February 13, 2013

Speaking: WV Weddings Extravaganza

I grew up in a town with one stop light.

Ok actually, that’s not really true. The truth is, I grew up on the top of a mountain outside of a town with one stop light, where we in fact had none.

It was a small town. Full of good people with really big hearts. But a small town nonetheless.

It was the kind of town where there is an annual festival and corresponding parade in honor of the muddy river that runs through it. Where the cheerleaders ride on firetrucks and the band members sweat through third generation polyester in 87 degree heat. And come Friday night, the lights were never brighter.

It was a good town to grow up in. And I miss it often.

When I left that town to head to Yale for law school, the local paper ran a story. A sort of “small town girl makes good” piece on page 3 with a picture of me in my high school cap & gown (which I remember because the cap gave me hat hair). And I suppose that could have been the end of the story right there.

But of course it wasn’t. The end of my story, that is.

Because just three short years later as I was about to graduate, Justin & I would make the choice to give up everything and start this business together. And from what I hear, when news that I had given up going into law to become a wedding photographer trickled back home, the story started to look a lot more like “small town girl loses her mind.” :) Thankfully, the local paper decided never to run that particular update to the story, hat hair or otherwise.

But now that some years have passed, I’m happy to say that I think most (if not quite all) of the people back home have come around to the idea and can now see why we do what we do. They can see the story that we have been trying so hard to write. That success takes on many, many different forms in this world. And there is more than one way to “make good” on this one wild & precious life that we’ve been given. So that’s why when WV Weddings Magazine asked me to come present as their keynote speaker at their annual “WV Weddings Extravaganza” event on what it was like to grow up in West Virginia and then go out into the world…I jumped at the chance. Because I already know pretty much what I’m going to say.

I am proud of where I come from. And that small town full of big hearts is still so much a part of who I am.

If you ask me what I stand for, I guarantee you right there is where the answer lies.

And no matter where I go in this world or what it is that I do, one thing is certain…

That muddy water will always run through me too.

if you are in the area and would like to join us for the full WV Weddings Extravaganza event on Sunday, March 24th we would LOVE to see you there! You can find all the info you need, including all the incredible other classes that are being offered (one of them being given by our very own amazing past bride, Rachel Tignor!!) by clicking HERE!

And while we’re in town for a couple of days, we’ve gotten a TON of requests from folks in Pittsburgh & WV to bring a workshop down that way….so I am SO happy to announce that we will also be doing our J&M Lighting Intensive in Morgantown, WV on Monday, March 25th from 3-8pm!! And you can find all the info on that & how to sign up by clicking HERE! We hope to see you there!

  1. Mary

    Wow, Mary! I ALSO grew up on a mountain in West Virginia, outside a town with one stop light (Hinton)! I’m starting up my photography business and as soon as I can afford it, I’m definitely tackling my flash fears at the Lighting Intensive! Thanks for posting!

  2. Hans

    I learned so much from Justin and Mary at your DC stop in January. I would highly recommend attending anything they do! I wish you would stay till Monday and do another lighting intensive! We have a wedding on Saturday. :(

  3. Kyla

    I just saw that you’re coming to Rochester NY and I am so excited!!!! I can’t wait :-)

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