As some of you social media followers may know, I participated in an event a month ago called The Big Fake Wedding in Charleston, SC. Confused about the fact that it’s a fake wedding? Don’t worry, I got lots of questions about that. The event is essentially a bridal show that takes place at a wedding venue and each vendor participates in the actual wedding - meaning the florists supplied flowers, the photographers photographed the event, the wedding coordinator coordinated the ceremony, the getaway car company WAS the getaway car after the exit. OH and the wedding itself was actually a vow renewal for a couple.
The entire experience was pretty incredible from a vendor stand point. I went into it not really knowing what to expect, but I ended up gaining a lot more than I even imagined. The Big Fake Wedding staff is truly AMAZING and they are constantly looking out for how they can help you. At one point, my acrylic logo sign fell from the 2nd story onto a brick patio below. After a minor heart attack thinking it was ruined, TBFW staff was quick to jump in a pick up anything that fell below. Also, miraculously, my sign held up with a minor scratch.
You know I’m all about a list so if I had to break my experience down into 3 major takeaways or benefits of the event..these are it. OH and you know I had to really cheese it up and they had to rhyme right?
For photography, there were 2 other photographers - Emily Solberg Photography and Katherine Beasley Photography. Both of whom, I LOVE. We all ended up working together throughout the day and still chat to this day! It was so great to get to work alongside two amazing photographers all day - bouncing ideas off of each other, talking strategy, etc. In fact, the event is setup to have each photographer with the couple for a separate time slot. We liked each other so much that we actually decided to combine ALL of our time with the couple and go take pictures in downtown Charleston together. Shout out to Matt for being our chauffeur.
We asked The Big Fake Wedding staff how other photographers typically interact and they said it all really depends. You figure going into an event like this, you’d maybe view this more as a competition in a way but I am so so so glad that the other 2 photographers were Emily and Katherine. Both were so sweet and thoughtful. I think all 3 of us could have never imagined not working together in the way that we did that night.
From a behind the scenes perspective, it was so empowering to be surrounded by so many other amazing wedding vendors and entrepreneurs. Ever since college, I knew that one day I wanted to own my own business. I didn’t yet know what that would be but I can remember being so incredibly inspired by all of the entrepreneurs who would come speak to my college classrooms or the ideas/thoughts from my piers during group projects. This experience reminded me so much of that. Being surrounded by so many other like-minded creatives, seeing their hard work come to life in different forms and fashion - this is what makes this experience so unique.
At one point, I got to talk to a woman who was a successful entrepreneur. She basically told me that I should be so proud of myself for what I had accomplished. She said that it’s so rare for people to have a dream and to take a leap of faith, launching a business. She also said it was important that I had Matt there to support me every step of the way. I think when you’re in the day-to-day of your business, it’s so easy to forget these things. It’s easy to let my to do list get in the way of being grateful and thankful. What a gift for all of the vendors and particularly this entrepreneur to leave me feeling truly inspired.
I also talked to a fellow vendor about the struggles of owning your own side hustle. If you don’t know what a side hustle is, basically it’s a business that you own, in addition to a full-time job. Many of you don’t know that I work a full-time job alongside Annie Laura Photo but I do! Many wedding vendors have this ability since much of their work is on the weekends.
For me, I went to school for Marketing. After a few years in the marketing industry, I switched gears and started working in the insurance industry. I work for an AWESOME company but in comparison to marketing, I’m not using my creative energy as much as I have in the past. Annie Laura Photo IS my creative outlet. This business is what gives me life and energy. And while Annie Laura Photo is SO life giving, balancing these two jobs can sometimes be hard. It has gotten easier over the years after learning some hard lessons but there are still busy seasons whenever you’re hard on yourself or whenever you forget that you need rest.
Whenever I discussed this with a fellow vendor, it was so validating to get to hear much of the same struggles I have on a consistent basis, mostly surrounding rest. With a full-time job and a side hustle, there’s sometimes not enough time in the day to get it all done - and that’s okay. We talked a lot about sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself and your business, is to just rest. It doesn’t mean you’re not successful and your business is not successful. In fact, it can make you even more successful - especially as a creative.
Overall, I left this event and even woke up the next day on a high. I could honestly write an entirely new blog with even MORE about the event (and I just might do that one day) but I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience at The Big Fake Wedding for now!
Photography: Emily Solberg Photography, Katherine Beasley Photography, Annie Laura Photography
Venue: 563 King
Floral + Event Design: Creech’s Florist Inc (Tables 1 + 2), Alexandra Madison Weddings (Head Table, Table 3), Wedding Flowers for Rent (Personal Flowers, Tables 5 + 6), Charleston Balloon Company (Registration Table, Tables 7 + 8)
Event Design + Event Rentals: A Tailor Made Event (Tables 9 + 10)
Day-Of Coordinator: Direct My Day
Catering + Bar: Thurston Southern
Cake: Sweet Rhi
Desert Bar: Desert Designs by Gisela
Mini Pies + Donuts: Pretty Little Pie Co.
Popsicles: King of Pops
Champagne Truck: The Bubbly Bus
DJ + Emcee: Other Brother Entertainment
Videography: Katherine Beasley Photography
Invitation Suite + Welcome Sign: Atwater Graphics Studio
Photo Booth: Memory Booth
Live Event Painter: Fallon Peper
Table Accents: Pretty Written Things
Hair + Makeup Styling: Kinz & Co.
Wedding Dress: Maddison Row South
Jewelry: Tidal Jewelry by Annie
Bridesmaids’ Apparel: Bella Bridesmaids
Men’s Wedding Band Home Try-On: Hitched
Specialty Rentals: Crisp Event Rentals (Lounge, Bar, Tabletop)
Getaway Car – Sea Island Event Company
Candle Favors – Charleston Candle Co.
Marshmallow Favors – Malvi
Repurposed Wedding Flower Products – Bloombak
Hotel Accommodations – Hilton Garden Inn Charleston Waterfront/Downtown
Travel Agent – Travel Leaders of Charleston
Bachelor(ette) Activity – Saltwater Cycle
Alcohol Sponsor – MKTG