3 Tips for Building Community in Your Every Day
Community is something we talk about on a daily basis. The community we live in, work in, play in and “do life” in impacts who we are as friends, family members, brides and fellow wedding professionals. When I first connected with Elena of Laurel Avenue, I knew there was something special there. She has a heart of gold and an ability to foster community with others unlike most people I’ve ever met! Shortly after our first meeting, Kaley and Michaela joined the Laurel Avenue team and I had the chance to see Elena build a community within her business in a new and profound way. So when the LA team asked me to share a bit about how to build and capture community, I was so honored!
To give you a bit of background, I am a photographer & communicator. In photography I specialize in weddings, food and brands, and in communications, I specialize in marketing, public relations, education and mentorship. In life, I specialize in telling a story in everything I do, and ultimately capture the people who help make that story possible. Today, I’m excited to share about 3 Tips for Building Community in Your Every Day. As a bride, this may look like new couple friends, as a fellow wedding vendor, this may look like networking without feeling scammy, but no matter your season of life or position in the wedding planning process, there is one thing that rings true for us all: community brings us together in a way that encourages, challenges, comforts and uplifts. And community is something we all need!
So join me for 3 tips, in no particular order about how to build community in your every day life:
1. Don’t be afraid to reach out! - Connecting with new people can be so nerve-wrecking. It almost sends us right back to the middle school days (and oh those were rough days, weren’t they?!) of wondering if she will like you or instant message you back. We must set those fears aside and remember our ultimate goal in fostering community in our every day! Be bold in your outreach and confident in who you are. You have something of value to offer!
2. Find how you can help. - Speaking of having something of value to offer, in new relationships there is always a way you can serve. Find what that is about you and do it well. For example, when Elena and I first met it was because many people (actually… Michaela included!) had told us we should meet when she moved to Augusta for a season. Elena was the wife of a family friend of my in-laws, and I was eager to meet her after hearing such wonderful things! I had lived in Augusta already for a year or so and been leading the Rising Tide Society TuesdaysTogether group locally. I knew that if nothing else, I could welcome her well to a new city and share my home with her. We shared many a meal around my kitchen table and built what became a long-lasting friendship. Although she was only in Augusta for a year, sharing what I knew about Augusta and the creative community here from the start was a way I could offer insight and encouragement quickly!
3. Continue to pursue them! Sometimes we feel as though relationships will come as easily as they did on the playground in preschool. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case as adults. Instead, we must love and serve those around us every day, through thick and thin, to foster true community. After the initial coffee date, perhaps let them know how much you enjoyed your time together, and maybe even schedule a second “date” if you feel so bold. When you see them celebrating, celebrate with them. When you see them mourning, lend a tissue and a shoulder (and maybe a glass of wine). More than anything, know that in any good relationship worth having, a continued investment in others is key. You’ll see the seeds you sow reap benefits tenfold if you love and serve people far beyond that first coffee date.
And finally… Bonus tip: if you’re a photographer or are working with your photographer to capture a true sense of community on your wedding day, share with them the relationships that mean the most to you! If you invite your photographer in to your community to be a part of what you cherish most in your family and friends, you’ll give him or her the freedom to capture that community in a really special way! For me that may look like capturing roommates who have a special bond or the love between a father and his only daughter. These special moments of “community” can be some of the most cherished images after the wedding day is over!
Friends, I hope you enjoyed these little tips into creating community in your daily life. I have seen the power of true community and friendships in my life and business and can only hope and pray for the same in yours! If you’re ever in Augusta, don’t hesitate to let me know, and I’d love to welcome you to my kitchen table just like Elena.