Wedding Wednesday {Interview with Alison Events}

Yesterday we hit the 5 month mark before our wedding. Eek! Needless to say the time is flying and my stress levels are slowly increasing. 

That is why I was so excited to discover that Alison Hotchkiss, famed destination wedding planner and owner of Alison Events, had put out a book, Destination Wedding Planner so last week I scooped up my copy.  Even as a DIY queen, having a little backup can be very reassuring. 
Even more exciting, when I contacted Alison to say how helpful I thought her book was, she generously agreed to an interview! If you’re getting married or interested in wedding planning read on for some great advice from this amazing lady.
Thanks Alison!

You’ve developed a wonderful and highly regarded wedding design business. How did you get started and to what do you attribute your success?

I started doing events right out of collage although I’ve been planning parties and gatherings since I was about 8 years old. Out of college I worked for an event planning company and I was eager to learn all the aspects of the business. I learned invaluable tricks of the trade like being super organized how to source vendors from all over, how to be patient and not to take anything personally.

When I moved to San Francisco to work for an event designer, caterer and florist and I fell in love with the creative and emotional side of the wedding industry. I was soon starting to assist as the day-of wedding planner for friends and colleagues and had so much work that Alison Events was born. I worked the first couple years out of my tiny studio and took every job that came my way. Two years later I hired my 1st employee and 6 years later here I am. I have 4 full and part time staff, over 40,000 images of venues I’ve been to and weddings I’ve done.

I’d like to say my success has come because of my passion to be creative and open minded and real with my clients. The weddings we as a team plan are about the couple-we just help the couple figure out what makes them unique then hire the right vendors that fit their style, personality and budget.  

What is the best DIY detail, and conversely, the biggest indulgence you’ve seen at a wedding?

One of the coolest DYI ideas I am proud of was executed at a wedding we did in Utah this past year.  The client was really into skiing and had traveled together and had tons of photos of childhood trips too.  So we used old wooden skis as their guest book and then hung them up on the wall surrounded by all the ski photos in old wooden frames. You have not seen this image yet because its going to be in Martha Stewart Weddings this winter. Look out for this issue in December as well as on our web-site once it hits stands. Amazing photos.

The biggest indulgence was probably the “beetles go to India” themed wedding my team did two years ago.  We created a weekend long event filled with all things beetles and Indian inspired. For example, we had gorgeous bowl of bangles out for the guest to adorn themselves before they hit the dance floor. Everything from the flowers to the food to the colors of this wedding tied into the theme beautifully. It was one heck of a party. 

Where do you go for inspiration and to keep your ideas fresh?

I love photography, traveling, design and dining out. I rarely get inspired by the wedding industry actually.  My friends are all creative people so I often am inspired by them. They are photographers who travel the world, designers, architects, writers, painters, teachers. I also get inspiration from books and magazines. I love Elle Decor, Dwell, Vogue, Travel and Leisure, Sunset, Food and Wine and Real Simple. I pull from all sources in addition to reading and searching the internet. I also love to cruise thought vintage stores and flea markets, always inspirational things there as well as farmers markets.

As brides have access to online resources and do more and more of the planning themselves, what is the nugget of advice or insider info you’d give to a destination bride?

For sure read my book (LOL) as well as buy wedding magazine that feature your destination and go on line and research your destination. Perhaps someone else got married there and made a whole web-site about the site and then you have all the info you could ever need? 

When I am traveling to a new place I use social media ( Twitter or Facebook) to ask if anyone has been there and what the best things are to do and see. I also will check Travel and Leisure’s web-site for back log articles as well as the New York Times travel section which has covered tons of places. Then I look on blogs and follow a ton of people on Twitter who specialize in traveling.  Photographers are a great source for info too.

photography by jenny pfeiffer and emily nelson, meg smith, thayer allyson gawdy, anna kuperberg, jose villa

Wedding Wednesday {Inspiration}

Love wedding photography collages. 

photography by erinheartscourt
Especially when they’re this good. Did you spot the shoes?? Or the multi-colored bridesmaid dresses? Details of this gorgeous wedding are here.
Be sure to check back a bit later for my interview with Alison Hotchkiss of Alison Events.