Planning a wedding at any age is quite the undertaking, but planning a wedding at just a mere 18 years old is a whole different story. Alison had no intention of getting married that young, in fact she had always told herself 27 was the golden age to say “I Do.” However, her on-again, off-again romance with longtime family friend Dan seemed too real to wait. They decided to go for it and started planning. Alison and her mom had the time of their lives planning the special day and going over all the possibilities for a wedding. They landed on a very traditional theme for the wedding, and she laughs now that she tried so hard for it to be “normal” since she was getting married so young. She wanted a timeless look, but now 16 years later, she admits (with a coy look on her face) that only the groom and her bouquet stood the test of time. Within a year of their marriage, Alison helped five friends plan and execute their own weddings. This is how her love for wedding planning truly blossomed. In the following years, she continued to study and research wedding planning and helping friends and family with their weddings, but she never considered doing it as a permanent job.
Three years ago, Alison and Dan made a huge move from Australia to the United States. At first, Alison took time to settle into their new home, iron out work visa details, and decide what her passions were and how she would move forward with a career in a new country. In January 2020, after she officially got her work permit, she thought “I might as well jump in and at least try,” and that is when her wedding planning business—A Bride’s Best Mate—was created. At first, it was a slow start. After partnering with a photographer friend on some styled shoots, the business was off and running. She admits she gets a ton of clients from Instagram and is now listed as a vendor on The Knot and WeddingWire.
FRIEND FOR HIRE
Alison settled on “A Bride’s Best Mate” because she wants her clients to feel like they hired a confidante. She prides herself on fighting for her couples and sticking true to what is important to them. Alison would never let a friend go over budget or feel forced to do a first dance if that isn’t a priority. She is the first to say that weddings never go exactly as planned. You are constantly pivoting and making changes even down to the day of the wedding. With a clear understanding of a couple’s vision and what truly matters to them, Alison can easily pivot in the direction they need to go. She shared a few stories of problems that arose on the day of, but because she truly knew the couple, she was able to easily make adjustments in their favor without them even realizing something had gone awry. She is able to accomplish this sense of closeness and understanding with her couples by taking the time to ask the couple important questions such as: “Why are you getting married?”, “What do you value?”, “What types of people are you inviting?”, and “What kind of vibe do you want to give off?”. She is honest with couples about what is feasible. Alison also enjoys offering unique ideas or concepts so her couples stand out and feel special.
BREAKING WEDDING PLANNING TRADITION
As an Australian native, Alison admits a cultural difference with wedding planning in the United States compared to her homeland. Australian weddings differ in a few minor ways like the first dance usually is just one song and incorporates all the family members versus a different song for every person in a traditional American wedding. Also, the order of the procession down the aisle is different. In Australia, the groomsmen head to the altar together instead of walking down the aisle with a bridesmaid. (That was actually very common here a generation ago). Alison shares that speeches are a must at Australian weddings, whereas in the U.S., they are more of an option. The difference in traditions has led Alison to have a unique perspective on the wedding planning process, reinforcing her desire for couples to do exactly what they want and what makes them most comfortable. Couples often ask her what is normal and traditional, but she does not want any couple to feel obligated to include traditions that may seem silly or showy to them. Instead, she asks, “What is normal to you?”, “What feels right for you?”, and “What is important for your wedding day?”. She wants couples to understand they don’t have to feel stuck in traditional wedding normalities and that they can truly do whatever they want. Just because something is “normal” does not mean you have to do it. That is also the exact reason she continues to fall in love with each and every wedding she is a part of, as she looks forward to the “something different” she sees on every special day.
UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
Alison is just getting going with her business and the possibilities are truly endless. She looks back on a time when she thought she could never be a wedding planner because she wasn’t the stereotypical “prim and proper” planner who wears heels and carries cute pens around. She is now in a place where she feels like she can be herself and feel confident in her ability to be the bad guy when necessary. Alison says she works hard to advocate for her couples, handle vendor communications, and create a personal connection to make a couple’s special day truly magical. Until further notice, she is happy with exactly the place she is in, and that place is being A Bride’s Best Mate.