I can already feel the water works coming on before I even start typing this blog post. If you follow me on any social media platform, you saw that Caroline and I hosted The Gathering 2.0 on July 18th. Two years ago, in August 2016, we hosted the very first Gathering. Caroline and I both began our businesses at the young age of 16, and we dreamed up this event over lunch in Charleston during a conversation that went something like this: ”
“Why in the world is there no education in the industry geared specifically towards YOUNG entrepreneurs?”
“I don’t know, let’s change that”
TA-DA! The Gathering was born. But, when we hosted the event in 2016, we had no plans of hosting it again. It was supposed to be a one-time event and then it went off our radar for awhile. Until late last year.
We decided we wanted to bring the event back, because there was still a gap in the education in our industry. Young photographers and dream-chasers were still being looked over. We knew we wanted to host the event again…but we wanted it to be bigger and better. “The Gathering 2.0”, if you will. We decided instead of 4 hours of content, it would be 9. We opened up more seats, taught more content and shared our hearts like never before. We ate even more Chipotle (haha!) and had even more quality time together. Attendees traveled in from 25 STATES (!!!) and we still cannot find the right words to sum up how much heart change and beautiful moments God created on the night of July 18th.
Caroline and I never DREAMED that this event would leave us feeling like it was one of the highlights of our entire careers. As we welcomed 110 attendees into Stevenson Ridge, we just FELT the energy in the room start to change. The girls that joined us were full of so much joy, passion and love for the Lord. They were on FIRE for their dreams and for Jesus. Friendships immediately started forming before the event even officially kicked off. Caroline were on Cloud 9 within minutes of opening the doors.
Caroline and I took turns sharing our hearts and sharing HOW we built our businesses. We covered topics like work-life balance, social media marketing, curating, shooting, editing, time management, client communication and more. We talked about making time for what REALLY matters, rooting your purpose in the IMPORTANT things (aka not your number of Instagram followers) and why chasing your dreams is the BEST decision you could ever make. I think I cried at least 20 times.
As we were saying goodbye, we heard so many incredible stories of attendees who traveled from so far. We heard stories of struggle and triumph, fear and revelation, and so many girls who heard things that they were DESPERATE to hear. God knew they needed to be there, and Caroline and I’s biggest hope for this event was that God would shine the brightest and speak the loudest. And He did. And we are so thankful.
Before I get into the emotional recap (and TONS of photos) there are some thank-you’s in order:
Caroline: Thank you for taking the leap to create this event with me, for being patient when I procrastinated (haha!) and for being the best partner to host with. Thank you for inspiring me in the first years of my business, for giving me permission to chase my dreams and go against the grain, and for telling me to be “all there”. My business LITERALLY would not still exist if it wasn’t for you. Thank you.
To each & every attendee: Thank you for believing in yourself. Thank you for believing in Caroline and I enough to travel all the way to Fredericksburg to hear our hearts. Thank you for being brave, shining bright and chasing dreams. We are so humbled, honored and grateful for each and every one of you. We can’t say thank you enough for making our dreams a reality and making this event come to life.
Erika & Josh: Thank you for being the BEST friends on the planet. Thank you for coming down to Fredericksburg one night early to eat sushi and sing Greatest Showman. Thank you for documenting the entire event, setting up, taking down, prepping Chipotle, taking Instagram stories, bringing me water and touching up my lipstick. Thank you for being such supportive friends, for encouraging me and for being my rock during stressful moments. I’m so grateful to have you both in my life and would NOT have been able to do this without you.
My sweet momma: Thank you for being in charge of the drinks, prep work, stuffing swag bags, taking photos of me on my front porch and letting me “outsource” the most random things to you. Thank you for being my biggest cheerleader and best friend. I love you more than anything.
To our sponsors: I can’t even BEGIN to say enough “thank you”s to all of the amazing creatives and companies that sponsored the Gathering. From loving the attendees, providing snacks and drinks, supporting our event and encouraging me & Caroline…I don’t even know where to begin. All of the vendors and companies listed below are people that I love, trust, and support whole heartedly. They are people who I work with regularly in my business, and most are also friends that support me and encourage me behind-the-scenes. Take time to take a peek through these names…becuase I promise you will love them as much as I will.
Venue: Stevenson Ridge
Florals: Courtney Inghram
Calligraphy: The Calligraphy Bar
Okay, here we go…the recap of the BEST DAY EVERRRR starting with the promo video created by Joshua Bryan Cinema!!!!! Guys. I don’t even have words. I HAVE WATCHED IT SO MANY TIMES. Josh is so insanely talented and having these memories on video is sooooooooo special I can’t even put it into words. JUST WATCH:
These tote bags from PCB Home were SUCH A HIT. I love them so much!!!
Don’t even get me started on the florals/photo booth from Courtney…I was BLOWN AWAY and she did this in pretty much 30 minutes!!! INSANE!
IT’S ALMOST TIMEEEEE!!!
These mocktails that my momma made were SO fun!!!
Okay…here we go!!! Time to open the doors!!!
I’m going to cherish these photos forever. Welcoming all of these ladies was such a blessing and a privilege I’ll never forget!!!
Sharing some of our “Instagram highlights” and moments that may have looked glamorous…and what they ACTUALLY looked like in real life.
Time for my first presentation…SO MUCH PRESSURE to open this event on the PERFECT note!!!
I was casually sobbing in this photo…telling a tough story about my sweet mom and why it is so IMPORTANT to make time and margin for the important things that matter MOST. And those things aren’t what we always tell ourselves they are…
Caroline’s turn!!! LOVED watching her speak…she was incredible!!
WE LOVE ALL OF YOU. PLEASE COME BACK!!!
Don’t forget my iPhone behind-the-scenes…
Josh not only filmed the entire thing but help me prep, set-up and clean up…HES THE BOMB.
Trying to get our presentations to work before we actually put cute clothes on…
We could’ve fed a small village with this Chipotle…and I guess we kinda did????
And some of my attendee FAVORITES that I grabbed from #thegatheringevent on Instagram!!!
LOVE this shot from Megan Holley…praying over our meal <3
And if you were wondering how we ended the night…
I will truly never forget this day…highlight of 2018 NO DOUBT.
While we aren’t currently planning another Gathering event, you can sign up HERE to learn more about future education opportunities with me! XOXOXO!
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