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April 27, 2022

Beyond The Elegant White Dress to Colorful Multicultural Weddings

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This episode is all about cultural weddings! Tune in as co-hosts Kristina, Mike and Sharon talk with special guest, Ellen Fox of ShaFox Weddings & Events, about the colorfulness, grandeur and traditions behind cultural weddings that go way beyond the traditional American bouquet toss and bride in an elegant white dress. Listen in to understand all that goes into coordinating, who does the planning and all the things that make these events so special.

Ellen is a talented designer, an exceedingly organized leader, and extremely passionate about perfection.  She orchestrates detailed "behind the scenes" event execution, allowing clients and vendors an enjoyable and rewarding event experiences.  For more than 20 years, Ellen has been a leader in the hospitality industry serving on several boards, including past president of the Kentucky Bluegrass Chapter of Meeting Professionals International. Her relatability, innovative designs, and confident yet calming approach consistently produce events that amaze.

• [2:48] Ellen shares about the work and education that led her to this line of work. 
• [3:48] Ellen discusses wearing all the hats as a business owner… 
• [6:29] Ellen talks about getting immersed in her client’s culture to truly understand their wants and needs for their wedding. 
• [14:31] “Some of the things that I tell my clients all the time, is we only get to do this once. So, let's do it right.”

For more information on The Ring The Bling And All The Things Podcast, visit:

Kristina Stubblefield
Coaching & consulting:

The Ring The Bling And All The Things Community Platform:

Michael Gaddie

Sharon Rumsey

Guest Information

Ellen Fox


Sharon Rumsey  0:00  
Who you gonna call when you want to learn more about cultural weddings, traditions and the stories behind those traditions?

Kristina Stubblefield  0:07  
We have the answer. We called Ellen Fox with ShaFox weddings and events to help us understand all that goes into planning cultural based events and fusion weddings.

Michael Gaddie  0:17  
Take a lesson as we dive into the things that make these events so special.

Kristina Stubblefield  0:23  
You're listening to The Ring The Bling And All The things podcast. I'm Kristina Stubblefield, one of your hosts, along with my two good friends Michael Gaddie and Sharon Rumsey. We are here to get you from down on one knee down the aisle into happily ever after. Our informative episodes deliver valuable tips, trends, ideas, and advice covering everything from you saying yes to the i do's and all that happens in between the end after now let's get started with this episode.

Sharon Rumsey  1:03  
Ring The Bling family today is really, really a special episode for me. We have a guest on today that I have looked up to and followed since before I plan my first wedding when I was still deciding to whether I even wanted to dip my toe in the wedding pool. She's just an amazing event planner. She's an amazing person. We are so excited today, to have the experience and the knowledge of Ellen Fox, the owner and lead planner at ShaFox Weddings & Events with us, too. We're going to talk today about some different cultural weddings because Ellen is that's her jam. She's really really good at that. And we I'm got my notebook out and I am ready to learn.

Kristina Stubblefield  1:44  
Ellen, thank you so much for coming on and being a guest.

Ellen Fox  1:47  
Thank you. 

Kristina Stubblefield  1:48  
Truth be told, we've asked Ellen for about a year to be a guest. And finally, she's in the studio mic. I don't know if we're gonna get word in after this. Anything you want to say?

Michael Gaddie  2:02  
Thank you for being here. And I'm excited to hear about all the information that she's going to give us today. Because this is something that I don't really do a lot of either. And I'm just anxious to learn. So I've got my notebook ready to

Sharon Rumsey  2:17  
go. I also think it's crazy interesting. I was doing some research last night preparing for Ellen to come. And just looking at some of the different cultures and wedding traditions that they celebrate. And I mean, I was reading for like a long time

Kristina Stubblefield  2:29  
last night was so before we take off with this, can Ellen introduce herself? Oh, sure. Ellen, tell our audience a little bit about you. I know you've been doing this for a long time, and a lot of people look up to you. So just share with our audience.

Ellen Fox  2:44  
QA, Sharon, thank you,

Sharon Rumsey  2:45  
you are very welcome, very kind.

Ellen Fox  2:48  
I feel like that comes because of the hard work I've done over all the years. And it's nice to see other professionals appreciate the work that I've put in than doing this over 20 years. Now, this is the only thing I've ever done. So in college, I went to school for this. I worked for corporate America. And I always worked on a commission basis. And I would end up being really good and make more money for my bosses, and they would constantly keep changing my commission structures. And after a while I decided, You know what, I'm going to just kind of go do this on my own. And I did and I said, Well, if I fail, I can always go back in the industry. Well, again, that's been over 20 years. So so far, it's worked out well for me.

Kristina Stubblefield  3:29  
To you. Yeah, I think there's people that listen or want to get in the wedding business or just work for themselves. And they don't always take that leap. So kudos.

