Sometimes, it’s really tough to balance your business and your morals. Sometimes, it’s incredibly simple.
When I first decided to promote myself as a full-time wedding and engagement photographer, I entered an entirely different realm of reality. I fell head-first into wedding land. Wedding land is a really beautiful place. It’s full of fluffy tulle, gorgeous lace, flickering candles in perfectly mis-matched mason jars, and perfect people having perfect weddings where nothing ever goes wrong. It’s pin boards of pretty shoes, fashionable accessories, and tutorials for painfully intricate handmade details.
It seems so great on the surface, but all that stress on perfection is totally unhealthy and totally unrealistic. Also, it masks some deeper problems that lurk in a great deal of wedding media.
I think weddings are wonderful, and I cry at every single one I attend, but I’m not interested in perpetuating the belief that couples have to spend astronomical sums of money to get married. That’s why I offer wedding packages as low as $500.00 for elopements and small weddings. I don’t think a couple should have to follow traditions that conflict with their values, and I don’t think anyone reserves the right to judge them for their choices. I certainly won’t judge them. I believe that marriage is a human right. That’s why I refuse to work with blogs and wedding directories that aren’t vocal about their support of marriage equality.
Luckily, I discovered A Practical Wedding. APW’s tagline is, “Weddings, minus the insanity, plus the marriage.” It’s a site where a team of smart and sassy women curate posts about weddings, marriages, entrepreneurship, and some of the really tough questions that can get ignored by traditional wedding media. In addition, the site has grown into a community of equally smart and sassy readers and vendors.
Earlier this year, I subscribed for a listing in the APW Vendor Directory. That means I answered some questions about my photography, submitted some pictures, and signed their legally binding “Sanity Pledge.” It’s really refreshing when you are able to support a business that shares your values while working to grow your own business.
All APW-approved vendors, agree that:
- A wedding is an awesome party, but it’s the marriage that really matters.
- It takes two people to get married. It’s not all about the bride (and sometimes there isn’t a bride to begin with).
- We support LGBTQ couples right to marry, and we are delighted to work with them.
- We don’t charge a premium just because we heard the word “wedding.”
- We will be upfront and fair about our pricing. We won’t surprise you with a secret fee because you want frosting on the cake, not just the cake.
- You don’t have to have cake at your wedding.
- However you decided to tie the knot, we’re on your team.
- Weddings come in all different shapes/sizes/colors/budgets/etc., but as long as you two end up married to each other, it will have been a successful wedding.
You can find out more about the APW philosophy, and you can read some brilliant and moving posts, view some gorgeous wedding photos, and get advice on a variety of topics on the APW site.
What about you? Have you ever struggled to align your professional growth with your core values? How did you deal with it?