Alison Events


Alison Events is a Northern California Bay Area boutique event planning and design firm. We specialize in luxury destination weddings, social and corporate events. Named a top planner by Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and Martha Stewart Weddings, and with more than 15 years of experience, no job is too small or large. We are a small team of passionate, design-savvy, unique individuals. We work and play well together and love what we do - which is evident in every single event we produce.


Our Team





Alison Hotchkiss

For me, producing weddings and events is about creating unforgettable experiences. In order to do that and stay inspired, I'm constantly seeking adventure in my personal life – exploring new destinations and fueling my own passion for the outdoors and design.

My devotion to travel started early. I grew up on the East Coast, and spent a semester of high school in Japan, followed by college in Colorado and New Zealand. Prior to starting Alison Events, I worked in corporate planning, working with businesses to plan and execute special events and incentive travel trips. I combined that experience with the goal of bringing families together and working all over the world, and Alison Events Planning & Design was born.

Since launching in 2003, my team and I have cultivated an exceptional global network of vendors and event partners. I've written two books on destination wedding planning and produced over 400 events in nine countries and 27 cities around the world. Throughout my almost twenty years in business, I’ve grown and learned from just about every experience. I’ve learned how to understand what my clients want and connect with them on a genuine, personal level. I’ve learned how to play by the rules and, more importantly, when to throw them out entirely. I’ve learned how to keep my diplomatic cool when the stress is high, and how to deal with intricate family dynamics.

Producing events isn’t just about making things pretty – at Alison Events we know that it’s about handling all the details – from catering, logistics and budgeting, to the challenges of merging two families – that make up the whole.

When I’m not working, I’m surfing in Mexico, chasing powder in Aspen, hiking, swimming or having a dance party in the living room with my 3-year-old daughter. As a single mom, I maintain the boundaries that allow me a healthy work-life balance. I do that because I believe life is an experience, and I’m all about living it.


jesse tombs
managing partner

I believe that authenticity, passion and a sense of humor are the key ingredients to every successful event. I've been in the hospitality industry practically my whole life; wetting my feet at the age of thirteen, I worked in the kitchen of a catering company piping cream puffs. After attending The Boston Conservatory, where I studied theater arts, I worked in New York City with Ralph Lauren and Burberry as a stylist, fashioning red carpet looks, editorial photo shoots, and Madison Avenue store window displays.

Upon my return to San Francisco (where I was born and raised), I began working with an acclaimed Bay Area catering company, planning and producing weddings in California’s wine country and beyond. I then worked with Michelin Star-awarded restaurateur Daniel Patterson and James Beard Award winning chef Craig Stoll. Prior to joining the team at Alison Events, I opened The Battery, a highly anticipated private social club and hotel in San Francisco. There I planned events for Fortune 500 tech companies, local and international political leaders, exclusive luxury brands and elite publishing houses, as well as with some of the most influential and important wedding planners in the world.

I love taking care of people, exceeding my client's expectations at every turn and working with families in different destinations to curate celebrations and event spaces that are quintessentially theirs and truly unforgettable.

When I'm not at my desk or on a plane jetting off to the next destination, I'm spending time with my family and friends, enjoying a great glass of wine and finding inspiration for my next event in the great outdoors.


Senior Event Producer

Candice is a true globetrotter at heart; sailing the Bahamas on a small sailboat, exploring the caves and waterfalls on the Islands of Hawaii and sleeping under the stars in Argentina bred a knack for traveling and a sense of adventure within her.

A passion for hospitality, collaboration and team work lead to a graduate degree in organizational management and a robust career in the luxury hotel industry. Candice worked with Wolfgang Puck at Spago at the Four Seasons Resort in Maui, then planned luxury weddings at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club. Most recently she held the reins for corporate events at the Fairmont Miramar in Santa Monica working with clients like Google, Snapchat, MTV, The NFL, FOX and Universal Music.

Candice joins the Alison Events team excited to fuse her lust for travel with her passion for event planning. Candice loves bringing people together to celebrate life's most important moments in the world’s most beautiful places.


senior Production Manager

Growing up in a big family teaches you a lot about life from an early age. Ruth, the fifth of seven children, was born and raised in the outskirts of Manchester, England. With a large, colorful family, she's always been good at sharing and getting along well with others. Most importantly, this upbringing taught Ruth how to multitask, handle difficult situations with grace and get her voice heard in a crowd; it also ingrained the importance of dealing with challenging family dynamics with elegance.

After moving to Salt Lake City in her teen years, she discovered a passion for floral design, dance and the arts. Two years into a bachelor’s in behavioral science turned into a hospitality management degree, which led to a dynamic career running one of Utah's premiere boutique event and wedding venues. Recently married herself, and relocated to San Francisco, Ruth is excited to work in a fast-paced, creative environment, surrounded by families and creating a new one of her own.


Danielle McCarthy
Production manager

Danielle has always had an enthusiasm for fashion. At a young age, she would patiently wait by the door for her numerous monthly magazine subscriptions to arrive; excited to devour the latest trends and design concepts from around the world and incorporate those ideas into her own personal style and wardrobe. Her strong point of view and appreciation for design led to a Bachelor’s degree in Fashion Merchandising at Philadelphia University.

Having grown up in the Bay Area, Danielle has also had an admiration for the outdoors since she was a child and always enjoys finding inspiration in nature. Her love for the outdoors led to a minor in Environmental Sustainability. Danielle was recently married to her husband Sam in Winters. When she's not working on events with the Alison Events team, Danielle is cheering on the San Francisco Giants, or singing her heart out on a road trip in search for the best new restaurant in town.

Photography by Larissa Cleveland