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Life and Work with Emily Hoffman-Smalling

Today we’d like to introduce you to Emily Hoffman-Smalling.

Emily, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My professional life began in the classroom as a high school teacher. Let’s just say, it wasn’t for me. Fortunately, I spent a lot of my time during my undergraduate days working for a catering company and event venue. I loved the pace of the industry and got a lot of experience in both the venue/planning side as well as the back-of-house/ catering side of an event. When I decided not to continue teaching, I had to figure out what was next. You could say I have a strong entrepreneurial spirit. I wanted to be my own boss, move at my own (quick) pace and build something I could be proud of. My first planning company launched in 2007 and when I had my twins in 2008, I decided to wrap up the events we had on the calendar and take an extended leave. I came back once life settled and rebranded and launched Stella Harper Events, named after the twins.

Coming back was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be. The vendor relationships I made before my extended maternity leave seemed to pick back up where they left off. I’m incredibly grateful for the referrals and support I’ve received over the years from some of the industry’s best. Now, with over a decade of experience under my belt, our team is continuing to grow and offer a unique planning experience to couples in the Atlanta and Athens areas.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It’s been a pretty smooth road, but I attribute that to hard work and a supportive family. My advice to someone starting out would be that working hard isn’t something you can skip. The event industry is full of beautiful photos, events, and smiling faces, but being successful means putting your nose down and being open to making mistakes and learning from them.

Please tell us about Stella Harper Events.
Over the years our team has ranged from 2-8 employees. No matter the size of the team, we’ve consistently been a company that works hard for our clients and offers a no-nonsense, get it done, and have fun doing it attitude. We have the most 5-star reviews on The Knot [for Atlanta] and take great pride in the real client feedback we continually receive.

Who have you been inspired by?
Sure, there are many women that have inspired me from time to time, but overall, my biggest inspiration and influence have been my parents. My dad was a successful businessman who excelled in sales. I think my entrepreneurial drive comes from him! My mom, well, she’s a tough cookie, but that’s what has been the best motivator. Her work ethic and no-nonsense attitude have encouraged and pushed me along the way. Her fist bumps and “bam!” when I book a new client are also pretty great.


  • Rehearsal & Wedding Day Coordination starts at $1600
  • Full Planning, Design, & Coordination starts at $6500
  • We offer custom packages as well!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Willett Photography

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