The Art of Block Scheduling

Talk It Out Tuesday: Coffee Chat

Make Your Day Productive as Hell

Make Your Day Productive as Hell

Grab your dark roast + join us as we talk about the idea of block scheduling and different ways you can implement it into your business to become a powerhouse of productivity!

Episode 29 Coffee Chat Replay

Episode 29 Podcast

Our coffee chats are now available on iTunes! Listen to the episode by clicking the link below and be sure to subscribe to stay up to date on new episodes.


Wedding Boss Life: Facebook Page | Facebook Group | Instagram

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Block Scheduling for Entrepreneurs


I’m Lauren, your wedding business visionary! I educate wedding pros on the behind the scenes of their businesses through practical knowledge and intuitive strategy. I incorporate my intuitive gifts with solid business strategy to maximize my clients' progress and success.

How to Clone Your Ideal Client

Talk It Out Tuesday: Coffee Chat

Cloning Your Ideal Client is Easier Than You Think!


Grab your dark roast + join guest host, Heidi Thompson of Evolve Your Wedding Business, and I as we chat about the steps you need to take in order to make sure you book your ideal client, every time, on autopilot!

Heidi Thompson is the best-selling author of Clone Your Best Clients and the founder of Evolve Your Wedding Business where she specializes in business and marketing strategy for wedding professionals. She helps wedding professionals grow their businesses and reach their goals without going crazy in the process. Her business & marketing expertise has been featured on several wedding and business outlets including The Huffington Post, Social Media Examiner, Wedding Business Magazine, Sprouting Photographer, Photo Biz Xposed, Honeybook, WeddingWire World & she’s an advisory board member for the UK Academy Of Wedding & Event Planning.

Episode 28 Coffee Chat Replay

Episode 28 Podcast

Our coffee chats are now available on iTunes! Listen to the episode by clicking the link below and be sure to subscribe to stay up to date on new episodes.


Heidi: Website | Book



Looking for more resources? Check out the Resources page!


Lauren Dragon-Cook: Good morning everyone! How the heck are we doing on this lovely Tuesday? Today I am super stoked because we are in the presence of our guest today… Ms. Heidi Thompson. She is a badass when it comes to marketing and systems and all of the fun stuff I love so much. I am so excited she is here. Today she will be chatting with us about how to clone your ideal client and make that whole process a little bit easier on yourself. 

Heidi has been in the industry for over a decade now. She has been marketing and doing her jam for awhile. She knows her shit, guys. So without further ado I am going to let her take the stage. So welcome! Welcome to the chaos.

Heidi Thompson: Hey! Thank you so much for having me. I am so excited to be here. I even got up early for it!

Lauren: I know you’re freakin’ west coast, its like 3am over there. I don’t even know what time it is.

Heidi: Neither do I. So today I want to talk to you about not JUST your ideal client, but how to clone your best clients. You get to choose who you work with and I think this is something a lot of people forget. But the way you market, determines who you attract and determines how likely it is that you are going to be able to command a higher price and close them at those prices.

I would be curious to know if you know who your ideal client is? This is the bedrock of everything. When people ask me questions, “Should I do this? Should I advertise here? Should I do that?”, its like okay… we need to figure out who you are talking to. It depends… if your people don’t use wedding wire to find their wedding vendors, then no it is not worth you spending money even if that works for someone else.

Ideal Clients as Human Beings

I think the really important thing is to know your ideal clients as human beings. This is a common mistake people make. They box them into these weird demographics. So I work with people between the ages of 25 and 45 who live within 50 miles of my zipcode and are getting married. Okay. Are they a Walmart shopper for their groceries or are they a Whole Foods shopper? That tells you something about a person and what is important to them and where their priorities lie. That is important because our values shape our purchasing decisions.

A lot of people get hung up on “this person doesn’t value what I do”. Okay cool, not your person. There is so much freedom in that. Saying I don’t need to work with that person. Yes it takes some balls to trust that another person will come along, but knowing who you are trying to attract , what they value is going to help you attract more of them and become the go-to person for them.

Lauren: So someone we have who commented in the live says their ideal client is…

  • Type A personality
  • Busy professional
  • Highly educated
  • 25-32 year olds
  • Edgy
  • Don’t want cookie cutter weddings
  • Think outside of the box
  • Like to break the rules

Heidi: So I love that she included this last part, because where a lot of people stop is busy, educated, and an age range. But that doesn’t tell you HOW to market to that person. That doesn’t tell you what to make your messaging to help you stand out. As an example, I have a wedding planner that I’ve worked with for awhile. She initially was marketing herself based on “your busy, I’m going to save you time, this will be awesome” … the typical kind of messaging you get around a wedding planner. She went through the process that I teach both in my book and programs and she interviewed her best clients and asked them all sorts of questions what made them decide to work with her and what options they looked at and cared about. It turned out the business was a factor, but it was priority number three or four. What the true driving force was that the people she was attracting has large families. They had been to their brothers, sisters, four of their cousins weddings and all the same. It drove them nuts. They don’t want the same experience for their guests. They want something different but want to incorporate their traditional traditions. The way you market that is not “you’re too busy”.

So what you start saying is “I can help you have a wedding that isn’t like your cousins and your brothers, but maintains those traditions”. You become a category of one. There are all those other planners and then there is you.

Another commenter says their ideal client is:

  • The mother
  • Not to be responsible for details
  • Enjoy the event

This is good. This is interesting that you know that. A lot of people would just assume. But if a lot of those responsibilities are falling on the mother of the bride, then it makes absolute sense to market to the moms. 

Lauren: One thing that I want to make note of is that I am seeing a very common similarity here. Obviously yes you want to know the level of education, the age range, the sex… those types of things that are measurable you can go into the behind the scenes of your google, of analytics and see those exact figures. Instead of you guessing the age range or thinking your ideal client is a male and then hop on the behind the scenes and see 94% of your website traffic is female, then you have to change that a little bit.

One thing Heidi is really driving home for you guys is the finer details, the mom that doesn’t want to be bothered with the pesky details, the people that are thinking outside of the box and like to break the rules. Those components are what is going to set you apart from the competition. 

Someone else just commented and said they are still trying to figure out their ideal client, but she has learned that she is not her own ideal client. That is so true. Just because you are creating this image of what this person looks like for you… that doesn’t mean that you have to fit into  that same category. You can still work with hose people and treat them like gold and give them the best service you can, but it doesn’t make you would pay for your own services. Right?

Figure out what is going to set you apart. Yes you need to know the core details, but really…

  • Do they like Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts? 
  • Do they shop at Walmart or Whole Food? 
  • Do they rent an apartment? Do they own a home? 
  • Do they enjoy traveling or are they a homebody that loves to entertain? 

What do your people like to do?

Heidi: I like to ask people too, to encourage that sort of thinking… what do they geek out on? Everybody has their favorite things. Everybody has their stuff they are into. If you can appeal to someone on that human level, that really sets you apart. 

My friend Marie is an officiant. She is a total self-professed nerd. She talks about Game of Thrones on her website and she attracts people who are like “YES YOU ARE MY PEOPLE”. At the end of the day you work with people you like and trust. And we tend to as humans to like and trust people who have things in common with us.

Figuring out that you are not your ideal client is a BIG STEP. Very big step, because that is a level of maturity in your business of realizing you don’t have all the answers and you need to go to your people and listen to them. This is what I am such a proponent of is your people are such a wealth of knowledge. The book that I wrote about this is how they will tell you how to market to them. All you have to do is ask them the right questions and piece it together and work backwards, but you can’t do that if you assume you already have all the answers. 

“But I don’t have any clients…”

Lauren: Two questions. One, what do you do if you are just starting out in the business and you don’t have any clients to ask? But two, what are the types of questions that you would ask these people?

Heidi: So what do you do if you are just starting out? First, be open to working with people, but I really think it is better to make a hypothesis and test it, than to just wait and see. It is very had to attract anyone if you are being very vague in general. I would make an educated guess of who you think you want to work with. You can change this later. And even if you are further in business, there might come a point 5 years down the road where you determine you love one subset of people you work with and you want to work with just them, so you change things up to work with just them. This is constantly evolving and forming. So don’t feel you get locked in. You are the boss, you get to do what you want! Which is both great and terrifying.

I would encourage you if you are new, to make an educated guess. Take a stab and hypothesis of who you think you want to work with. If you know anyone like that kind of person, talk to them! Ask them these questions and figure out what matters to them. If you don’t know anyone like that, you want to make sure this person does exists. Look at people who are running businesses in other markets. Is there anyone that is targeting this person? How are they talking to them? How are they marketing? What tone are they using? What platforms are they using? You never want to assume people have done their homework, but is can be a clue. It is a good indicator of a direction you could go for. Anytime you can observe this group of people in person, online, in groups… it helps to get that kind of intel about them, But it is okay to start with a guess and develop it from there.

Think about who you want to be the go-to person for. There was another coordinator I worked with who wanted to be the go-to person for couples where at least one of them was of Mexican or central American heritage, first generation in the US. They were an American kid growing up, but their values and traditions are still really important to them. Maybe grandma and grandpa don’t speak the best English, so having Spanish is important. She built her entire business around these people. She decided she wanted to be the go-to person for Mexican American couples who really wanted to incorporate their traditions but do their own thing. Have a modern spin, but have someone who understood where they were coming from. 

So you are going to attract your ideal client, but it is like a bullseye. You are also going to attract the outside rings. You are going to attract white girls like me, who wish they were Mexican.

Maybe you don’t know a ton about your ideal client yet, but its part of an investigation that goes deeper and deeper and deeper.

Surveys and Questions

Lauren: Yes, and I love when you mentioned the bullseye. That is such a fabulous visual. Yes, you are niching it down to the point, but you are still going to attract a larger population. So many people get so distracted by this idea that they won’t be able to reach enough people, but you are going to have the subset that falls in there. They may not be your “ideal ideal client”, but they are still in the realm. They are still in that gray zone. They are not in the abyss. They have a lot of the same qualities and characteristics.

One thing I would like to mention is right before I launched Wedding Boss and I was very close to expanding LDC, I conducted a survey. I’m a nerd. I love statistics. I love it! I’m a psych nerd. I want to know the human behavior and what they think.

This is something I would encourage you to do if you are on the fence, I would encourage you to conduct a survey. Use Survey Monkey, Type Two, WooFoo… create a really simple survey. Email all of your past “best” couples. The ones you loved working with! Say “Hey I wanted to see how you are all doing. I am running a quick giveaway/contest. If you decide you want to answer a wicked short survey, I will enter you in for an Amazon giftcard.” It doesn’t have to be huge, but think about that… you spend $25, $50 on a giftcard somewhere and you are going to get all the information you could possibly need. That is then how you clone your ideal client. Think of it as an investment. 

So Heidi, what are some questions you could put into a survey or ask Facebook groups of brides? What could they ask?

Heidi: So for previous clients I always like to ask:

  • Where did you look?
  • How did you look?
  • Where did you conduct your research?

If you find out they all rely on a couple of blogs or they ask for recommendations form other vendors, that tells you where to double down on your marketing. That tells you where to pay more attention. Not all marketing techniques are created equal. It depends on what you people are involved in and what they respond to. You want to ask questions along those lines.

You then want to get into their thinking.

  • Why did you book me instead of someone else?

The line of questioning I really like to take here is just being super curious. Like a three year old. Why? Over and over and over again. I like to do this as having conversations with people, because we edit ourselves a lot when we type. So asking questions on an initial survey and then calling someone to follow up and elaborate.

So in the instance of the planner I was just talking about… why does it matter that your wedding is different? This brings you to the main point, you get to the core reason.

So you want it to be different because you want your guests to have a different experience. You don’t want them to be bored like you have been at previous weddings. Maybe you want to one-up your sister. Who knows! 

Lauren: I love that, yes!

Heidi: But that is the kind of thing you could include in your marketing technique. 

“If you want to have the best wedding your family talks about… choose me”.

It is really hard to market to someone when you don’t know what is going through their head. That is why I really want you to make a hypothesis, because when you don’t make people feel anything… apathy is the worst thing someone can feel about your brand. I would rather someone hate me than feel nothing. That means I am not being specific enough about who I am for. On the flipside… who I am not for. Something to think about.

You don’t want to just be mean, but you definitely want to say “this package, my services… I work with couples who x, y, z.” If someone is reading that and they don’t fit that mold, they aren’t for you.

You want to get to know the social components of who these people are and what makes them tick. So if you and your best client went you for drinks, what would you talk about? You want to appeal to that. That is why my favorite question to ask is “what do you geek out on?” You want to be able to incorporate that. Yes the decisions around purchasing are super important… you want to know how you are coming across because a lot of time you will learn things about yourself that you didn’t realize were your superpower of how people perceive about you. But you also need to know how to talk to these people as people in your marketing and stand out in such a way that when someone lands on your site, they feel something. They feel they are in the right place for them. 

Lauren: They feel they are home.

Heidi: Yes.

Be True to You

The Art of Cloning Your Ideal Client

Lauren: I love that. It is so important to be true to you. Just like you guys, we all can sense BS. Our clients can do the same. So if you are trying to attract a certain type of client and yet it doesn’t resonate with who you are... why!? You can’t jive with that. It will be like vinegar and water. Be true to you. You have heard me say this again and again. When I finally incorporated the woo woo back in March… shit changed, guys. It was making it rain. The heavens opened up, rainbows and unicorns started falling. Yeah I was doing alright. I was doing okay. But once you really integrate with who you truly are, that is when the magic happens. Something to think about.