Ellen Fox  3:40  
And that's what's hard about being having your own businesses that you're not just an event planner, I'm also the business manager, the marketing, the accountant, their social media guys have, it's all the different hats that they wear. But the best part about the wedding planning is the families and getting to experience all the different fun things. So we're talking about cultural weddings. And I'm kind of a history buff. I love to write history shows, I love to see like how things happened, why the world operates, you know, different things like that. And cultural weddings is actually a really good example of that because what they're doing in these events, regardless of what it is, is they're passing down traditions that happened 10s of 1000s of years ago. So you're talking from many of the cultural weddings I do, we you talk about they have, it's always food. Okay, so food is always a big part of it, the dancing and these traditions that they've done over time, and all they want is when you meet with them, they want to share those traditions with you. They want you to learn about their culture, and they're all completely different. So then for you, it's for us. For me, it's like a learning lesson. I get to sit back and they teach me what their traditions are. I am not an expert. and Indian weddings are, you know, Muslim weddings or I'm not. But I've done several of those events before because I've listened to my clients, and I've let them teach me. And then that's made me for better or worse, you know, a, what you all think, as an expert in planning, but it's really special. And it's not just the families that want you to get to learn the culture. It's all the guests that attend to. So they'll come up to you throughout the whole time. And they'll say, Well, what did you think about this? And how did you think about that, and this is how we do our cultural. So it's really just kind of a learning lesson. And after you do it so many times, you start to realize, just like regular weddings that we plan, they all have the same elements, every single wedding, even though they're all different, they all have the same elements. And then you learn what those different ones are, when you're trying to execute at an event. I love

Sharon Rumsey  5:55  
the inclusivity you just described where they're happy to share with you their culture, and you're happy to learn. I love that. I think that's the way it should be.

Michael Gaddie  6:05  
Well, like how you said to that, you don't know every little step of it, and you learn with them. Because just like I was telling you earlier, you know, yes, I'm getting into these different weddings. And I don't feel like I'm educated enough to talk their language in a way. But just like what you were saying, you really don't know. But you have learned from them over the years.

Ellen Fox  6:29  
And I think that's being upfront is with them. So if you have a client that's going to approach you for the first time, don't be afraid to say you know what, I don't know. But I'm willing to learn. So teach me and share with me your culture and their eyes, their body language, they respect that they want you to embrace, and they want you to get immersed in their culture and truly learn it and understand it. I mean, so much. So as they want you to dress like them. They want you to participate in things with them, they they start to bring you on board almost as if your family and that's really how they treat each other that's so special to you that it's just different. It's just a whole different element. In I've got lots of new little things that I've done, and I've learned, we went through it and I kind of made a list of when I was asked to come out of all the different weddings and I'll kind of go down the list I've done North Indian, South Indian, Christian, Indian, Pakistani, Muslim, Chinese, Korean, Jewish, Armenian, Turkish, Syrian, Lebanese, Nigerian, African, Iranian, Greek Orthodox and polish. I could just remember, I have

Kristina Stubblefield  7:36  
a question about that. We're based out of Louisville, Kentucky, southern Indiana area, as though have those events been in the Louisville, Kentucky every single one of them are here. And I think that's the thing I said to you, when you first came in, as I've learned how many cultural events, different cultural weddings and events happen right here in our community that I don't necessarily know that people realize

Ellen Fox  8:02  
there's tons of them. And it's they are all over. And then a lot of the people that grew up here that might move out of state, they all want to come back and get married back in state. So there's a lot of my clients who leave Louisville, they go pursue their professional degrees. But when it comes to getting married, they want to be back in their hometown. And it's because they want the community to all attend. So their community events, it's not just the family's immediate families. You know, most weddings people say, ma'am, maybe it's between 102 100 people. These are not these are grand events, that where the whole entire community is actually invited.

Kristina Stubblefield  8:47  
So about I mean, on, how about how many people are we talking? I mean, these events, I'm sure it's all over the place. But you said grand events, like upwards to how many guests,

Ellen Fox  8:58  
so the largest I've ever had was 650. That was the largest. Most of them are running about between three and 500 tends to be the average. So they're big events. A lot of them is because they have a lot of family. In some cases, some of it is that it's they invite their entire community that they go to church with or tempo with, or synagogue or whatever, and all those people actually invited. So that's why the numbers on those events are one thing

Michael Gaddie  9:28  
with your events, too. It's not just a one single event that such as the wedding. You're having days before events, Day of day after, isn't it almost like a weekend type thing or maybe a four day there are

Ellen Fox  9:43  
always three days no doubt about it. So when I book when I booked these events, first of all, I make sure I'm the lead but then I have a large team behind me because I can't do it. So at these events I am I need to be visible the whole time. So I Really can't be leaving the space or whatever, because everyone comes up to me, the, the aunts, the uncles, the cousins, they all I'm their go to person, and then I send my staff off to run the many errands that they requested the time. So

Kristina Stubblefield  10:16  
you need to be there as part of the event, basically, to

Ellen Fox  10:21  
fire him visible the entire time. So then I've got staff that does. So I mean, not that I am not one that does setup and stuff like that I do. But at those events, I am very visible in the space, so they have easy access for me to whatever it is that I need, you

Sharon Rumsey  10:35  
definitely have to increase the amount of people on your team,

Ellen Fox  10:38  
you have to have way more people, I have at least three to four, on every single one just takes that money. And just

Sharon Rumsey  10:45  
from a planner standpoint, when I hear you talking about these guests counts, I'm assuming you're very limited in what venues you can do.

