Real Talk.

Hi, my name is Emily and I am an over apologizer. I walk into so many conversations feeling like I need to explain myself and my failures before anyone can even get a word out. “Here's why you haven't heard from me in so long,” or “here's 100 reasons why I feel like I'm a failure.” That's all I can think of as I try to start writing again, that I need to explain why its been a while. But you know what? The Lord is teaching me about my weaknesses. He is teaching me about surrendering my weaknesses to Him and about how He makes Himself known in my limits. Limits are not bad, even if they're frustrating to a perfectionist with unrealistic expectations on herself. Limits are necessary. I just have to figure out how to function in them in a God honoring way, and not in a life draining and soul scorching way. Can anyone relate? If you can, here's my hug and cheers with a coffee mug to you. Just keep going. Don't quit.

Now that's out of the way... back to what I really came to share today. I've had the opportunity to have some really fun conversations with two women over on Periscope who were married in the last year and a half. Lauren and Audrey have two very different stories, but both had some amazing insight to share with me about what it was like to walk through their engagement and wedding planning experience. Here are a few of my favorite highlights:

 Kristen McCall Photography

Kristen McCall Photography

  • Longer engagements have blessings in disguise:

Both Lauren and Audrey were engaged for longer periods of time. Audrey was right at a year, and Lauren was more like eighteen months. Both offered great insight about the blessings that can come to have the time to prepare for marriage but also to make some tough choices that come with wedding planning.

  1. You can save money for things you would like to have for the wedding. Lauren in particular knew there were a few things she really wanted for the wedding, but she would not be able to wisely invest in them right off. She prioritized on the things she knew they absolutely had to have in order to take care of their guests, and then the other things, such as speciality lighting and having a videographer, came later as she and her fiance were able to save for them. In the end, she was so happy with this decision and felt it added to her overall experience.

  2. You can have more time to make the tough decisions. Audrey and her fiance's family are from the same town and are very well known and loved in the community in which they lived. When they first sat down and made their guest list, it was overwhelming in size. As much as they wanted to be able to have everyone there, they also knew that they had two limits: a stewarded budget and venue capacity. Audrey and her family were able to intentionally take the time to go through their guest list and make (all be it hard) decisions that ended up giving them more breathing room in their budget. There were still sacrifices that had to be made, but again, with the time on their side, they were able to wrestle through those decisions and ultimately come to a peaceful place and move forward with great joy and anticipation.

 Q Avenue Photo

Q Avenue Photo

 Madi Flournoy Photography

Madi Flournoy Photography

  • Photography Matters.

I love that both of these women talked about how much they want to encourage Brides to intentionally invest in a photographer. I'm married to a photographer/videographer (outside of the wedding world) and he and I literally bonded over our love of capturing moments in time. To me (in my humble opinion) other than a planner, a photographer is the most important vendor you hire. They are the guardian of your memories. And for both of these women, that was a significant decision for them as well. In the end, only weeks after Audrey's wedding, about the time the sneak peeks at the wedding photos even began, they experienced a great loss in her family. But during this time of loss, there were beautiful photos of their family together and celebrating her marriage with great joy. And suddenly, its more than just pictures, its memories that are treasured forever. This is just one reason why they personally implore you invest time in finding the right photographer for you.

 Madi Flournoy Photography

Madi Flournoy Photography

-Don't just plan your wedding, be engaged.

Both of these women shared several stories with me about how they grew as people and how their relationships grew as their weddings approached. There was much to talk about. There was much to learn. Even people like Audrey and Patrick who had grown up together, there was still more to learn and talk about. For Lauren and Henry, they had met later in their life, which can be such a blessing because you are more confident in who you are, but there is so much more to work through as you learn how to share your life.

 Q Avenue Photo

Q Avenue Photo

Ultimately, I think the resounding message is this: whether you are engaged for three months or eighteen months; be engaged. Don't just plan a wedding, be engaged. Spend time together doing things that are not wedding related. Do pre-marital counseling. Don't be afraid to talk about hard things. And don't assume you know everything there is to know about each other... we're talking about a lifetime here. If there wasn't more to learn, what fun would that be?

I am so grateful to both Lauren and Audrey for being willing to share their hearts with me. This short recap of what we shared doesn't even begin to touch the surface of all the good things they shared, but thank you, ladies, for opening your hearts and being willing to share what you learned during your experience. Also, HAPPY 1st ANNIVERSARY, AUDREY & PATRICK! They just celebrated this past week. The best is yet to come, friends =)

I'm looking forward to having more “coffee talk” with women who have stories to tell. We all have one, and there is so much good that comes from being willing to invite others in to learn from their journeys. This is where I want to apologize for not having more of these conversations yet, that I was hoping to do this once a month and two have happened in six months, but you know what. They happened. And they were so good. And that's exciting. The rest, I surrender.

I'm working on it ;)

 Kristen McCall Photography

Kristen McCall Photography

Have a great rest of your week, y'all!

xo,
Em