On Being a Single Girl in the Wedding Industry

Uff da. 

I’m going to go here. It is territory that I've been wanting to write about for a long time. I’m asking for grace as I share my honest heart with those of you reading this. I love you, friends.


Honestly, I don’t know what it is like to be a bride.

I watch and I capture a reality that I have not yet lived. I stand beside people and take notice of every single little detail of their day. I meticulously examine it all, but I have never lived on the other side. 

“Being a better wedding photographer” is on my list of perks to being married - along with having people buy me a KitchenAid stand mixer. (Holla at those beautiful teal blue mixers always on display at Target!) I hear married wedding photographers talk all the time about how the experience has been so essential to their ability to relate.

I don’t have that.

I will, but not yet. As of now, it’s been a few years since I’ve been on a real date that wasn’t an ambiguous coffee… meeting(?) hangout(?) thing. I’ve never been in love with someone who loves me back. My life is basically 27 Dresses except with photographing weddings and without James Marsden adorably interrupting everything.

I’m not telling you about my nonexistent love life to make you pity me or feel bad for me in any way. (Though hey, if you happen to know a really cute, Jesus loving, creative, and adventurous single man who you want to introduce me to, I’m not going to argue…) I’m telling you this so that I can explain where my work comes from. 

My work does not come from a place of experience.

My work comes from a place of faith.

I put my heart into seeing your dreams come true because I believe that mine will come true too. I want to give you the experience that I dream of having. I want to give you the type of photos that I would want - which means lots of the silly family, laughing friends, teary eyes, crazy dance moves, and precious moments.

In Kari Jobe’s gorgeous wedding film, they titled their wedding date “the day the waiting met the promise.” That phrase evokes tears in me every time I think of it. One day, the waiting will say hello to the promise and they’ll become best friends for life and it will be beautiful. I fully believe that with all my heart.

And yes, it can be hard to see so many people receive the promise that you are waiting for. The more weddings I work or attend, the more my heart longs for love to find me too. That longing is okay. Life is never quite complete.That doesn’t mean that life is bad when you experience longing, for we learn and grow in the places where we are stretched. When our souls feel drawn to something that we do not yet have, it increases our perspective when we receive.

There is joy in the waiting. I honestly love getting to photograph so many weddings as a single person. I learn so much from what I observe in the lives of my couples. I see things that inspire me, that challenge me, that encourage me, and that grow me. I get to not only figure out what things I want in a wedding day, but I get to learn what to look for in a marriage and a mate.

I’m also reminded at just about every wedding the importance of friends and a good community. Right now, I’m cultivating the most kick-butt tribe. I’m finding family in my local church, I’m having adventures with a gang of beautiful humans, and I’m pouring my heart + time + energy into friend dates with the girls that’ll someday be my bridesmaids. I get excited for the day when all these people come together for a celebration that they have been waiting and praying for as well.

This is what it looks like for me to photograph weddings as a single woman. There’s anticipation, hope, longing, prayers, tears, and joy. It’s not filled with doubt and cynicism and anger. It’s hard, but it’s beautifully hard. It’s the journey that I am on and I wouldn’t trade it for anyone else’s story.

No matter where you are at - if you are in the waiting or in the promise - today is another page of your story. Please, do not wish a single page away. Something beautiful is being written as you live out your life in a way that only you can do. So keep on taking it day by day and so will I. Maybe our paths will cross at some weddings - as brides or best friends or photographers or community cheerleaders - it's all reason to celebrate. 

From the place of joyful longing, 

Olivia

^ this is the face I make when Fate teases me about cute boys... just keeping it real...

^ this is the face I make when Fate teases me about cute boys... just keeping it real...