Ellen Fox  10:52  
So that's another thing. So we are limited in our space. So there is only so much space that we can do. And we have to be able to have events where he can do multiple days. So we are in a lot of this, of these events are all determined based on capacity, and what we can do what we can't do. So some of the places will repeat, you know, locations. But then sometimes, you know, they're they're starting to, you know, the further you get away from your home country or whatever, certain traditions start to fade away. And so I find it even from like about 10 years ago till now that they're starting to drop some of the traditions they always did. Because the it's easier to accommodate. It might be accommodate the budget might be to accommodate the venue that they want. So they start to slowly but surely start will for lack of a better term, Americanize their weddings, just out of necessity. So we just have to you were flexible with that based on what their need does. And a lot of the time when I'm planning these weddings, it's not necessarily with the couples with the mothers. So that's a different perspective. Like sometimes I won't even get to meet the couple. Wow, yeah, so some of that might be one time they come in, and we get some things done. And a lot of the time it's I'm working with the mothers throughout this process, which That in itself is wonderful, because then they're the caregiver. They're the one that their reputation, they're the one that you have to make sure it looks really good during the event. And so they're really good about champion me being like, oh, Ellen, you're gonna do you know, this teaching me different things. And, and I know, you'll be great at that, you know, they encouraged me as much as I am there to support them. So it's a different experience, which is

Michael Gaddie  12:39  
well, I have noticed that I did one in January, not January is December with you. And I've got another one coming up in June. And I've never met the bride or the groom. I mean, it's it's Mom and Dad, it is mom and and they're so easy to talk to. And it just but it's different than American because I'm used to sitting there talking to the bride and the bride telling me what she wants. It's not like that at all. I don't know what that's like all of them all the weddings that you do. But I mean, I just felt like that's their planning this event for her almost like a gift. And I think that's special.

Kristina Stubblefield  13:16  
So a question about that. Does the couple at all, no, any of the plans? Or is it a surprise? Or do they just find out during the event? Or they let in on anything? I know, they may not be at the meetings, but I was just curious about that. So they

Ellen Fox  13:30  
know because they talk to the parents and we'll have conversations stuff. So they know. And a lot of times in the planning process, I'll find out what are your expectations? What do you want. So tell me some things that are important to you that you guys want to, you know, see from the day. And I'll kind of make notes and stuff about what that is. But they do know what's going on. But it's just a little bit different. Like they just trust their mothers, they trust their aunts, they trust the decision makers, they don't have to be in control. They like that somebody takes that off their

Kristina Stubblefield  14:04  
plate. And it's that's been passed down from generations and

Ellen Fox  14:07  
generations, it's passed down. So it's where the parents are very much involved. And what they want is to throw an amazing event for their children.

Sharon Rumsey  14:17  
And what I what I can imagine, too, is that maybe those couples are less stressed, because they're not having to make every decision and do everything on their own. And they have the support of their parents so they can really enjoy wedding planning.

Ellen Fox  14:31  
Well, and some of the things that I tell my clients all the time, is we only get to do this once. So let's do it right. And let's have fun when we do it. There's no need to stress out about it. And maybe that's a little bit of where it is, too is that the parents look at it more as I don't know if it's not necessarily coming of age, but it's just how it's done. Right. You know, and it really is with almost all of these cultures that I mentioned that it's saw, you know, some are more like I have a Korean wedding coming up and the bride has been very involved in the planning. What's kind of fun with that is we're doing, we've got dancers coming in. So ever these cultural weddings is all around food. And it's all around the dance. And so now this one has Chinese dancers 16 Chinese dancers coming in, it's going to do some big performance and Korean into the room. So it's like those things are like completely different than you would see at other events. We talked about the Indian weddings where they have their multiple days events, where they have, depending on what part of the country you're either going to have a sun gate was just kind of like the rehearsal dinner for American or the Mende, which is we do with the Muslim culture, then you have the wedding day. And sometimes the ceremony is in the morning, the reception is at night, there's all sorts of different, they're never the same. And then they always have an event, or sometimes even there's an event on Thursday night, and then there's a brunch on Sunday. So it can be a four day event.

Sharon Rumsey  16:02  
Those events have those large guest counts as well, every single one, holy moly,

Kristina Stubblefield  16:07  
they're in for the whole duration of it. Right. It's

Ellen Fox  16:09  
they they know they've got family coming in town. That's why a lot of times we'll send out invitations way in advance for those so that some of the family member overseas can get their visas to come in.

Kristina Stubblefield  16:21  
That's what I was going to ask How about how long is the planning process for those types of events?

Ellen Fox  16:26  
Oh, those are always where I would say we're always about a year out for those events. Sometimes they're shorter. You know, sometimes it just depends. A lot of these clients are in residency, and they're getting matched on where they're going to be placed to work. So some of this is around like when they're going to be taken their boards or other people are taking they're just they're all working professionals. And so a lot of this is determined based on

Michael Gaddie  16:50  
we kind of talked on this on another episode. But so when you're dealing with a an event like this, that has four days, how far out in advance, do they send out invitations?

