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Member Spotlight: Shelly Fortune of Shelly Fortune Event Design

Photo courtesy Love the Renauds

Shelly Fortune Event Design believes in creating more than just a pretty space. Founder and Director of Events, Shelly Fortune, grew a strong team of women in Kentucky with a passion for building relationships. With their personal commitment and attention to detail, Shelly and her team create one-of-a-kind weddings and events in Lexington, Louisville, Cincinnati, and beyond!


What inspired you to enter the wedding industry?

The energy and passion from my friend and mentor, Thomas Bui. He planned my own wedding and then took me under his wing to teach me. His passion and desire for weddings really drove my own!

Why did you start Shelly Fortune Event Design?

I started working for Tom when I lived in San Diego. After I moved across the country to D.C. I decided to hit the ground running, start over, and make this my career. After a few more years, I found myself in Kentucky and doing it all again. Now this is really where I’m rooted. I’ve been away from my hometown for almost 20 years and this job has always brought me a sense of family in client relationships, which is something I really love.

If you could change one thing about the weddings and special events industry, what would it be?

I think it would be to shift some of the industry focus from the instagram photo-op to supporting and celebrating the actual marriage itself.

How does using Aisle Planner help you deliver the client experience you want to?

The fact that it allows us to streamline our process gives our clients a better experience overall. It also helps keep the families feeling more involved since they can access the information we store in AP from anywhere. Aisle Planner allows us to expand our reach and better serve our clients who live far away.

What is your favorite Aisle Planner feature?

The seating chart tool, 100%! It makes life so much easier and is a huge draw to our clients.

If you weren’t the owner and creative director at Shelly Fortune Event Design, what would you be doing instead, or what would your life be like?

I think I would still be involved in some sort of creative endeavor. I love the idea of experience focused businesses and could see myself creating something in that vein.

What are three things you never show up without on event day?

Lighters, timelines, and a peanut butter sandwich.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about starting their own planning and design company?

My advice would be to go and be taught by someone who’s on really solid footing and has a lot of experience. This is not always a glamorous job and should not be treated as a hobby. It really is a full time gig.

Is there anything you are particularly excited about working on this year?

Part of the joy of being in Kentucky is that we’re really excited to work on our Derby event again this year for our Triple Crown winning farm!

Just for fun

I’m dying to take a trip to…

I’d love to visit the Amalfi Coast! I spent time in Italy in college, but always wanted to go back and visit Amalfi. I loved the culture, the simplicity, and the environment of the Italian coast—plus the gelato!

If you owned a restaurant, what food would it serve?

Pizza, definitely! It can be suited to fit everyone’s needs and tastes.

What song do you know every word to?

Small Town by John Mellancamp.

Favorite book of all time?

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant.

On my days off you can find me…

Spending time with my two daughters or reading a book.

Want to see more from Shelly? Check out her website shellyfortune.com!

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