Heidi: Yeah and you make a good point. You don’t have to BE your ideal client, but you have to LIKE your ideal client. It is someone you want to be around, regardless of the fact you are not that person. You still like them and like working with them. Maybe they aren’t your best friend, but you still really enjoy being with them.

What often gets lost so much in business is you get to design the business and the life you want. It is very easy to go in the direction of “oh I have to do this and work with these people and now I’m miserable and I hate my life”. But that is all up to you. You decide who you attract with how you talk about what you do with your marketing.

As a business you are solving a problem. Sure we are not curing cancer here, but we are still solving a problem that someone has. Things that they are worried about are things you can really call out and tease out in your website and the types of things you post on your social media. It needs to be specific to the problem that they want you to solve. If it is a problem you assume they have, that won’t lineup. They won’t feel as strongly as “yes this is exactly what is going on through my head right now, how did you know?”. Well I know because I’ve worked with people just like you and I used their words in my marketing.

Language, Language, Language

That is another key piece is when you get answers to questions from people, don’t edit them. As much as you possibly can, use their exact worse. The cursive knowledge will force you to talk about what you do in a way that someone who has never done it, doesn’t get.

Lauren: Yes and that is something so many people forget. We use terminology that we all know, we all speak, but it is not their love language. Those are not the words that they would us. Do you have a good example?

Heidi: For me I was trying to boil down a quick one line of what I do. I put it to my group and asked which of these resonates most with you?

  1. I help wedding professionals make more money without going crazy in the process.
  2. I help wedding professionals grow their businesses without going crazy in the process.

People hated the making money one, which I was like “alright…”. Then I used the one that my group most identified with. It is the same thing, but it is a different way of saying it. If I had said it the other way I would have driven people away who could’ve been my ideal clients purely because I didn’t understand what it was that they wanted. What problem they wanted solved.

Lauren: Absolutely. I love that. It made me think… if you have a Facebook page or a group, create a poll and ask them certain questions. What was one added bonus of working with me that you didn’t anticipated?

Heidi: What do you wish you knew before you went through the wedding planning process? That gives you all these ideas of how you can market to people. You can turn that into blog posts or social media posts to address these issues that came up for people that they didn’t know they were going to have.

Lauren: I love this. This combined with SEO… I feel like I’m beating a dead horse but these strategies combined with SEO is all the advertising you would need in the world.

Heidi: It is all in your ideal client’s head. It is who they are and how they think. There are photographers who really focus on working with tattooed couples, who don’t want to hide their tattoos and show them off. If I was covered in tattoos, that is who I would want to work with. I want to work with someone who knows how to show that off even if they cost more. Now it is not “this photographer or that photographer”… it is “this photographer who absolutely gets me and all of these other photographers”. 

Lauren: Yes and they are willing to spend the money if that means they are going to get exactly what they want.

“I have to do…”

Heidi, one of the last questions I want to ask is what is one of the biggest takeaways or biggest hidden secrets that you tell only your paid clients? One is one of the biggest monumental shifts?

Heidi: I think something that comes up a lot is what you “have to do”. The overwhelm that comes along with that. You get to design the business that you want. You get to design the business around the ideal clients that you want to have. You don’t have to do all the things. In fact, during our workshops in the wedding collective that we have, one of my favorite questions to ask people is “what are you going to stop doing?’

Lauren: PREACH! YES!

Heidi: Because you can just pile on and pile on, but what is not working? Get rid of it. You don’t have to do it. Just do what works.

It can be simpler than it feels like it should be. I really like to encourage people to focus on just a few marketing channels as part of their marketing plan. You can’t focus on ten things, that is against the definition of the word focus. Its not going to happen.

Lauren: Where are you when I need you? One thing! One!

Heidi: Maybe there are two or three things that work well for you… good keep going! Not to say you can’t experiment. Pick one thing to experiment with for 90 days. Maybe you are going to work on your Pinterest or Instagram or your SEO. Dabble in one thing at a time and know that that is okay. I think a lot of this is giving yourself permission to not drive yourself crazy. You don’t have to work 10 hours a day. You don’t have to work 8 or 6 hours a day. If you can be effective in less time, awesome. No one is clocking your hours. If you can get the job done in 4… cool you have the rets of the day. Take advantage of it. It is definitely a mindset shift to allow yourself to stop.

It is something I struggle with too because I like to just go go go, but knowing the difference between what you need to do because it is working and what you can let go of… is super refreshing.

Lauren: That is huge. Such a good piece of advice. Love it.

Heidi, seriously thank you so much for joining us. Thank you so much for giving up your early ass morning to be here with us. Really.

Where can people find you Heidi?

Heidi: My main website is and that has all of the things. My blog, podcasts, how to work with me. If you are interested in picking up my book, Cloning Your Best Clients, you can go to and that will direct you to Amazon where you can pick up the eBook or paperback. You can really go to town on this “close your best client” strategy.

Lauren: Thank you. You are just a wealth of information and I feel so lucky and grateful to have had you on here to share your knowledge with all these people.

That wraps up todays episode! Join us here next week. If you liked this episode, like it and subscribe! It helps to get the word out to everyone that actually needs to hear these lessons and tips to help their businesses. Thank you so much Heidi, and have a great rest of the day you guys!


I’m Lauren, your wedding business visionary! I educate wedding pros on the behind the scenes of their businesses through practical knowledge and intuitive strategy. I incorporate my intuitive gifts with solid business strategy to maximize my clients' progress and success.

How to Stop Comparisonitis - The Deadly Business Killer

Get Real Series

3 Ways to Stop Yourself from Playing the Comparison Game 

by Brianne Hultzman


Brianne Hultzman, owner of Hultzman Photography, joins us on the blog today to talk about three different tricks she uses to stop herself from playing the deadly game known as comparison. 

Comparisonitis - The Deadly Business Killer

Comparison game in business

Want to know a secret? Sometimes I like to fall off the face of the earth for a while. Not in a literal sense of course, but definitely when it comes to social media.

Why do I do it? Well, easy. When you become so consumed in what is trending and what’s going on social media, sometimes you forget to jump back into reality. A couple of weeks ago, I found myself scrolling through Instagram instead of playing with my daughter. I was so consumed with what everyone else is doing in the photography business that I started feeling bad about my own.

The comparison game. It is 100% real and it 100% sucks. There, I said it. It sucks.

In this industry, we find ourselves hearing over and over again, “Don’t compare yourself to other people.” Yeah, OKAY. But how do we stop ourselves from doing it? Here is the answer…

how to stop playing the Comparison game in your business

1. Take a Break

Get off your damn phone or computer. Walk outside and get a breath of fresh air. Meditate. Play with your animals or kids (or both if you multitask.) Your life isn’t worth spending time on social media pondering the thought of who is and who isn’t better than you. When you take a break, you can actually start thinking of new and fresh ideas that you want to somehow incorporate in your business or personal life. After you have taken a break…

2. Find Inspiration

Have you heard of Pinterest? It’s pretty amazing if I do say so myself. But start pinning stuff that you want to do! Or even better, go somewhere where you can find inspiration. Maybe that is a greenhouse, or a humane society, or even your backyard. Wherever that may be, find inspiration in things that light you up. What is it in your life that sets your soul on fire? Whatever that may be, go do it! Last but not least, after you have found your inspiration…

3. Implement those Ideas!

DO IT! I dare you! Once you take the initiative to actually implement the ideas you were inspired by, do it. Not only will it make you feel better, but you will be able to share your inspiration with others! It’s a win, win.

Brianne Hultzman is the creative genius behind Brianne Hultman Photography, a photography studio specializing in weddings, maternity, and couples that serves Western and Upstate, NY. Growing up, Brianne always had a point and shoot camera by her side so that she would never miss a moment of what was going on around her. Nowadays, things haven't changed a whole lot! She turned her hobby into a profession in 2016 and has never looked back! 

Leave her some love on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest!


📣 Are you ready to see a serious spike in your website traffic? 📣

Would you like to contribute to the Get Real Series? KNOW SOMEONE THAT SHOULD GIVE US THEIR TWO CENTS?

🔍 I'm looking for wedding pros that would like to be featured on Wedding Boss Life by participating in the Get Real series which is all about getting raw and real with ourselves and businesses. 

YOU get to choose the topic that resonates with you, (feel free to be 10000% YOU - no need to filter yourself with me or my website) but some ideas to help get you started:

  1. ⭐️ What narrative in the wedding industry needs to desperately be re-written? 
  2. 🔥 What lies were you told that you believed about the wedding industry or business?
  3. ✨ What has been your biggest struggle in business? How have you/do you plan to overcome it? 
  4. 💥 What do you wish more wedding pros knew?
  5. 📍 What did you have to learn the hard way?
  6. 🎀 What keeps you motivated as an entrepreneur?

If you’d like to write a guest post, FILL OUT THE FORM BELOW!


The Reality of Working from Home as a Creative Entrepreneur

Talk It Out Tuesday: Coffee Chat

What It Actually Looks Like to Work From Home


Grab your dark roast + join us as we disspell the common misconceptions surrounding the elusive idea of working from home. We will cover how to become more productive with your time and how to avoid getting sucked into the household chores during work hours! 

Episode 27 Coffee Chat Replay

Episode 27 Podcast

Our coffee chats are now available on iTunes! Listen to the episode by clicking the link below and be sure to subscribe to stay up to date on new episodes.


Wunderlist: App

Manifestation Book: Unleash Your Inner Money Babe - Uplevel Your Money Mindset and Manifest $1000 in 21 Days by Kathrin Zenkina

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Show Notes

Lauren Dragon-Cook: Good morning! How are we all doing? I hope you are all doing very well on this lovely Tuesday morning. 

Thank you for tuning in with me today. It means the world to me that you choose to spend even a half hour, hour of your time with me every week. I feel there are so may options out there and so many things we need to be doing, so it really does mean the world to me. Thank you for that.


Two quick things before we get started that I want to make mention of. First and foremost I am going to  pull some cards for you guys after this live, it will be a separate live that I’ll do right after this one because there is some crazy shit happening right now as far as shifting and energies and stuff. 

The second piece is I have to tell you what happened yesterday. OH MY GOD. I will be chatting more about that in the live I’ll do right after this episode. Yeah, talk about manifestation! 

Lauren’s Journey Working at Home

Without further ado… I am here to chat with you guys about the struggle and the bliss of what it looks like to work from home. I would love to know if you work full time from home, if you are balancing a full time job and your side hustle, if you do work from home how many years have you been an entrepreneur playing the game? I would love to know. Is this a goal you want to achieve and start working from home? Let me know. 

The realities of working from home as a small business owner

A little back story about my stay from home journey. I have been working form home now for almost a decade. That makes me feel real friggin old! It is true. Since 2009 and it has been one hell of a wild ride. From being engaged and working from home to then being married to then popping out children and juggling that. It has been crazy. I’ve seen the ebbs and flows of what it can look like when you work from home.

I am going to share with you a few little trinkets I have picked up along the way that have really helped me in staying focused while working from home. Some elements that you really just need to give yourself grace with. As creatives, as entrepreneurs, we are out own boss. We are in charge of our business. We are in charge of our own hours. We are in charge of how many hours and work we are doing. 

I think that we all go into the transition, if we do choose to work from home, where we think we have to be hustling 24/7. We have to be friggin pumping out… go go go go go! Working into the wee hours of the morning. I cannot tell you how many all-nighters’ have pulled in the past and then woken up to take care of kids and work the next day.

Often times, its like “holy shit is this worth it!?” I am working more hours working form home than I ever was working for someone else. For me I had that ah-ha moment I think about 3 years ago. That’s when things started to change for me anyway. I felt like this shit was for the birds, I needed to change it. Pinterest was huge, it was great for brides and all of these things… BUT this was also before a whole lot of the articles about “how to work from home and be productive” started to be published from bloggers and creative leaders. Its not like I had this roadmap of how to work from home.

I am going to try to give you what my road map looks like. You can take what you want form this. You can leave the rest. You don’t have to take a damn thing. You know how this works with me. What I would suggest is if something resonates with you then jot it down.

Fighting Structure vs Embracing It

Here we go! One note that I wanted to point out before I did start giving you the tips and the tricks... there has to be a happy medium between fighting structure as a creative (because I don’t know about you but if someone tells me you have to work 9-5 and only have a 20 minute break, I’m gonna be a big old eff you!). I want to be in charge of what it looks like for me to work from home. I do not need it to be dictated by anyone else. So there has to be a happy medium between fighting structure and then on the flip side treating out business like a full on corporation. So this is what I have found works for me.

You have to do what feels best for you. There is no set rule for working from home. Is every single day going to be the same? I can almost guarantee you, absolutely not. It just isn’t.

