Happy New Year, friends! After taking most of January to refresh the KSP studio and set myself up for success this year, I’m really excited to share today’s post. 2023 is already off to a great start (I welcomed two couples to the KSP family in January!) and there are so many exciting things in store for the months to come. But before we look ahead, I want to first take a moment to reflect back upon the blessings and lessons of the past year. 2022 was a year of incredible growth and milestones (including the first birthday of KSP!) and it’s important to me to mark it as part of my history and the story of this business.
Today, I’m going to welcome you into it, sharing a backstory about the intentional “hustle”, some of my favorite memories, and a thank you note to those who supported me along the way. While I wrote this largely for my own posterity, I hope you enjoy a peek into my heart over the past year!
An Abundance of Opportunity
While I believe in balance over “hustle” (and typically keep that word from my vocabulary entirely), 2022 included an intentional 6-month hustle. I worked harder than I have ever worked before. From the beginning of the year, I knew that I wanted to seize every moment and (almost) every opportunity that I was given (queue Eminem circa 2002). And friends, the opportunities were abundant. Looking back, I’m still in awe at the doors that were opened to me and the blessings in it all.
I am blessed to call some of the most esteemed photographers in the Boston area my friends. These friends invited me into their businesses to serve as their second photographer last year, so on the weekends when I wasn’t serving my own couples, I second-shot every chance I had. This gave me experience at some of the most beautiful venues in New England (Galley Beach, Harbor View Hotel, Crane Estate, Castle Hill Inn, and Wychmere, to name just a few!). With that, I was given the opportunity to travel to Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, Newport, Mid Coast Maine, Watch Hill, and Cape Cod. I became really efficient at packing and unpacking for trips and learned to be nimble and relaxed as I set out for each week’s adventure. And by working with a select group of photographers, I was able to build relationships and friendships that are now a blessing in and out of work.
With Dillon’s blessing (and a lot of forethought and planning), I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. I filled almost every weekend from April through October with anywhere from 1-3 weddings. In all, it added up to a grand total of 30 weddings in 2022 (!!!). Thirty weddings in my thirtieth year. I used these poster-sized printouts and a meticulous system within Google calendar to organize and manage it all. It was really important to me to be intentional with my time and thoughtful in my commitments.
To help remind me to give my best each weekend and to every couple, I mentally divided the season into two halves. As the season played out, I affectionately referred to them as “Sprint 1” (May-July) and “Sprint 2” (August-October). Friends would ask how the sprints were going and the finish lines of each became momentous milestones to work toward. As the end of Sprint 2 approached, I joked that I wanted to celebrate with champagne and sheet cake. Sweet as can be, Dillon surprised me with a slice of decadent cake and a bottle of Veuve Clicquot on the night of the final wedding. It was the sweetest finish line!
Memories Worth Marking
Amidst it all, I still prioritized a rest day each week (most of which were spent on Crane Beach 🙌). I also infused fun into my schedule wherever I could.
In February, Dillon and I bought our first home, sticking to our goals and prioritizing financial peace in the process. Slowly but surely, we’re making it into a home that feels like us.
In March, Dillon surprised me with a birthday celebration with friends and my favorite dinner. I also hosted a pajama movie night to watch one of my nostalgic favorites (once upon a time, it was released just months before I turned 13!). I hosted a leadership panel at the organization where I’ve grown so much over the years (including earning my degree!).
In April, we hosted our friends for an easter egg hunt in our new home (and we’re still finding hidden eggs to this day). We also celebrated the opening of Pressed and, later in the year, lamented the closing of Campo. I bought my first nap dresses (and continued to wear them on repeat for the next six months).
In May, I finished building up my collection of photography gear, a milestone that was years in the making. It was surreal to bring home my favorite – and final – lens. I’ll never forget tucking it into my camera bag and remembering how far I’d come since I started. Shortly after, we thankfully fared well when a certain virus-that-shall-not-be-named hit our home. Fortunately, it passed in time to enjoy rooftop drinks in the city, overlooking the twinkly Boston skyline. Dillon and I photographed our first KSP wedding of the season. We decided then and there that we want to be a husband/wife photography team and have been working together ever since.
