By Joey Walz
When Alexandra “Ali” Simcho’s sister decided to get married, Simcho enjoyed making a detailed plan for a destination wedding in the Dominican Republic that thrilled her family and friends. Six years later, when she and her husband acquired his childhood home, she had fun in the mission of renovating the entire structure.
“I liked the idea of helping people on their special day and helping them to make their house a home,” said Simcho.
Five years later, the joy she found in her creative ability grew into a co-ownership of a wedding and event planning company and an interior design firm that is both thriving and growing even as our world is going through a pandemic.
Simcho grew up in Baldwin, Pa. where she attended Baldwin High School and was a member of the cheerleading team, musical, and basketball team until graduating in 2007. After high school, she attended CCAC, University of Pittsburgh Johnstown, California University, and Point Park University. Although she did not receive a degree, she spent her time at the University of Pittsburgh Johnstown as a member of their cheerleading team.
Photo Credit: Dawn Derbyshire
She is now thirty-two-year-old and is still fighting to make sure she gets what she wants.
Since beginning both businesses, just like any, Simcho has had her share of up and downs. One wedding she planned seemed to be going so well until she got a call from the venue. They wanted to inform her that the decorations for the ceiling had been rented out, and there was nothing they could do now because the decorations were already a few states away. This may seem small, but to a wedding planner and the couple getting married, this is huge.
Wanderlust Weddings and Events was created in November 2015 by Simcho and her sister, Samantha Loshelder. “A year after I got married myself, I was ready to have babies and stay at home. My husband said no and kind of gave us the push. We had planned my destination wedding and people loved it and told me that. My husband talked us into starting Wanderlust because it was something that made us happy and might make some money down the road” said Loshelder.
At Wanderlust, they have a smaller team where co-workers become more like family. “I love working for and with Ali. It honestly feels like she is a sister to me. She’s helped me grow to have confidence in planning weddings. Ali’s spent so much of her time making this happen so it’s nice to see her succeed” said Taylor Micsky, a twenty-six-year-old lead planner and coordinator at Wanderlust.
Wedding Venue by Wanderlust
Photo Credit: Steven Dray
Since 2015 when Wanderlust began, much has happened in Simcho’s life. For example, she now has a son, a new home, and another new business. “Tristen is sixteen months old. The most challenging thing is my business partner and sister has also had two babies in the past five years. I went back to work when Tristen was eight weeks old, but through it all, it’s gotten me here,” said Simcho.
Not only has a lot been going on in Simcho’s life, but in our world. In March 2020, the beginning of the shutdown for COVID, there were so many weddings to be had. Unfortunately, most were not able to take place, at least not how they were planned. A majority of venues had to close for a brief period, but Simcho made it her top priority to make sure as soon as these weddings were able to be had, they would. She focused on working with the couples and helping them to get new venues or a new date. No matter what Simcho is up against, she is fighting with all her might to make any experience the best it can be.
The new idea of an interior design company arose when she and her husband inquired about his childhood home this past year. This home had not been renovated since the 1980s and Simcho quickly found that she enjoyed fixing up houses and that she was quite good at it. One customer, Corrie Sinning, has known Simcho for about four years now after their husbands became friends from teaching together.
Before and After Kitchen Renovation
Photo Credit: Alexandra Simcho
“I’ve seen the pictures and the progression over the years from Ali and Sam’s wedding business and everything they’ve done has just been gorgeous! It was also really fun watching her post updates about renovating her own home. She obviously has a good taste and knows what she’s doing. I also love that she’s a mom and chasing her dreams. It seemed like a no brainer to reach out to her when we realized we needed help with my parents’ cabin renovation. We got to support a small business and it got us the help we desperately needed,” said Sinning.
The name had been up in the air for a while before a final choice was made and the business truly began. “Aesthetics starts with A. A is the beginning of the alphabet, so it is where it starts, also, my name starts with A. I didn’t want it to be too personal by having my name in the company name in case the business grows,” said Simcho.
Before and After Living Room Renovation
Photo Credit: Alexandra Simcho
Simcho is known to her friends, family, co-workers, and customers as loyal, kind, hardworking, and genuine. When employee, Micsky was asked about Simcho’s best quality she replied, “Oh gosh. I would say her best quality is just being there for anybody and always wanting to do what’s best for everybody. Even when I first met her, I could text her about anything, whether it was personal, or work-related she always tried to help”.
Simcho is the type of person that anyone turns to when they need something, and they know she will get whatever it is done.