Today we meet Theodora (Tuly) Michailides, the President, Creative Director, and Lead Event Planner of Extraordinary Life Events LLC., a full-service wedding and event planning company that offers planning for couples and families who live extraordinary lives. After working with private and corporate clients as an architectural landscape designer, Theodora developed the concept for a full-service wedding planning company that offered planning for unique destination weddings, milestone life celebrations, and travel services. She delights in events that surprise guests with careful curation and events that tell the story of the people being celebrated. Read on to find out more about Theodora and how she and her team craft event experiences that are simply extraordinary.
What inspired you to enter the wedding industry?
For many years as an architectural landscape designer, I swooned over stunning wedding images of flowers and décor details. In 2015 our office manager was getting married and was a complete mess! She asked me to help her plan the wedding of her dreams. I realized I had found my calling. I was so happy that the skills I had mastered over twenty years could be used in the wedding industry. My background in art, design, floral arranging, project management, and my ability to turn my clients' dreams into realities would prove to be priceless. Watching my coworker and her fiancé relax and enjoy their wedding day gave me all the warm and fuzzy feelings. I joyfully decided to learn everything I needed to know about the wedding industry and build a new career and team of professionals.
What inspired you to start Extraordinary Life Events?
After much research and thought about the needs of today's couples, it was clear to me that I wanted Extraordinary Life Events to be able to do everything possible to make our couples' planning journey enjoyable and easy. For this reason, we have several coordinators, wedding officiates, an in-house floral division, and a travel and destination wedding division. We understand that every couple's needs are unique, and for this reason, we developed several levels of service packages. I'm continually inspired by the diversity of our couples and their wedding visions. I absolutely love collaborating and working with so many creative professionals to make their dreams come true!
If you could change one thing about the weddings and special events industry, what would it be?
I love the wedding industry, however, I'd love to see more weddings that are authentic to each couple and not some duplication of what they think they should be. I also feel there should more diversity of the couples, faiths, cultures, and wedding styles featured in the wedding industry media.
How does using Aisle Planner help you deliver the client experience you want to?
Our team loves using Aisle Planner to collaborate and communicate with our couples. Co-designing, planning, and producing our client's weddings and events is so much easier. The platform allows us to streamline our efforts, save time and offer our clients the tools and technology they need for us to produce seamless weddings.
What's your favorite Aisle Planner feature?
Deciding on a favorite Aisle Planner feature is difficult as they're all so important. Just the ability to keep tasks, communication, and ideas in one place has been so helpful.
What would you tell someone who's thinking about becoming a wedding and event planner?
If you're not a good listener, become one. Really understanding your couple's needs, fears, and desires is critical to being a great planner.
What do you think will change about the weddings and special events space over the next five years?
I believe more people will come to see the beauty in intimate ceremonies and celebrations with those who truly matter in their lives. We hope to see more personalization and meaningful décor.
What’s your personal philosophy on becoming a great wedding and event planner?
Becoming a great wedding planning requires ingenuity, patience, flexibility, compassion, empathy, and a reliable team of creative partners.
What lights your creative fire?
Our team's creative fire is always stoked with each new couple and their unique design challenges.
Is there anything you're particularly excited about working on this year?
We do our best to make the most of every situation and we're extremely excited to have the time during 2020 to improve back-office systems. I was particularly thrilled that our team was able to focus on building out our wedding and event floral division.
Just for fun
What’s the most used tool in your emergency kit?
Our bridal party emergency kit seems to grow each year, but I'd have to say the safety pins and band-aids are the most used items.
I’m dying to design a wedding or event in…
I'm dying to design a wedding on the grounds of a castle in Ireland, Italy, or Greece! There's something so magical about walking through the halls and courtyards where kings and queens danced and history was made. Many years ago, as a child, I was inspired by the art and architecture of Europe and long to do more weddings there.
What’s one trend you hope to see more of?
I hope to see more fabulous floral installations for ceremonies and receptions that leave guests in awe.
If you could go back in time, what’s one thing you would change about your wedding?
If I could go back in time, I would've enlisted more help and most definitely would've hired a coordinator. Of course, I planned and decorated my own wedding. If It wasn't for a friend showing up at our church early, I would've also done my own hair and makeup. She called her hairstylist who ran over and pampered me. I would've loved having someone communicate with my aunts and mothers.
During your time as a wedding and event professional, what’s the biggest mistake you made and how did you recover from it?
The biggest mistake I've ever made was getting wrapped up in helping the bride re-attach her 10-foot long vail and forgetting to hand the gorgeous bridal bouquet to her. Fortunately, the church only had the immediate family in attendance due to covid restrictions. I very slowly walked down the side aisle and handed the bouquet to the closest bridesmaid. She passed it to the maid of honor allowing the bride to hold it during the recession.
If a client gave you an infinite budget, what would you do differently?
Our design team absolutely loves it when money is not the deciding factor in creating a perfect wedding for our guests! I'd encourage them to invest more time in special touches, entertainment, and unforgettable experiences. We'd also love the chance to do a really incredible grand entrance display.
Hero photo courtesy of Alicia Ann Nelson Photography
Learn more about Theodora and Extraordinary Life Events at extraordinarylifeevents.com!