I’ve sat here for a good amount of time staring at a blank cursor. Trying to fully articulate the gratitude, joy, excitement, and pride that I feel after hitting this milestone. If I could go back to 18 year old Caitlin, the one at UW-Platteville sitting in early education classes that she would be here in just a short 10 years I would definitely not believe you. The girl just a short 4 years ago working tirelessly in a preschool wanting so much more for her life. I would not have believed you.
My entire childhood revolved around wanting to be a teacher. In elementary school I used to pretend the office light in my parents office was an overhead projector. I used to beg my younger brother to take my at-home spelling tests. I never, in my wildest dreams, thought I would be running my own business. Let alone that I would be sitting here today celebrating my 100th wedding.
As I reflect on this, I feel like the winner of an Emmy with a list of people I have to thank. The backbone of what pushed me to do this. The core of why, deep in my bones, I knew I would be successful. The people that have looked at every blog post, have pressed “like” on all my social posts, & the ones that have not doubted me for a fraction of a second. My absolutely BEAUTIFUL parents, family, and friends.
I see it constantly on photography forums of budding photographers who don’t have a support system. That, unfortunately, have people in their lives that don’t believe in them and I will be endlessly grateful to have such support. From the moment I picked up a camera to when I jumped two feet into full time. These people have ALWAYS been my biggest cheerleaders. Even when I walked a deep valley & wanted to quit, they were the ones encouraging me and they believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.
I will forever remember a conversation with my best friend, Lauren. When I was walking that valley just a short year ago; she sent me a text that I have held onto when I’m in a cloud of self-doubt. She said something like, “look at what you’ve built Caitlin. In such a short amount of time. You have put in the work and you have so much to show for it. Keep pushing”
& now I’m crying.
I truly can’t believe this is what I get to do. I get a front row seat to one of the most beautiful days in a couples life. I get to celebrate alongside everyone they love under one roof. From first looks to first dances. From hugs with relatives to full on belly laughs. A wedding is one of the most joyous occasions and I simply can not believe that I’m the one capturing them.
To my wonderful wonderful wonderful wonderful (okay lady, we get it) clients. YOU. You brought me to this moment. Your utmost support and I will forever be in debt to you. You may not realize just how much I remember all of your days. Sure the small details may have faded but there will ALWAYS be something that I remember and that’s how you all have made me feel. Each and every one of you has brought me in. Let me walk alongside you in the this process and have made me feel a part of your most inner circles. That is the greatest gift you could have ever given me & I thank you.
I always get asked at weddings (or any social gathering for that matter) about “my craziest wedding story” or “what is the weirdest thing you’ve seen?” & truth be told, I always giggle with eager and excited eyes on me and say, “I somehow have marketed myself to the laid back bride. The couple that is genuinely joyful and focuses on what the true meaning of a wedding day is” & that is my 110% honest answer. You all have filled my wedding seasons with such beauty both inside and out.
Here’s to the last 100. I can’t wait to see what the next 100 look like!