With a calendar full of upcoming weddings and a brand new photo session waiting on my hard drive to be edited, it is easy to keep rushing full tilt into the future. But sometimes it is worth taking a moment to look back.
I’d love to share my journey a little, and how I ended up doing a job I’d never dreamed of, but have fallen head over heels in love with!
As a little kid my dreams were always of a life on the stage. I produced about 5 million basement productions of Annie (I still know all the words to the entire show!), spent my high school inspired by the most incredible drama teacher, who was an amazing mentor, and who I am still in touch with today. And went on to attend a Conservatory where I received a BA in Theatre. My path seemed set! I graduated in May, Married my sweetheart that August, and started my first professional acting job in September! We moved to Atlanta, GA which is a great medium sized market (much easier to find work than LA or NYC) and I started working right away. We LOVED Atlanta and our time there was magical! I did all kinds of voice overs and tv commercials and stage productions at smaller theatre’s and then worked my way all the way up to the famous Alliance Theatre where I appeared in several shows an also taught acting classes. I vividly remember shooting a tv commercial with a trained monkey (the one from the George of the Jungle movie) and how bad he smelled. I was the face and voice of a talking Florida Orange Juice orange, and a million other crazy things!
We bought a little house, and then a few years later a bigger house.
I had everything my heart desired…wait for it…except one thing…
We (especially me) longed to start a family. This turned out to be a long road for us, full of heartbreak and a terrible mix of hopelessness and hope. Finally, at long last we had our beautiful Isabel Lyric and I knew my life would never be the same. We made the (easy) decision to move back to Virginia. I think it was easy because I had so quickly fulfilled so many of my acting dreams. Belle had changed everything and I didn’t want to spend a moment apart from her. We started running a B&B for our family, and I brought Belle with me every day! You guys, I LOVED me some Sears Portrait Studio back in the day 🙂
And here is our beautiful Isabel all grown up…well, 14 🙂
At some point, as I thought of ways to expand our B&B, a random thought occurred to me – why don’t we try Elopements? We put together a package, posted it online, and within a few days had our first wedding booked, and then more, and more! Couples were loving what we did, and inquiring about bigger and bigger events. A decision was made to move our ever growing wedding business into its own space, our family property – The Golden Horseshoe Inn. This was a building that had been in our family for about 20 years, and was my dad Alan’s pottery shop! He moved into a smaller studio next door, and the GHI was transformed into an intimate wedding venue. It was so nice to have an entire space dedicated to weddings, no worries about B&B guests being disturbed by a wedding or vice versa. Sometimes things just magically come together, and that seemed to be what happened for us! Along this journey, we have learned and improved and added value wherever we could!
I should also mention, that daughter number two – our amazing Lyra Day, graced our family in December of 2007! And what do you know, she has the acting bug as well, so I’m finding myself back in audition waiting rooms, and dance studio’s and dark theater’s…this time as a stage mom, and loving every moment!
Photography – Then vs. Now
In the beginning, Stephen, my husband, did the wedding photography for us. I would trail along with him and our couple, directing him to the spots I thought were “just right for a photo” and helping pose the couple. I could see the vision in my head, but was super intimidated by the camera, and let Stephen handle that part of it. Eventually he took a job outside of the family business, and that left me to take the photos. I was soooo nervous – these are once in a lifetime moments being captured. I would dread the days I had to take pictures. But I also LOVED the creativity, I loved being with the couple and sharing such precious moments with them. So I started to study, and find mentors, and study some more, and upgrade my equipment… and my pictures got better and better. (Check out those before and after cake shots below 🙂 I am still getting better today, still learning and improving – it’s one of my favorite things about photography…there is always another goal, another way to get better – it provides an ongoing challenge that I adore.
A photo from back in the beginning… (we adored this couple – they were sooo sweet!)
And this fall…
Stephen has been able to come back on board for our weekend weddings, offering a Cinematography package and it is so much fun to be working with him again! As I shoot the photos, and he shoots the video, together we’ve witnessed the most amazing things…a best man break into song during his Wedding Toast, a beautiful moon rise over the S’mores station on a cool fall evening, and great grandparents tearing up the dance floor in one another’s arms. So many special moments, with so many special families! And in the end, for us, that is what it is all about. Building a life that supports our family, and giving back to the families that support our life! We are so thankful for the amazing couples we work with, the beauty we witness, and the memories we are allowed to capture. We can’t wait to see what the future brings!