Ellen Fox  17:02  
So we try to send out some of those actually, we send about three or four months ahead of time due to the travel due to the travel. So those but those are sent out to the ones that are coming from overseas than the ones locally, we're at about two months. Not too much different than American weddings. But Now recently I've been having a send out even our regular weddings in advance. Normally it was that 68 time period, and we're going about 10 to 12 weeks. I do 10 Yeah, so people have time to prepare for travel is what it is. Well and mail has was yes, the

Kristina Stubblefield  17:34  
delay but I was gonna delay the mail lately. That's interesting about when you have peace, so many people coming in from out of town and coordinating that and people are not just far out of town just overseas. So that's what I'm in overseas with visas and everything that's gotta be notified. Of course,

Sharon Rumsey  17:52  
I actually got to be a wedding guest at an Indian wedding. You know, my backgrounds in health care. And one of the doctors that I used to work with invited me to her wedding. And she was the dresses that she wore, I mean, she changed. I went to two of the events that she had. And I mean the jewelry and the it was just amazing. Can you share a little bit about that like what the bride traditionally wears and maybe an Indian wedding?

Ellen Fox  18:17  
Yeah, so each of them are slightly different but it is. They're very elaborate gowns, most of them are made overseas. There are a couple of places here locally, some of my brides have gotten some stuff out of Chicago, and New York but for the most part those the gowns come from overseas. The thing is, is on when where I am doing scheduling for those weddings, they actually have an an aunt or they hire somebody that helps dress the wedding party. So they have someone with their tradition and every dancer so they will actually have where they've got hair and makeup just for certain family members and they have hair and makeup for other family members and then somebody is actually on site there to dress everyone because it takes a very long time to dress and every culture so the jewelry that they wear it has meaning and has purpose so summer you've seen where they wear the nose rings and Sam are you seeing they have the bracelets and they have the bangles and each of them there's a meaning behind that for each of the different cultures. But yeah, just getting ready for the day is ours a punch so normally you schedule 45 minutes to an hour for someone to get hair and makeup. That's not the case for these it takes a lot more time just to get the veils on their heads and penned on and stuff all of that takes

Michael Gaddie  19:36  
what culture is it that they that they do that design on?

Ellen Fox  19:40  
So yeah, so that is it's the Indians, the Pakistanis, the Muslims so it's all Yeah, so each of them do different.

Michael Gaddie  19:48  
Does that mean something is or a certain design for something that means something? I mean, I think that's fascinating what they do it does

Ellen Fox  19:55  
and I don't know what it is I do. That's one of those I know had to plan it wedding day or no, that's done in advance because it does need time to set and then they have to clean their hands and stuff. So that is actually done in advance. Once they do it, it lasts a long time. But I think now

Kristina Stubblefield  20:12  
see you just taught me something I did not know it last for a while. Yeah,

Ellen Fox  20:15  
they actually just sit there. So this isn't usually only the ladies are together. And she sits there for hours upon hours upon hours as it's done, especially if there's ones that are done on the hands and the feet. That is typically where it's done. So it takes a long time to do that. Hannah.

Sharon Rumsey  20:30  
I was the doctor that I was just talking about that. I was so blessed to get to be a part of her wedding. She got married, went on her honeymoon and came back and I remember scrubbing next next to her. She was a surgeon. And we were at the scrub sink and it was still on her hand. I'm like, Man, is that stuff ever gonna go away? And

Ellen Fox  20:47  
she goes, Well, then it takes a long time. Yeah, no,

Kristina Stubblefield  20:49  
I know that. That's interesting when you were talking about their jewelry and everything. Is that something and if you don't know this, it's fine. But I was just popped in my head is that passed down like

Ellen Fox  20:59  
it is so a lot of the pieces are all passed down. Okay, and so when you see the jewels, that's another part that's pretty fascinating. When you see the jewels, those are real jewels, they are not costume pieces. So they're real diamonds, real emeralds. Real Ruby, it's beautiful to see that that it's the real stuff real gold tend

Sharon Rumsey  21:19  
to think of maybe her great grandma and grandma wore that. And maybe her daughter is going to wear it someday. I love

Ellen Fox  21:25  
her. Those are all pieces. Yeah, they'll they'll bring them out of their special jewelry boxes. And it's all wrapped up real nice. And yeah, those pieces are pretty spectacular.

Sharon Rumsey  21:35  
Well, that in itself is kind of a moment

Ellen Fox  21:36  
for it is it is.

Michael Gaddie  21:38  
So when it comes to the gowns that they wear, I mean, I know they're bright, usually bright colors, yellow, red, green, whatever. Does those colors mean something? Or is it something this just like, they pick out a gown and it's happened to be that color, not

Ellen Fox  21:51  
seven, just pick it out based on what they want. So they'll have a different outfit for the Sangeet over the Mende than they will for the wedding day. So it just depends. So it's several different gowns that they wear. Some are more formal, some are glass, it just depends. So there's really no yeah, I've seen him wear many different.

Kristina Stubblefield  22:11  
Yeah, one of my biggest takeaways, that I guess I had never really thought of it. I've never been blessed to attend one of these weddings is the traditions, the the just things passed down from generations. I mean, that is something I didn't even I guess I wouldn't really realize or know about since I've never been involved in those.

