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An Urban Affair

Wedding Coordinator / Wedding Planner
Main Office Location:
By Appointment Only
Chicago, Illinois 60607
Contact: Ellen Donaghy
Phone: 312/944-9090
Service Area:

While based in Chicago, An Urban Affair works with clients anywhere from LA to London.

Services Offered

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.

Questions and Answers

What are the common misconceptions about your services?

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!

What drew you to this field/how did you get started?

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 are some sources of inspiration or influences on your work?

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.

Tell us about a favorite, unusual or very interesting moment at a wedding:

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.

What makes a wedding memorable for you?

It’s the small moments, special touches, minor hurdles or looming catastrophes the couple laughs off.

What have weddings taught you?

Patience and diplomacy. The Irish may be known for their tempers, but weddings have definitely evened mine out!

What is the best advice you give a couple when planning their wedding?

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.

If you could have any superpower on the job, what would it be?

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!

What are 3 words that describe your personality?

Eclectic, quirky, open.

What's your favorite quote?

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.

What's your favorite marriage advice?

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!

If you weren't in your current profession, what would you do instead?

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.

Tell us about your pets, if you have any.

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.

An Urban Affair Covers These Areas:

  • Illinois
    • Downtown Chicago
    • North Chicago Suburbs / Schaumburg / Evanston
    • South/Southwest Chicago Suburbs
    • West Chicago Suburbs / Naperville
  • And other areas by special arrangement.
(What's this?)
This is a list of the areas that An Urban Affair normally serves. However, be sure to ask them if they'll be able to work at your particular location.

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