A Year in Retrospect / by Emmily Jones

It's hard to begin a post summarizing the defining points of an entire year, especially one like 2014. But I'll try. Last year in a few words was non-stop, physically demanding, and incredibly rewarding.

I'll probably only say this once, but I'm actually thankful for my "just starting out" low self-esteem, because, without the constant struggle of feeling inadequate and comparing myself to those much further in their careers, I wouldn't have continued to push myself harder and harder toward the eventual rewards that awaited. I definitely had a make it or break it period during 2014 when the lack of feeling accomplished (to my high expectations) could have driven me to quit, however... I think that's the entrepreneurial spirit right there--the feeling of always needing more, never quite being content and forcing that to fuel a hunger for success rather than a downward spiral towards failure. I don't think I'd be happy if I achieved a total feeling of accomplishment or content. It would be that moment, like many in my life, when I would need to begin something else. Start from scratch and challenge my abilities... aka run like hell towards another goal. I've never been good at keeping pace or having balance; I love sprinting, so for me balance is boring. 

I'm grateful for the meaningful connections made in the past year. There are so many that if I named them all, this post would look more like a movie credit reel. However, without the help of numerous people, I wouldn't be where I am today. 

My amazing interns. Nicole, Anna and Clarissa were the rocks that kept me grounded. Without them I would have been much more unorganized and frazzled. They kept me sane and reassured me during times when I needed it. They gave of their time and skills all for the purpose of industry education. However, as cliche as this sounds, I learned so much more from them that truly helped define the way I now run my business. I owe so much more than I could ever give to these individuals. 

The awesome vendors who I've connected with over the past year. Wow, you guys rock! Thank you for trusting and believing in my ability so much as to refer not only a soon-to-be bride (which is such a compliment!), but also your sisters, brothers, best friends, cousins, etc. I was always shocked to hear of vendors referring their nearest and dearest to have the most important day of their lives planned by Charming Details. So truly, thank you. You know who you are and those weddings are so special to me. 

All of my clients. Where would I be without you? I'm so honored to have worked with every single one of you. Charming Details was fortunate (or crazy?) enough to accomplish 21 weddings last year. As you can imagine we worked with LOTS of different personalities, priorities, expectations and visions. Through this I was able to adapt my own personality and learn how to stretch and broaden my patience, my understanding for others, and my ability to relate while having ridiculous amounts of fun along the way. Most of my clients and some of their family members are now dear friends. So thank you clients, for allowing me to voice opinions, mentor, mediate, and cultivate my own creativity through your visions. 

The baby in my belly. Weird, right? But seriously, this new life has encouraged me to end the year strong (and sometimes very sick). Our baby boy has redefined the word "ability" for me. All you women who have ever been pregnant, I salute you, you are a hero. We found out we were pregnant at the height of September's wedding madness and still had two full months left of intense physical work (all while having pneumonia for a month!). There were days I didn't think I could keep working and just wanted to take a sleeping pill that would put me out for a couple months (dramatic, I know), but I feel that much more accomplished for getting through such an intense stage, and the amazing weddings that resulted because of my redefined ability

Husband. I feel like he deserves much more than I can even type... I mean, so much that his name should AT LEAST be the title of this entire post. Nathan is the one whose support never once waned, who listened to all of my concerns regarding the industry, clients, vendors and so forth. Mind you, he is not one of those wedding industry husbands who has any vested share in the industry. He is in the final stages of finishing his history PhD and never really had the time to help me as much as he willingly did this year. Furthermore, his interest level in weddings is basically nonexistent (with the exception of learning fun words like ranunculus, which he now uses as an adjective). It's probably not your average soon-to-be history professor's dream job to be doing the grunt work at a wedding. And so for that, he deserves the utmost acclamation. 

So here I am in 2015, ready for a whole new set of challenges that I can't wait to experience. I love learning new skills, but I too often find myself putting the opportunities off until a convenient time. With the baby, I don't get that, which I'm thrilled about. I get to be thrown into motherhood totally new and I'm excited to build my family from a trial and error approach, much like building a business. I'm excited to figure out what works for ME and my family. On top of parenthood, we will also be accomplishing some of our biggest weddings to date, one of which has already come and gone (and it was awesome)! Due to a growing family, we've decided to slow down (whatever that really means) and take on fewer weddings than 2014 so we can focus on our family, priorities, and giving our clients the attention they deserve. 

2014 was a blur of awesomeness and I truly never imagined Charming Details would have achieved what we did within the year. Hugs to you all! 

The words that I hope define 2015 are: priorities, simplicity, and creativity.