Ellen Fox  22:32  
Correct? Well, if you're a guest attending one of these weddings, it's amazing. Because it's nothing you've ever seen before. I was just like, Whoa, yeah, no fun. And it's so exciting. It's so different. I mean, here's here's a great example of something that I didn't know. So about a year ago, I did a Nigerian wedding, and it's Christian. So we're at church, and then they kept talking about this part of the offertory. And I'm like, okay, yeah, you know, the whatever you give your money. No, it was not that. They play this amazing music, and everyone parades up to with their money, and they dance and they're clapping, and they're giving this money to the church. And it's this big, huge production. Like it was amazing. So it's like, you know, at our church, we just pass around the basket, and yeah, put your money in it. And this was like a showcase,

Sharon Rumsey  23:22  
we have an app.

Ellen Fox  23:26  
But that was such a big part of their culture. Another thing I've kind of learned over the years to you know how we had the dollar dance, whatever. I mean, we don't really do that much anymore. Well, that is actually a tradition. That is a Polish tradition did not know that until I got planning a Polish wedding, that that's actually a tradition to do the dollar dance with the couples. Back to this Nigerian wedding, they call it spraying, where you get to come up, you dance with the bride, and you shower her with money. So you're there literally it's like, you know how we go make it rain and you take the bills, and that's what they're doing. And they're like, oh my goodness, wearing money and it's just dropping down on the floor. And they're just and I'm going with, oh my gosh, like, what is happening here. So it's a it's just stuff like that, like things that we just think is but there's meaning behind

Sharon Rumsey  24:19  
remember the the wedding I was talking about, again with the doctor, she's still my friend. I'm gonna have to tell her listen to this episode, talking about her wedding so much, but I have never felt more embraced by a family. They knew that I didn't know any of the stuff going on. And you know, I was just a guest I worked with her but I felt so loved by that family. They meant you know, they kept going to GE did you, you know, get drank, you know, like, I loved it. I didn't want to leave. It was just the most amazing feeling of love in that room.

Ellen Fox  24:53  
They're very inclusive.

Kristina Stubblefield  24:55  
I was gonna say you said that Sharon at the beginning of filming that it's and that's a lot of people to feel included, when you say those kind of numbers that just goes to show about those relationships. And this family and culture like I'm fascinated by this. Yeah.

Ellen Fox  25:12  
Well, it's that's why I say so I'm always visible in the room. So when they come up and then so I've done this for a while. So they'll always say, Well, this wedding or that wedding and stuff, and they'll always have mentioned the food. Ellen, have you eaten? Have you eaten, and like, now, I'll have time later to eat. They're like, please make sure you eat, please make sure you eat like it's all about the food they want. Even though I'm hired that day to work, they still are like, please have fun playing. Right? So it is.

Michael Gaddie  25:38  
Alright, so that's nice. That's really nice.

Ellen Fox  25:42  
It is complete. Yeah.

Michael Gaddie  25:43  
So let me ask you this, Ellen. So I know you plan stuff. But I mean, and I know you're a designer. So when it comes to the design part of it, do you actually plan? What the whole event is going to look like? Or do they bring you ideas? Or is that your job to come up with? Hey, why don't we do this? Why don't we do this? Why don't we have draping here?

Ellen Fox  26:04  
It's a collaborative effort. So they have an idea of like, what they want. And then a lot of my role is spatial. So how's it going to fit? How's it gonna lay out best into the room? What's the easiest way for traffic patterns or to get to the buffets or what's gonna give the biggest impact, and it's always usually around a focal point, which is going to be a stage with some dramatic kind of backdrop where the bride and groom are at. Yeah, it's so it is an effort where we all kind of like work together. And each one is different. So on the saggy or the Mende, that's usually one that's more colorful and vibrant. And then usually on the wedding day, a lot of My Brides have been doing traditional, you know, golds and blush and champagne and whites. So they do kind of have two different looks throughout the whole event.

Michael Gaddie  26:57  
I mean, I feel like you have I mean, what you do and the experience that you have, it just boggles my mind. And I mean, I mean, I would love to work more with you to annotate you. I mean, just just to learn from

Sharon Rumsey  27:11  
maybe my garden, I need to take Elon to lunch. That's

Kristina Stubblefield  27:15  
what I hear Elon is there's two people that the next time you need some help, apparently, I would love well. And

Michael Gaddie  27:22  
I know just like Sharon, she you have I'm sure you have your a team.

Ellen Fox  27:26  
Well, I think every planner has their their go to, but I do try to mix it up. So each client is different. So I may not use the same florist every time because I think the personality or the style if somebody else fits better. So it's not necessarily that but it is helpful when you have your core group, that it's easier to

Michael Gaddie  27:46  
work with. And I respect that

Ellen Fox  27:47  
it's a comfort to me, I mean, to me is a comfort and working these events is not like a normal event. It's just

Sharon Rumsey  27:54  
thinking, you know, that kind of leads into my next question, because like Mike said, you know, we all have our teams that we're comfortable with, but it's not like you can call just anybody to do these kinds of events. Like I'm thinking, I'll leave, I'll do that I'm the I'm the chubby girl in the room. I like to eat. I do I love a good meal. And the food. I mean, where do you first of all that capacity to do that many? And that kind of food is what I was just thinking stop laughing at me, Michael, but I'm sure there's I mean, we're what do they want? That traditional food for their culture and churches

Kristina Stubblefield  28:31  
has so many questions. Ellen, are you picking up on this?

