When Hearing "No" is a Good Thing

Hello and welcome! I'm so excited to finally open this blog today. My hope is that it will always be encouraging and practical for brides, grooms, and their loved ones as they plan such a meaningful day. I can't wait to share the stories of my couples and my fellow wedding professionals. By way of introductions, I thought I'd share a little of my own story today. Getting here was a little crazy!

I entered college at the University of South Carolina coming from a small school in the burbs of Atlanta. I took an elective religion class, and quickly changed my major to world religion, hoping to become a teacher. After I graduated with my religion degree, I married my high school sweetheart, Ryan, and started assistant teaching third grade, which, as it turns out, isn’t so easy without an education degree.

As much as I loved those sweet kids, I grew more and more uncertain about teaching as the year went on. Plus, my school was a hike from where we lived, and I honestly thought traffic would kill me. Sometimes I’d turn a corner thinking I was home free, only to see cars lined up at a light that stayed green for 6 seconds. No joke, sometimes that actually made me cry. It was a hard year, y'all. I began looking for teaching jobs closer to home, praying before every application and interview. God answered my prayers with a resounding and relentless, “No.”

Securing a new job wasn't working out, so I turned my attention to graduate school. I took a wonderful nannying position near home and applied to Georgia State. I had it mapped out: one year of nannying, then back to school for that education degree. Except, this wedding planning idea began to grow and kept growing. I still followed wedding blogs and my own amazing vendors on social media. My mind would swirl with ideas and I found myself truly sad I didn’t get to pursue any of them. I wanted to plan another wedding, but I’d already had mine!

University of South Carolina Graduation Photo by Betsy Pippen

University of South Carolina Graduation
Photo by Betsy Pippen

I had planned our Atlanta wedding as a college student in Columbia. I finished finals, graduated, moved to ATL, and got married all within two weeks. You’d think that would be stressful, but I’d loved every minute of it. Why hadn’t I discovered my desire to be a wedding planner right then?

So, I made that U-turn and went for my wedding planning dream. I researched, watched webinars, played with color palettes and gradients and mood boards. I met wedding vendors for coffee, and they so graciously listened as I peppered them with questions. I practiced a little by assisting some of my new "friendors" at their events, and three lovely couples even allowed me, inexperienced though I was, to help plan their weddings. It has been scary, vulnerable, exciting, tiring, and lots of fun. Wedding planning inspires more creativity, hard work, and growth in me than teaching ever did.

Our wedding at the Payne-Corley House Photo by Carrie Joy Photography

Our wedding at the Payne-Corley House
Photo by Carrie Joy Photography

If God had given me the teaching job I’d asked him for, I never would’ve been able to pursue weddings. Instead he gave me the opportunity to use my talents for the benefit of engaged couples, coming alongside them and lifting the stress of planning off their shoulders. I get to guide them through the confusing world of 48” rounds, blushers, dupioni linens, cascading bouquets, and chivari chairs (as a bride, I didn’t know any of those words, either). I get to listen to their ideas, giving shape and aesthetic to their brainstorms. I get to construct and adorn their wedding days, and for that I am so grateful.

Like a good father, God knows what I need better than I do. This path has challenged me to pray, seek his wisdom, and remember that my security rests in his hands and not in my career. He did not give me the teaching position I hoped for, but he gave me more of himself. Today I am thankful even for his “no.”