My Farewell to Style Me Pretty

UPDATE: Style Me Pretty (and all of it's beauty) has been given back to it's previous owners and will remain up and running! But I am leaving my blog post below as is, as I still feel strongly about some of the transitions the industry is going through and what they mean for VAD.

With the news of Style Me Pretty shutting down, I wanted to share my thoughts and a proper farewell. Although there has been talk about saving that beautiful space on the internet (hope so!), it is uncertain. 
I am saddened that we as vendors and brides are losing such a popular source of inspiration and beauty. But it may be because of the transition I am in, this stage in life, or my exhaustion with the wedding industry that leaves me to say something bold. Although saddened, I think the closing of SMP says a great deal about our worlds and the wedding industry in general. 
For one, nothing is guaranteed, and certainly nothing we find on the internet (or the internet itself) is ours forever. Just as quickly as it came, and as it changes, it can also go. I upload so many annoying baby photos to my personal Facebook because I love organizing them chronologically, to reference forever. It wasn't until my brilliant husband pointed out, "Facebook could be gone tomorrow, you know?" And I didn't know that, actually. Or atleast it hadn't dawned on me! So this week, I plan to print all of those photos in my annoying typical "mom" albums.. so I can have them FOREVER. This place on the web, as useful as it is, really plays no difference in our worth, both personally or professionally. It's a hard reality for the millions who have web-based businesses, but it is the truth.
Second, what pregnancy first taught me was how tired I was. How exhausted of weddings I was and the soul-sucking day-to-day to-do's I had that stripped me of all my creative juices and honestly, joy. This has nothing to do with SMP or the internet, but my business had taken a turn.. I was now an employee to everyone else. Instead of RUNNING my business. I suddenly was bending all the rules because, well, #weddings. I let brides tell ME what they could pay, and what they wanted for that amount. I let vendors boss me around because I was on the softer side (not walking around in a pencil skirt with a walkie-talkie attached to me, ya know?). I lost sight of who I was as a creative, and my objectives with VAD. I am so thankful for the break, because I can see my burnout so clearly now. I think styled work is great, and it's usually a lot of fun, too. But I think many of the big, favorite blogs may have driven the wrong points home to brides. A good styled shoot costs a TON of money, time and resources. A lot of money, time and resources that most brides do not have access to. But it seems to me that when the wedding blogs are being flooded with the best of the best, brides start seeing JUST the best and well, have unrealistic expectations for their budgets and resources. I stopped doing unpaid styled work in 2016 for this reason only. I wanted to put that extra money and time into my clients, amping their details up when I could and saying no to all "fake" or styled work. I haven't looked back on this decision, it was the best thing I ever did for myself, my family and my business. No matter what happens with Style Me Pretty, I hope that the shock of their sudden closure snaps other vendors and brides back to reality. Because all those bucket list shoots and weddings that made their way onto the front page of SMP, will quickly disappear soon. I don't mean any of this to sound as negative as it may be coming off, but it puts so much into perspective for vendors. What is worth it, and what isn't? 
With all that being said, I wanted to share a photo from each of my SMP features that I could find! I am SO proud of these, some being from my first year in business. It's an honor to be among so many talented vendors and I know that these features were the little confidence boosts, pats on the back, high fives and stepping stones I needed along the way.

 Carol and Ryan, New Orleans

Carol and Ryan, New Orleans

 Kaylie and Cory, Florida

Kaylie and Cory, Florida

 Kaylie and Cory, Florida

Kaylie and Cory, Florida

 Sarah and Ty, Lake Louise

Sarah and Ty, Lake Louise

 Caitlin and Colton, Atlanta

Caitlin and Colton, Atlanta

 Julie and Austin, San Juan Capistrano

Julie and Austin, San Juan Capistrano

 Julie and Austin, San Juan Capistrano

Julie and Austin, San Juan Capistrano

 Kaylie's Bridal Shower, Florida

Kaylie's Bridal Shower, Florida

 Shea and Reese, Nashville

Shea and Reese, Nashville

 Emaline and Beau, Fairhope

Emaline and Beau, Fairhope

I think that's it! So fun to look back on so many fun stationery (and one floral and one styling client)! These are all special to me in different ways, but mainly because like I said before, they gave me those extra nudges I needed along the way, to get to where I was going. What I love the most is that these are all REAL events. Real love stories, real memories, real dancing and drinking and celebrating. That's my favorite part! 
xoxo,
Tori