Lauren’s Roadmap

Some things that have begun to work for me, that I’ve noticed through the years…

  1. Get Up and Get Going: I am not a morning person whatsoever. I would much rather have calls with someone at 11pm than I would at 8am. Just how I operate. BUT I find that I am most productive when I get up and start working in the morning. Now I’m not saying I’ll wake up at 6am, nope that’s not happening. Nope. BUT instead of feeling like a momma bear and stirring from my slumber, I will just get up and get at it. Something that has helped me to do that, I know that in the back of my head when the kids are gone and when the husband is gone I can go back to bed if I want. I know I can. Do I ever? I would say maybe 10% of the time. Very rarely do I actually go back to bed. But it helps to get me up! Get up and get going in the morning, even if you are not a morning person.
  2. Make Yourself Feel Good: (Disclaimer: If you know me at all, you know me I love me some lulu lemon pants. I love my yoga pants and my comfies.) HOWEVER, I feel like I can take on the day no matter what the day decides to throw at me when I make myself feel good. What do I mean by that? I mean get up, take a shower, get dressed, put some makeup on. You don’t have to go to the nines. Make yourself feel good. If you are not a make up person (I am not) I just throw on some mascara, do my brows, and call it a day. Another thing I always do every single morning is I eat breakfast. I have to. If I try to take all the medication I need to in the morning on an empty stomach… girl that shit ain’t gonna be pretty. I have tried to cut out all the boxed stuff, but eat stuff that fuels you and will get you ready for the day.
  3. Schedule time throughout your day to move: Give yourself breaks. If you are like me, I will just work work work work work, then my alarm will go off to get my first kiddo from school and I’m like “shit I haven’t even eaten today”. And then what ends up happening? “Well maybe I’ll eat when I get home”. And then I don’t eat and then I have a glass of wine while I’m cooking dinner for everyone and then I feel like I’m down for the count because I haven’t eaten all day! Some days that is okay right? But not everyday! Schedule time to get up out of your seat. If you have to set an alarm to eat lunch, do it! During that time, throw a load of laundry into the washer. You shouldn’t be basing your work day based off of what has to get done around the house. That is key. If you are looking at your load of dirty laundry or the dishes in your sink, right now during the work day is not the time to be doing that stuff. There are exceptions. Yesterday was a major exception for me. Because I recently just bought “Unleash Your Inner Money Babe”, it is by Manifestation Babe. I just started reading this and the first exercise in this book was to clear out the clutter in your wallet, where you pay your bills, where you store paperwork. So I had to have the excuse and be given a reason to do that. I am not kidding you, it took me almost 4 hours to clear through all of the paperwork that had just created little piles all around my office and kitchen counter and spare junk room. Everywhere! Long story short I ended up throwing away an entire trash bags of papers. FULL! So if you are giving yourself the time and space to clean up your office, that is okay! It is not necessarily doing the dishes or the laundry, right? If you feel you have to get that other stuff done, do it during your breaks. You’re given breaks if you work a 9-5, right?
  4. Setting Boundaries: Set work hours for yourself! This was a very heated debate I had with a group of individuals on The Rising Tide Society recently. One of the business owners said “If I were just not to respond to an email and just let it go, they will hire someone else”. Okay, well do you really just want them as a client anyways if they are just going to pick the first person that responds to them? I don’t know. You have to set boundaries for yourself. If you see an email come in at 6pm at night and your office hours that you have set right from the gate and people know you will be “out of the office”… you don’t respond to the next day. If you use Dubsado you can schedule out an email to go out with your business hours. Go into your email signature and add your office hours. When I was giving too much of myself and always on, I was getting the most burnt out. If you know me even a little bit, you know I’m a people pleaser. That’s just how I am. I want people to be happy all the time. However if it comes at the expense of my own health, sanity, and well being, that is a problem. When I noticed that was happening I had to set up boundaries. And I have to tell you guys, when you say “I’m going to take every Tuesday off and never work a Tuesday those will be my personal days” you’ve already built in time into your schedule to get your hair done and run those errands, get a massage. That way it won’t interfere with the rest of the stuff you have going on. If I schedule an appointment to get my haircut at 9:30am, and the by the time I get back to my desk and I’m able to start working, I’ve got all of maybe 2-3 hours before I have pick up a child or run there or run here. That is not enough time to really dive into a project. For me 2-3 hours I maintenance. That is the quick stuff, responding to emails, creating graphics for the next coffee chat… but it is not enough time for me to sit down and plan out my content strategy. I need to feel like I have enough time and unconstrained. When you put limitations on creativity, what happens? Nothing. For me I have to have an entire day where “this is the day OI will schedule my shit and everything else will fall into place”. 
  5. Boost Blocks of Time: Some people will call it setting a priority list or have one to-do you have to get done. For me, I don’t like to put such rigid constraints and boxing it in like that. For me, again, I am a creative by nature. I would much rather know “Okay I have the morning to get my stuff done and whatever it is you need to actually get done today, but the rest of the afternoon (after lunch) is for you to work on whatever comes to you”. I feel a big thing that comes up for me recently, especially in dreams, is really just going more with the flow or where my creativity takes me. Of where I feel inspired to work. When you continue to try to go, go, go and do, do, do that is masculine energy. Feminine energy is creativity. It is the nurturing and listening and all of that. So what happens if you just go, go, go all the time? You burn out! You have no creativity left. It is tough, but it is a balancing act. I would suggest maybe just for a week try this and see how it goes. I can almost guarantee you, you will be way more productive when you do work on the stuff that has to get done than if you just go like the little engine that could. Listen to yourself! If I am not in the mood and not feeling it, but I continue to push it what happens? For me at least I get zero accomplished. Just listen to yourself, you know when you are going to be productive or not. Now sometimes you can’t always give yourself that grace, but if there isn’t something looming overhead, give yourself that grace. Be kind to yourself.
  6. Have water/snacks at your desk: If you are like me and get so entrenched in what you are doing, bring the whole water pitcher. That way you don’t have to go up and down to refill. Also store snacks. I will always have raw cashews and stuff I can nibble on. That way if I am in the middle of something and I don’t want to break my concentration, I can still eat something.

Did those points resonate with you? Any ah-ha moments? Was it something you just sort of needed to hear today? Sometimes that is all we need. We need to know what we have been thinking or have been doing.

I’d love to hear what your favorite tip or reminder that you just heard was.

I also use an app called “Wunderlist”. I have a running to-do list of stuff I have to get done for the week. And if I get to it… great! If I don’t… that’s okay. That way I can go back and forth between my creative elements and what I really need to get done for the day.

I am going to hop off and come back to pull some cards for you and tell you about my manifestation story. Thank you so much!


I’m Lauren, your wedding business visionary! I educate wedding pros on the behind the scenes of their businesses through practical knowledge and intuitive strategy. I incorporate my intuitive gifts with solid business strategy to maximize my clients' progress and success.

A Letter to Me Before I Made It

Get Real Series

A Letter to Myself Before Beginning My Business

by Kasey Kyprianou

Kasey Kyprianou, a trailblazing stationer and lead badass designer of revelry + heart, joins us on the blog today! As the saying goes, "Hindsight is 20/20." Wouldn't it be great to have a remote that could transport you back in time to tell your past self what mistakes to avoid and lessons you should learn in your business? Well, this post is the next best thing as Kasey talks about the types of things she would have loved to tell herself before she began her business! 

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Hey you.


I know how much you love people. I know how much you need validation that what you do is good enough, important enough and pretty enough to be valued. Use this when you’re feeling doubtful.

A letter to my business before making it


I know you struggle with charging for you work. I know you think you know how to reach people.


I know you hate sales, and think everyone is out to swindle you, because you’ve been taken advantage of and manipulated more than once in life.


I also know your heart. You pour it into your work, and can’t settle until you know your client loves it just as much as you do. I know this is why you take it so personally when it doesn’t go over like you planned. You care. A lot. Maybe too much, but I’m telling you it’s not too much, I promise.


You’re trying so hard to make it. To wear all the hats. You can’t figure out SEO, facebook ads, what analytics are or what they mean. You can’t crunch numbers, but you’re trying, the iPhone calculator and spreadsheets be damned. You have the resources.


You’re afraid to be successful. Because success will mean more pressure. More at stake. More room for failure as the expectations rise. You can do it.


You have it in your blood to make a name for yourself. Business entrepreneurship runs in your blood, and even if they never mentored you or taught you a single thing, it’s in the hidden parts of your brain, waiting to be sparked to life and activated. It wouldn’t be the first time you taught yourself something.


You can’t do this alone. You’re going to burn out, get frustrated and bitter. You have to invest in more than a savings account. You have to not worry about buying that paper, and instead, spend money on making it.


A Letter to myself before I made it

You need to let down your walls in order to get inspired. You need to let go of the thoughts that what you’re thinking can’t be done, that no one will buy in, because you’re wrong. If they don’t do anything but buy-in to your crazy ideas, you will get buy in. And your creativity will flood faster than you can anticipate, faster than you can articulate, and you’ll get so excited by your own abilities.


No one is going to believe in you for you. But I do. And you don’t have to give yourself away to prove your worth.


Raise. Your. prices. You don’t need a tool or someone to tell you how much or what they should be. Trust yourself. 


Your competition is not who you think it is, and those who are, are charging 5x as much. You deserve to make money on your expertise, your talents are worth their weight in gold, even if you think it’s something that comes effortlessly.


You will never run out of clients because someone does the same thing as you, but better. I promise.


Stop listening to what everyone else is doing and beat your own path. You love the road less traveled, so why are you longingly looking at the traffic jam?


Buy the software that will help you make money. Invest in those who will do the same. They are not out to get you, but I know you’ll check their references, just in case.


You will become your billboard, so turn inward, think about who you are, and when you think you’ve got it nailed down, you’ll find a whole other side. She is ready to take on these challenges in ways you were much too afraid to approach before. She’s been there all along and she’ll never leave you.


You’re multi-talented, but focus your effort on what you love. You’ll blossom when you stick to the things you like.


Ironically, you’re going to learn how to makes sales. It’s not your favorite thing, but there is an element that you’ll find you absolutely love, and oddly enough, it can be one of the most fun parts of the process.


You’re going to run into people who make you doubt yourself. You’ll find those who support you without asking in these moment. You’ll build a thicker skin each time. Don’t you ever feel like what you believe in isn’t as valid as those who criticize you.


You don’t have to ask for people to like you. You will find the right people the more vulnerable you are. The less you try, the better your results.


You’re going to make money.

You’re going to break through the noise.

You are going to make an impact.

You are brushfire.


Kasey Kyprianou is the owner and founder of revelry + heart, a custom design studio for couples that revel in their authenticity and crave design that evokes conversation. In a past life, Kasey was a graphic design student who interned at a stationery store in Greenwich, Connecticut. It was there that she worked on projects with the likes of Brenden Fraser and Flo Rida. Now, a seasoned business owner, she owns her own studio and designs for her own celebrity clients around the world. She's an envelope-pusher, a family treaty peacemaker, timeline expert and non-traditional stationery queen.

Leave her some love on InstagramFacebook, or Pinterest!


📣 Are you ready to see a serious spike in your website traffic? 📣

Would you like to contribute to the Get Real Series? KNOW SOMEONE THAT SHOULD GIVE US THEIR TWO CENTS?

🔍 I'm looking for wedding pros that would like to be featured on Wedding Boss Life by participating in the Get Real series which is all about getting raw and real with ourselves and businesses. 

YOU get to choose the topic that resonates with you, (feel free to be 10000% YOU - no need to filter yourself with me or my website) but some ideas to help get you started:

  1. ⭐️ What narrative in the wedding industry needs to desperately be re-written? 
  2. 🔥 What lies were you told that you believed about the wedding industry or business?
  3. ✨ What has been your biggest struggle in business? How have you/do you plan to overcome it? 
  4. 💥 What do you wish more wedding pros knew?
  5. 📍 What did you have to learn the hard way?
  6. 🎀 What keeps you motivated as an entrepreneur?

If you’d like to write a guest post, FILL OUT THE FORM BELOW!

The Awakening

Talk It Out Tuesday: Coffee Chat

Tuning into Oneself and Business


Grab your dark roast + join guest, Brianne Hultzman, and I as we talk about Brianne's road to self-discovery and what it has looked like for her business. Spoiler Alert: this is what happens when clients work 1:1 with Lauren! 

Episode 26 Coffee Chat Replay

Episode 26 Podcast

Our coffee chats are now available on iTunes! Listen to the episode by clicking the link below and be sure to subscribe to stay up to date on new episodes.


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Looking for more resources? Check out the Resources page!

Episode Notes

Lauren Dragon-Cook: Hello everybody who is tuning in! Welcome to the cool kids club! I am Lauren Dragon-Cook, the owner and founder of Wedding Boss Life. I am with Brianne Hultzman who is an amazing photographer. She is based in New York now. She traveled across the country to Colorado where she was living with her husband and daughter who just turned one. She is now living in New York while her husband is deployed.

Let’s do the dang thing, shall we? We are going to be chit chatting today about Brianne’s journey essentially and what it has looked like for her in the just the last… how many months?

Brianne Hultzman: Since January, so like 6 months?

Lauren: It’s only been six months? This is going to be such a good one.

Brianne: It’s only been six months.

Lauren: I can’t wait. We are here lets do the damn thing. Brianne, tell us a little bit about you. Who the hell are you? Why should we love you? What do you do?

Brianne: Alright, so I am Brianne. I am a wedding and portraits photographer based out of Western New York. I will be turning a quarter old… 25 this year. I have a daughter, her name is Kayleigh. She just turned one last month. My husband is in the army so we travel everywhere! We just this last year went from living in NY to Indiana to Colorado and now back to New York and then moving back to Colorado and figuring out what is next!

Lauren: That is a lot.

Brianne: It is a lot of moving. I think I’m an expert packer now.

Lauren: Is that even a thing? Awesome!

So Brianne, you are a photographer. You obviously love the creative world and everything that revolves around there. Tell me a little bit about where your business was say December 2017. 

