An End of Season Thank You: Thoughts on Gratitude, Growing Up, and Important Things.

Happy December, friends.  Here in Wisconsin, December means that winter has officially settled in. Most years, anyway. This year we've had a couple of light snows, but it's still OK weather for pug walks around the neighborhood and we have only neglected the shoveling of our driveway once so far. Regardless, baby it's cold outside- and my summer clothes are officially packed away, my sweaters are in their rotation, and my tall boot collection is getting plenty of wear! December, for most, is a month of reflection on the previous 11 months. A month of pondering what goals to set for the new calendar year. Going back to neglected lists of resolutions from the previous December's similar cycle, figuring out what was accomplished and what wasn't, and weighing the importance of various things to work toward and accomplish during the coming months. Is that what December is for you? There's something about the wedding industry that makes it very seasonal, very cyclical. Here in the Midwest, anyway, where summer is our busy season and our winters are peppered with the occasional snowy wedding day. Maybe that's part of what I love about it. We measure our marriages by how many years since that beautiful wedding day. The year is a big deal! 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016... Something about that nature of wedding seasons and years going by really makes me feel like my business is reborn each January first. And this habit of reflecting and planning just makes sense to me. This year, I'm reflecting heavily on a year that was full of highs and lows for this little business of mine. Successes, failures, obstacles, changes, and improvements. It was a year for learning, that's for sure. Learning more about what's important to my clients, to my business, and to my family and I. I quite enjoy this time of planning and reflection. I love creating new systems to improve processes! I love wrapping the year up, organizing the clutter, and checking things off of final lists. The things I've learned this year feel like culminations of many ideas and adventures I began over the last few years. My new brand feels like home now, my business is quite literally back in my home, and things seem to be slowly falling into place. Falling into place by means of falling apart, first- but still falling into place nonetheless. It's been like a growing up process. A flushing out and a filling in all at once.  And all the while, I've been blessed this whole year with just the best batch of couples a wedding photographer could ever ask for. The brides and grooms who've become husbands and wives in front of my camera this year have been some of the kindest, most wonderful, most in-love couples I've ever known. I've felt like a guest at my weddings, a friend and a trusted VIP. I can't tell you how much better that makes this already pretty great job. It's amazing to step back and realize how much faith and confidence my clients have in me, and to appreciate how meaningful that is to me. Thank you, brides and grooms. New husbands and wives. Wonderful friends who have invited me into your so very important days in such an intimate way. I am so grateful for you all! So that brings us to next year: the 2015 wedding season. I'm excited for it! It will be a little slower. I've decided to take on a limited number of weddings each month, in hopes of an overall quieter schedule. I look forward to taking more time to help my clients, get to know them, and serve them with a little more ease. I also look forward to more focus on what is important: my family and friends. This past year, I saw more than one person that I care about lose their spouse too early and unexpectedly. Imagining what that would be like was devastating. Mourning along with them was eye-opening. These experiences further strengthened my resolve to give more attention and priority to my love story. I was faced with the understanding that we never truly know how long we have when we make our wedding vows. So what does your new year look like? Is your emphasis on finding more time to connect with and enjoy the people you love the most? I highly recommend it. There's a sense of freedom in choosing yourself and the ones you love, no matter how rewarding and fulfilling your career may be. Especially when the one you choose is the one you pledged to love forever. I want to do more this year to encourage my couples to embrace their love stories, fully and without restraint. To make as many memories as you can together. To choose one another. I'd love to introduce you to the new husbands and wives whose weddings I shared in 2014. With just one more to go, on New Year's Eve! Congratulations, friends. You all mean more to me than you know. Enjoy! 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  Bring it on, 2015. I'm ready for ya.