This one is close to my heart, friends! To start, let’s take it back to where SLL was ~4 years ago.
We found ourselves moving back to KY from a year in IL because Ganer had the amazing opportunity to return to WKU to direct the forensics team. For the business, that meant traveling back and forth for weddings which kept me very busy. I found myself in a business direction that was very lone-wolf. I struggled to find friends that shared our values for inclusivity, candids, and going against the grain. It got really lonely. I felt like Ganer was the only person I could talk to and the business was beginning to dominate our personal time.
It didn’t take long however for me to find and befriend Alex! I was immediately drawn to her work and personality. I love how her images celebrate the couple over details. It is colorful, joyful, and personal. I found a kindred spirit and a facebook friend request got us chatting sometimes hours on end. Alex threw me into some local online groups and forums (that honestly only further affirmed our private alliance [for real tho ;P]) and suddenly I felt a lot less lonely.
I bring all of this up because it is so important it is to have a friend to say “hey…. ‘x’ situation wasn’t ideal for me” and to have that person so eagerly offer help. She supports me as a person, business owner, and artist. She knows what’s behind SLL and tries to activate it. In a world of women competing against each other, you bet your a*s that’s unique. We’ve done many weddings together. We talk nearly every day.
We also talked a lot about our sweet supportive partners. I felt like I knew Jeff without ever having met in person (isn’t social media funny in that way?). I also feel like I know her two cats and two dogs but that’s beside the point. I’ve always had this impression of Jeff as this caring, hardworking, thoughtful person. I’ve gotten to hear about their adventures in homeownership, travels around the world, and the love they put into their partnership.
So when she asked me to be her elopement photographer… I panicked. It’s always a little scary to shoot for a fellow photographer. But also because I had *essentially* closed off bookings for the year (2018 was a LOT y’all, I’ll get into that later…). However in my meeting with them she emphasized on me being there as a creative and friend. She gave me permission to take off a little of the pressure that she sees when we are doing a full day/big wedding together. It meant the world to me to be trusted in that way. And I truly love me an off-beat elopement, so it was an easy sell.
Fast forward to their day– it was booked on one of the most darling properties Nashville area has to offer (Bloomsbury farms). They got ready together (!) sipping their favorite champagne. A sudden rain storm had us re-routing the ceremony plan (which is fine when there’s only four of you!). A coin toss determined the order of vows and hey also felt completely comfortable pausing those vows to enjoy an unexpected rainbow that was appearing just behind me. After the “I do’s” we ran about the property enjoying the fall color, dusky red light, and bliss that comes with finally being married.
One of the last shots I got was Alex insisting I don’t crop myself out of the mirror, a request given while I tried to shoot her (sans me) refreshing her lipstick. It made me think about the lengths I go to be present, generous, and loving– yet actively removing my shadow. I am thankful for this friend for the obvious reasons, but also for the fact that she wouldn’t let me do the obvious vendor move of being out of the way. She invited me in. And in so many ways, that is our relationship.
Thank you dear Alex. You have bolstered my faith and confidence in an industry I thought was faithless.
Thank you for your trust in me and most importantly for treating me like a friend and person. The bath bombs and champagne are good for the soul. Thank you again.