As a family, we celebrated both a 95th birthday and a 50th wedding anniversary at the pavilion where Dillon’s parents hosted our wedding reception nearly 6 years ago.
In June, we enjoyed our annual canoe date on the Concord River, followed by a picnic lunch and a stroll through my favorite small town in New England. We celebrated Tappy’s Honor Flight, a day that we will forever remember in my family. I traveled to my perennial-favorite, Nantucket, and together we visited Martha’s Vineyard. If the ferry had a reward points system, I would have racked up quite the prize that month!
In July, we hiked Mount Monadnock with our family and it was so much fun! We celebrated Independence Day by canoeing, paddleboarding, roasting s’mores around the campfire in Jaffrey, and I visited the infamous Kimball Farm with my sweet sister in law.
In August, we adopted the most precious little pup, Tikka (pictures forthcoming!). She has been a blessing to our lives ever since! We enjoyed many Crane Beach days and donned lobster bibs for our first-ever dinner at Woodman’s. The end of August marked the start of a particularly hard season for us with an unexpected diagnosis in our extended family. This was a trying turning point in the year but reminded us all the more of the importance of clinging to God and each other. (I’m overjoyed to share that we received incredible news about this on the day that this post is going live!)
In light of that, the fall is a bit of a blur. Even so, we celebrated Dillon’s birthday and photographed two incredible weddings together (one of our couples even celebrated Dillon by putting candles on their cake for him). I snuck in a stop at Benson’s after an engagement session and had the best apple ice cream. We made time for a brunch date and a visit to our favorite fall locale. Together with Tikka, we bundled up for a couple of fall afternoons at Crane Beach. We handed out candy with my parents on Halloween and enjoyed some favorite family recipes around the table at Thanksgiving. I enjoyed a sister date to Kennebunkport and made two more trips there to stroll before the end of the year.
After all the hustle and bustle of the year and the difficulty of the fall, December was a month of remembering what matters most. Knowing my love of twinkle lights, Dillon surprised me and set up a tree in our living room in the middle of a weekday, the sweetest sight to come home to. We took a week off together and invested in time with each other. We started a kitchen renovation (that will be done so soon!) and dreamt about the year ahead. At the end of such a busy season, we’ve been enjoying investing in us and dreaming up ways to put the first things first in 2023. I’m really grateful for that bookend to such a momentous year!
It 👏 takes 👏 a 👏 village to build a dream, and this post would not be complete without thanking mine. Dillon, thank you for selflessly serving me through it all. Thank you for keeping our life and home running amidst even the busiest time. You loved me so well and I’m incredibly grateful for the way you continue to put me and our family first. There is no way I would be where I am without your support, encouragement, and the teamwork we share.
To our parents, thank you for leading by example and modeling strong marriages and work ethics for us (both of our dads own their own businesses in Southern NH!). And thank you for hosting countless family dinners and gatherings. You made it possible to stay connected during even the busiest months.
To my dear friends, thank you for all of your encouragement. For the many texts of encouragement on wedding days. And the Voxer messages that kept me company on the late-night drives home. Thank you for the many dance parties and DJ Khaled gifs. It means the world to me that you champion KSP and believe in this dream as much as I do.
To Annmarie, my mentor and one of my most cherished friends, thank you for the countless phone calls to and from weddings and during mid-week lunch breaks. Thank you for selflessly sharing your wisdom (and peach rings!) with me. KSP is a hundred times bigger and brighter because of your influence, investment, and impact.
To Jess, Kendal, and Alisha: thank you for trusting me to serve your couples alongside you. You opened my world to some of the most beautiful corners of New England. My portfolio is a beautiful tapestry of the opportunities you extended to me and I will never forget the gift of your faith in me.
To all of you who follow along with this adventure, the growth of KSP, and the milestones in my life, thank you for being here and believing in me. This wouldn’t nearly be as special and fun without you and I’m grateful to share in the joy of it all with you!
Cheers to an incredible year ahead, friends! 🍾