Ellen Fox  28:35  
So here, here's the deal is that all of these if we're talking specifically about Indian and Pakistani weddings, they are not. They we bring in caterers for that. So the caterers are the ones. So when they do a tasting, a lot of times they will go to wherever the caterer is. So a lot of there's some out of New Jersey, Chicago, New York,

Sharon Rumsey  28:56  
when you say you bring in a caterer you mean probably not a local.

Ellen Fox  28:59  
It's not a local caterer. It's an outside caterer. So they will actually go because they're all so different. So some are strict, very, you know, it's all vegetarian, some can introduce the meat. Some are, I mean, it's just like when you cook, some of them prefer more bland, other prefer real spicy. So it's like every event is completely different. And that's really where the caterer is the expert on that. I don't even attend those tastings, they go travel there, they figure that out. My role is to logistically work then with the caterer when they get on site and the needs that the caterer needs correct.

Michael Gaddie  29:36  
So the venue is usually a larger one, like we said earlier, so like if you have a hotel that holds 1000 people is the hotel charging them at like a surcharge or something so they can bring in another caterer and Susan?

Ellen Fox  29:53  
Correct so that it's usually the staff on site will run the food, clear the tables Um, they will work with the beverage stations, sometimes they'll do the coffee's they'll do. So the local staff does some of those. It's all the Yes. So there is a fee per person. And that fee really ranges anywhere from 32 to $50 a person, just for the ability to be able to use the kitchen, because then they do have to close down for other events, you know, that can't have multiple, you know, coming out of the kitchen. I mean, it's the same way some of the Jewish weddings if they have to be called kosher, we have to set it down Rabbi has to come in and bless it. So that that is where the hotel needs to be able to make up. You know, that's interesting. And I

Kristina Stubblefield  30:38  
would think relationships over the years really helps you surfaces facilitate those because you know, what hotels, and how it works and all of that. Well,

Ellen Fox  30:49  
they always want a planner. So when we're working with these kinds of weddings, the venue's always prefer and encourage that you do have a planner because it's too many moving parts for just the hotel because then the hotel becomes the person that has to deal with the florist and with the transportation company. And it's just they can't do that. So

Kristina Stubblefield  31:08  
an elaborate, I'm sure rentals and oh, yeah,

Ellen Fox  31:12  
that's insane. The amount of work that goes into they couldn't do that and still run their hotels and do their day to day. And then the families don't want to be the person having to do that the day of either. So their families want the planner to take that pressure off so that they know they've got somebody there to take care

Kristina Stubblefield  31:27  
of they can be immersed in that actual day days of celebration, correct? Yeah, well,

Sharon Rumsey  31:34  
I've learned a lot

Michael Gaddie  31:35  
I'll tell you, we could go on and on and on. But I'll tell you what, Ellen, the information you have shared with us is amazing.

Kristina Stubblefield  31:43  
I think the just what I've heard from some people, I really thought it was important to touch on cultural because as I said in the beginning, I don't feel like people realize the level of events, weddings as well, that happen right here in our own community.

Ellen Fox  32:02  
It's a really great, diverse community. And that's what's so great about Yeovil. I mean, everybody's familiar with World Fest and the different things that we have that go on here. But it's the celebration of cultures, it's but also planning, this is one thing of the events, but it's the day it's the execution, that's a completely different element, then you can learn about it, you can do it. But how good are you going to be in a pressure situation and when things change on a dime, and you have to be flexible, and you have to adapt and modify everything at the last second. So that's needed for the event. So you can plan a good event and it looks good on paper, but you have to be able to at the last second, just take your timeline, crumble it up and throw it out because it'll change on a dime. And that's usually what sometimes what happens with these events. Erin,

Kristina Stubblefield  32:57  
are you with us dream breathe over there. It's okay.

Sharon Rumsey  33:00  
I mean, that even happens sometimes at traditional weddings. But

Ellen Fox  33:05  
yeah, you just got to be able to go with that with 600 people and it just being respectful. It's always been respectful, and honor the traditions of the families and taken what they're teaching you. I know this sounds so simple. I remember one time this was just so powerful. I was in charge of the family's Koran. I'm Catholic, I don't, you know, we don't have the Koran. And the they entrusted me with this beautiful book. And they said it cannot touch the ground. They explained the things. And it was in this beautiful case. And you know, when we pack up things for events, we pack it up, stuff ends up on the floor, like we're running, we're rushing around whatever. Like I took such extra care of this and I remember taking it home and I had all my kids come in I'm like look, I like the here's a Koran like look at this, look how pretty this is. And I did try to do with it right and they trusted me but then I remember just the whole time I'm like, Okay, this is my responsibility. This is I want to this is an honor that they gave me to, you know, this book and I'll never forget that when I finally let it go. I was like oh, you know as if by you know like I care of you. Yeah, such an honor. It's a it's an honor and in it if you really embrace what they have and really take to heart and listen it it really kinda Yeah, it makes your job a

Sharon Rumsey  34:27  
whole I can't imagine how that felt because I I mean every wedding and I'm sure you feel the same way. Just the fact that someone trusted me enough to take what is going to be the most special day probably in their life or at least in the top three and put it in my hands. Like 100% Put it in my hands that's something that you you just can't overlook like that. You can never take it lightly. You can never you know you there's no do over like they're giving you They're trusting you with so much money for one thing, this special special day. And the relationship, they're trusting you that you're going to speak for them and represent them the way that, you know, they would ask you to. So I totally get that it's huge. And I think something that no wedding planner should ever, ever forget

Michael Gaddie  35:21  
No, for granted.

