Small Business

Featured Vendor: Photographer Lauren Carnes

3 Tips for Building Community in Your Every Day

#augustaweddings #augusta #augustaweddingphotographer #augustaweddingcoordinator #augustaweddingplanner #nashvilleweddingplanner #nashvilleweddingcoordinator #tallahasseeweddingplanner #tallahasseeweddingcoordinator #milledgeville #milledgevilleweddingplanner #milledgevilleweddingcoordinator #tallahassee

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!

#augustaweddings #augusta #augustaweddingphotographer #augustaweddingcoordinator #augustaweddingplanner #nashvilleweddingplanner #nashvilleweddingcoordinator #tallahasseeweddingplanner #tallahasseeweddingcoordinator #milledgeville #milledgevilleweddingplanner #milledgevilleweddingcoordinator #tallahassee

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!

#augustaweddings #augusta #augustaweddingphotographer #augustaweddingcoordinator #augustaweddingplanner #nashvilleweddingplanner #nashvilleweddingcoordinator #tallahasseeweddingplanner #tallahasseeweddingcoordinator #milledgeville #milledgevilleweddingplanner #milledgevilleweddingcoordinator #tallahassee
#augustaweddings #augusta #augustaweddingphotographer #augustaweddingcoordinator #augustaweddingplanner #nashvilleweddingplanner #nashvilleweddingcoordinator #tallahasseeweddingplanner #tallahasseeweddingcoordinator #milledgeville #milledgevilleweddingplanner #milledgevilleweddingcoordinator #tallahassee

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!

#augustaweddings #augusta #augustaweddingphotographer #augustaweddingcoordinator #augustaweddingplanner #nashvilleweddingplanner #nashvilleweddingcoordinator #tallahasseeweddingplanner #tallahasseeweddingcoordinator #milledgeville #milledgevilleweddingplanner #milledgevilleweddingcoordinator #tallahassee
#augustaweddings #augusta #augustaweddingphotographer #augustaweddingcoordinator #augustaweddingplanner #nashvilleweddingplanner #nashvilleweddingcoordinator #tallahasseeweddingplanner #tallahasseeweddingcoordinator #milledgeville #milledgevilleweddingplanner #milledgevilleweddingcoordinator #tallahassee

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!

#augustaweddings #augusta #augustaweddingphotographer #augustaweddingcoordinator #augustaweddingplanner #nashvilleweddingplanner #nashvilleweddingcoordinator #tallahasseeweddingplanner #nashvilleweddings #tallahasseeweddingcoordinator #milledgeville #milledgevilleweddingplanner #milledgevilleweddingcoordinator #tallahassee

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.

#augustaweddings #augusta #augustaweddingphotographer #augustaweddingcoordinator #augustaweddingplanner #nashvilleweddingplanner #nashvilleweddingcoordinator #tallahasseeweddingplanner #tallahasseeweddingcoordinator #milledgeville #milledgevilleweddingplanner #milledgevilleweddingcoordinator #tallahassee

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.





The Busy Bug + 4 Tips for Time Off

I want to challenge your perspective on something. You might not have time for rest. There are probably a million phone calls, a million emails, and a million projects you'll start when you get 10 free minutes. 

Think about it.

You get a text that says, "Can you shoot some last minute pictures of my kids?" or "Do you have time for lunch to talk about that picnic we need to plan?" 

Are any of those bad options? Should you say no to either if you happen to have an open hour and the ability to contribute? 

But on the inside you wilt just a little bit when someone has added what feels like another cinderblock to your load. If you cringed when you got that text, then it's time for you to set some boundaries. Not scary boundaries that make the people in your life feel afraid to ask you for a cup or sugar or a hug on a bad day, but the gentle kind of boundaries that let people know when you're at your max, or you've chosen to rest (even if you still have 3pm-4pm available). 

If you feel like the victim of people pulling on you, you need to get back into the driver's seat of your planner. Are any of us mad at the President for not joining us for coffee today? No. He's just got a job and he's doing it. If you're raising kids and straight up don't have time for that neighborhood garage sale, SAY SO. If you have photoshoots all week long and you're not sure you can squeeze one more in, SAY SO. 


