Packaging | The Vow Collective

It was years after watching Trading Spaces or What Not to Wear on TLC that I figured out what “TLC” actually stands for. I’d had no idea it was a clever acronym for a television network! It stands for (SPOILER ALERT)…

Tender Love and Care.

I remember reading what it meant and immediately thought— I’m a TLC-er.

When I’m 75, looking back on life, I hope other people will remember me as someone who loved and cared for them. Truly. Deeply. I hope I am someone who kept healthy boundaries, but who also laid down her own selfish desires at times to care for others in their time of need. Or to let them know they are loved by taking the time to tell them or show them.

And honestly, I’ve been trying to figure out how to do this as a business owner. How to be a TLC ambassador to clients I’ve never actually met face to face. How do I let my Etsy clients know I am FOR them? How do I communicate I’m rooting for their marriage? First of all, it starts with listening to their love story. It starts with reading their sacred vows. And what I’m learning, is that it starts with packaging and a little TLC.

I’ve received packages from Etsy shops in the past that had nothing but an ugly slip of paper in them. I was always hoping for a little something more. Even if it was a cool looking business card.

I don’t just want my clients to feel a little extra love. I want them to actually enjoy what they’re unwrapping. Visually. Aesthetically.

So as I’ve been refining my packaging process, I’ve been considering what I can do to go the extra mile. I’ve narrowed it down to pretty water color name prints or sometimes a calligraphy print of one of my favorite quotes. Either way, my clients, THE PEOPLE WHO PAY MY BILLS—- they get something a little extra. A small thank you from a big heart.

I thought it might be fun to share the process with you. This isn’t a mind-blowing snap shot of what I do. But it’s a fair snapshot of how I value my wedding clients.

Senior Portraits | Maddie

I got to snap pics of THIS BEAUTIFUL TEXAS TECH SENIOR. She's a nurse. She's already loved on, served, and impacted so many peoples' lives at the hospital. She's got a big empathetic heart for others and that's what makes her an awesome person and an awesome nurse. 

ANNNDDD, most importantly, if you're about to graduate with a nursing degree and you've worked your butt off the past few years, what would you do to celebrate? 

Not sure? Take some notes from Maddie--- she went to Vegas to see the Backstreet boys and relax by the pool. Teenage me, early twenties me, and Now-twenties me is fan-girling with jealousy and super jealous of the sun-rays she'll be picking up. 

For this photoshoot, Maddie wanted to kick over her nursing books and walk around the horticulture garden like a boss. I love how fun these turned out! 

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Wedding Advice | I had no idea how to plan my own wedding

I was engaged 5 months before I got married. 

That version of "Stacie" back then had NO idea what she was doing planning a wedding (my mom will chime in and tell you so!). I had just graduated from college and gotten engaged soon after. I had no job. I had some cringe-worthy idealistic thoughts about how amazing I was going to be as  a spouse. And I had absolutely NO CLUE how to plan a wedding. 

Especially when it came to booking a photographer.

I happened to be at a friend’s birthday party at the end of July (our wedding was in September) and one of the girls there told me she was a wedding photographer. I hadn’t looked around at any photographers in town and had no idea what style of photography I liked. But I knew I needed one, so I booked her.

I didn’t even look at that girl’s portfolio! Which sounds absolutely CRAZY to me now.

AND,

BLESS. UP. 

Y’ALL, SHE WAS SUCH A

GREAT,

BRILLIANT,

SWEET

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER…

...and our pictures turned out great.

My interactions with my wedding couples now, is based off of my experience with her as my photographer… because she was SO KIND, SO SWEET, offered up so many great posing ideas and fun activities for Brett and I (a pretty awkward couple back then) to do, and at times I hardly noticed she was snapping away really important moments.

I probably wouldn’t have booked a photographer on time if that girl hadn’t approached me at that party. 

And let's be EXTRA real, I probably wouldn't have known where to even begin looking for a wedding photographer. 

Don't even get me started on wedding invitations. I designed my own basic-rustic-handwritten-kraft-papered-invitations and went through a long printing process (I printed on my Dad's home inkjet printer almost 300 invitations! DEER IN HEADLIGHTS! That's something I would never even consider doing now!). I hardly knew what an invitation suite even was back then! I can't imagine what it would have been like to have someone design my invitations.... I probably would have loved it and I probably wouldn't have stressed out so much! 

