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{i love this shot stacey hedman captured onsite at erika + andrew’s wedding this past october in cape cod. i was taking in the sight of the bride and groom in their infinite level of happiness (while moving the ceremony florals to the reception!)}

2012 was an amazing year full of weddings, events, shoots, and personal trials and tribulations. LLD had 15 weddings (there are so many weddings you haven’t even seen yet, so i’m excited to get to submitting away and share with you soon), a graduation/birthday, several editorial shoots + features, and a new website launch. oh, and i took a pretty big leap and left my corporate job to take on LLD full time. i learned so much this year, and wanted to share my learnings with you today. i tried to narrow down to my top 10 11, if you will. here goes:

1. the internet is a great resource for all of us. without it, many of us (in the online world) likely wouldn’t have found each other. it is a great way for me to share everything i do via my blog, facebook, twitter, pinterest and instagram. it’s a great way for me to promote my business through features. but the internet is also a place where you can find others who are similar to you. people you never knew existed. people who act and say and do so many of the very same things you do. this can be a hard thing to deal with, when you are told your entire life to “just be you/there’s only one you” and yet you come across so many others who are so very similar, it’s scary. it’s frustrating, it’s disheartening, and it’s even downright annoying sometimes. you see words put out by others that you would have said yourself, you see projects being put out by others you just recently completed as well. but rather than thinking “why is that person copying me”, you need to remember that a) those people might not even know you exist, and b) while there is only 1 you, the internet will surface those who are similar, and you just need to deal with it and move on. or call a fellow industry friend who understands, get it off your chest, but regardless, move. on. so what if someone else gives out bridal bags with their company logo? so what if someone else chose to spray paint their entire garden gold for events this year? i need to remember there are so many creative people out there, with similar ideas and just because i thought of it, doesn’t always mean it’s original and the more time i spend wasted on worrying about trivial things like that, the less time i have to focus on the important matters at hand.

2. saying no is a hard thing to do, but once you master the craft, your work/life balance improves immediately. 2011 and 2012 were my years of yes. 2013 is my year of no. my year of no means a saturday morning here and there at the farmers market with my husband vs. back to back to back to back weddings all summer. it means partnering with amazing vendors and awesome clients who totally appreciate and understand how i work and what i do, and a shared mutual respect from me to them and them to me. it means not jumping at the gun for every opportunity that comes my way and instead, weighing the pros and cons before responding for each and every one.

3. while i may be able to find a four leaf clover on command, i do not believe in luck. not one single bit. i believe in right place, right time, but when it comes to work and my business? there’s no luck involved. there’s a hell of a lot of hard work that goes in to producing “luck”, and when people make comments saying “lucky” it kind of drives me crazy because it feels like there’s a hint of bitterness associated with it. that, or i might just be hypersensitive :). i’ll keep finding the 4-leaf clovers but i won’t give up the work ethic that’s gotten me this far!

4. finding amazing vendors to partner with makes me so happy. i have a few of my absolute faves who i am blessed to be working with this year and next – people who understand me and my creative process, people who appreciate that, and people who’s work i just adore. as i’ve said time and time again, this is a craaaazy industry and unfortunately, not all people have the best of intentions. when you find the ones that are a fit for you, who you can pour your heart out to (and who can do the same to you), it is such a blessing. really. and discovering new vendors who i haven’t worked with yet, but who i click with immediately? that’s just the best. really, it’s my clients who benefit in the long run, with an A-team who gets along and works hard towards the ultimate goal of a flawless (and pretty) event.

5. remember the meaning behind every wedding. this is a commitment of love and honor and a sacred event not only to witness, but to plan, style + floralize (new word, ok?). i need to step back from the lovely little details once in a while and remember what this event means to each and every client. i need to take that feeling and apply it to my own marriage. this is the most important date in my couple’s lives, and though the pretty gold spray-painted pineapple will definitely add some flair, it’s about more than that. remember this.

6. allow time to breathe and be ok with doing so. simple as that.

7. fall in love with my job over and over again. take that rush i get from showing my couple the venue all set up for the first time, or delivering the bridal bouquet to my special recipient, and remember that feeling every time i feel a bit overwhelmed or disheartened. remember why i left my corporate job to blaze a trail on my own. these feelings and memories and thoughts will keep me on the right path even on the rainiest of days. oh, and working with a dog by your side can turn that frown upside down in a heartbeat. :)

8. aim to inspire and delight in everything i do. sometimes you have a bad day. we all do. but the world doesn’t need to know that. instead, inspire others by keeping your head high. always aim to evoke a feeling of delight from all of my clients, whether it’s through my LLD bride bag filled with planning surprises and favorite items from etsy vendors, or walking through a site visit and pointing out ideas of placement for decor, sending along a design plan for review filled with colors, ideas, and inspiration, or answering emails promptly with plenty of enthusiasm and exclamation marks :) treat each interaction with existing clients, potential clients, and vendors as a special opportunity to inspire and delight.

9. be grateful every day and don’t take a single thing for granted – health, happiness, and peace are things we should count as our blessings, not permanent fixtures in our daily life.

10. “i did it my way” – frank sinatra. my way might not be the right way for others, but it’s my way. use the resources all over the web and take them all with a grain of salt. attend the wedding conferences (if any) that make the most sense for me, and will offer me the most ROI. go in there like a sponge and take it all in, but allow myself time to digest all the information and do it my way. my clients aren’t paying me to do it like someone else. remember that.

11. make time for the people and things that count. shut down the computer when i say i will, and go watch the end of the baseball game i could care less about to be with my husband. make date nights happen, even if it’s just thai takeout eaten out of boxes on a blanket in our living room. leave the iphone at home when i go out with family + friends. they’re all there, i don’t need to be plugged in. and the world doesn’t have to see every single thing i do on instagram to prove i actually exist. actions prove that, not pressing a “like” heart :)

with only 1-2 openings left for new clients, 2013 is shaping up to be a busy and exciting year, one that i can hardly wait to start. and i can only imagine the things i will learn and take away in this next 12 months. anyone have anything to add that you took away from this year? are you as excited for the holidays as i am? bring it on 2013, we’re ready for you!

featured and seen in
100 Layer Cake Snippet & Ink See my work featured on Ruffled