A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of sitting down with a woman who is not only inspiring, but just incredibly stunning. What I loved most about Alisa Tongg was her passion for her clients and the ceremonies that she performed for them. And we all know how much I adore people who are passionate about what they do.
Without further ado, meet Alisa.
photo by CJ Dewolf
Hello. Who are you?
Well, hello to you too, I love your style and your smile Danielle. My name is Alisa Tongg and I’m a Storyteller and Celebrant for Aisle-bound Couples. I grew up in a small, cowboy town on the island of Maui and I currently live in another small town in Northeast Pennsylvania. You’d take your shoes off at the front door, if you came over to my house. I do not own a pair of sweatpants.
Who or what got you started in the industry?
Most inspiring to me was witnessing the amazing work my friend Heather Arak (a couture stationer and all around event-branding genius) did for her luxury weddings clients. I thought why aren’t more people demanding the same sort of couture service in their ceremony? A ceremony actually about the couple—their story, their hopes for the future, their traditions? That’s how I got started in this.
photo by E Smith Photography
What is your favorite part about being in the wedding world?
I love spending my day hearing ordinary people’s love stories and then creating ways for them to celebrate in a highly personal and authentic way. Reading vows and imagining exchanging those promises with someone someday. There’s so much beauty being celebrated/captured/created in the wedding industry.
Besides weddings, are there any other special events that you service?
I am also trained to do ceremonies for families and children, so I guess I need my couples to get started on making my next round of customers—babies for baby naming ceremonies!
Ok, we all know I’m a big fan of yellow. What’s your favorite color?
No kidding! I ended up buying a yellow purse from Etsy after our lunch together. Now we’re matching! Besides yellow, I’ve always loved chartreuse and after a recent trip to Santa Fe, turquoise kind of staked its own place in heart.
As an officiant, where do you go to be inspired?
I promise this is not a Sunday School answer, I find the most inspiration from my couples. The couples I work with aren’t content to just have their names inserted into some generic ceremony. Instead, they become active participants in creating the words and rituals that will be used during their wedding ceremony. Every couple has a different story, different family relationships to navigate and different cultural and religious traditions. How a couple can incorporate all of these moving pieces to make something of their own is truly inspiring to me.
photo by Aubrey B. Greene Photography
What sets you apart from other fellow officiants?
I want my ceremonies to be awesome; I guess I’m kind of competitive.
Whether you’re single, married, divorced, widowed… we all have words of advice when it comes to relationships. What is your advice to couples tying the knot?
I don’t know if I’m really in a position to give advice to anyone else, but if I ever get married again, these are my rules: play for keeps, go all in and don’t have a back up plan.
My advice for ceremonies: figure out ways to include rather than exclude others.
Aside from weddings, what are some other hobbies/hidden talents/secret powers?
I do throw a pretty good dinner party. I love flavors, scents, inspired lighting, bossa nova. I pay attention to the senses in the experiences that I create in my personal life. Secret power? Building backwards from a dream.
Speaking of super powers, if you could choose to have any, what would you pick?
Oh that’s easy, teleportation.
Finally, how do we connect with you?