Here's the low down, the inside scoop, the things you NEED to know about weddings but aren't being taught because everyone just assumes you already know them. We have attended and worked our fair share of wedding, heck, we even had one ourselves and through the process we learned there are some things the public needs to be educated on (including ourselves):
We want to give you free coffee. Period.
We're starting a referral program that involves giving you tons of free coffee and it's going to go a little something like this: you refer an engaged couple to us, they get super excited because they've been looking for a videographer, they book us, and we give you a $20 Starbucks gift card. Any questions?
Ok, let's get transparent for a second. More than 80% of our leads come from word of mouth marketing or referral based leads. Around 15% come from social media, and the other 5% of our couples we find flirting at coffee shops and we hand them business cards. What do those stats have to do with you? They communicate that we wouldn't be thriving as a business without you, and that's why we want to start rewarding you for referring couples to us.
Let me give you an example conversation that you're going to have in the near future with that cute engaged couple you know:
Engaged person: I'm married!!!
You: Wow I'm so excited for you! Have you booked a wedding videographer yet?
Engaged person: No I haven't yet, but we're actually looking for someone.
You: Well, you should definitely check out Willow Narrative, they do great work!
If they contact us and end up booking us, we will ask who referred them and when we find out it's you we'll send you a $20 Starbucks gift card.
Get some good rest tonight, your first day on the job is tomorrow. Or maybe it's tonight, is there an engaged couple sitting next to you RIGHT NOW?! Hurry! Tell them about our services! Just kidding, haha, don't get crazy with it.
We'd love you to be a part of our referral team, a.k.a. "telling engaged couples about Willow Narrative" team. We can't tell you how much we appreciate you cheering us on, and starting this referral program is a tangible way of showing you that. Thanks for reading this blog, hope to see you at Starbucks soon.
Have a couple in mind? Fill out the form below and put their names in the "Message" section.
You can only register once love birds, so let's do this thing right. Registering for your wedding basically goes like this: someone hands you a magic laser gun, you zap your favorite items in the store, and they end up on your door step two weeks later. It's like Christmas, but in the middle of the summer. ☀️
The problem is that wedding registries can get tricky when you want to make sure you're getting the very best things for your future home. This is why we're here to suggest our top 12 things you need to "zap" into your registry to make sure you have everything you need to start your new life with your spouse.
I remember being hit with 101 decisions all at once. Suddenly the ring was on my finger and it was go time. "When are you getting married?" We've been engaged for two days, how was I supposed to have that figured out already? The pressure to have decisions made was building and at times overwhelming. People were expecting answers from me and I was wanting perfection in every decision.
I learned a very important lesson: There will never be a perfect wedding. It's true. Something is bound to slip in either the panning or the day of that will disqualify a wedding from being perfect. I don't say this to disappoint or to scare you, but in a way to bring you comfort. With the knowledge that there will never be a perfect wedding, no one can expect perfection from you.
A couple months before our wedding, our family and friends were generous to host wedding showers for us. The biggest freakout moment I had during the whole wedding process was realizing I sent shower invitations to the wrong set of addresses. I remember sitting in the library freaking out as I was trying to get it all sorted out and Erik and my mom reminding me of truth that this wasn't as big of a deal as I was making it out to be. Emails could be sent explaining the mix up and things would all get worked out. It was a humbling moment for sure, but it was even more so a reminder of truth - we are not perfect, thus we cannot create perfection.
This is true for each and every decision that is made for your wedding. The worst decision to make planning your wedding is deciding it will be perfect. There will not be a perfect decision, there will just be the one you make. Rest in this as you plan. Know that every decision from the color of the table linens to the number of bridesmaids you choose will all be sprinkled with the grace of God.
We work together, eat together, drive together, cry together, play cards at lunch together, and eat dairy-free ice cream together. That's a lot of togetherness.
When we first started out working together it was a little rough. We hadn't quite figured out how to balance our togetherness. There's a great quote that sums up what the first months of starting Willow looked like, and it goes like this, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." - Charles Dickens. I'm fairly sure Charles wasn't talking about how to work with your spouse, but it makes sense to me.
Although the first few months of business were rough, Emily and I have finally found our stride and have perfected working together. We are never upset at one another, our work flow is seamless, and our marriage is basically the videography version of Chip and Joanna Gaines.
Ha. Ha. Ha.
If you couldn't tell, that was sarcasm. BUT. We really are getting loads better at finding the balance at being a husband and wife working duo. In two separate sections below I'm going to share thoughts on why working with your spouse can be challenging, and more importantly, why working with your spouse is the best thing in the whole wide world
Patience, Balance, and lots of Grace
Patience. This is something I wish I had 100lbs more of every day. Working with your spouse, to us, means you're not just working with a co-worker - you're working with your best friend and love of your life. So when you get frustrated over a small work detail, you can't send a passive aggressive email to them like you would to Steve in accounting (sorry Steve). Why? Because you eat, breath, and sleep with this person and keeping harmony in your marriage is more important than winning a work argument.