Six Months Ago

Brianne: December 2017 I was really slowing down in my business. I was in Colorado for almost 8 months and I noticed my business was really slowing down. I was in a slow season. I was excited for a new year, but I was also worried because I literally had no bookings for 2018. Probably for about 3 weeks after going into January, once again I had no bookings. It made my gut sink, because I was thinking is it me? What is wrong? I actually booked one session the entire month of January and it was proposal at garden of God and then again it went silent. 

I had never been in a slow season before because the year prior I remember having 32 sessions in January. So going from 32 sessions the previous year to one session. It was heartbreaking. Is it my prices? Is it me? Does my breath smell bad? What is this!?

Lauren: So fair enough though, you had concerns with what was going on.

Brianne: It was rough.

Lauren:  What was the turning point for you? Where were you like… I need to do something about this? I need to figure out what is going on.

Brianne: I was thinking to myself, clearly there is something wrong. I was listening to podcasts all the time and getting any information I could possibly get. I am also known for adding myself on Facebook groups, so one day I’m on Facebook and scrolling to look for anything to do with weddings. Suddenly on the side bar it said group of wedding creatives. I thought that sounded neat so I clicked it and added myself. When I did that I had to answer three questions and then I was added to your email list. 

The next week I got a welcome video. I thought it was so nice! I loved it! After I had my welcome video I wanted to check this girl out and find out what she was all about. I heard about doing a check in with you for 30 minutes for free. I went ahead and signed up for the 30 minutes and either that night or the next day I got a video from you. I remember when I was answering the three questions I said I was a new photographer. And when I watched the second video you sent me, you told me I was not a new photographer and that my work was incredible. I felt like this woman was my soul sister right now. I went ahead and sent the video to my best friend and was like “dude I am so excited. I get to talk to her on Wednesday and she is going to rip my whole website apart. I am so ready.”

I had my 30 minute chat with you which turned into a whole hour chat because our vibes just clicked and were so perfect. At the end you said “listen, I know I can help you one on one.” And I was like “well can’t I just do free 30 minutes from now on?” And you were like “nope.” So you told me how much it was, my heart sank for a second because I didn’t have money at the time. But I sat on it for two days and even though I didn’t have the money, I made it a point to make sure I could do it. Somewhere deep inside I knew I needed some sort of coaching. I needed someone that wasn’t a photographer to tell me what to do. That just made sense. And that is how it all started! 

Lauren: Half the time I don’t even know where people are coming from or how they found the group. I have no idea. So its pretty cool to listen to your experience. So where were you at though personally? Lets get real and raw. That is the whole point of these Tuesday chats.

Did you even realize that you were struggling? Where were you at? What did life look like for you?

Brianne: I was a lot like grumpy. I was so sad and so depressed. My husband went out to a training in California for the army and I’m over here just taking care of our daughter. Basically single mom-ing it. I didn’t know what to do. I was very sad. I was in a really deep dark place and I honestly thought about just quitting photography all together. I was thinking everything negative. Nobody wanted to be around me and I don’t blame them whatsoever because I was pretty depressing. 

Lauren: Aw, the muffin. But you know what… lets point this out for a hot second. Look at where youa re now and you can look back and see that.

Brianne: Holy…

Lauren: So many people go through life and all they do is point their finger at someone else. Blaming other people for their problems. I am saying to you… this is huge! That is a lot of looking inwards.

You were a hot mess basically.

Brianne: Yes.

Brianne’s Experience with Lauren

Lauren: So when you decided you wanted to jump on the Lauren train and work with me, you were looking for business guidance and help and someone to tell you what the hell to do. To make it flourish. 

Brianne: Yes, give me direction. Give me a road to be the next Jenna Kutcher basically.

Lauren: We will take it! What ended up happening during our four sessions. I would love to hear form your perspective.

Brianne: Holy smokes. There was a ridiculous amount of self reflection. We just really broke everything down. I know the first session you were giving me tips and tricks and ideas. What I need to do with an email list and my website. We worked out my brand voice and how to present myself the way I talk right now. When you go ahead and look at my website, it is a clear representation of how I talk in general. That was HUGE!

There was just a lot of self reflection and going back and thinking back to where it all began. I could go on for days right now!

Lauren: No that’s fine! I have gotten many emails in the past, “now that you’ve come out of the wedding creative closest, do you only do business stuff? Do you only do x, y, and z?” I think this helps people paint a really good picture of what to expect.

Brianne: It was… the first session or the second session… you told me that you were into the woo-woo and of course I was like “Yes! I got myself a psychic and a life coach and I am so excited! My life is made!” I went ahead and had you pull cards for me and what it was like.. two days later everything that happened on it was ridiculously accurate and I texted you like “WTF Lauren!” I was mind blown! 

Our third session together we really talked about my feelings towards my business, another couple tips and tricks, and a card reading. It hit me like a bunch of bricks. I was crying, you were crying, we were balling. It was very intense and after you told me to work on my website and between that time I went ahead and worked on it. You asked me if I was the same person because it looked nothing like your website before. Which is pretty amazeballs. 

Shifting from Dark to Light

Lauren: It really is. I just love the fact… I think that you were in a super dark place. You already have admitted that. It was a lot of negativity towards yourself.

Brianne: I felt so guilty. Trying to stop me feeling so guilty all the time. Like even if I ate a Cheeto I would feel guilty, something as simple as that. I always felt the need to have permission for Lauren to say “hey you can go ahead and do blah-blah-blah.” I was unsure, but that was you saying “go ahead, I’m giving you permission just do it damn it.” So I did it and I felt way better about myself but also how my business has just thrived off of it. I have been able to raise my prices now and feel confident with my pricing which is just huge! Now I know my self worth which is big. To be back in the place where I was in January, self worth out the window… self care out the window. That was bad. And I’ll be the first to admit I struggled with post partum depression and I would get back into that mode and feelings of suicide and it was really bad. You really got me out of it.

Lauren: But how? What did I do? What did we do together? What did we do to shift that? I remember that moment, but I want to know if you remember it.

Brianne: I have mom brain, I don’t remember anything right now. But I do remember going through my whole personal life and sitting down and doing a lot of reflection. We figured out where everything stemmed from. That was big. How everything connected. 

Lauren: I remember the moment. It was either the second or third session. I remember your grandfather came through.

Brianne: Oh my god, I’ll tell you! That was so crazy because I was thinking about my grandpa a lot. He actually came through and he just had this smile on his face. I just keep seeing joy. Joy, joy, joy, joy. 

She kept seeing joy and It didn’t make sense at first. And then it hit me… my grandma’s name is Joyce. It does not get any closer to that. And of course he always had a smile on his face. Around that session too my daughter was looking around and looking at the couch and she would just start laughing at the couch. I would see things in the corner of my eye and then when grandpa came through it was such a relief. I miss him so much. You said “its okay baby girl.” And I remember thinking I don’t know if he would say baby girl, but I know he would remind me it was okay. I think when he gave me that “its okay, keep going”, I really took that into my life and it pushed me even farther and farther. 

Lauren: I totally remember that and remember where a lot of your stuff stemmed form when you were six, so I had seen the number six just pop into my head. I remember the back of my head hurt really badly and I said there was a traumatic event. There was something that happened when you were six. I just kept seeing it. I said the back of my head is hurting, why? And that is when you said to me “yeah I was in a car accident.”

Brianne: A mini van hit a motorcycle head on and there was some serious neck damage to the motorcyclist. My parents pulled to the side of the road and us kids were sitting in the back. I wasn’t allowed to look back because it was very traumatic and ever since then I have had very bad anxiety especially on the road. Even just getting close to a car in traffic… the anxiety comes back to that. Once I realized that it got better from there. Not to say I don’t have any anxiety anymore about it, but it was nice to bring it back to the surface to see where it stemmed from.  


Lauren: That is when a lot of your shifts happened. I could feel the shifting actually happen.

For those of you who don’t know… I am intuitive and part of that is being an empath. I can actually feel your emotions when we are having a one on one conversation, but I can also feel when energy begins to shift. The reason why I saw a shift and why my head was throbbing was because I was feeling those things you were feeling.

That was the moment where you woke up. My divine purpose in life I have been told by friends who are energy healers and by many people… is to wake people up. Wake up souls essentially.

From about January to March things started to come into alignment for you. What did you start to see? What did you see all the time? Signs? 

Brianne: I literally would see repeating numbers all day everyday. I would have 111, 333, 313131. I paid off my student loans. I’m not going to tell you the number, but I’ll tell you it was repeating.

Lauren: What did it mean?

Brianne: It was saying I was on the right path and everything I was doing was good. There was abundance that would be coming my way.

Lauren: Yes. You paid off your student loans… what was the van? Remind me.

Brianne: Oh I forgot about that! You can’t make this stuff up. I am reading a book right now called “effortless Entrepreneur”. It is by these guys who run this company called “college hunk, hauling junk”. Never heard of it before in my life. I was in Florida at my in-laws house and I was reading. It was such a quick read, which was weird because anyone who knows me knows I hate reading. I went ahead and was reading this book and it was just insane! I was highlighting everything. And we had to go to Lowe’s and I went to Lowe’s and we are driving back onto the highway and suddenly there is a car in front of us and it was the college hunk hauling junk. I texted Lauren, “you would not believe what just happened”. The entire trip I was there I think I saw it 6 times within the last three days and then when I got back to Colorado I kept passing a sign that I never saw before. It was on a picnic bench. I was just like… how!? 

And now I am on a different book called “You are a Badass at Making Money” and you have to say a daily affirmation of “I love money and money loves me”. The craziest thing happened… I was cleaning out the spare room and I came across the cards form my bridal shower three years ago and I found $40 in gift cards that I never used. And then yesterday I was in the car joking around saying “I love money and money loves me” and I bought myself two lottery tickets and I won $25. 

Lauren: Oh my gosh. So many people I feel when the shit starts to shift, as I like to say, you are going to probably be perceived by others as being bat-shit-cray.

Brianne: Oh I am totally being judged by my parents. But hey, it works. I am also on another book called “You are a Badass”. It’s a great book too.

Lauren: I just remember, when you had seen that van you had had a revelation of some kind and I was reading your text and I said “yup, she is in alignment” and then literally you texted me about the van the next day and it was like “yup, there is the universe giving her a wink.” 

This group, this community that I have strived to create is so much more than just systems and processes of how to run your business. 

Brianne: Absolutely. This is the best group I have ever been a part of. I feel very safe in this group that I could actually express myself and show off my work.

Lauren: I know we talked about this before, just having a successful business begins and ends with you. If you are not right, if things are off in your own life then how are you going to have this picture perfect business if you yourself are struggling with something? That is why I wanted Brianne to tell her story. There are so many parts that are being left out and what not, but it is okay because I think everyone is getting the general jist of the story. It is a transformation. It is a matter of literally just transitioning into who you were meant to be. That is exactly where Brianne is at right now. She has embraced and shifted exactly aware of where she is.

Brianne: I totally want everyone to jump on the LDC train.

Lauren: I mean… there is no stopping.

Brianne: It is life changing to be mentored by you, honestly. I talk about you literally every day. You are basically my big sister. No life.

Lauren: Aw thank you babe. It makes me tear up. Oh tell me about your husband! Right before he left, he wanted to hop on the phone with me and get a quick reading basically. I just smile thinking about it. I felt something shift for him as well.

Brianne: Absolutely.

Lauren: Speak to that for people.

Brianne: So basically what happened was I would get readings every two weeks? I went ahead and told my husband to get a reading done. I set it up and texted her and asked her “are you able to do a reading at 8pm?” Obviously he had to work that day and so we set everything up. He was really anxious at the beginning. He wanted his grandparents to come through. His grandma passed away in October. At first, I wanted to be in the room listening to this, but they wanted to be private.

His grandma came through at 3pm earlier that day, basically make a presence that “hey I’m here”. He got very teary-eyed and then towards the end his grandfather came through. He is the one that made Brian who is he is today. His message to Brian was “I look to you as a son”. I know that Brian felt his grandfather was basically his father growing up and taught him some life lessons and morals. Everything stems back to his morals. Brian also got clarity on what kind of career he wanted to do because obviously every place has pressured him to be more in the medical field. He was thinking “maybe I want to get into environmental science” but after talking to you he knows in his heart where he is supposed to be. If he says something doesn’t feel right, I don’t question it whatsoever. He trusts his gut now and figured out he wants to go to school for environmental science during his stint in the military. 

The Business and Body Awakening

Lauren: I love it. Because Brian is married to a creative and doesn’t necessarily mean he himself is a creative. I think just speaking to that, is huge. Speaking to the fact that what we are doing in this community, it applies to everyone. It doesn’t matter. The core of community and what I’m trying to give you all, applies to everybody.

I love your story, Brianne. I think it really speaks to how difficult it can be and how easily you can loose hope. But then at the same time, if you get a little nudge or wink form the universe to keep going at it… it can easily transform you.

Brianne: Absolutely.

Lauren: It is crazy. 

Brianne: It is hard to put it into words. Honestly. One, how everything has changed… but two, when I moved to New York I didn’t even know if I was going to get business. You reassured me so many times that I was going to get business. And now I am sitting here like “I’ve got business!”  

Lauren: You are such a nerd! Oh my gosh… Last week or the week before you had said “I was questioning whether or not I should move back home…” and then what did you see.

Brianne: The hailstorm in Colorado. In Colorado they had hail the size of tennis balls. They were massive! Peoples cars were wrecked. Holes in everyone’s cars and houses. They said it was the most intense hailstorm in 23 years.

Lauren: I have to laugh, because once you “wake up”, coincidences aren’t a thing anymore. They don’t exist. It is all about things we are not seeing.

