, friends, readers, subscribers, friendors, and clients. We truly appreciate all of your love, support and assistance in making our first year such a success – 2015 was one heck of a year!

So, how was your first season?

Our first season as Elevate Events can only be described in one word: unbelievable. We couldn’t believe how scary yet rewarding it was to open our business, how busy we were maintaining said business and bringing in new clients, how friendly and helpful the Madison wedding community was to newcomers like us, and how absolutely lovely our clients were. Basically, our first season was off-the-charts awesome. 

Are you hoping for more weddings this year?

In 2015, we did a total of eight weddings – not too bad for the first year, we’d say! That being said, a typical “busy” season for full-time coordinators could mean doing anywhere from 25-35 weddings, and that’s only from May to October!! While we hope to pick up a few more than eight weddings this season, we most certainly could not handle the “typical” amount, given our day jobs and our desire to follow the #lessworkmorelife mantra. Either way, it’s not about the numbers – our goal is to get to know our clients, provide them with a positive planning experience and beautiful event, and put our best efforts toward creating their perfect day, not churn out wedding after wedding. 

Are you doing anything other than weddings in 2016?

Great question! We named our company Elevate Events with the purpose of including all events, not just weddings, in our list of abilities. While we’re pretty sure weddings will continually make up most of what we do, we’ve already been presented with the opportunity to organize and style an upcoming workshop/retreat for photographers, and were asked to assist with the coordination and planning of a 50th Anniversary Celebration for the Children’s Theater of Madison! Both super exciting and very different events! (Check out the plans for the retreat here!)

What are these “styled shoots” I keep seeing, and why do you do them?

Our best description of a styled shoot is a fake wedding. In actuality, no one is getting married, no one is reciting vows or giving a speech, and a lot of the time, our “wedding party” hardly knows each other until we begin shooting! It all sounds rather silly when you think about it. However, because we were new to the industry and wanted to showcase our styling abilities, get to know other vendors in the area and build our portfolio, we chose to do quite a few styled shoots last year to flex our creative muscles and end up with some amazing photos. We also worked really hard on these shoots in the hope that we could be featured in some pretty major wedding blogs (which happened – yay!) to bolster our “street cred” and also get the word out about our company. We LOVE, LOVE, LOVE doing styled shoots, but are ultimately planning to pare down the number we do this year, since we hope to focus our energy on our clients rather than fake brides. 🙂

When are you going to quit your full-time jobs?

Our answer today is very different than our answer would have been nearly one year ago. At this very moment, we doubt that we will ever quit our full-time jobs. Keeping Elevate Events as our second career ensures that it remains a passion of ours, rather than a way to pay the bills. It also means that we can take fewer, higher quality events and really focus our attention on those clients. Don’t get us wrong, we totally understand and respect why wedding industry folk do what they do full-time, but for us, it’s just not in the cards at the moment. 

What was the most important thing you learned last year?

Less work, more life. Back to the issue of working two jobs: it is SO. MUCH. WORK. Work all the time. We could come home from work and work through the night until it’s time to go back to work if we wanted to. So much work. BUT, we don’t want it to consume us. We simply won’t let it! The reason we started this company in the first place was to pursue our passion for creating beautiful, meaningful events, but if we allow our lives to be consumed by it, it is no longer our passion, and that just makes us sad. In order to stay true to ourselves and our passion, then, we must do what we have to to keep living and not always be working. We still sign up for races. We still go hiking on the weekends and sip coffee with our dudes when we could be answering emails, because ultimately, it makes us better at being Elevate. 

What was your favorite part about 2015?

Honestly, our favorite part about 2015 was the people! Right after we launched, we made a HUGE grassroots effort to set up meetings, coffee dates and happy hours with as many industry folk as we could – after all, they couldn’t refer us clients if they didn’t know who we were, right!? Little did we know that some of those people would end up being our friends, confidants, texting buddies and mentors, and contacts for many, many years, we’re sure! Also, our clients. Our lovely, wonderful clients. At the end of the summer we felt like the luckiest little pair to have had the opportunity to befriend sixteen beautiful people. We love you guys!  

Photo by:  Dani Stephenson
Photo by: Dani Stephenson