Ellen Fox  35:23  
Yeah, take Well, it's an honor. And it's a privilege. And it's they, it lets you know that, you know, sometimes it's planners, let's face it, it's kind of like we have a cool job or whatever. And we get wined and dined and whatever. But on that day of, it's not even about you, it's about them. And it's like, you want to work so hard. And that's really any kind, it just feels different. For some reason. It's like, it's just different and this experience that that you need to have, you need to witness it, because it's just so special, and the hugs and the kisses, and then you see them out in the community and you see him and other weddings, and they're your everything. And it's just I love that

Michael Gaddie  36:06  
I agree with you. I mean, you work hard to make this event happen. You do more than I do. But even within my job, I mean, you know, we work with them for a year. We're excited, they get married, and then it's over. It's like you close the book. Emotional,

Ellen Fox  36:23  
it is emotional. Sometimes you don't want us sometimes there's weddings that you can't wait to say goodbye. And then there's other ones that you're like, oh,

Sharon Rumsey  36:36  
sometimes, honestly, more often than not, I'm a little sad. Yeah. Because I work with mine. Like, I'm sure you do a year 18 months. And, you know, I know by the time they get married, I know their grandma's name. And I know their cousin and I know who talks to who and who doesn't and all the stuff. And then it's just like, okay, you know, congratulations, see. Yeah. And I'm a cleaner. I'm a bad cleaner. So like, I'm still Facebook for almost all the level. Yeah, level five shotgun. But you know, I still have brides that I'm friends with on Facebook. I'm starting now to be asked to plan some baby showers and stuff because they're just part of me.

Kristina Stubblefield  37:19  
You've said it before. It's like they become part of your family. It really hit you

Ellen Fox  37:22  
at love. You would love these kinds of maybe when I have one I'll have you can work this call me please. Yeah. And the Muslim tradition, it really is the the woman leaves her family and joins the groom's family. It that is how it is like they do leave. And it is super emotional. And there is a grand exit to where the bride walks out, followed by her family. And when she gets leaves. That's technically it. She is not, they're not responsible for her anymore. And I will never forget, I would cry. Oh, I'm literally on my time. You know, God take him. I have teenagers. But now it is there was one where I'll never forget, like she gets in the car. And she drives off and she had younger brothers. And the one the youngest, the baby brother comes up and she's in the car. And he like put his hand on the car and just follow the car. And the mother had warned me, this is very emotional, like, everyone will be crying. I was like, I'll have a box of clean enough to get whatever, like you know, Okay, everyone, and then we're going and I'm the one fine, but I'm the one using

Kristina Stubblefield  38:44  
the question about this. So when you say they kind of exit the family, like, you know how we do Thanksgiving and Christmas and stuff like that with our families? Do I'm sure she still has some kind of communication she

Ellen Fox  38:57  
does. So that's where the Americanized part comes in. So she does and she's still sitting, it's a family, but that really is She is gone. So she's not living under their home anymore. They're not still in emotional, emotional time. But it really is the parents are not responsible anymore. And like so family functions or whatever, she becomes part of his family more than her family. So it is it's it's you know, it's it's beautiful. It's not something we are parents and understand so how be the moms throughout the prions Yeah, as we're planning the the mothers will sit in the office or in our meeting and they'll just start to cry and Oh Ellen, it's so emotional. It's so emotional. I like I get it now like I experienced how emotional it wasn't I wasn't even family.

Kristina Stubblefield  39:46  
For the the daughter to piano for the person to

Ellen Fox  39:52  
it's all very emotional but I'm sure it's a lie kind of sometimes it not that I don't. I've kind of think they do this Multi long thing. So by the time that they leave, just so darn tight right there, like Okay, so some of the tears might be from sheer exhaustion of partying for so many days. But it that really is the site love

Sharon Rumsey  40:14  
tradition, the story you just shared, though, that her brothers felt so close to her and protective of her. And I mean, you can just imagine what his little heart was feeling when that car drove

Ellen Fox  40:24  
away. Oh, yeah, I broke me, I broke, it was just sweet. It's just things you don't experience when

Kristina Stubblefield  40:30  
you weren't invited on here?

