This past weekend, I went to the Creative at Heart Conference in Staunton, VA. We stayed at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel. (Gorgeous, btw!) You guys. Seriously. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed the sweet, sweet time I spent with other women that do what I do. There was so much laughter, a flood of education, and tears. Lots of tears. I told myself that I was not going to cry. Yeah. Right.
Of course, we'd all still be here, reading this post, 3 days later if I wrote about everything. But as much as I tried to pick just a small bunch of highlights, I ended up with a truckload. This weekend meant more than just meeting pretty people and exchanging business cards. In two short days, I had strong, confident businesswomen tell me that I CAN make things happen and I AM ABLE to make my dreams for this business come true.
Before I launched my business, I reached out to a number of wedding professionals in Hampton Roads. Some of them responded and some didn't. No one was mean to me, but I could tell a few of them were less than thrilled to return my email. There was a tone of "I'm not going to tell you all of my secrets" or "just be nice enough to get this girl off my back." Fortunately, a few local vendors were soooo soo helpful. (Ahem, Amanda!!!!) One even let me join her at a wedding. (Thanks so much, Hannah!!!) I don't ever want to see this industry as a big competition, that's something I decided before launching. During C@H when every speaker was promoting community over competition, I was so relieved. There are people that want to run their business AND help others grow. It was so refreshing to hear, especially from ladies that have been in business for a long time.
I hope you enjoy my photos!(...and remember that I only try to be a photographer!)
The Stonewall Jackson hotel was BEAUTIFUL! And I'm so so soooo glad they left their Christmas decorations up while we were there. Have I mentioned how much I love Christmas?
We were treated like royalty. Every staff member was so accommodating, including the young maintenance guy who came to our room to fix our heat. 56 degrees wasn't gonna cut it! ;)
The first morning, we were greeted with these precious pink goodies! Since it was game day, and I couldn't watch, I showed team spirit in the only way possible. HOW 'BOUT THEM COWBOYS? ;)
Oh. My. Goodness! Morgan of Paisley & Jade brought soooo many beautiful pieces to the conference. This pink couch, which I'm considering stealing, was just one of the many vintage items.
I had the opportunity to help one of my roommates set up her paper backdrop. She hand-designs paper flower backdrops for weddings and shoots. This past fall, she was featured at the New York Bridal Fashion Week! Way to go, Camberly! You can see more of her work here.
Finished product! So beautiful! She gave me that blue flower on the left...it's on my desk now! The cupcakes were from Cupcake Company of Harrisonburg, VA. I had to show some major self-restraint and only had one. Alas.
My wonderful roommates! Aren't they beautiful! They are Camberly of Sweet Pear Paper, Jessica of Bulloss Photography, and AJ of AJ Dunlap Photography. It was such a joy getting to know them! We've been chatting via Facebook over the past few months, which really limits relationship growth. Plus, you never know what you're going to get on the internet! Haha! I'd crash with them again, for sure!
I don't even know what to say about this one. I'm three years older than Katelyn of Katelyn James Photography, but I look up to her so much. We both went to CNU. Go Captains! I've been reading her blog for AGES. Until last weekend, I had never met Katelyn. Not to get all weird and fan-girly, but Katelyn is a HUGE reason I decided to get into this industry. Her confidence, faith in God, artistic eye, and fashion sense drew me in. She talked about the importance of blogging and her husband, Michael, spoke about being financially fit. (Yay! Dave Ramsey!) But when she presented the Gospel and proclaimed that everything she has accomplished has happened because of God, I lost it. Whatever happens to my business, I pray that God will use me for His will.
My favorite thing to eat is cake, specifically wedding cake. So when we walked into lunch on the second day and saw a wedding cake at each table, I was overjoyed. My favorite was the 'naked' cake...because of the topper: Best Day Ever. (You know when Rapunzel has finally left her tower and swings by her hair through the woods? Yes, that.) The cakes were made by Sorby Sweets of Fredericksburg, VA. They were DELICIOUS and I may have had more than one piece. The laser cut topper was created by Lauren Heim at The Wed Workshop.
This beautiful print from Ashlee Proffitt is going up in my house one day, when I get a house.
I don't know how to end this post. Quite frankly, I didn't want the weekend to end - except I really missed Cal and I really wanted to get working on everything we had learned!! (Oh, and I missed Downton Abbey!!! waaahhhh!) A special thank you to everyone that spoke. Your words are placed into the foundation of my business!