Brianne: Yes and now I want to help wake people up. You might be doing it right, but just going about it in the wrong way.

Lauren: I love your story and I love how the last 6 months you have completely done a 180 in every facet of your life. But that is you, girlfriend. That is YOU! That is not me or anything I did. That was you doing the work.

I am so proud of you. I really am. The [path that you are on and the level of growth that you have had. If you keep the mindset you have embodied and stay at it.. the sky is the limit. I am so proud of you That is why I wanted to have you on a coffee chat, because I think so often people think “oh that can’t happen to me”. Or they think it only happens for people who hustle every single day.

Ah-Ha Moments

Would you say a lot of your biggest ah-ha moments came from quiet moments?

Brianne: You are not kidding! All of my great moments are not from when I’m hustling, its in the quiet times and moments of realization where I get an idea. I go through this every single day it feels like. This last week I came up with three ideas just randomly.

I take more naps now. I don’t go full force and not pay attention to my kid because I need to focus on my work. I take breaks. Breaks are happy and good times. Honestly, work smarter not harder. Taking that sort of mindset and incorporating the breaks.

Lauren: I love it. Looking back on January 1, 2018. If someone had said to you, you are going to completely transform not only your life but your business. And you will be rocking and rolling and kicking ass and taking names. Would you believe it?

Brianne: Well YOU said it, but I didn’t believe you. I will be the first to admit it. I did not believe you when you said I would be doing a complete 180. And now I am sitting here like… I wish I did it sooner. But obviously this was the right timing. 

Lauren: It was. If you had done it sooner, it wouldn’t have been the right time. Everything will happen the way it is supposed to happen, I am a firm believer in that.

I wanted you to speak today, Brianne, so you could show people what is possible for someone once they get out of their own head and take control of their business. It really does blow my mind even tough I work with people every day and small shifts begin to happen. I really am genuinely so proud of how far you have come.

Next week are in July! Holy crap! The theme for July is productivity. One thing with productivity that I think so many people fail to remember is everybody is given 24 hours a day. Everybody has the same number of hours. What it really boils down to is a lasting connection with your business and hours… not a lack of time. Not to say that sometimes we don’t feel we have enough time… stuff happens. But what I am saying is that sometimes we need to spend the time on what direction we are taking and getting some guidance. 

Closing Remarks

I will be posting July’s monthly schedule so you can be kept up to date. I would suggest you all go onto your favorite podcast app and click the subscribe button. When you subscribe you are going to get the notifications there is a new video. So if you do have a fear of FOMO and you are afraid you will miss an episode, click the subscribe button. This will help our community in front of more people, but also will help notify you when stuff pops up. 

Thank you so much for tuning in! If you have any suggestions of somebody that is an expert in a specific field that you would love to have talk within the group, send them my way! It doesn’t matter what you do. Thank you so much and I am so grateful for all you guys bring to this community and for you Brianne. I am grateful for all of it!

We will chat next week about productivity. Have a wonderful rest of the week everybody!

Q + A 

Q: I have always wanted to build my own crochet business, but I am so afraid of putting myself out there.

A: Do it. When you start a business you have to put yourself out there! It sucks because you might feel that no one cares what you do… but people do care! Just go balls the wall! I am here and present and I am going to do this. Don’t look back and do it!

Don’t let the fear of the what ifs and unknowns hold you back from living your best life. Living a life that you know if your heart you were meant to live. So many people on their death bed don’t say they wish they had worked harder or worked more, they wish they had listened or followed their passion. I think that speaks to something for use. Your people that love you, they will find you. They will always find you. Look at me! Look at what I have created. So many people look at what I do and say I’m bat-shit-cray and that is okay. But the people whoa re supposed to be here… are.




I’m Lauren, your wedding business visionary! I educate wedding pros on the behind the scenes of their businesses through practical knowledge and intuitive strategy. I incorporate my intuitive gifts with solid business strategy to maximize my clients' progress and success.

Manifest Your Goals

Talk It Out Tuesday: Coffee Chat

The Wedding Boss Life Goal Setting Method


Grab your dark roast + join us as Lauren explains her process that she uses in setting her own short-term and long-term goals for not only her business but life as well!

Episode 25 Coffee Chat Replay

Episode 25 Podcast

Our coffee chats are now available on iTunes! Listen to the episode by clicking the link below and be sure to subscribe to stay up to date on new episodes.


Wedding Boss Life: Facebook Page | Facebook Group | Instagram

Looking for more resources? Check out the Resources page!


Lauren Dragon-Cook: How are you doing on this lovely Tuesday? I am so thankful you are here and wanting to spend precious time out of your day with me! Today we are going to be talking about goal setting and goals and what does that even mean for people.

I talk to a lot of people during the course of the day and I am finding that more and more people want to be setting goals and yet they have no idea where to even start. “I know I want to have this dream house, but how do I get there?” I want to help you guys connect some of the dots in figuring that all out.

Without further ado, we will dive in.

How many of us struggle with, not so much figuring out what you want, but how to get there? How do we get form point A to point B when it comes to goal setting?

First things first, one thing I think most educators and most thought leaders and most gurus (if you’ve ever watched a webinar on goal setting or taken a course or listened to a podcast), what most people fail to realize is the fact that goal setting and intention setting and manifesting and inspiring… all of those things are on in the same. It is just a matter of where you are at in your life and how you look at the world, how you look at things.

Before I started my woo-woo journey, I would have only said goal setting. These are my goals, my bucket list, my dream… that is just one way to look at it. Now that I have been down this path for the last 6 years or so, I’ve come to realize that it is all the same thing. Goal setting is the same thing as manifesting as creating a dream board. It is just a matter of how you approach it.

I am going to do something I guess not every business leader or business owner does. I am going to incarnate a little bit of how I myself set my own goals and how I’ve been able to attain them. And what it looks like to manifest. For those of you that don’t know and are looking to see what that’s all about… how many of you have heard of the word manifest or manifesting? 


The power of manifesting is real. It is legit. Really quick story… I told some of you this story but my Macbook that I’ve had for 6.5 years, literally was about to self combust over the winter. The fan was gone and I did not feel comfortable leaving it on unsupervised, because it was literally going to blowup. So I needed a new one. If you know me at all I don’t do anything half-ass. I’m all in or not at all. It’s the same thing when I make a purchase. If I am going to buy a Macbook I want to make sure it is the one I want. I’m not just going to buy something. I was saving up two grand essentially for a new Macbook and I was like $450 short. When you really dig and dive in to this whole manifestation thing the power of it is honestly amazing. I was like “I’m in no hurry, I’m alright, but by the end of the week I’ll have what I need to buy that Macbook”. I just went about my business. I set that intention. I literally just had it in my head. I will have the Macbook by the end of the week. I just put it out there. Because I felt it so strongly, it wasn’t just a desire or a wish… it was already on its way. 

I went out to the mailbox in the middle of the week and I have a check. The check is from State Farm from 2011 for $287 because we had overpaid that in 2011. I shit you not! I’m like “Oh okay alright, thank you!” I continued to go about my day. Later that night I remember hoping on Dubsado and I am an affiliate with Dubsado but not because of the money, but because of how much I love the company and the service they offer. I had never checked my affiliate earnings, ever, because I just didn’t care. I went on there and that night I have $405 in my affiliate account. Same day. On a Wednesday. I had said by the end of the week I will have that money. I even had extra on top of that! Like what!? That insane, it is still crazy to me. And now I have my Macbook.

That is the power of manifesting. That is the power of setting intention. That is the power of goal setting. If you believe it whole heartedly and you realize where you are supposed to be and what you are supposed to be doing… if you are in it to win it then it will happen. It is when you start to have doubt and when that doubt creeps in. Its when you start to do a bit of self sabotage talking. It doesn’t happen. And we don’t even realize that we are doing it! It is how we were born and raised in this society and culture. But if you are able to kind of learn how to separate it and leave it to the curb, I promise you some crazy stuff with start to happen.

Lauren’s Technique

I am going to show you how I personally set my own goals and intentions. It is a combination or how you think about things, how you react to things, but also the law of attraction. First you have to set your intentions. You have to set your goal. I’m sure some of you have heard the acronym SMART goal. Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Setting a goal for yourself and what can goals look like?

There are many different categories for how to set that goal for yourself, right? You can set a goal for yourself based upon finances, health/diet, business, family… you can have these different goals but you have to kind of separate them. What you can do to yourself is if you start to see all these goals you have for yourself but they aren’t dispersed into their proper categories it can get overwhelming! I’m like “oh my god way too much shit, I can’t”. It is one of those things where you have to take it step by step. 

Write Them Down

Sometimes that can be annoying to hear. You just want the end result. But half the time you receive a gift from the universe along the way. If you are so set on the end result, you are going to miss all that stuff along the way. Happiness comes from the journey not the destination. The journey is part of the goal setting process. What I would encourage you to do is write down all the goals you have for yourself initially. Anything that comes to mind. 

“I want to be debt free.”

 “I want to be able to pay my bills on time.”

 “I want to have 25 clients each season.”

Once you have written them all down it is really important to be realistic with how long it is going to take you. If you say oh it’ll happen in 10 years for every single goal you have, its never going to happen. You have to push yourself but still be realistic enough with the goal setting you have. If you said you want to have 25 clients by the end of the season and here we are two months in and that leaves us four months… okay if you have 0 on your calendar that would average out to 6 clients a month… okay well how will you get those 6? It is a matter of breaking it down.

The other piece of it that other people don’t talk about is looking at the end result as if it has already happened. You have to live it and breathe it. It has to be part of your daily life. This is where affirmations come into play. Look on Pinterest for affirmations that correspond with your goal. What happens is when you start to combine strategies and the law of attraction magic happens. That is literally the heart of Wedding Boss Life. I combine the strategy with woo-woo to really enhance and emphasize your success.

Add Your Bucketlist

I am telling you this works! I’m not just preaching! I’m telling you from experience it works. Once you can kind of write down all of these goals… add your bucket list stuff to it! Add the things you have always wanted to do. For me… I want to go to Hawaii, I want to have a ride in a hot air balloon, before I die I want to have dreadlocks. These aren’t necessarily goals but fun stuff I want to happen. 

Now once you start to figure out how short of a time frame you want it to happen and you’ve separated them into different sections… that is when you can start to really see the progress and work towards the goals. You are able to have weekly or daily tasks that you are doing to work towards those goals. Visualize that they are already done!

Measure Your Success with Tools

The Wedding Boss Life Goal Setting Method

This is now when you start to measure your success and watch the growth. Maybe sometimes you might shift your goal or your goal with change. 

There are so many freakin’ worksheets out there and stuff on Pinterest… endless stuff to help you set your goals. But remember most people don’t talk about combining the two. It is combining the actual strategies as well as the mindset. You can’t just create a goal and chug along… it can happen much faster if you allow the other side of things to play a role.

There are no goals that are too crazy. Nothing out there that is too insane. I want to help you break it down. Sometimes you just need a friend and someone to tell you what you need to do. They will help you figure out how to go about it. Feel free to let me know what your goals are. Let me help you.

Breaking It Down

Some categories to get your wheels turning: 

  • Exercise
  • Health
  • Saving money
  • Business
  • Family, partner

Are their projects you want to take on in your house? What do they look like? Make sure you still write those down. How many of you are guilty that have this honey-to-do-list and you forget what half of the stuff was you need to do? ME! Painting the deck is one of mine… it has taken us 2.5 years. Maybe another goal is your spiritual journey. Make some goals for yourself!

Someone in the group mentioned they’d like to retire their parents. Lets break that down a bit, first you would need to know what they are living off of now. You need to know what they are making this year now and if that is comfortable for them? Do they want to be making more than that? Are they content? So now you have to live and survive and carrying yourself but also them. You have to combine those two areas of income. You need to figure out how much YOU need as well. Then you just start to think… how much do I charge per wedding? How much do I charge per shoot? How many will I need to do per year to make that happen? Taxes play a role too.

It can seem so daunting when we set goals like that for ourselves, but if you start to realize you only need to do X number of weddings a year… how am I going to get those weddings? That’s where you start to really break it down. Its sort of one big circle.

Really checking in with yourself to see if you are on track. Knowing how much you should be making per month… you just need to have faith that the month after will be better. You’ll make it up. Just be prepared and flexible to see the different levels of growth and what not.

Measurable Goal Example

Another thing I manifested… I wanted to have 1,000 people in my group, our Facebook community by the middle of the year. Here we are and it is June 19th and we are at 894 members. Pretty close! Numbers don’t necessarily matter to me when it comes to likes, but it was just a measurable goal for myself. If I were to say “I want to help all the people in the world and have them in our group”… okay good luck with that. I just wanted to have a measurable goal!


Enough of that, I said I was going to really start to try to keep our coffee chats to 30 minutes and YAY I did! Another goal… YAY! I hope this was helpful for you! As always, if you have any questions or just are stuck with a goal you have… reach out! I’m happy to help you. Put it in the group and get some feedback form other people. 

If you want to help me reach one of my goals, invite all your people! What if we got over 1,000 people by the end of the day?! I would need to throw a party.

Much love to you all. I will be seeing you next Tuesday. We are going to be chatting with Ms. Breanne. She is a photographer but she is going to talk to you a little bit about what her journey has looked like when it comes to shifting stuff and what it looks like to work with me one on one and the changes she has experienced. 

Thank you for joining me and I will see you next week!


