So good to be blogging again! January has been quite busy with special projects which you will hear more about in the next couple of weeks, as well as bridal shows and taxes. Yeah… so fun… taxes. Yay! ;) But, in all seriousness, I wanted to get 2016 officially out of the way, so here we are after one month of break from our educational blogs.
If you haven't heard already, it's a new year! :) We are in 2017, and I can't believe it! A new year brings many new, fresh things. Our adrenaline starts pumping to make changes that will better ourselves, so we make resolutions. Some of us even may write it down. Many of us join a gym because after all, this year will be the year that we get healthy and lose some unnecessary pounds. That is all great, but we know how the story will end for many of us. When February starts coming around which is NOW, that adrenaline will slow down, the motivation will almost become nonexistent and we will all “go back to our ways”. So, what makes the ones that don’t different? What do they do differently? Here’s the answer: They have a vision. As the Word says, “Without vision, my people will perish.” Well, guess what? I don’t want to perish! We strongly believe in this and there’s no better time to have a vision meeting than in the new year, so we do it! We literally put it on the calendar and talk about what our vision is. We revisit many aspects of our lives and discuss our near future, our future in five years, 10 years, etc… We discuss our spiritual vision, financial vision, marriage vision, and parenting vision. Trust me, I don’t want to be one of the folks that “go back to their ways”. I always want to be better today than yesterday, don’t you? As the first business blog of the new year, we saw that it was very fitting to start off the year in sharing our business vision with you.
“So… Why? Why do you do it? WHY are you in wedding photography?” are questions that we often get.
I think most of us have wondered at one time or another why we are here. Why we exist… Everyone wants to be “someone”, don’t they? Everyone dreams of being a “somebody”. Sometimes, we speak as if we are all working like busy bees for money. Yes, I agree. Money is very important. Without it in our society, it’s very difficult. But, in the end, we all search for something much deeper, much greater. Money is great, but without fulfilling our purpose, it means nothing. If money is the answer to your why then it doesn't matter where you are because you can make money doing anything. Money will never satisfy. The more you have it, the more you want it. It just never ends… “Stuff” will never fill the void. “Stuff” will only drive you so much because it has no significance. It’s no wonder we hear of celebrities or of millionaires and billionaires who literally have everything we can imagine, but they're unhappy to the point of suicide. But, when we live a life knowing why, we can have a fulfillment that no money can buy. We are all called to be significant and to fulfill a purpose that’s far more important than what we want, that’s far more powerful than what we are capable. That’s the way we are created and programmed. And when we are fulfilled, we become grateful and content beings, so we live with a joyful peace knowing that this life is greater and bigger than who we are.
So, why wedding photography, you ask? Because marriage is the greatest gift that we have ever received. It’s true… it’s really a gift. We are advocates for marriage. We believe that marriage is key to the success of our lives. It’s key to the success of our love, our children and our existence. We believe that the better marriage gets, the better our society will become. So, our mission statement is: “To use wedding photography as our platform to impact marriages.”
To be able to have a job where we are able to witness and capture a day that’s the most important day of a couple’s life is truly an invaluable thing. We are literally preserving the memories of the moment two becoming one. It’s a big deal. Are you married? Do you remember your wedding day? I do! It was surreal… As cheesy as it may sound, it was magical. Something that I thought would never happened to me really happened. It was a miraculous day! And, for us to get to do this as job… whoa! We shoot 35-40 weddings a year, and every wedding is fresh and new. How? Because it’s our purpose! We cry at every single wedding. Yes, every single one. Every time those tears roll on my face is a reminder that we are in the right place. We have said to each other that the wedding where tears don't fall WILL be the last wedding we ever shoot. We will know that our time is up and the next season of our lives will begin. The actual moments when emotions start rolling vary from wedding to wedding. Now that we are parents, sometimes it’s during father/daughter dance or mother/son dance. Sometimes it’s when the bride is reading her letter from the groom before their first look. Sometimes, it’s during speech time when the maid of honor is making a toast and sharing a special story about the bride. Sometimes, it’s seeing the groom cry when his bride is walking down the aisle. Gosh, sometimes we cry just even during wedding consultations!
