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Turning ordinary into extraordinary

After years of volunteer work, Shelly Stone decided it was time to start getting paid.

So, she has turned her experience helping behind the scenes into a business – Signature Events by Shelly.

Stone formally started the business 1 1/2 years ago and can help with the planning of such events as weddings, anniversaries, corporate Christmas parties and corporate fundraisers.

“My thing is to be different. I try to steer people to be creative. I like helping design things and being unique,” she says.

The tagline for her business is “turning the ordinary into the extraordinary.”

Before starting the business, Stone spent eight years volunteering.

With son Ben in hockey and a daughter Abby in dance, Stone was involved helping with both activities.

She was very involved with the Waupaca Area Youth Hockey Association. “The only thing I didn’t do with that was run the Zamboni,” she said.

At her daughter’s dance recitals, Stone was the one who could be found working backstage, making sure everything was organized and that the girls were where they should be.

With Ben now a freshman and Abby in eighth grade, the timing was perfect for her to start her own business.

She spent the first six months doing research and getting to know people. Stone did specialized training through Sheffield University in New York to become a professional wedding coordinator, taking classes that dealt with event planning, coordinating, design, contracts, budgets and building a business.

“Then, I started getting calls from people wanting help with their weddings,” she said.

Signature Events by Shelly offers three set packages and works with any budget.

The packages are mostly designed for weddings and include the “plantinum” package in which she handles all the planning, the “month of” package in which she sets up the timeline and contacts all the vendors and then the “day of” package in which she meets with the couple about a month before the wedding and goes over all the contracts. On the day of the wedding, Stone makes sure everything is where it is supposed to be.

“I like exacts,” she said.

For example, Stone always has an emergency kit with her that includes new black, brown and white socks for the grooms that show up wearing the wrong color socks. “They’re always clean and ready,” she said.

Known for her organizational skills and for not stressing out, those who know her well were surprised when she decided to start such a business.

After all, Stone lived in jeans and sweatshirts and played hockey.

Family and friends looked at the tomboy and said, “Weddings? Are you sure?”

Stone replied, “Yes. I love that stuff.”

In fact, 14 years ago, she helped a friend who had set a wedding date, had not done anything and then decided to move up the date.

“I helped her, and we did it,” Stone said. “It was great, and it was totally them. I couldn’t imagine anything different for them.”

Stone tells her husband Bill that if she had thought of this idea 20 years ago, she would have a huge career by now.

“I’ve been helping friends and family for a long time,” she said.

As part of her business, Stone also does invitations, progarms, place cards and thank you cards – not only for weddings but for any events.

“I’ve been enjoying the invitation part,” she said. “It’s fun to play with wording and to get fun artwork and to make it fun and creative.”

Stone also creates Christmas cards.

In her wedding coordinator role, she can help couples with destination weddings and honeymoons. She has contacts in Italy, France, Egypt, Jamaica and Florida and is also a certified Sandals representative.

“People want it more personal,” she said of weddings. “You’re seeing more backyard weddings. The options are there now.”

Her website is www.eventsbyshelly.com. She can be reached at 715-256-9967.

“I totally fee like I’ve found my niche,” Stone said. “It’s very fun, and I still get very teary when a couple says, ‘I do.'”

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