It's hard to believe that today is the last day of 2017. This year has really been something else. Had you told me last January that this is where I'd be in my life - running Inspired Elegance Events with a successful first year coming to a close, I would have said you were crazy.
One year ago, I had a job that I loved with my whole heart, filled with the best clients, but in a place that wasn't healthy. I ignored that latter because of how much I loved what I did and the people I did it for. Then that changed. I didn't have that job any more and I was lost. I had put so much energy into that job for so long I wasn't sure what came next. Insert some amazing people here.
When people started asking "What's next?" I'd stare blankly. This was answered every single time with "Sheila, you're going to do what you love, what you're great at, where your passion is. Start your own business." When I couldn't see what came next, it was so obvious to everyone around me because no matter what happened, no one could take away what I loved doing.
There it was. Great life lesson. Insert more amazing people here. Friends and family who looked at logos for hours, website drafts, photo selections. Individuals who took the time from their days and businesses to give advice, who helped me translate myself into Inspired Elegance Events, because even when I didn't know what I wanted it to say, I wanted it to feel personal and authentic. I realized along the journey that this message was so important to me.
Instagram's Best 9 have been flooding in the last week or two and I posted mine.
This is what it looked like. Some really personal moments - my first head shot, my business card design, my first "Friday Introduction" and my first booth design for a wedding show.
What I realized, as I looked through the images is that there were so many more moments that I was insanely proud of or that taught big lessons that weren't represented. I have reflected over the last week about what exactly my personal best moments were for the year. These were so hard to choose!
The first image (top left corner) is of a photoshoot I did with Casey Nolin Photography and an incredible cast of local Winnipeg talent. This shoot was featured in Love Inc. Magazine, Aisle Society and locally with Host Winnipeg which was an exciting start to the first couple of months of running my own business. I loved getting to work with vendors I'd known for years but in a different capacity. It also allowed me to meet some new faces - Fauna and Fern, Brittany Jill Photography and Brenna Faris Photo. This photoshoot is also the first time I worked with Casey personally and am so blessed that this has developed into an incredible friendship. Casey's support and optimism have been amazing to have.
The second image (moving clockwise) is of Ally and Josh's lovely brunch wedding in April. Ally and Josh were one of my first booked clients after launch thanks to a referral. Working with Ally and Josh was so much fun, they were the type of clients that invited you over for dinner to plan. They started off my year with a perfect reminder - personal and authentic.
The third image is of a beautiful wedding that taught me so much about being a business owner and about boundaries. Thank you. Image courtesy of Austin Kylie Photography.
Mandi and Juliano were a full coordination client that I had the pleasure of working with. They had such an incredible sense of what they wanted their wedding to look and feel like, which makes planning so much easier. I learned the importance of tailoring how I planned with a client to suit their specific set of needs and maintaining the consistency of this throughout the process. It also brought Chantelle into my life who has brought a lot of laughter and a great sounding board for all things business. Photo courtesy of Chantelle Dione Photography.
The bottom middle image was so hard to select from this photoshoot. There were so many that I loved. Charmaine perfectly captured how I wanted this Boho shoot to feel (which is always a fear I have with photoshoots - that I won't be able to translate what I see in my head into what you see). This photoshoot has been featured on Prairie Weddings and Style Inspired Weddings. Charmaine has also a great teacher to me. She has taught me about staying true to what you want to do and how you do it. This photoshoot introduced me to a florist that I hadn't worked with previously - Geranium Lake Botanicals. If you aren't familiar with Amanda's work, I suggest you take a peek! Her bouquet from this shoot was selected by Style Inspired Weddings in their Top 10 Gallery.
The final image is of Allison and Kevin's wedding. I have selected it because when they hired me (after meeting with a couple of other planners) they told me that the reason they chose me was because they were confident in me and my experience. One of the things that I have had to learn this year is how to sell myself. I used to be a venue coordinator - I can sell you a venue. Being a business owner though means that I have to sell me, my experience, it's almost like a running job interview. It meant so much to me knowing that this was how they felt after a consultation. I also got to work with Tony of BLF Studios, which I loved as BLF Studios has long been a favourite of mine. Photo courtesy of Tony at BLF Studios.
2017 has been a year of lessons and gratitude. I can't thank all my family (especially Ken, Shannon and Yared), friends and vendor friends enough for pushing me and supporting me. Thank you to all the couples who've chosen me and trusted me. Cheers to 2017 for showing me that anything is possible!