If you follow me on social media of any form, you know that we are expecting our first little person in August. *cue the confetti, the pink confetti have you* Although this is happening in peak wedding season and the timing is “not ideal” in a worldly sense, we know that it surely is perfect in God’s timing. I have done everything possible to prepare for this August from a business standpoint and given bridal clients the choice to make the best decision for them + their wedding in light on my personal situation. Right before we were married, Justin had some pretty invasive cancer that left us wondering if kids, the all naturalle way, would ever be possible. So you can imagine how surprised we were to find out we would be parents! Surprised + excited + scared.
To go off of Jesus blessings a little further, we need to back up. We up and decided to sell our home in August of 2015 in order to pay down a ton of school debt to reach our goal of being debt free by 30. We werent even married for a year yet, had 6 figures in school loan debt (as I embarked on an atypical career I didn’t go to college for, I’m that person), had just renovated this adorable little house, and we were considering selling it & moving in with my family for one year in order to pay down this big, fat, ugly debt number. Trying to explain that to people our age was tough, “I’m sorry what? You’re moving in with your parents? And you’re married?” We would smile and confidently say yes. Plus if you know my family at all…living here isn’t so bad :) It’s only made our house search more complicated! Anywho, we didnt expect to reach our goal debt number until May or June of 2016. However, thanks to Dave Ramsey + lots of planning + patience, we reached that spot at the end of January! Right after I found out I was pregnant. If we didn’t feel led to make that sacrifice in August, if our house didn’t sell in 3 days, if we weren’t given the opportunity to live with my family…having all those school loans + a baby + basically being a stay at home mother would be impossible. *Again, thank you jesus.* Which leads me to my next point!
Before pregnancy, this year was going to be BIZ-AY! 28 weddings. Plans for a killer #bwsenior team. Incorporating film. Plans for beauty session marathons. Hopefully house shopping come fall. LOTS of travel. Most of this has all happened/continues to happen it’s just I’m quite a few pounds larger with a human inside me and I require lots more naps + snacks. It’s been pretty tiring thus far, as happy as I am, and the heart of summer isn’t even here yet. I’m gone almost nightly through the week for sessions and on most weekends for weddings. Justin & I are passing ships in the night. When we discussed taking my business full time originally, one of the major “pros” of this decision was to be able to one day stay home with our little people while molding my business to what we needed or wanted it to be for our family. SO! The long and short of it is, BRIDES…I am taking many less weddings for 2017. I usually have been shooting close to 30 a year and my goal is to do about 15ish next year (and I’m about half way there right now). Justin is already reminding me that I need to use my “no” muscle because sometimes it’s just really hard to say no to sweet people with lovely wedding dreams because I do LOVE this job. A big reason I decided to go this path as a wedding photographer was because we both grew up with stay at home mothers and we loved it. I truly feel that this is another blessing in our lives that this is even an option for us! So there you go, it’s out there.
Come August, when our little gal arrives, I want to attempt a normal maternity leave like every other woman in our culture gets from a corporate job. Yes, I will be available for my remaining wedding clients and they know this. However, expect some quiet. Expect an autoresponder on my email. Expect email times to be slower. Expect my instagram to fill with baby pictures (I’m going to try to control myself).
Update on our living situation: we just got a house this week! It hit the market friday, we looked at multiple homes over the weekend, and even though this was the smallest one of our search it just felt “right” when we were in it! It also felt right to ten other home buyers because it was quite a bidding war but again, we were blessed and it’s OURS! It’s a little white ranch with a lovely yard, close to everything for Justin’s work travels, great school district, and creates a super affordable mortgage situation for us. We settle on June 30th + will be trying our best to get moved in and finished with projects before Baby Stevenson’s August arrival. So really…you can expect my future instagram feed to be babies + new house. I promise weddings will return.
So just to review: we didnt even think we could have kids. We didn’t even know if my business would work right after we got married + I switched out of a very promising nursing career. We sold our house to pay off school loan debt. We had families available that supported this venture and have been wonderful. Somehow, our first house sold in a snap. Somehow, we were able to follow Dave Ramsey’s advice and paid off a very large portion of our debt months earlier than expected. We were blessed with a baby post Justin’s cancer. My little business we took a chance on has been blessed + is allowing me to be a somewhat stay at home momma while still providing for my family which would not have be realistic at all if we didnt take that first step of faith to pay all our school loans down about a year ago. Now, we have been blessed with a perfect little house for us right before the baby arrives. Do you know how many things had to JUST line up, JUST RIGHT, to get to now?! God is good, God is so so good.
To all my 2016 brides (and past brides even) that have been kind + supportive + celebratory with us, THANK YOU. I have been blessed with some amazing couples this year and it’s so refreshing to work with fellow Christians and people of lovely moral character. I also want to thank all your families because I’m always so surprised how kind people are to me at weddings simply because I am the pregnant wedding photographer. Everyone always asks if i need a rest or a bite to eat or if I have enough water, hehe. It’s the small things but it’s just wonderful to be around such caring people!
SO ANYWHO! In the end, I’m taking less weddings next year to have more life and less work.
In the end, none of this is my doing but all glory to God. The classic song “Blessed be the Name of the Lord,” has been my jam the last few months. “Every blessing you pour out, I’ll turn back to praise. When the darkness closes in still, I’m gonna say, blessed be the name of the Lord.” AMEN FRIDAY!
Above photo by Sarah Brookhart Photography – I love ya girl!
On a random less serious note, because I’m taking less brides & grooms next year, I have to spoil the ones I’ve got! So below is a little sneak peek into the awesome little welcome gift I put together with That’s Darlin Gifting. I wanted something that was catered to the bride AND groom, something that fostered togetherness and relationship. There’s some Jesus in there, some southern touches, some good treats, and lots more. I can’t give it all away because what is the fun in that, but of course you can assume there are some SWEEEEET treats in there. I know there’s a company that even makes “Wilbur Chocolate” so that of course had to be included :) Anywho. 2017 is going to be amazing. The people I’m working with already are seriously the best and I will openly brag about that. I treasure each & every one of you & I’m so thankful that you’re trusting me to document your marriage.