Wedding Coordinator / Planner
Main Office Location:
By Appointment Only
Chicago, Illinois 60607
While based in Chicago, An Urban Affair works with clients anywhere from LA to London.
With a genuine smile, great sense of humor and utmost care, Ellen Donaghy of An Urban Affair designs and coordinates chic, modern weddings based around your unique style and budget. She firmly believes your wedding should be fun and reflect who you are as a couple! She’ll totally organize the timelines and vendors so that on your big day, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy this momentous event without having to stress over the logistics.
An Urban Affair will customize a plan to suit your needs, whether it’s complete full-planning service, hands-on guidance or day-of coordination at its best. They specialize in all types of events, including weddings, civil unions, social events, birthdays, and anniversaries, and also offer specialized services for non-local couples planning a destination wedding in Chicago.
Packages start at $1550.
That "day of" means I’ll show up on the day of your wedding, stand in the corner and wait for you to ask me for help or give me instructions. “Day of” really starts weeks or months before the wedding, so that when the big day rolls around, I know that event inside and out and can execute it exactly the way the couple would—if they weren’t so busy enjoying their day!
I used to work in PR, where I represented clients who produced consumer goods at events. When the economy bottomed out and I was laid off, I decided to make the move into planning social events, so I started pursuing opportunities in wedding planning. I started at An Urban Affair as an intern; now I own the company.
What doesn’t inspire me? Films, art, music, fashion—the old Hollywood glamour of red lipstick, loud and glittering rock and roll, cutting-edge avant garde art, the quiet elegance of Audrey Hepburn and Coco Chanel or the riot of color in an Indian Holi festival, champagne and blini with caviar or beer and pretzels with mustard. Everything I’ve ever seen or heard and found interesting is catalogued away somewhere for me to draw upon when I need it.
A bride’s childhood friend wasn’t sure she was going to make it because her job had transferred her to Asia not long before the wedding. She flew from Sri Lanka, came directly to the ceremony from the airport and went directly back to the airport from the reception. The friend spent more time traveling than she did in Chicago, but the look on the bride’s face when she realized her friend was there made it worth the trip.
It’s the small moments, special touches, minor hurdles or looming catastrophes the couple laughs off.
Patience and diplomacy. The Irish may be known for their tempers, but weddings have definitely evened mine out!
Um, to hire me? Really, hiring a planner is the best gift you can give yourself because it enables you to share in the stress with someone who handles it every day and to enjoy your wedding knowing that you’re in the best possible hands. Meaning my hands.
One of my brides once asked if I was psychic because I seemed to be heading off catastrophes at every turn. I wish she were right!
Eclectic, quirky, open.
For me, quotes are like jokes: the more you hear them, the less funny they are. I don’t find people who can bring out a quote as their life’s inspiration to be particularly interesting. I’d rather be the inspiration and bring something new to the table than recycle something someone else thought of.
I’m still looking for Mr. Right, so I’m in no shape to give marital advice. I’ll get you through the wedding; after that, you’re on your own!
I’d love to write travel books. Someday I want a passport that comes in multiple volumes because there are so many stamps in it.
I’ve got two cats, Emma and Estella, both rescues. They’re named after heroines from Victorian literature—Emma from Jane Austen’s Emma and Estella from Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations.
- Downtown Chicago
- North Chicago Suburbs
- South/Southwest Chicago Suburbs
- West Chicago Suburbs
- And other areas by special arrangement.
“Ellen on the wedding day was a ROCKSTAR. She organized everyone—and we had a big, 200-person wedding with multiple spaces. She moved the guests to where they needed to be in a really nice way. I know it’s hard to herd a lot of people into different spaces, but Ellen did it in such a way that all our guests LOVED her. She was a bright spot in our wedding planning.”
“They absolutely worked within our budget and got us deals with vendors that actually saved us money!”
“Ellen, who is now a lifelong friend of mine, embraced my wedding planning almost like a member of the family. Her care and dedication to my wedding came through in everything that went into the day and translated into the perfect event!”
“Ellen was very easy to talk to, and I felt extremely comfortable coming to her with any requests or questions.”
“She quickly understood our concepts and tastes and made very good suggestions on how to achieve them.”
“She returned emails and phone calls in a very timely manner. She was incredibly reliable and I am so glad that we hired her. She put my mind at ease on many occasions.”
“I definitely feel like Ellen really did listen to each and every aspect of my day, and would offer all sorts of helpful tips without being overwhelming to me.”
“She takes her job very seriously and has a great team with her.”
“I think that everyone was incredibly well taken care of by Ellen and her team. There was always someone nearby whenever we needed something or had a question. I really did not worry about anything!!”
“Although I only hired her for day-of-coordination, she played a much larger role than just that. She was always available to me via email or phone and quick to answer any questions that I had.”
“The entire wedding day ran so smoothly thanks to her and I did not stress at all about any of my planned details coming together.”