There’s been many moments lately that jump out at me and say “Jenn, this is why you do what you do”. From capturing a Dad’s tears while he dances with his daughter, watching a Groom grin from ear to ear as he watches his Bride walk down the aisle. Just the other night I had a Father of a Bride give me a giant hug and a kiss on the cheek as he told me “you have been so amazing tonight, thank you for capturing this day, and all these moments. I will treasure them forever”. All of these individual moments only reassure me that I am doing what I love. The other day I was watching Master Class on the new OWN network with Oprah Winfrey. Oprah gets a lot of flack, but I swear. This show was one of the most motivational shows I have ever watched. In the show Oprah said a quote. It made my heart stop. Took my breathe away. Nothing has ever been said that is more true to my life right now. O was describing her journey to where she got to where she is now. She said there wasn’t anything that happened along the way that wasn’t meant to prepare her for the life she leads now. This is my story. Sitting on my Grandma’s living room floor, at 4 years old, sorting through the hundreds of black and white photos my Grandmother had stored in the shed behind her home. The years of buying old manual film cameras, dragging boyfriends and friends and pets along with me as I learned to operate my camera. The time I spent studying Event Management at UF that taught me the importance of details and logistics and timing. The Country Club job that taught me how to build relationships, throw amazing parites, and most importantly, how to make children laugh. The 3 years I spent in Corporate America, making CEO’s happy, catering to the needs of those around me, planning large events and corporate functions, learning how to market and brand (and how to stand on my feet for 10+ hours at tradeshows). Getting laid off from a job that I loved, that only added fuel to the already burning fire that was my passion for photography, allowing me to turn my part-time hobby and love into a full time career. All these things happened for a reason.
I used to stalk the Southern Weddings blog site all day long at my corporate job. From my little tiny cube I used to read about precious, sweet, beautifully photographed weddings from people all over the South. I used to savor every single image. My event planner life crasing into my photographer life. I loved the details, and the design. I loved the images that captured it all. I remember saying to myself, one day I will be on this blog. Today, my friends, I have reached that goal. When I got the news that Ashley and Paul’s wedding would be featured (in 2 parts no less!!) on the Southern Weddings Magazine blog, I was over the moon. I couldn’t wait to share with Ashley the news. Mostly because, I believe, that Ashley wanted her wedding to grace the pages of the Southern Weddings blog almost as much as she wanted to be Mrs. Stafford that day. So I was so glad that I could bring her that joy. When I saw my images there though, it was one of those moments. A moment where I knew this is what I am supposed to be doing. I love my Brides. I love photographing their hard work. I love capturing the moments throughout the day that make it their own. The whole world stops on a wedding day. The only people in it are those saying I do. I am lucky enough to witness it all.
In Oprah’s show she said these words. “”How do you know that its your purpose? It feels like its the right space for you. It feels like what I should be doing. That this is how I’m supposed to feel. This is where I feel most myself. I feel at home here”. On top of sharing Ashley and Paul’s featured wedding, I wanted this post to say, that I know my purpose. I feel at home here. Surrounded by my Brides and Grooms, their families and friends. The newborns I get to snuggle on a weekly basis, the 2 year olds I get to run and chase after with my camera. I am home.