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The Importance of Community

Meet Stephanie Yonce. Fun, rainbow lovin’ Virginia area wedding professional who may have caught your eye during the shoot otherwise known as ombre . And until recently, she was an able bodied wedding photographer. Until she wasn’t.

The call came in at 10:30pm- Stephanie was two days away from a wedding and officially down one arm.  The time it took to find her two fabulously talented photographers willing to step up and take her place? Twenty-two minutes.

The idea of community is a funny thing in the wedding industry. I’ve always contended that we’re one big band of slightly dysfunctional (after all, who chooses to work¬† Saturdays on purpose?) folks who secretly love the Cha Cha Slide. And it’s not terribly difficult to stay in touch between bridal shows, networking events and the wedding day itself. At the same time, it can be easy to overlook the importance of community and begin skipping out on opportunities to connect. It starts with missing one association meeting because you’re drowning in proposals and then suddenly, you don’t recognize half of the exhibitors at a show or your invite goes missing for a venue’s local Open House.

I sometimes struggle with this myself, especially as there seems to be fewer and fewer hours in the day (or is that just me?). I’ve had wonderful opportunities to expand my business far beyond my backyard and although my client base continues to represent a number of regions, I always make time for my friends here in Virginia. I typically attend 1-2 events monthly, set aside time coffee dates with colleagues and normally make an appearance at the bridal shows. Some would argue that I don’t necessarily need to put in the same effort locally as I did years ago, but I would contend that I do. Besides the fact that I genuinely enjoy the local wedding community, it’s important to remember your roots and who supported you before you, say, traveled over to Europe to a bunch of pretty fancy speaking engagements.

And Stephanie Yonce gets that too. If she didn’t, she wouldn’t have been able to find a replacement photographer- let alone one in under a half hour.

So no matter where you end up, let this be a lesson to you- stay humble and stay local. Your right arm may depend on it one day.

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding marketing and wedding pr firm OFD Consulting. She is the exclusive wedding pr columnist to wedding marketing journal WedLock magazine and is a highly sought after speaker in the wedding industry. She loves ruffle table runners and Royal Wedding Tchotchkes. To learn how OFD Consulting can assist you with your wedding marketing and wedding pr, please contact us today.