Michael Gaddie  40:33  
Well, and you know, that shows the difference between and I don't mean this the way it's going to sound. But cultural weddings do the detail, and the meaning behind love, or children leaving the family so much different than Americans do. And from

Kristina Stubblefield  40:53  
the, from the clothing to the jewelry to the events. I mean, just what we've learned, I mean, no. And there's meaning behind everything, just to be really

Sharon Rumsey  41:01  
honest. Like a lot of what I've taken from Ellen say, today is how important the parents are. Yeah. And you know, to be brutally honest, apologies to any of my couples that are listening, but I deal a lot of the times with, I need my I need mom to butt out. You know, Sharon, tell mom whose wedding it is, or, you know, like, I get in between moms and couples a lot. And I feel like, sometimes I'm more of like a therapist and a mediator sometimes then, you know, that's as important as making the timeline kind of thing. And I love that there are weddings where it's not that way. Yeah. Oh, here

Kristina Stubblefield  41:41  
in the other side. Yeah, just in May. That's the way it should be. Maybe people listening, listening to this episode. He opportunities to work with your parents, your mom, whoever that may be, to celebrate this next phase of your life. Maybe it doesn't have to be one way or the other.

Sharon Rumsey  42:05  
It's really a fine line. I think that, that I walk a lot with making the moms feel included. And let's face it, they're usually who's paying for everything, the parents. So definitely, they deserve a say. But also making the the bride and groom feel like it's their day. And so what I love about what Ellen saying is, it's almost like the parents are gifting this day, to the bride and groom. It's

Ellen Fox  42:32  
actually a good point of what she's you brought up that it's about the bride and groom and their day, right with these culture weddings. That's not how it is right? It's not just about the bride and groom. It's about the whole community, and love the event as a whole the marriage as a whole, the commitment, the celebration. So I can honestly say I've never once thought that these weddings and planning that is ever what the bride and groom wants. That's not what it ever was about.

Kristina Stubblefield  43:04  
It's bigger than them. It's bigger than them.

Ellen Fox  43:07  
It's not just about them. It's about everyone.

Sharon Rumsey  43:11  
I know back to my friend again, I keep I keep using that because it's the only Indian wedding I've ever been to. But just like you described, she was a chief resident at University Hospital surgeon. And she didn't have time. She did not have time to plan this wedding. Her mom and his mom planned the whole thing. Like, I remember when she's like, can you know, I want you to come I'm gonna send you an invitation. She was I don't know what we're gonna do. But it's gonna be fun. You know, she literally was just, and she that's what she wanted. Right?

Kristina Stubblefield  43:43  
This has been Ellen, thank you so much for coming in my notes. I know Sharon really did take notes. But I think this has been awesome for us as co host. But I've learned a lot. I can't wait to hear feedback from our listeners, because this is so much different than anything we've ever talked about. And we truly do view you as an expert in what you have shared and just the experiences, the emotion that everything has been incredible. I feel like we could talk about this more for hours.

Michael Gaddie  44:21  
You're welcome back

Sharon Rumsey  44:23  
with love. And this is normally something we talk about off air i guess but I would love to have Ellen come in with one to four couples.

Kristina Stubblefield  44:32  
If they do if they do, we'll talk about it to talk

Ellen Fox  44:36  
about their wedding. Possibly I can certainly ask it would be something amazing. Absolutely. Just to kind of see their side. And why it was important that mom made these decisions or why it was important dad wanted something some way yeah, maybe

Kristina Stubblefield  44:49  
even mom and and you know because you say the moms are so involved. Whoever but Sharon is fabulous. I

Sharon Rumsey  44:57  
think there's definitely a lot more to learn. Mm. And I'm all about it. We're all

Kristina Stubblefield  45:01  
about diversity. And we want to talk about all different topics. You know, and we talk a lot about I hate to use the word traditional, but weddings that we attend, and are part of all that there's so much more out there to learn. And that's what I love about this is sharing those other experiences. So definitely, thank you so much. Thank you, we appreciate you. You know, as always, if you want to connect with Elon contact information will be in the show notes. And you can always follow on social media, we really appreciate your time, your insight, your research that you did of your events, and the years

Sharon Rumsey  45:41  
you've put in to learning all of this, because it's a lot.

Ellen Fox  45:44  
Yeah, thank you. It was fun to be with you guys so much. It's fun to share my experiences. Yeah, I wish we had pictures. And I could picture it up and show all the

Kristina Stubblefield  45:53  
And if there's some that you have permission to use, where we can credit the photographer, I would love to include some of your event pictures on social media and in the show notes, if you have any. So thank you so much, Ellen, we really appreciate it. Thank you for tuning in. If you like what you heard, please take a few minutes to write us a glowing five star review. And you can always follow us on social media. What did you think about this episode? Other topics that you want to hear we want your feedback, send us a message on social media, or you can always go to our website. Thank you again, Alan, we really appreciate it.

Thank you for tuning in to this episode of The Ring The Bling And All The Things. If you liked what you heard, make sure to hit the subscribe or follow button on your favorite podcast platform to get notified of upcoming episodes. You can also visit our website, where you can join our email list and get notifications about new episodes and other information. You can also follow us on your favorite social media platforms.

Transcribed by

Ellen FoxProfile Photo

Ellen Fox


Ellen is a talented designer, an exceedingly organized leader, and extremely passionate about perfection. She orchestrates detailed "behind the scenes" event execution, allowing clients and vendors an enjoyable and rewarding event experiences. For more than 20 years, Ellen has been a leader in the hospitality industry serving on several boards, including past president of the Kentucky Bluegrass Chapter of Meeting Professionals International. Her relatability, innovative designs, and confident yet calming approach consistently produce events that amaze.