I had to learn this fact early on. For the past 2-3 years I've worked in marketing agencies and the cultures I worked in were pretty straightforward with giving feedback and criticism. However, early on when I tried using the same tone and critique style with Emily during peer reviews for one of her films, she was hurt on how I gave her feedback. To me, I was just being honest and straightforward, but to her I was be rash and hard on her. What I forgot was that I was treating her like a co-worker and not my wife. Patience is key in any relationship, and especially one that also owns a business.
Balance. We hardly ever talk about work over lunch or past 5:00 p.m. In the beginning I wanted to brainstorm, discuss, and work through business ideas at all hours of the day, but I realized that having balance in our marriage is much more important than making sure my revolutionary marketing idea HAD to be shared right then and there (that's what iPhone notes are for). So now, for Emily's sanity, we schedule times where we can delve into new ideas and think of tangible ways to carry them out, rather than spewing out every idea that comes to my mind. Classic extrovert, am I right?
Grace. We mess up all the time. Like, all the time. I am constantly leaving my work stuff around the house, forgetting to post on Instagram, the list goes on. Emily doesn't forget things. Ha, just kidding she does I just can't think of anything right now. It's tough to figure out a work life balance when your work is literally mingled with your life. Feelings get hurt, fuses run short, but having grace for one another at the end of the day is key to running a successful business AND a healthy marriage.
Why I Love Working With My Wife
Y'all, I could write seven blogs on why I love working with my wife so much, and really why working with your spouse is such a huge blessing. Here's a few reasons just to start: you have a constant supporter, you never have to eat lunch alone, celebrating the wins are that much bigger, and taking the losses are not as bad because you have someone to lean on.
Whenever Emily and I go through a tough season we are constantly coming together to lean on Jesus for comfort. Being able to come together like that is unlike any relationship I've ever experienced. Knowing that we both have constant support to fight our battles is the most comforting feeling in the world, and in business it looks the exact same. If we have a down month we can come together and trust the Lord that everything will be ok. When we're not feeling great about our work we have one another to remind one another of grace. That kind of mutual support is so important in a spouse-run business.
Someone recently asked Emily and I for marriage advice. While Emily was thinking of something thoughtful I spat out the first (and honest) thing that came to my head, "Don't get married and immediately start a business." This was a half truth. It was complete madness trying to figure out starting a business while also starting a marriage, but I wouldn't change our decision for the world. We have learned so much during our time with Willow and have been pushed to our absolute limits in areas of life I didn't even know existed, but we did it. We're here. We're running a business and we're not drowning. So if you're married and want to start a business with your spouse, do it. It's changed our lives forever.
This time last year I didn't know exactly what I was envisioning for post college to look like, but I don't think it looks anything like what life looks like now - and I'm grateful for this.
In my four years as a student in business school I was told to get a big time internship one summer, and then the next summer, and then the next, and then those opportunities would hopefully guarantee a career with that company post graduation. The whole large company internship thing never really attracted me, but the job post graduation did. Internships and jobs are all good things and needed in order to pay the bills, but my heart behind this thinking was the problem.
Security. It's something I crave and I believe we all crave to an extent because God made us this way so that we may turn to Him, the only constant one, the true provider of security.
As many of you know who have heard our story - when we got married the summer after I graduated college, I didn't have a job and Erik lost his shortly after. We are now 10 months removed from those experiences and the thing that still remains is our deep need to cling to the Lord as our source of provision.
I was told (by Oscar on the Office) that on average a small business owner is not able to take a salary for three years. The fact that we have had the capability to pay ourselves almost every month is evidence of the Lord's provision.
Last month was possibly the toughest for me to believe that the Lord provides. We weren't able to pay ourselves. How is that provision? I simply needed a perspective shift. We had money in savings to pay for our monthly expenses, that was the Lord's provision.
Money is a funny thing to talk about and makes a lot of people uncomfortable, but it doesn't need to be that way. The reason I'm writing this is two fold: to remind myself that our God is faithful to provide, and to simply say we're not in this business for the money. We could find other professions and start working 8-5 jobs that could probably earn us bookoos of money, but that's not what the Lord has called us to.
Just as our God made it so clear to us how He wants us to work for His kingdom in June 2017, He continues to make it clear in April 2018, we simply need to trust in Him to provide during the process.
I know we're not alone in this. I know the Lord calls people daily to do something a bit uncomfortable and I'm here to encourage you to do as He has called. If your only hesitation is "How is God going to provide in this?" take the plunge, jump out of the boat and do it because our God is faithful to provide for the needs of His children.
No one had the job description "scrub out blue pen marks from wedding dress" that day. The true responsibilities of the photographer were to take photos and the venue coordinator's role was to ensure the vendors were where they needed to be - neither of them were responsible for the Bride's dress, yet they chose to serve.
This is not an unfamiliar story, but one often forgotten. It’s one you’ve more than likely experienced today. It’s a story that started in the first garden on Earth. Where beautiful mystery was skewed into a false truth, a false reality. “Over there is something better,” it whispered. She listened. He followed. The Fall. rebellion. His Faithfulness. rebellion. His Faithfulness. The Son came. Death and all its friends defeated – a beautiful mystery. Redemption. And soon – a new heaven and earth.