But, it doesn't end there. Remember our mission statement? Weddings and marriages are quite different. You don’t see many couples argue on their wedding day. ;) Weddings are of course important to marriage, but it’s just the beginning of a long journey. I remember during our rehearsal as I was gazing at our reception room as all the décor was finished. A mentor of mine at that time came up to me and said, “You’re going to have a great wedding. It’s going to be beautiful. But, as great as it will be, people won’t remember it so much. You will because it’s YOUR wedding day. What’s really important and what people will really be watching is what happens the day after your wedding and the day after and the years after… Your wedding day will soon come to an end, but your marriage will begin and that’s the real challenge. Your wedding is the easiest part. So, don’t focus too much on that. Instead, focus on your marriage. If something goes wrong tomorrow, let it, because it doesn’t matter. What really matters are all the days after.”
I will never forget that… and it’s true, isn’t it? For those of you who have been married for awhile will be able to relate that marriage is hard work. What I love about our job is that it doesn’t end after the wedding. Sometimes, it continues… our relationship with our clients go from professional to personal. The first time we got asked for marriage advice, I was dumbfounded. Huh? Did you just ask me what you should do? Me? Why? It really opened our eyes and made us realize that we have so much more here than wedding photography. We have opportunities. Opportunities to make a positive impact! An impact that drives me and fulfills me. We are not love experts. We are not marriage experts. But, we are a married couple who through all the pros and cons of marriage intentionally live out our days to make it better everyday. We have failed many times, made countless mistakes and had numerous arguments. We have also overcome those things and continue to work on current issues. Because when are marriages “issue free”? We are not perfect, but we have our own testimony and experience that we share with our couples when the joys and challenges of marriage come about.
I will never forget the hand written letter we received from a client two years after their wedding of how they were grateful for the conversation that we had together. Receiving that letter was simply priceless. Sometimes, the hardest thing for a married couple is to have someone they can talk to without feeling judged and just share the honest issues that they have in their marriage. I know at times for us, it was hard to choose someone that we could freely go to and get an unbiased, nonjudgmental advice and counseling. But for our clients, because we are just wedding photographers to them, they feel FREE to share anything and everything, and I LOVE THAT! They can be real with us... Because they know that we will just listen and they know that we are a safe place for them to just vent their stress and struggles, they do it, and I can’t be more thankful for that. We become their community, a safe community… I'm sure you have heard that it takes a village to raise a child. Well, I think that's true, and I also believe that it takes a community to have a healthy marriage also. I truly believe that as communities become more sincere and authentic, divorce rates will go down.
As we work, we daily remind ourselves of this, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.” - Colossians 3:23 We know that as we serve others, our Lord is pleased with us and that's what God desires of us.
As one of my favorite songs, “10,000 Reasons” by Matt Redman says, “And on that day when my strength is failing. The end draws near and my time has come. Still my soul will sing your praise unending. Ten thousand years and then forevermore..." What drives us is not the business, but the people in the business because we know that that's how we can bless the Lord. One day, when that times comes for us, we want to be able to stand before Jesus and want to hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful one.” THAT is our ultimate goal.
So, what’s your reason? What’s the WHY behind your WHAT? What makes your heart beat? What drives you? Ask yourself these questions and figure out if you’re in the right place. Dig deep and be clear as to what your vision is. It’s not January anymore. It’s February, and half of the folks that said that they’re going to make a change in 2017 has given up already. Don’t be part of that statistics and keep going! Make a commitment to not just write down your resolutions but to make it happen! You can do it! Can't do it alone? Ask a friend to help and keep you accountable. Better yet, be that friend to someone else. Don’t give up just because things get a little hard. Dig deep and show the world WHY you do what you do. Here’s to 2017… cheers!