So, you get it. 

I was kind of a total mess when it came to logistics.

But I knew exactly what I wanted when it came to the intentionality of our wedding. I knew the words we said  to each other and to everyone watching that day would be the highlight of our lives. The ceremony was the part I most looked forward to. Everything else could have gone SO poorly, but all that mattered to me was that Brett and I got to hangout with every friend, family member,  and cheerleader in our lives... and then get married in front of all of them. And dance party with them afterward. 

But looking back, I'm really grateful for our pictures. I'm grateful a brave photographer approached me at a party about taking our pictures.... and now that I AM a photographer and designer, I'm seeing how important it is to approach others about the wedding services they might not be thinking about yet!

But what I've found, is I can't do this small business/photographer/invitation designer thing alone. 

I need to rely on my network to connect me to those wedding couples. 

DO YOU KNOW ANY COUPLES WHO JUST GOT ENGAGED OR ARE TYING THE KNOT IN 2018?

WHAT DO YOU THINK IT COULD LOOK LIKE FOR YOU TO TAKE THE TIME TO SUGGEST JAMBOREE TO 3-4 RECENTLY ENGAGED COUPLES?

You'd be suggesting they book services with a girl who's already excited and passionate about their wedding. Who's ready to jump into the knitty gritty details of their day so when it finally arrives, they can relax and trust their vision is coming to life in their invitation design or wedding photography.

WOULD YOU CONSIDER SUPPORTING MY SMALL BUSINESS, MY LIFE, AND THIS AWESOME DREAM I'M WORKING HARD TO CHASE DOWN--- BY SHARING MY BUSINESS WITH A FRIEND WHO NEEDS THE SERVICES I OFFER? 

Thanks for considering! 

Tell me about YOUR wedding! Were logistics hard for you too or did you consider becoming a wedding planner after successfully planning your own wedding? Did you research your photographer? Did you have someone design your invitations or did you use pre-made designs?

Enjoy the rest of your Wednesday! 

Stacie  

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Engagements | Bri and Tim

Meet Bri and Tim. 

These two. They're marriage-bound and full of laughs and cuddles in this session at Ransom Canyon. 

Firstly, I know Tim and Bri on a very intimate level.....we watch the Bachelor together.

They are my favorite reality TV commentary-friends. For a girl whose husband would never watch The Bachelor with her, I can really appreciate how Tim and Bri compliment each other in this (SACRED) activity together. *wink*

Secondly, they adore each other.

I don't always see guys look at their fiance the way Tim looks at Bri. And I don't really like talking fluff about couples, because Brett and I aren't really a fluff couple and not every couple screams lovey-dovey-- -but Tim and Bri so evidently admire each other just by how they look at each other. There's something so sacred and sweet about that.

Their admiration and the light in their eyes for each other is my favorite part of their engagement photos.

Can you see it too? Doesn't it make you just want to give them a big ole bear hug of congratulations?! 

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Engagements | Lindsey + Brenen

I met up with Lindsey and Brennen (at Sugar Browns, one of my favorite Coffee Shops here in town) over the Winter Holidays to get to meet them and to catch their vision for their engagements and wedding.

I was... AGAST and disappointed to find out that Brennen doesn't have a thing for coffee and I almost felt like that was a conflict of interest and I couldn't be their photographer. But Lindsey assured me she breaths coffee, so I felt like maybe I could handle them. *wink wink*

I loved Lindsey's style immediately and Brennen was a straight up southern gentleman. PLUS, I knew it was mean to be after they told me they were going to look for matching Christmas pajamas after our meeting. HECK. YES. 

Fast forward to their engagement session and the most beautiful weather a West Texas February has ever seen. We walked old train stations, invaded Palace Coffee (Brennen was a trooper with all that coffee everywhere), and took some of the most romantic pictures at Palo Duro Canyon. Lindsey hiked in her heels and Brennan got a good workout repeatedly spinning her around and lifting her up and down over rocks her heels couldn't manage. 

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