Whoa, what a crazy night. I’m sure there’s still some sweet wine in my system as I type this, but what an incredible experience (once again!) I think each year, it just means more to me: to wear high heels (the one day out of the year) and celebrate with my friends, family, and industry members. In case you have no clue what I am referring to, we just celebrated a third win for the Wisconsin Bride Awards and goodness, it’s kind of impossible to put it in words, so maybe I’ll just tell you a story.
Five years ago I had just left my corporate job and I caught wind of this awards night. I told Drew we had to go to see what it was all about, we got dressed up and showed up. I knew absolutely no one, not a single soul. Somehow Drew saw a guy he knew from the wine industry but here I was in my new “industry” and I felt like an outcast. I remember standing in the audience as the winners were called out and I knew that someday I wanted to be the one being called. It became this little unspoken mission of mine but I knew that breaking into a saturated industry like photography with zero experience was easier said than done.
The next year? I was a nominee! The following year? I won! After that? I won, not only photography BUT top overall vendor of all categories… (yes, the top of the tiara in the entire industry and state of Wisconsin.) This year? We did it again. But here’s why I say “we” and not “I”… sure, I am a one woman show, I always have been. But I have a little tribe of humans who are working to support me, to make this happen, to say “yes” to a girl with a dream and a camera. These awards? To me, they remind me that I have surrounded myself with people who believe in dream chasing, who encourage hard work, who support the chase of happiness. I say “we” because I am celebrating every client who has ever trusted me with their memories, every family member who stood by me when I left my cushy salary and benefits, and every weekend I spent on the road photographing weddings for my beloved friends.
This is yours just as much as it is mine and as I claim the title for the third year in a row, I pray that only be a reflection of your potential success. Whether you feel like an outcast or maybe you feel like your dream is too big, maybe the work ahead of you feels intimidating or you think that people will never take you seriously because you have zero professional training, maybe you’re a business of one, maybe you’re facing resistance or disbelief for your tribe around you… whatever it may be, it is possible. I am proof and today I want to wear nothing but underwear and a crown.
Immense and pure gratitude to everyone who voted, to my sweet parents, in-laws, and grandparents who were there to support Drew and I at the event, and a big ol’ kiss for the husband who puts up with all of my dream chasing antics. I love you more than anything.
Special thanks to: Rent the Runway for dressing me for the event!