 When is your next day of rest? If you can't answer that, then I am praying for your sanity because I know it's being stretched. 

  • How can you do your best work if you're not rested? 

  • How can you keep on being kind to people if your rest tank is on empty?

  • How are you the best you when you have barely had time to sit alone for a minute?

This is right where I've been, friends. I have not taken a break from work since May of 2014. And people say owning a business is easy (?!). 

Fun Announcement:

So here's where I'm at currently. I have been carefully planning a month of rest since October of 2015. It is now June of 2016 and my month of rest starts in just 3 days. 

Thankfully, I didn't just arrive at the end of my rope and slam doors in the faces of people I really care about. That is not a healthy way to go about it (unless slamming a door is really necessary for you, I suppose). I kept my schedule free of weddings in July. I handed all my work tasks over to the two lovely women who work with me and have prepared to run the show.

I am planning to deactivate my Facebook, sign out of Instagram, put up my email vacation responder, and say "See ya later!" to my desk. 

I am sharing all this with you because I hope you do the same. Sometimes I see friends in destructive patterns of busy-ness and I wonder what will happen if they ever (God forbid) break an arm. Would you say, "I don't have time for this bone to go to the hospital"?!

I just watched my sweet, beloved Papa go home to be with Jesus. At the end of his life he wasn't fretting about all the things he didn't get done. Actually, the most-talked-about things we all shared at the funeral were memories of him sitting in a lawn chair, talking with my little brother in the driveway, and walking around the house singing, and eating Ramen on his TV tray watching Price is Right. 

Y'all. Let's stop inflicting busy on ourselves. It's not that important. 

Grace for busy seasons. Grace for moms chasing 3 toddlers and asking how this applies. Grace for someone who just started a business and can't see a break. Grace for someone who lost a job recently and is struggling every day to find a new one. But if you are just in a cycle of crazy, there is a way out, but it's going to take some intentional effort on your part. 

So (I'm no expert, but) here are my 3 steps for how to rest.

1. Choose a time.

It can be a week, a day, a few hours, or from 2:00-2:10 in the closet every Wednesday. But you are going to have to hold back the people who will not know that's your rest time and will immediately start placing requests on that day/time. Do. Not. Compromise.

2. Tell your people.

They will both help carry your tasks, care for your kids, answer your phone, cook your food or water your plants because I PROMISE they want to see you rest too. They will help you defend that time.

3. Make a rest list.

When you get to your rest day/time, you will have a list of things you've been "wanting to do" if you get a minute. The beauty of rest time is you can CHOOSE whether you feel like painting that flower pot, and because it's a rest day, you have the freedom to say yes or no to that restful project. 

4. Stay off social media.

When was the last time you hopped off a 30 minute scroll through Facebook and said, "I feel so rested!" No, people.


Once you've gracefully drawn a box around that time for yourself, and that is respectable and healthy, your friends and family will definitely respect it. 

The Lord WILL speak to you if you slow down enough to listen. I love you, I am for you, and if your eyes have glanced over these words, then friend, you've already been prayed for by me. I hope you find a time to take a breath, and I can't wait to be back in the saddle in August. See you then!


Lauren Carnes Photography

Lauren Carnes Photography



Tallahassee on My Mind


To Tallahassee,

I cried on your campus of Florida State University when Cullen received a scholarship to attend grad school in the economics department. These were not happy tears. FSU was at the bottom of the list. When I say bottom... I mean it was not on my list. {Disclaimer: I thought I was just a Georgia, Carolina, Tennessee kinda gal.} I could not have had any worse of a reaction. (Shout out to my mother-in-law who was with us and probably felt very uncomfortable. You go, Momda.) 


June 2016: We now refer to you as our beloved Tallahassee. Cullen and I scooted around ya yesterday. 


Did I just say the word beloved? Ahem. 


Your massive oaks draped with Spanish moss make us drool.



Frequent thrifting at Good Finds reminds me of our former hometown. 

And hey, there's only one little cubby of dolls in the whole place. 



You never let us down on being

1. the capital

2. part of the sunshine state.


Nor do I ever get tired of your landscape.






Thanks for welcoming us with open arms.

Love, from a little less close-minded girl,

Kaley Wallace