First client shoot of the new year, something that can be totally nerve racking or something that you can let shape how the year is going to go. I prefer to let it shape a good thing for the new year ahead of us, and that was the mentality we went into this weekends shoot with.
This weekend, we drove up to Tampa to have an engagement shoot with Jacqueline and Aaron at the beautiful and historic University of Tampa campus.
Being Daytona based, and Orlando/Brevard County Frequenters, locations in Tampa were a new thing to us, and this magical old architecture and piece of history made us wish we lived closer, but the couple that showed up to shoot with us was even better.
Full of life, love, and absolute dorkyness this couple was a breeze to work with. Having been together for 6 years, but known each other for much longer, these two knew each other inside and out and it showed in the final product…even if it was windy and cold the entire shoot.
So last weekend Josh and I participated in Just a Girl’s first ever Wedding Expo. I say Just a Girl’s because apparently my amazing other half use to do them with his dad as a kid. Very different type of show than wedding shows, but more experience than I’d ever had with it.
We, of course, in typical Josh and Kylee fashion waited until the last minute to finish our display and had never tried to fit everything in the car until the night before. Luckily almost everything fit,and the next morning we were our way to Innisbrook Resort in Tampa where the expo was being held.
After a hectic morning we finally got everything set up, what I didn’t know however was that the candy and our display would be the mossy popular thing about us all day 😂
We were all set up and ready to go for Florida Wedding Expo by Your Wedding TVs doors were about to open. I was super nervous and Josh was well…Josh, cool as a cucumber we always.
The crowds were flowing and there were tons of eager brides, grooms, friends, and family. The chocolate in both the swag bags and on our table helped us stand out. Brides were filling out our contact cards pretty consistently for a majority of the show and we had some awesome conversations with potential clients.
All in all in 4 hours of talking to brides, about a grand in expenses to get us ready for the first show, 2 engagement shoots, and what hopefully will turn into an awesome season of weddings in the next couple of weeks, I would have to say from the perspective of connecting with potential brides and other vendors alone, that this expo was worth it.
I think for all new photography business out there especially those in the wedding industry, looking into an expo type event whether it be the same one we did or some other event, is definitely worth it. It’ll help you connect with all sorts of people.
At the end of the day, if someone asked me would you do this expo again my answer would be absolutely yes. Even if we don’t get any bookings off of it this time. The learning curve from the first show was steep and I’m excited to keep learning and connecting.
Back around Thanksgiving, I wrote a small blurb about the logo and what it means to me, but I thought for this weeks blog, I’d dig a little deeper into that.
Way back, before I even met Josh, I had this dream of starting a photography business. Something completely outside of my realm as a degreed engineer, but a passion I’d had since my days in high school.
Photography was always preached in my family as nothing more than a hobby. Something that could never sustain me like a good STEM degree could. Which is why, despite my love, and from what I’ve been told natural talent for it, it wasn’t something I continued to pursue.
That was until, I had hit rock bottom and coming back behind the camera saved me. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go back to engineering after the way it treated me coming out of college, but I knew I had a few other passions left to explore.
Queue the research into what it would take to start a business and what I needed to start doing in order to get somewhere with it. I was completely lost, and to be honest probably in over my head, but I already had a name for my business.
Just a Girl
This came out of my time in rock bottom where I felt completely lost and out of control. Barely 21, a year out of college, jobless, and feeling like I was nothing more than just a girl, I wasn’t special, or at least I didn’t feel like I was. I was Just a Girl, just a girl trying to make it day to day, just a girl trying to navigate her first stab at adulthood, just a girl who didn’t know how to be on her own, and Just a Girl with a hell of a lot of fight left for a dream that seemed impossible.
But I needed to find a logo to go with it. I didn’t want something everybody else had, I didn’t want cursive lettering, or flowers, or a rustic look that was popular at the time. I wanted something with just as much story as my name had.
Thats when it came to me, sitting at my desk with my feet up, I looked at my ankle. It was perfect, how could I have missed it.
I had a bow tattooed on my ankle, a bow that represents the biggest fight, the stubbornness that runs through my veins, the uphill battle with terrible statistics, a bow that represented defying the odds. A bow that represented probably the strongest, most stubborn, fighter I know. It represents my cousin, Ashlynn.
Ashlynn was diagnosed with a rare disorder from birth, we as the family were told she’d always be a vegetable, that she’d never make it past certain stages in her life, that she’d never be able to hold her head up, let alone walk. Nonetheless, she continued to fight. We continued to fight as a family, when she couldn’t fight for herself. And Now?
Ashylnn is 16, was the flower girl in the last wedding we shot, where she with some assistance from some family walked down the isle. She has outlived every expectancy, and out performed every metric we’ve ever been given. This supposed vegetable, has the biggest personality of us all, and 100% has the Goodliffe stubbornness coursing through her veins.
