Today marks one year that I’ve called Chicago my home. When I say it out loud I immediately think “wow! I can’t believe it’s been that long already!” but then again, I think “wow! It’s only been a year?!” Today was the day that I hadn’t even moved into our home yet, but I already considered Chicago my city. I was proud to call it home and I couldn’t wait to explore it with Vincent.
Growing up in Tennessee, I was from a small town called Gadsden which has a population of like 400 people. It’s super tiny and if you needed gas or groceries, you had to drive 20 minutes to either Humboldt or Jackson to get them. I’m talking about a town with no stop lights and cows for neighbors. Now don’t get me wrong, Gadsden is absolutely gorgeous. It’s full of open land where either cotton or corn typically grows, there’s plenty of room for dogs to roam the yard, and there’s lots of areas to ride a four wheeler. Can’t go wrong with that! But when I moved to the city, I realized how easy it was to just walk everywhere. I found that if I needed something in a pinch, there’s a 7-eleven right downstairs that I can go to or a CVS just a few blocks away. Talk about convenience! Chicago, you spoil me.
This time last year, I was currently living with my sister in law (for a few days) so I could come here as soon as possible and photograph a wedding alongside Amanda Miller. I was so excited to work with her and to start making friends in the wedding industry. I was really nervous to move to the big city where I didn’t know anyone, but thankfully, Amanda welcomed me with open arms and I figured if everyone was as sweet as she was, then I’d be okay here. Like anywhere and anything, I quickly learned that not everyone would be as welcoming, but that’s okay. I love the quote “Your vibe is your tribe” and I find that this is very true. I have been blessed with some amazing friends this year and I can’t imagine my life without them.
Honestly, if you would have asked me a year ago if I’d be where I am today, I would have never believed you. I was not sure how I’d fit in here or if I’d even make friends. I kept thinking “I’m just a girl from small town Tennessee. How will I ever make a name for myself in such a big city?” I will tell you though, there is SO much opportunity here and I truly believe that there is enough business for everyone. I’ve been positively encouraged by all the networking events and education-based opportunities that there is here. It’s really quite amazing! I have been introduced to highly talented business women and men and have been invited to events and groups that I never knew existed. I’ve been a part of a amazing group of creative women entrepreneurs called Creative Chics and I’ve even started a Tuesday’s Together group in Chicago. With each month that passes, I get more and more excited (and surprised) at the opportunities and experiences I’ve been given here. Some of my favorites include photographing a proposal at the Trump, an pop-up elopement, an Indian, Jewish, Chinese, Indonesian, and Lituanian wedding, and an event for Francis Coppola. This year, I’ve been accepted to be a member of Style Me Pretty’s Little Black Book and I’ve been featured on the Knot, Huffington Post, How He Asked, Elizabeth Anne Designs, and other amazing wedding blogs! Not to mention, I was recently given the opportunity to shoot for a magazine and it’ll be coming out in October! I mean, seriously!? This year ROCKED! I would have NEVER believed this would ever happen to me. I’m still in shock, honestly.
I don’t say this to brag…truly. I say all this 1. Because I’ve worked really hard to get where I am today and I believe that we SHOULD be proud of our accomplishments and 2. Because I want to say that if I can do it, so can you! Seriously.
I just want to say a quick thank you to everyone that has trusted me with documenting their special memories, has invited me to events, has let me second shoot for them, has given me advice and opportunities to grow, and has been a constant encourager and supporter over this past year. You guys have made me feel so welcome here and I can’t thank you enough! If I could hug each one of you right now, I would! 🙂 A huge thank you to my husband and my family for being my biggest fans. Thank you to all of my new Chicago friends and thank you to all of my Tennessee and Florida friends that have supported me as I moved from city to city over the past 4 years trying to regrow my business each time. It’s because of people like you that I am able to pursue this amazing dream of documenting life and love.
Photo by Britta Marie Photography