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Sam Nelson, the founder of Ellicottville Events, was recently recognized as the 2019 New York Wedding Planner of the Year.

By Ginna Hensel

“If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life,” and that is exactly what Sam Nelson, founder of Ellicottville Events, did.

Originally from Olean, Nelson is Western New York-born and raised. She has lived in Ellicottville for the past five years where she fell in love with the quaint town and the community.

Nelson originally began her career in a corporate field, but when planning her ‘80s themed wedding with her husband John, she discovered her love for event planning.

Nelson was recently recognized as the 2019 New York Wedding Planner of the Year in a banquet held Nov. 20 on Long Island. Here the best of the businesses and professionals in the wedding world gathered to recognize the best in the wedding business.

Creative Oceanic Events, sponsor of the banquet, contacted Nelson as one of the finalists a couple of months ago. She was nominated based on the testimony of her clients and local businesses along with pictures of her events. 

Nelson mentioned tough the competition was, especially because most of the wedding companies were based out of New York City. Nevertheless, she came out on top, contributing her success to her “motivation and relationship with the community.”  

“I believe one of the reasons I won the award is because of my community involvement. My husband and I host many different activities and fundraisers for various reasons in Ellicottville,” Nelson explained. “The past two Julys, we held a Christmas in July fundraiser to help fund the Ellicottville Ski tree and the Santa Sherriff Program, which hosts Christmas for needy families in Cattaraugus County.”

Nelson said her latest goal is to bring a Children’s Museum to Ellicottville.

The 2019 New York Wedding Planner of the Year is not the only recognition Nelson has, as she has also been recognized as the 2019 and 2020 The Knot Best of Weddings, Weddings Wire Couples Choice Awards 2019, Wedding Chicks 2019 and recognized in the 2019 Wedding Chicks National Blog.

She is also a member of the Buffalo Indie Wedding Bridal Group and a participant in the WNY Love to Love Pledge.  

“As part of this pledge, I promise not to discriminate,” Nelson mentioned. “A lot of businesses refuse to work with the LGBTQ+ community, but here at Ellicottville Events, we welcome everyone.”  

Most importantly, Nelson has the certification to back up her credentials as she is a certified wedding planner through The Bridal Society.

“I think it is really important to further your education,” she said, “I wanted to make myself better and get the certification!”

Prestigious awards for a prestige woman, consider Ellicottville Events next time you need to plan an event.  Ellicottville Events specialize in wedding planning, wedding management, corporate event planning, planning consultations and charity events. Their strong relations with other local vendors make Ellicottville Events a go-to choice.

For more information, visit their website at