When I want to quit, when I want to rely on my degree and the cushion it provides me, I remember what this company name and logo stands for. The bow was created to represent the fight in a little girl whose sheer will power beats us all. The bow was created to represent the family mantra “Strength to Start, Courage to Finish” in my own way. The bow was meant as a daily reminder, that I’m related to living proof of defying the odds, if she could do it I can to.
The bow also remind me, that I’m not Just a Girl anymore, but I was. My attachment to this story is why we’ve never changed the name, even though Josh and I shoot together now. I was Just a Girl, now I’m Just a Girl, who Found the Love of her Life. With him, I’ve found my strength to do anything no matter how impossible the odds may seem.
I’m Just a Girl with her Bow and her Bo, ready to take on the crazy world of Wedding Photography one wedding at a time.
Destination Weddings, to ultimate blessing and a curse. Traveling with lights, and lens, and cameras, is not an easy task by any means, but nothing about this past wedding really was. Being both a photographer and a part of the wedding party, my second shooter aka my husband, also being in the wedding party, and oh yeah! Did I mention it was my slightly controlling slightly crazy, and just the slightest bit bossy mom’s wedding?
It was a bit different, I’m not going to lie, but how could I turn down the chance at a destination wedding in Jamaica? I definitely couldn’t. Even if I only have half a weddings worth of photos 🙂
Today, I’m going to take this blog to a little bit more of a serious place. This is a topic that hits home for me. Almost every wedding you go to you see a bride and her father walking down the isle, doing the father daughter dance, but has that ever made you think “When I get married, I won’t have that experience?”, then this blog is for you. Whether it be that you’re estranged from you father, your father passed away, you’ve never known your father, or any other reason you’ve ever had that thought at a wedding, just know I’m here for you, as I know how it feels.
I was the bride that told my father, I didn’t want him to show up to my wedding, but why would I do that…you may ask? Well, to make a long story short my parents went through a nasty divorce during my senior year in college, to the point that I don’t have a picture with both my mother and father at my college graduation because my father couldn’t come within 2 ft of my mom. So when my father asked me if I wanted him at my wedding, every ounce of me wanted to say sure…but what actually came out of my mouth was “If you can’t be civil, then I don’t want you there”. My husband and I chose to have an elopement style wedding for several reasons, but one of those was to avoid our family drama, so as much as I wanted him there, I wasn’t going to make my whole day about who can be near who. Now on to my message to all of you out there who may feel the same.
To: The Fatherless Bride
Whatever your reasons for not having your father at your wedding, just know you’ll be ok. Your day can still be just as perfect without him, sometimes even better.
If your dad has passed and you were close, you can still honor and remember him as a part of your ceremony, and take solace in the fact that he’s always with you. If you have something of his you’ve kept with you over the years, you can even utilize that as your something borrowed. I know this is going to be a sad day not having him there, but you have to remember that it should also be a joyous one. However you choose to honor and remember him, just know that he’d be there if he could.
If you’re estranged from your dad, and you do everything you can to get him to your wedding, but yet he still doesn’t show up, know that the people in your life that truly care about you will fight through snow storms and hurricanes to be at your big day. You’re not important enough to him, therefore you should stop making him overly important to you. I know this can be hard, I know this is easier said than done, but trust me when I say that your day will be less stressful, less painful, and more joyous if you leave that stress behind and realize that the people who want to be there will be. It’s you and your husbands big day, if your father doesn’t want to be there to celebrate it with you, than SCREW HIM.
If you’re like me and made the conscious decision to tell your father not to attend, know that you made the right decision. Whatever your reasoning for telling him to stay away, don’t doubt it. It may be hard, you may think you’ll regret it, but from someone who did it and has never looked back, if you feel strongly about your decision you won’t look back. Ultimately, its your day, not theres. You may catch heat for your decision, and you have to be prepared to deal with that, but you won’t die, and ultimately, your day will be better because of that choice.
Not having a father there may make you feel sad, may make you look at everyone else’s weddings and say “Why can’t I have that?”, but I’ll let you in on a little secret, it gets better, and you’ll be perfectly ok. If you don’t want to walk alone, ask another family member to do it, if you don’t want to be alone while your husband has his mother son dance, ask the DJ not to do a mother/son father/daughter dance. There are ways to make your day seamless without your father being there. My personal favorite….doing everything you typically would have done with your dad with your spouse instead. Walk into the ceremony as equals, rather than being given away like a horse. Have your first dance together or don’t do a first dance at all. This day is ultimately about the two of you, do things how you want to do it. Just know that you are not alone, there has been brides before you that have knowledge of ways to maneuver through your wedding day without your father, and there will definitely be brides after you that you can help.
You are the star of your wedding, don’t let anyone else take that away from you.