I’m Lauren, your wedding business visionary! I educate wedding pros on the behind the scenes of their businesses through practical knowledge and intuitive strategy. I incorporate my intuitive gifts with solid business strategy to maximize my clients' progress and success.

Why Networking is the Lifeline of Your Business

Get Real Series

3 Unique Networking Ideas to Grow your Business

by Casi Smith

Casi Smith, owner and lead photographer of Pine + Honey Photography, joins us on the Get Real Series to chat about 3 different ways to utilize networking to its fullest extent within your creative business! 

StopFB Artboard copy@2x copy.jpg

I feel like we all have been there (or are still there) where we are just so tired of no one seeing us or booking us. Our photos are great, we post to social media daily, and we engage with people. Why isn’t our business moving forward? 

One basic reason - The internet is a black hole. 

Wait, what does that even mean? 

You have so many people posting great photos, great content, just like you, using the SAME STRATEGY. We all do it. Yet, you're not getting any more booked weddings because of it. 

But, I’m not here to talk about social media strategy. To be honest, I don’t believe there is a one size fits all, or even a magic formula. I truly don’t believe in it. 

What I am here to say is that you need to get out from behind your computer screen to go and...


What?! Leave my computer?! But I need to edit, respond to emails instantly, be on social media constantly! 

Nope. You can leave for like 10 hours. Trust me. 

My business was dying. It was because I was doing what everyone else was doing. People (brides, clients, everyone) can find a great photographer online easily, but the only thing that differentiates you from “Suzie Photographer” down the street is you. 

Your personality, the way that you make them feel, the effort you put into getting to know them. IN PERSON. 

The reason I say this is because people want to feel like they can trust their photographer, that they will make them feel good and have their best interest in mind. 

So, what am I doing to make this happen? 


I am networking with businesses in my community. 

I reached out to a local winery and offered them something. I would take photos of families for free, in exchange to get families to come to their winery. I know wineries struggle at getting people to drive all the way out to buy wine, especially families, so I saw it as an opportunity. 

I’m not getting anything out of this. I am building a network. You know what happens when these families get their free photos? They’re going to brag about me. 

That winery, they may hire me to do product photography, or not. I don’t care. I just need to meet people in real life. 

Networking is the Lifeline of Your Business

Referrals do come my way, but what happens when they dry up? What are you doing to actively build your referral network? 


I ran a facebook ad offering engagement sessions for free to build my portfolio. 

You may say, “What? But you just said to get out from behind the screen!!!” And you’re right, but this allows me to do just that. What is the best network to leverage? Your social network. 

I have people tagging people they know who are engaged for me. And guess what? Those free engagement sessions may just turn into full wedding sessions. 


I am doing styled shoots, not to get the photos, but where I collaborate with other photographers. 

We take photos and videos of each other to post behind the scenes / in action on our social media.

Why? Because I can’t take photos of myself or hire someone to do this for me all the time. 

This also builds my network with photographers. What happens if they get a bride requesting them to do a wedding but they’re booked? They will refer me and I will refer to them! 

Collaboration helps you. Stop feeling so dang competitive. 

These are just ideas. Take them or leave them, but just realize that the internet only takes you so far. We work in an industry that involves human connections. Why don’t you start your marketing efforts that way? 

Wishing you the best!



Based out of Oregon, Casi Smith is a natural light photographer that specializes in weddings, engagements, newborn, and family portraiture. She thrives off of the ability to tell and preserve everyone's story through her art! 


Leave her some love on Instagram or Facebook!


📣 Are you ready to see a serious spike in your website traffic? 📣

Would you like to contribute to the Get Real Series? KNOW SOMEONE THAT SHOULD GIVE US THEIR TWO CENTS?

🔍 I'm looking for wedding pros that would like to be featured on Wedding Boss Life by participating in the Get Real series which is all about getting raw and real with ourselves and businesses. 

YOU get to choose the topic that resonates with you, (feel free to be 10000% YOU - no need to filter yourself with me or my website) but some ideas to help get you started:

  1. ⭐️ What narrative in the wedding industry needs to desperately be re-written? 
  2. 🔥 What lies were you told that you believed about the wedding industry or business?
  3. ✨ What has been your biggest struggle in business? How have you/do you plan to overcome it? 
  4. 💥 What do you wish more wedding pros knew?
  5. 📍 What did you have to learn the hard way?
  6. 🎀 What keeps you motivated as an entrepreneur?

If you’d like to write a guest post, FILL OUT THE FORM BELOW!

Stop Glancing Over the Fence if You Want to Fly

Get Real Series


by Kasey Kyprianou


Kasey Kyprianou, a trailblazing stationer and lead badass designer of revelry + heart, joins us on the blog today to talk about all embracing your individuality and kicking feelings of imposter syndrome and FOMO to the curb!

Stop comparing your business to your competition by kasey kyprianou

“A rising tide lifts all boats.”

If you’re in the wedding industry, you know that this is the motto of the Rising Tide Society, and while super idealistic in nature, it’s not always easy to do. I am guilty of following other designers and getting imposter syndrome just as badly as anyone else.

It’s so easy to get overwhelmed, burnt out, and feel hopeless as a solopreneur. It can seem like your industry is oversaturated and that you don’t provide anything unique enough besides just being you. Is that enough?

Well, it’s a great start. But who are you? What makes you different? Why do you people want to work with you? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, do some soul-searching. You can’t sell yourself if you don’t know what you’re selling. I have this running joke that I know myself down to being a shoe string fry--when I desperately want to be a curly fry.

how to stop worrying about what other businesses are doing

The best thing I learned when launching my non-traditional design studio, revelry + heart, was to find out what my competition was doing, what the industry was doing, and swim like a salmon upstream in the opposite direction.

Trends? Fuck 'em.
Pantone color of the year? No thanks.
Fashion collection runway releases? I’m good.

Blame my rebel streak, (it’s cause I was born during Mercury retrograde), blame the fact that I never fit in with the cool crowd, blame my creative side, I just hate everything haute.

So how did I change up how I approached wedding stationery? I made it black. I made it on wood. I made it on tile. I make kickass wedding invitations that are keepsakes before your guests even get to your wedding. They make people talk.

Because people talk anyway right? Might as well get them talking for the right reasons.

How did I take it farther? I made my motto “following hearts, not trends.” I don’t design frilly invitations with lace anymore, I source that shit out to the people who do it and love it. I design only when my heart is in the job, when I can push my clients without pushing them away.

I design for people who revel in their authenticity and crave statement pieces that evoke conversation.

And if you think I make piecemeal, think again. I design wedding aesthetics, taking couple’s personalities and pushing them into every available space. From hashtags, to unique ceremony suggestions, to signature drink names--I believe everything can be personalized way beyond just slapping on a monogram.

Yesterday I suggested making an ice cream sandwich and eating it as a unity ceremony.  Because why the hell not.

My couples are not afraid to be themselves and push boundaries with me. It makes them stand out and have weddings that are unlike anything else their family and friends have ever seen. They are totally unique celebrations of their love with something the mass market can never capitalize on--a relationship with a creative like me who actually listens to them and doesn't try to cram them into a box or a design that I made 6 months ago.

Stop looking over the fence if you want to fly

How am I disrupting the industry? I do facebook live shows on topics like “stop slut shaming your wedding” and “don’t have shitty wedding favors.” I drink wine with my followers and host a kickass wedding planning group--where industry professionals are not only welcomed, but encouraged.

I approach topics like anxiety during engagement openly.

On the business side, well, I don’t follow rules there either. I charge for proposals. Couples get the retainer back when they book a package with me, but otherwise, it pays for my time, my ideas and my sketches.

I create mood boards with little to no influence based on pinterest weddings, but rather photos of the couples’ venue, pets, homes, and passions. Pulling elements from them to create something unique like canine bohemian chic or retro molar elegance. Yes. Molars, like the teeth. I guess you could say I pull teeth for my DDS couples. Dedication to my craft, amirite?

I have DIY options for couples that want the insight and some skill of a professional designer, but can’t afford full service design for their whole wedding.

I don’t follow … okay, I try not to follow stationery designers. If they do social media better than me, it gets to me, even though I know first-hand that an epic performance on social media does not equal profit, bookings or success.

I openly bash styled shoots. I create controversy because it gets people thinking, and talking about how to do it differently.

So how can you disrupt your industry? What is something that’s common in your craft that you can flip on its head? What rules are you willing to shatter? What assumptions do you want to break free of?

Because your gut is right. There ARE a ton of people who do what you do, at the core of it all. But if you find how you solve your client’s pain points, there will be no competition.

Go out there and kick ass.


Kasey Kyprianou is the owner and founder of revelry + heart, a custom design studio for couples that revel in their authenticity and crave design that evokes conversation. In a past life, Kasey was a graphic design student who interned at a stationery store in Greenwich, Connecticut. It was there that she worked on projects with the likes of Brenden Fraser and Flo Rida. Now, a seasoned business owner, she owns her own studio and designs for her own celebrity clients around the world. She's an envelope-pusher, a family treaty peacemaker, timeline expert and non-traditional stationery queen.

Leave her some love on InstagramFacebook, or Pinterest!


📣 Are you ready to see a serious spike in your website traffic? 📣

Would you like to contribute to the Get Real Series? KNOW SOMEONE THAT SHOULD GIVE US THEIR TWO CENTS?

🔍 I'm looking for wedding pros that would like to be featured on Wedding Boss Life by participating in the Get Real series which is all about getting raw and real with ourselves and businesses. 

YOU get to choose the topic that resonates with you, (feel free to be 10000% YOU - no need to filter yourself with me or my website) but some ideas to help get you started:

  1. ⭐️ What narrative in the wedding industry needs to desperately be re-written? 
  2. 🔥 What lies were you told that you believed about the wedding industry or business?
  3. ✨ What has been your biggest struggle in business? How have you/do you plan to overcome it? 
  4. 💥 What do you wish more wedding pros knew?
  5. 📍 What did you have to learn the hard way?
  6. 🎀 What keeps you motivated as an entrepreneur?

If you’d like to write a guest post, FILL OUT THE FORM BELOW!

The Video Marketing Mindset: Systemize, Strategize, and Celebritize!

Talk It Out Tuesday: Coffee Chat

Get Over Your Fear of Being on Camera


Grab your dark roast + join guest host and video master mind, Brandy Sales, as we chat about how to feel more confident on camera AND learn how to shoot fantastic videos straight from your phone!

Episode 24 Coffee Chat Replay

Episode 24 Podcast

Our coffee chats are now available on iTunes! Listen to the episode by clicking the link below and be sure to subscribe to stay up to date on new episodes.


Brandy: Facebook Page | Facebook Group | Website | Instagram | YouTube

Looking for more resources? Check out the Resources page!


Lauren Dragon-Cook: Good morning guys! Happy Tuesday! I hope you’re all having a wonderful week. Today we are chatting with the one, the only Brandy Sales. He is a rockstar when it comes to anything and everything video, especially with your phone. So you don’t have to have a million dollar video camera and all the equipment, if you want to do rockin’ videos. Without further ado, Brandy welcome and thank you for joining us!

Brandy Sales: Thank you! Happy to be here.

The Beginning

Lauren: Tell us… first things first... how the heck did you get started in this realm!? Did you just one day come out of the womb and know you were going to do this? How did you get here?

Brandy: I always say videoing kind of saved my life. I was kind of getting into trouble when I was little. I was getting into the wrong crowd and I was 10 living in Boston. My sister came home from college. She was a ballet major and communication major, so she brought home a video camera. She was like “hey do you want to shoot a video for my senior project?” And I fell in love! I started making funny videos, when I was 11 years old and right around the time that I should’ve started to move away from that crowd of people, I found out my local TV station was offering a course. When I took that course it came naturally to me. Within a week I was editing. The director of the station came to be and said “hey you might want to look into this as a career”. So at 12 years old, I was locked!

Lauren: Wow! Okay that is not even remotely close to what I was thinking. I didn’t even know how you got your start, so that is insane! 

Brandy: I just saw an ad and went for it! It was all natural once I got into it. It made sense to me once I was in the studio very quickly.

Lauren: That is rad. That is amazing. You have evolved them obviously from the 12 year old to the expert you are today. So what are some of the major growth points that you had along the way to having framed what you are and what you do?

Brandy: I think in the earlier years, I set a goal when I was 14. My mom and I started to do a TV show together for the town I lived in. So my goal was to do 100 episodes before I graduated high school. So setting that goal and just achieving it, was huge for me. That has become part of who I am today. At the beginning of my senior year, I still had 48 shows to go. I came up with this construct of senior profiles. That exploded and I made an appearance on the 99th showed and the 100th show, because up until them no one had seen me on camera. That for me was really exciting and the fact I was able to build this community through giving my town a voice, I thought that was really important. As I evolved I realized wow videos can really build up a community, and that’s when everything started evolving through social media and this and that. All of it made sense for me. 

The next major point was when I had my first business. It was the “Bucket Band”. Anyone that knows me hears me talk about the “Bucket Band”. In 1999 I posted my first video online. And back then, it was cutting edge to even have a website, let alone a video on a website. I had learned it in college and I just decided to put the video out there. It got us a tone of business every week. We traveled the country capturing kids playing on recycled buckets. And that is how I put myself through college.

Lauren: What?! Dude! 

Brandy: I’m not a drum player, I’m a tuba player. But I played buckets all the way through college.

Lauren: That is rad! Okay I knew none of this about you. Who are you!? This is amazing and makes me so happy. This is awesome. Okay so, clearly you had your hands in a couple of things then. So what do you do now? Where are you at today?

