Mention the name Ellen Fox around town, and someone either knows her, has done business with her or is related to her. As the owner of ShaFox Weddings & Events, she is seemingly everywhere, never tiring of her job, thanks to her boundless energy. This former University of Louisville Ladybird is just the person you need when you are planning an event, as she puts all her passion and pride behind every detail. Her energy is so infectious that we’ll end this introduction with her quote “Who’s ready to get married!?” Welcome today’s FACE of Louisville, Ellen Fox!
You went from group sales at Kentucky Kingdom to planning weddings and events. Tell us about how you made this transition.
Event planning is the only career I’ve had since graduating college. No day is ever the same, and each event has its own style and significance. I began work in group sales at Kentucky Kingdom after completing an internship with the company. That experience opened doors for me to transition to hotels, followed by opening and developing the entire event sales program at Jillian’s Entertainment Complex, ending with stints as sales manager and director at two casinos. With each move, I grew professionally. I earned the designation of Certified Meeting Professional and Professional Bridal Consultant. I served on numerous boards, most notably as president of the Kentucky Bluegrass Chapter of Meeting Professionals International. I was at a point in my life where I was ready to start my own event planning business. If I fell flat on my face, I could always get a job in the industry once again. Well, that was 12 years ago, and I still don’t need a job yet.
Why do you love weddings so much?
Because they are so magical and fun! I am personally responsible for making sure so many people have the best day of their lives. That responsibility is so profound and incredibly rewarding. To this day, I still get emotional at every wedding. Not “tears” emotional, but overwhelming pride and joy, filled with excitement. I’m still amazed that this is my job. Thinking about it gets me so excited … who’s ready to get married?
What is some advice that you could give brides who are planning their weddings right now?
Brides need to cherish every moment of this special time in their lives. The wedding planning, and especially the wedding day, will fly by in a flash. Stress will do nothing but rob you of that joy and experience for yourself and your loved ones. There will be no regrets. Don’t compare your wedding to others, and make sure to take mental snapshots of small, special moments along the way.
Did you plan your own wedding?
I did mostly, but was smart enough to hire a wedding coordinator. I knew from experience all the logistics involved, so hiring a professional to handle vendors, move people, get us down the aisle, especially for 450 people, was a must. My parents and I wanted to enjoy the day and not “work or worry.” Still, to this day, it was the best day of my life!
What is the hardest part of your job? And what is the easiest?
I have to be perfect 100 percent of the time. There are no re-dos or second chances in my business. My clients trust me to handle every single detail of their day without error. We only get to do this once, so it better be perfect, or at least perfect in the eyes of the client. That is no easy task to pull off, which is why the pressure is always so great. The easiest part of my job … having fun! I love what I do. I plan parties, and really good ones for that matter. If I’m not having fun, my guests won’t either.
Give us a peek at your agenda. What’s a typical day or week like for you?
Never, ever the same, and that’s why it is so exciting. I might start my week thinking I’m going to check off my to-do lists, then the phone rings, and before you know it, I’ve booked a new piece of business that is one month away and I have to reprioritize. I plan both social and corporate events, so when my clients call, I’m off planning. Emails, texts, timelines, contracts, logistics, floor plans, linens, colors, stationery, florals, invoices, etc., etc., all for about 20 events at a time. I juggle lots of events. When one is over, a new one begins. I am very blessed.
What advice do you treasure?
Not sure if it’s advice, but a reality check for any entrepreneur, especially one raising three kids. My dad always says, ”It’s only money — make more.”
Fill in the blank. You’ll never see me without ______________.
My toes painted or some kind of lipstick on
Where can we find you hanging out around town?
Mostly at fabulous wedding locations around town. Personally, I’m in the stage of my life where kids’ after-school activities run my life. You will see me at basketball, soccer and volleyball games. Then there’s Kroger, of course, and occasionally my husband and I will sneak away for a date night.
Favorite thing to do in Louisville?
Go to UofL football games. I LOVE football! Go Cards!
Night owl or early bird? What do you do during that quiet time?
Both. I’m an early bird because I have to get kiddos off to school, and I’m a night owl because most of my events end in the wee hours of the morning. Who needs sleep anyway? There is a quote, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” Guess that’s me. I love Candy Crush! I have reached the end five times. It is my escape from everything. I also love to binge watch shows on HBO and Netflix. April can’t get here soon enough … I can’t wait for “Game of Thrones,” “Veep” and “Silicon Valley.”
Tell us some of your favorite local restaurants.
Brix Wine Bar and Del Frisco’s. Brix is a quaint neighborhood wine bar and restaurant close to my house with delicious cuisine and fantastic service. Del Frisco’s, because I swear their steaks are cooked by angels. They are THE best in town. I also love The Village Anchor. That atmosphere is most enjoyable.
What’s on your personal reading list right now?
Mostly blogs and Facebook. I don’t read books. If it’s a good book/story, I’ll eventually see it at the movies.
Lightning Round! Give us your:
Candy or junk food splurge: Twix Candy Bars
Guilty pleasure song: Anything Bon Jovi or Poison
Tearjerker movie pick: Because I have young kids, Toy Story 3. I cried so hard in that movie I couldn’t catch my breath.
Standby nail polish color: Clear gels on my hands and always red on my toes
Favorite cocktail: Korbel Sweet Rose Champagne
Cartoon alter-ego: Wonder Woman! A title deserving of any working mom with three kids.
What are three of your favorite things right now, besides faith, family and friends?
I am getting ready to redesign my kitchen and family room. The fantasies I have and the reality of what I can do aren’t cooperating right now. Darn my expensive taste and Pinterest. Guess I need to listen to Dad … make more money – ha!
Knowing spring break is right around the corner, and I am planning a surprise for my family — shhhhhh.
As for work, I am planning the most luxurious destination wedding in Miami, FL, to be held at Vizcaya Museum & Gardens. Google it – it’s amazing! This is the second daughter in the family to get married, and I’m thoroughly enjoying working with them once again.
Thank you Ellen and thank you to Adele Reding for her beautiful photography.
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