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The Bride's Guide Blog

CONGRATS! A Wedding Planner Gets Engaged

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elizabeth messina_ALISON & MARK engaged0009

Alison & Markus, 2013 © Elizabeth Messina

We've featured several weddings designed and produced by Alison Hotchkiss of Alison Events. She's produced over 400 celebrations during her 15 years in the party planning industry. Six months back, Alison herself got engaged! Here's her take on being a fiancée, plus some of the beautiful engagement photos taken by Elizabeth Messina, who'll also be shooting their wedding at Manka's Inverness Lodge in Northern California this February. — SS

I'd be lying if I said I never thought about my dream guy—I painted a picture in my head about who it may be and what it would be like to be around him.

Last year, the picture-painting stopped. Enter Markus. He's more than my dream guy, a million times over.

We met when we were 19 and dated over a summer. Study abroad took me to New Zealand, and the Swiss Army took Mark back to Europe (he was born and raised in Zurich). We stayed in touch for a bit, but soon drifted apart as our lives took different twists and turns.

Two years later, Mark found himself in Los Angeles, and we reconnected. He stayed in the States until his visa expired. We stayed in touch over the next 17 years, finding time for the occasional email or call "just to say hello" and, as technology evolved, following each others lives on Facebook. We even tried to connect a couple of times when I was in Europe producing events, but of course, timing is everything, and it didn't work in our favor.


Outside shots ... © Elizabeth Messina

Then, 13 months ago, when Mark was visiting San Francisco—where I'd since moved—he decided to drop me a note to let me know he was in town. Six months later, we got engaged.

I always used to ask my mom how a person knows when someone is 'The One.' Her response was always the same: you'll just know. Markus is my One. He is kind and thoughtful, loving and supportive, fun and generous, smart and incredibly creative. He also happens to be quite an impeccable listener. We have so much in common—the arts, surf and snow play, traveling, food and wine we like. We also learn so much from each other. Most importantly, we make each other laugh and smile.


... and inside ... © Elizabeth Messina

I've been spending time in Switzerland, meeting his friends and family and discovering all of the amazing things that he loves about his home. Zurich to San Francisco is my new commute. And planning an intimate wedding for early next year is my new hobby!

I have been fortunate to work with many photographers over the years and seen hundreds of engagement photos. Sometimes I think they are really cute pictures, and sometimes I think, OMG these are amazing photos and the photographer has clearly been able to capture how much they love each other. That's how I feel when I see Elizabeth's images of us. I really think she captured the playfulness and profound love Mark and I have for each other. She captures the moment, the true essence of the people in front of the camera, and I am beyond excited to see what she does with our wedding photos. — Alison Hotchkiss


... and sepia-toned! © Elizabeth Messina

Comments (8)

  • Sooooo sweet and so happy for you guys. These pictures are perfect in every way!

  • what a sweet story! i'm a sucker for a good love story and yours is awesome. i agree with you about the talent and abilities of miss messina, she's the real deal. i also look forward to seeing our wedding photos next year. congratulations! xo

  • Just beautiful work. Congrats to the happy couple. Gorgeous photos, can hardly wait to see your wedding photos!! xoxo Michael and Carina

  • Congratulations! What a lovely, happy and obviously very much in love couple x

  • Very inspiring love story. It's like one of those famous Nic Sparks type of stories but with a happy ending. So happy for the both of you.

  • Alison! We can't believe we have not meet you yet but these images are beautiful and capture the love between you both perfectly! Many Congrats!

  • Aww really sweet and inspiring. Your story makes me want to fall in love and tie the knot. You are definitely happy, well who wouldn't be. You both look so happy and in love. It's nice to see couples happy and so in love and getting engaged and tying the knot. Congratulations! You've got beautiful pictures by the way!

  • Nice news. Wishing the couple a successful and happy married life.

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