Brandy: So now I speak and I teach. That is the easiest way to say it. I speak about video marketing and I speak about smart phone video production. I teach folks how to do smart phone video productions and I consult with businesses on how to build a video production studio and how to incorporate business strategies into their video marketing. I teach student sin Boston and Brooklyn. Full time. 

Lauren: So what are you teaching them?

Brandy: It is different at every site. I go to community centers in affordable housing. We will go into these community centers or youth centers and work with them. At one point we partnered with this boxing company next door that was funded by Harvard University, but in order to get more funding they needed a video. The kids in my course made the video for the boxing program, sent it to Harvard University and they got refunded. So at another center, the just wanted to get their hands on the equipment and have fun. So we did what I call an iPad experience. I bring in iPads and there is a new challenge each week and I do a team of people that vote on the winners at the end of the week. Then I give away awards at the end of the program. And in Brooklyn, it is actually at a school and we go down once a month and we create videos for their school. We created a year long project this year, which is an end of the year video for their graduating class. 

So again, it is a community. 

Lauren: That is so awesome though because I feel like so many people I cross paths with they forget that this is what it is all about. Yes you want to be successful, you want prosperity and abundance and all that. But really you can’t have any of that unless you are learning at some level and giving back. That is just how things tend to go. 

Brandy: That is what my whole business is built on, giving back. 

Lauren: That is incredible. You really truly blow my mind. I just wish more people embodied that same mentality. You are a unicorn dude! You are a freakin’ unicorn! 

You obviously know a thing or two then, if you’ve been doing this for more than half a day. So if someone is in the wedding creative industry, why should they incorporate videos? Why should they implementing that into their business strategy? 

Brandy: I’ll let you in on a little secret. I actually had a wedding video business. That’s how I paid for my own wedding. I was working at a college at the time, I was the assistant director of college housing. And if you know anything about college housing you are always on call. I was working like 80 hours a week and running a video business that was growing really fast. 

One thing I learned was you need a video to work for you when you can’t do the marketing, follow up, and phone calls. Now that is a lot to do with social media. And back then all I had was a website. I had a video that would answer all the typical questions I would get about wedding videos and then I had a video where I introduced myself. All of that has evolved! The concept hasn’t changed though. If you are busy, you have to make a decision as an entrepreneur are you going to work on your business or in your business? In the wedding industry it is really easy to work IN your business, and not ON it. You want to be able to work on your business and not in it all the time.

Lauren: I love that. If you resonate with what Brandy just said… leave some love! The beautiful with that is you can redirect people back on to your website in a video, instead of having them read something. Most people are visual. I am the 1%. I would much rather read something than watch something… I don’t know what my problem is. But most people would just rather listen or watch it.  By having a video you are keeping them on there longer. I see what you’ve got going on there.

Let’s Get Started

That is awesome! If you are considering trying to incorporate videos… where does someone get started?

Brandy: Where you can start is an intro vide. Tell people who you are, what you do, and how they can contact you. That is a simple video you can do. Maybe 20 seconds long. Maybe 30 if you get a little wordy? What I find is the part where you tell people where you are, that works out okay. But the part where you tell them what you do, is where it gets a little cloudy. That is something that you can figure out how to do, explain what you do in a sound bite. That is the version you want on the video. This isn’t the time to say 

“Hey I’ve a wedding videographer that creates magical memories for your moment. I offer full service videos that will leave  your family wanting more. To contact me go to”.

That’s it!

Lauren: Its like you’ve done this before or something!

Brandy: In a lot of my improv sessions I’ll get behind a video camera and ask people what they do and just create a quick snippet for them. But it is because of all the years I’ve been doing it. That is all you need. I met with a psychic-medium from Chicago and she did an intro video that was literally 25 seconds long and she gest 4,000 views on it! She booked 9 clients! Within one week! Just putting out that 25 second video.

Lauren: I need to watch this video and take notes. 

Brandy: I’m not going to lie… its nothing crazy. It is very basic. Shot on her phone and edited on her phone. Very basic.

Shooting on Your Phone

Lauren: Okay so that I’m sure will bring up some questions from people. If you pop on Pinterest and search blogging equipment, you get it all! So how is it you can record video and edit it on your phone and it looks the way you make it look. You are a professional, but how can I do that?

Brandy: The truth is practice. The other part of it is knowing what you want to do. Having that plan in place. That is usually where people get cloudy. You aren’t totally sold on what type of video you want to make. If you are an event planner. You want to shot an event that looks like “flowy”. You are just gliding through everything. Very smooth and your point of view. You won’t buy a tri-pod for that, you would buy a gimble. Those are different things. But lets say you want to do a video where you are just talking to the camera and not moving, you need a tripod. Those are things you need to know ahead of time and those are things I really go over in my group. 

If you don’t have that plan ahead of time, you will end up buying a ton of equipment for no reason. I walk into it all the time. I walk into people’s offices all the time and they just have a closet full of equipment. You can pay less than $200 for anything you need! For any video!

Lauren: I’m guilty of that! I thought I needed it all. Teach us your ways Brandy! I’m just going to let you talk.

Brandy: I teach two systems. I teach video marketing systems and then I teach video production systems. Which one do you want to know? I think marketing will take us full circle.

Video Marketing System

Let’s start with video marketing system. The production system will actually cross into this at one point in time.

There are six steps.

  1. Have a purpose. You always want to have a purpose. Don’t just put a video just for the heck of it. Don’t go LIVE because you feel it is the right thing to do.
  2. Have a plan. I have a very specific plan called YES Marketing.
  3. Focus on the product or person. If it is a product, you want to know how to make that product work for you. If it is a person you want to be able to make that person sound and look great. Within this step, you want to think about three things:
      1. Confidence: Just practice.
      2. Character: Who are you going to be on camera. I’m not always the same person on camera. Think about how you want your audience to feel as they watch.
      3. Content: What is the content you are putting out there and how it is fitting your purpose.
  4. Production. A lot of people will think of ideas as they go. You need to definitely have a plan for your production. That is when you decide are you going to do it on your own? Are you going to hire a professional? Or are you going to do both? Maybe you will shoot it, but someone else will edit it.
  5. Review the results.
  6. Do it again!

Lauren: It can’t be one and done.

Brandy: I added step six a couple of months ago because people would come to me and say “I did it!” And I would say, “you have to keep going and do it again!” The more content you have out there, the better traction you will get.

Production System

What I found in that marketing system is a lot of people were still having questions about production. So I gave them my production system that I used when I had one. It is pretty simple.

  1. Pre-Production. You go through the planning stage. This will include scripts, the feeling, the purpose. It will all come together and you write either an outline or script.
  2. Production. If you are doing it on your own you need to know what equipment you will be using. And if you are hiring a professional, you need to know what questions to ask.
  3. Post-Production. This is editing. If you are editing on your own on you phone, I always say “WE Video” or “Filmora Go”. I like both of these. They both have some limitations, but I use both of them.
  4. Delivery. This is where you step into marketing. You might already have a plan in place, but as you’re creating a video you always have to have marketing in mind. My delivery system I call Yes Marketing. The “Y” stands for “Youtube”. The “E” stands for “email”. The “S” stands for “social”. Now social means online and offline. If you are networking you tell people to go to your website. But when you are shooting a video you have to know all that ahead of time. You should be shooting two versions, or two endings. One ending should say go to my website and the other ending should say call me. Because why are you going to put your website ending on your website? That doesn’t make any sense. You only want to use one way to send people. If you want people to go to your Instagram, do that. If you want people to join your Facebook group, put that. Have a plan when creating these videos!

I worked with someone who had five endings. She originally had one where she listed you could find her at this number, visit this website, you can find me in my secret group, my Facebook group, or on Instagram. I call this the grocery store effect. I do the grocery shopping. When my wife does the grocery shopping she will not know what to get. There are too many choices! If you give them too much, they don’t know what to do! I always tell people, give them one way for them to find you. Grab it and go!

Tell People What You Do

Lauren: What is your recommendation? Today, June 12, 2018 what are you seeing people are getting the best results for?

Brandy: That is a really hard question because it depends on your business plan. When I work with my private clients I have them create a 90 day plan. And if they don’t have any goals, the business coach comes out in me and we create one! We create video plans around it. If they have an event coming up for the next 90 days, everything I do will point to that event page. Or it will be funneling to a Facebook group that will be promoting my event.

What I will say is you want to keep it short. 30 seconds or less. In some of these private groups, longer videos are awesome. You are delivering really great content to those people. But for getting people into those places and getting clients, you want to keep it really short.

Lauren: Good stuff! I already feel like one of the questions is “okay this is really great, but I need that list of equipment you were talking about and as a wedding professional what type of videos can I do that are going to be unique enough to stand out?” What would your recommend people for that?

Brandy: If you see a video around that has been done a million times, I would say it can be done again. You just need to put your spin on it. Everyone in this group should have an intro video. I don’t care how many people you think already know what you do… they don’t! I still get called to shoot Bart mitzvahs and I haven’t done that since I was 13 years old. You need to make an intro video that tells people what you do.

Lauren: Where do they put this?

Brandy: Good question. On your personal Facebook page. That is where you will have the most influence, that is where it will grow from. You can also put it on your business page. Throw it up on Youtube. Put it in a link in an email. It should be a minute or less and you can put it on Instagram as well. It doesn’t need to be all fancy. It needs to be raw! People might have a general idea, but they don’t know really what you do. Tell them!

Get some video testimonials from your clients. That is way more powerful and believable. Anyone could write a testimonial. I’ll be totally honest… when I first started in the business I wrote a testimonial for myself. I didn’t have any business. Ut that video testimonial is way more legit. I know a lot of you get referrals from family and friends from your clients. If they post a video raving about you, their friends and family will want to work with you.

So intro videos, testimonial videos, and finally I would say some in the moment videos. Short stories where you are at an event and just showing the moment. This will build brand awareness and people will learn what you do. That is the biggest thing. My wife doesn’t even know what I do!

Getting Testimonial Videos

Lauren: My husband doesn’t either! He doesn’t know what to tell people! 

I remember people talking about in building your testimonials, how to go about it. People may not understand but is important to have someone singing your praises on video, because it is short and sweet and more digestible. But how do you get people to do it?

I find if you do a client appreciation event at the end of the year, it’s a thank you. Invite vendors, past clients, client’s friends… have them all come to a central location and then have something set up so you don’t have to go above and beyond. Have a backdrop and have your phone set up with some good lighting and just as people come in invite them to record a snippet of their experience with you. What would you tell your best friend if they were looking for a photographer or event coordinator? Half the time people won’t have a problem doing something like that for you. But by giving them some sort of outline, it can help you with your content. 

Brandy: I’m going to give you a virtual high-five. Funny enough I’m flying out to Buffalo at the end of the month to do exactly this for a real-estate team I work with. They are having about 150 people come out to this lake house to record testimonials. I am literally just there to make sure people say the right things. 

What I think about testimonials, your client will say whatever they want to say anyhow, But if you give them a structure, they will nail it for you. I might say 

“Would you mind saying a couple words on camera about your experience with me? I’ll walk you through it so it will be super easy and you can be done in 30 seconds or less”.

Then when they get over there you say “all you are going to say is your name, why you chose to work with me, and the result”. That is it! They are going to say whatever they want anyhow. They have something in their head. But at least you’ve given them a structure and direction to go in. Those three points will win you all the time.

Lauren: What are some other strategies? What if someone isn’t putting together an event?

Brandy: Take that same structure and put it in an email. You could go in and say you can record it for them, using a virtual app like Zoom. Send them a link and the questions ahead of time. Tell them you will be done in 5 minutes or less. You can do it through Skype, VCam… If someone wants to do it on their own... awesome. Send them the questions! That is it! That is all it is!

It can be challenging at time. You know it may take 8 tries to get a sale, it is the same thing with getting people on camera. It is hard. I’ve been at events where there are 100 people and 1,000 people and it can be hard to get people to do testimonials, but if you simplify it, it can be really easy. 

Lauren: Would you ever recommend, at the end of a wedding you are still there, would you say it is more practice for that person to snag their phone and get something on video with them in their dress or tux?

Brandy: I haven’t seen that. But if you feel a really strong connection with a bride or groom… you can usually feel that at weddings. Then you can totally do that! When I was doing weddings, there were times when there is footage of me dancing with the bride and groom. But I didn’t do this with every single couple. 

Lauren: I’m just trying to think outside the box. The video testimonial itself is the goal. But if you can get the couple in the element, especially after they’ve had a cocktail or seven!

Brandy: If you have a connection, go for it! That testimonial will probably look a little different, you won’t have why you chose me and the results, because you don’t have any results yet. But “how fun was your wedding day? How much fun are you having right now?” If they are having fun with you they are going to sing your praises!

Lauren: If you were to do something like that, what equipment should you have?

Brandy: Just your phone. Make it look raw. In the moment. Bad audio everything! There is a place for bad audio and video, that would be the place. Make it raw. Take your phone out, you saw an opportunity, and go for it! Don’t overthink! No, you don’t a tripod. You’ve got one built in, its called your arms, body, and legs. Seriously. There are times and places for tripods, but there is always a time for shaky raw footage. It sells.

But I’m Scared…

Lauren: That is awesome. I love it. One of the last questions I think I have for you is… we understand the value of video now. If you are terrified, like probably need to go buy some depends because you may have an accident. What are some tips and tricks? What should they do?

