Photo by Tim KingI am no stranger to change.

I left my parents home a month after my high school graduation at 18 years old and never looked back.  I was armed with unquestionable independence and naïve ambition that has (and still) leads me to both my greatest triumphs and my greatest failures.  I went to college, paid my bills like the responsible grown-up I was trying to be, got married at the crazy age of 20, moved to the east coast AND had my first daughter -all by the age of 23.  When I was 24 I was living back in CA in gorgeous San Diego and at 25 I had a crazy idea to start a wedding planning business.  This idea was born from my personal experience of not having a wedding planner (they were non-existent in Central CA at that time) and a deep desire to spare brides the stress I felt on my own wedding day paired with the typical personality traits that make wedding planners successful.  I opened my proverbial doors in 2007; I was 25 years old and hungry for a new opportunity.

Over the past seven years my business has grown and morphed in ways I couldn’t imagine when I began.  Now I find myself in a new season of change that is both terrifying and beautiful and exciting and unknown.

Last week my family and I moved back to our hometown of Hanford, CA.  This is where it all began for me.  Where I grew up with my younger sisters; where I met my husband our freshman year in high school.  The town is small and quaint (population 54,000) and the closest beach is two hours away.  The air quality is horrible and Trader Joes is a 45-minute commute.  Cows and corn and cotton surround the town.  The pace of life is slow but honest.  The people are friendly and being anonymous doesn’t really exist.  But there is a simple beauty here; a comforting predictability and a familiar way of life.

Most of this used to annoy me about this small hometown of mine, which is why I left as quickly as I could, in search of adventures and experiences.  However, a few years ago I felt a tugging at my heart; home was calling.  I ignored it and reasoned that San Diego was amazing (and it is!).  Great community, great churches, organic food everywhere, the beaches, the restaurants, the clean air, the entertainment, the beauty.  Still, home beaconed.

Maybe it was because all our family is there.  Perhaps its because my nephews don’t quite recognize me or have a cute nickname for me like they do my sister.  Or maybe it was the fact that every holiday I longed to be with my parents and sisters and spending Christmas alone in San Diego just didn’t feel the same.  Then there were my own kids, who were sad every time we left Hanford after a fun visit.  Whatever the reason, we prayed hard for God to open doors in that little town of ours.  And He did.

Our San Diego home sold in one day and we’re in the process of buying a gorgeous home in Hanford.  The transition has been smooth and exciting and I still can’t believe I live in Central CA once again after 12 years of swearing I’d never move back.  Crazy how quickly things can change.

I’ve been asked if I’ll continue to plan weddings from Hanford, which is not really as ideal for a luxury wedding planning business as Southern CA… the answer is absolutely, if I cross paths with the right couple and opportunity.  As always, I’m also willing to travel wherever couples are planning their wedding.  And I still have my team in San Diego who can take local weddings.  But I am excited to focus most my energy on education as I continue to travel, speak, coach, and work with The Wedding & Event Institute.  I have a deep passion to help other planners excel and working with new planners over the past 20 months has been such a rewarding experience for me.

So there it is.  The latest.  I thought I’d share since so many of you who follow me on Instagram and Facebook have asked.  Thank you for your support and encouragement.  I’m really excited about this new season.

Shine On,
Alison