Brandy: One tip is to practice with a friend you trust. Shoot your intro video 30 times. That’s probably how long it will take anyhow, to be honest. Don’t watch any of them, just delete them. Then shoot it again, and watch that one. You are your worst critic.

Another tip, practice without a friend and do it without a camera. 30 times. Do it a lot until you get sick of it. You have to get sick of it.

I would also say to get in front of somebody that understands how to be in front of the camera. Whether that is me or somebody that has been in front of the camera a lot. Talk to them. They will have tips that they will tell you as well. I almost always choose standing up, the energy flows a lot more naturally. You want that person to look at your eyes. Right now, I’m not talking to Lauren, I am talking to my camera up here so I am talking directly to you. Those are small things you will learn as you do it over and over again.

So those are just a few tips. Practice with someone and record it again and again. Practice alone and don’t record it. Or hire someone to help you! 

Just a quick story… we are so judgmental about ourselves son camera. I don’t like myself on camera. I bought a filter in my editing program back in the day, and I have never used it. It is a $500 program to get rid of blemishes on my face. But it isn’t worth it!

My very first brand video I put on my page, I had it up for 6 months, it generated a lot of business… and I had a button undone. My wife was walking by and she was like “oh hey, what are you watching…” and I showed her the video and she heard nothing. All she noticed was my button undone. I made thousands off of that video and I don’t care that I had a button undone. 

That’s the most important thing, what is that feeling and that message you are delivering to your audience? You’ll hear me talk about that a lot. It is the first question I ask all of my clients. How do you want your clients to feel after they watch your video? Ask that for any video you make.

How to Systemize, Strategize, and Celebritize Your Video Marketing Efforts

Lauren: It is so true and I think it is something that people overlook really quickly. We are so highly critical of everything. But is doesn’t matter!

Brandy: I worked at Channel 5 News in Boston for a year. I made promos for them. We worked based on the “graham-dual approach”. This approach is all about marketing and basically what we wrote, we wrote from people not watching. That is the bottom line. They don’t watch, but they are listening. 

In my podcasts, I actually bring in the Emmy Award Winning Producer I worked with and had them talk about that approach: how to write for people who are not watching.

Lauren: That blows my mind. I feel like it takes so much of the fear out.

Contact Brandy!

For those of you who are here…  how can people get in contact with you and work with you?

Brandy: The easiest way to connect with me is to go to You can connect with me on all kinds of ways there. I do have a group called Smartphone Video with Brandy Sales. In that group I’ll answer questions that might pop up for you. I might do 5 day challenges. I have a one shot video challenge coming up. It’s a fun challenge! 

That group is a lot of fun! I will give you as much feedback as I would give someone who is not working with my privately. The group is a really a place for you to start smartphone video production and roll with it.

Lauren: Do you have any workshops coming up? Any courses?

Brandy: I do. August 7, 2018 I am doing a workshop specifically for real estate agents. In October I am doing a one day workshop for women business owners. In November I’ll be doing a two day even for everyone! That is the one to be at! You leave with a lot of information and knowledge. We do one activity that is very transformative and emotional for a lot of people.

All of those things, I will be releasing more details later on.

Lauren: We will be sure to stay connected with you. You guys can go to my website under Podcasts and you can see all of this good stuff.

Thank you so much for your insight and your humor, Brandy! You are just like me, there is no filter. You tell it like it is.

Next week we will be chatting about my goal setting strategy that I implement for my own business. If you are looking to create some short term or long term goals, you’ll want to tune into that.

Thank you again Brandy! I had an absolute blast!

Q + A 

Q: What kind of phone do you have?

A: I have a Samsung Galaxy 7 Edge. People always ask me which phone should they get. I always answer with, one that has a camera app. What is more important, the machine or the message? It is absolutely the message. Any phone you have, you can create a video with. Anything about an S4 or an iPhone 4 is great. A lot of my testing was done on iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy 5. The Pixels are really cool, but they require some extra equipment for microphones. The LG’s are really fun too. Any phone that has a camera will work for you.


I’m Lauren, your wedding business visionary! I educate wedding pros on the behind the scenes of their businesses through practical knowledge and intuitive strategy. I incorporate my intuitive gifts with solid business strategy to maximize my clients' progress and success.

Are You Running a Hobby or a Business?

Get Real Series

PSA for All Entrepreneurs: Hobbyist vs. Business Owner 

by Kristen Vinci-Taylor


Kristen Vinci-Taylor, a passionate family photographer, sheds light on a topic within the creative industry that separates the hobbyists from the business owners. Which category do YOU fall into?

Are you running a business or a hobby?

Are you hustling as a part-time entrepreneur while working a 9-5? That's awesome, it makes me so excited when I meet other people who are driven and motivated to work for themselves. In the photography business, I work with a wide variety of vendors from brick and mortar businesses like bakeries and wedding venues to small businesses like T-shirt designers and centerpiece creators. 

Are you a legal business

In today's digital age, more and more home-based businesses are popping up and people are turning their hobbies and passions into side income business ventures. Recently as I've tried to diversify my vendor base I've run into more and more of these, "hobby turned start up" business ventures and it has created a legal and ethical conundrum for my own business. Let me explain why: many of these new startup businesses haven't gone through the process of establishing themselves as a legal business.  

Now you may ask, "What’s the big deal if they haven't established themselves as a business, it’s just a hobby and why not try to make a little money while you are at it?" 

There are several tax and legal implications for my registered and licensed business if I work with an unlicensed business. The hiring business assumes all liability when working with unlicensed vendors. In most cases, that is an unnecessary level or risk assumed by me and my company when I work with people who haven't gone through the process of getting themselves established. Each year when tax time rolls around, business taxes become more complicated as the work performed by unlicensed and unregistered businesses are itemized and subject to greater scrutiny.


I applaud you, side hustler, for chasing your dreams and turning your passions into something sustainable. However, you are hurting the rest of us that DON'T have a 9-5 job to fall back on for income. One theme we all share is that have invested thousands of hours, sleepless nights, tears, frustration, and pure joy into our passion. The main difference is that only SOME of us have taken the time and money to turn our startups into legal businesses so that we don't negatively effect the creative industry as a whole (and run into legal complications down the road).

It’s pretty simple and very advantageous to turn your hobby into a licensed and registered small business if you want to start working for yourself and chasing your dream. I can only speak from experience in New Jersey, but the process was fairly simple and the turnaround time is rather quick. 

Steps in Becoming a "REAL" Business

  1. Protect yourself and your business. File for an LLC or other liability protection entity.

  2. Speak with your state about obtaining a tax ID number. (For NJ)

  3. Speak with your local town or county clerk for licensing information.

  4. Determine your requirement for insurance for your business.

Making your business legal

The whole process was completed in under a week and the peace of mind that I had in completing these necessary steps was huge. It's unfortunate that as business owners we need to even consider lawsuits and things possibly going wrong, but accidents do happen. By going through the process to register and license my business I'm now protected in case of an accident.

I wanted to shed light on a few misconceptions surrounding business legalities for both hobby enthusiasts and new business startups and expose the real reason why you should become "legal": The peace of mind once the process is completed is worth its weight in gold. The last thing anyone wants is to have an accident occur with their shiny new business and lose their livelihood because of lack registration and licensure.

There are certain unnecassary risks that I've seen people take with their businesses and I just wanted to share my own experiences in hopes that people will finally understand just how easy making a business legal can be.


*The content in this posted is not intended as legal advice. The content should be taken under advisement by the reader as a source of information, but not legal advice.  Seek the counsel of a competent lawyer in your jurisdiction as well as a CPA before making any significant business decision such as determining licensing requirements.


Kristen Vinci-Taylor is the owner and operator of Smile Photography LLC located in Manahawkin, NJ. Being a business owner has become her passion after walking into an elective Photography class in college and has never turned back. She opened her business in February 2012 with no real direction of where she wanted to take it. After 5 years in the  industry she now is focused on newborn, chilld, and family photography.

Leave her some love on InstagramFacebook, or Pinterest!


📣 Are you ready to see a serious spike in your website traffic? 📣

Would you like to contribute to the Get Real Series? KNOW SOMEONE THAT SHOULD GIVE US THEIR TWO CENTS?

🔍 I'm looking for wedding pros that would like to be featured on Wedding Boss Life by participating in the Get Real series which is all about getting raw and real with ourselves and businesses. 

YOU get to choose the topic that resonates with you, (feel free to be 10000% YOU - no need to filter yourself with me or my website) but some ideas to help get you started:

  1. ⭐️ What narrative in the wedding industry needs to desperately be re-written? 
  2. 🔥 What lies were you told that you believed about the wedding industry or business?
  3. ✨ What has been your biggest struggle in business? How have you/do you plan to overcome it? 
  4. 💥 What do you wish more wedding pros knew?
  5. 📍 What did you have to learn the hard way?
  6. 🎀 What keeps you motivated as an entrepreneur?

If you’d like to write a guest post, FILL OUT THE FORM BELOW!

How to Market Your Wedding Business by Using Contests

Using Contests to Boost Your Audience and Become Booked Solid

How to market your wedding business through contests

The Why

It should come as no surprise that people love to win free products and services or receive something at a heavily discounted rate. Tie that into the fact that many people enjoy a good ol' competition, and you have a winning combination for marketing success. 

Or as my 4 year old likes to OVERsay... Winna Winna, Chicken Dinna!

I've personally used contests in the past at least once a season and let me tell you -- every single contest would add upwards of 1,000-1,500 people to the Facebook page and catapult bookings. The one that got the most traction was always the children’s portrait month. 

Let me tell you a little story...

There once was a photography studio that went from having clients sporadically to completely filling their calendar within two weeks time. What would YOU be able to do with the income you generated from an entire month’s worth of clients, shoots, weddings, events, projects, etc.? That is the power of a contest, my friends.

Not knowing whether or not it would catch on and desperate to fill their calendar, the photographer threw her hands in the air and said, “Hell, why not give it a shot?”

The Marketing Secret to Scale Your Business Like Crazy

After the contest was over and the results have been tallied, the photographer's audience had nearly tripled in size within just a month's time. The number of clients that continued to pour in became so large that the photographer had to start turning away business. Wouldn't that be an incredible feeling - to be so booked up and consistent that you were actually turning clients away or booking them out months and months in advance?

The Logistics of Contests

It was called Children’s Portrait Month and it happened during the entire month of July (a typically slow month for many). The weather is still nice, kids are out of school, it was a no-brainer.The photographer went through the calendar and selected dates that she would be willing to hold shoots. I would highly encourage you to add at least 2 or 3 Rainy Day Reschedule Days since it IS July we are talking about here... Each shoot would be 30 minutes long PER CHILD. If the parent(s) wanted to join in on the photos, it is an additional $50 to be paid at the time of session. The next step was to figure out the locations of those shoot days.

Tip: Create a PDF document of your dates and locations and timeframes to easily send to people or, better yet, post on your website and redirect people to the URL!

Now it was time for pricing and the fine print. The cost of the session should be MUCH lower than what your normal rates are. We are talking mini-session prices here, people.

As an example:

The Who

$50 sitting fee (per child)

50% off all print orders

(1) FREE 5x7 of each entrant

Ages 6 months to 10 years only please.

The What

Grand Prize is valued at over $____ and includes:

$_____ gift certificate

20x24 gallery block

The How

Winner is chosen based on the highest amount of likes/votes each entry photo receives on the Facebook page (This is where having a giveaway type website platform comes in handy like Rafflecopter, Gleam, or Woobox to name a few. Pay for it for a month then cancel it, but once you are using that platform you are able to have these people share the photo with their friends).

The When

Discount pricing available August 1-31st, Voting begins August 11, The winner will be announced on August 18.

Example Contest Spreadsheet Tracker

Example Contest Spreadsheet Tracker


ContestsPinterest@2x copy.jpg



Once that was all figured out, it was time to create the flyer, social media graphic, and finalize the wording.

To Recap:

  1. Select dates
  2. Select locations
  3. Select time frame for each day
  4. Determine what the winner will receive
  5. Figure out pricing
  6. Create graphics and promo materials

Tip: Count up how many shooting locations you like to use in surrounding areas (expand your reach by expanding your radius) and then that will give you a good idea of how many days of shooting you should be including within the contest information.

Now that we've established why you should be running contests and promos within your wedding business, it's time to discuss the part that so many creatives get hung up on...

Contest Suggestions

Well, luckily for you, my friend, I've not only broken holding a contest down into bite-size steps, but I've also provided suggestions of the kind of contests you could be holding! 

Wedding Planners

  • Favorite Engagement Session
  • Favorite Wedding / Design
  • Favorite Couple
  • Favorite Unique Detail
  • Favorite Theme
  • Favorite Love Story


  • Favorite Bouquet
  • Favorite Overall Design
  • Favorite Centerpieces
  • Favorite Ceremony Decor

Wedding Photographers

  • Favorite Engagement Session
  • Favorite Wedding of the Season
  • Favorite Blooper Shot
  • "First 25 that mention this post get a free engagement session"

I would say at least 1/2 of these people will hire you to shoot their wedding if they are looking for a photographer. AND if you need to build up your portfolio this is a perfect way to do it.

Portrait Photographer

  • Children’s Portrait Month
  • Favorite Family Month
  • Favorite Newborn Month
  • Pet Portrait Month

You can always note that you will make a donation to the humane society from all the sitting fees during the pet portrait month. 

Contests and giveaways aren't things people take advantage of very often. You shouldn’t just be giving a discount all the time to try to drum up busy. Highlight the giveaway on social media and send an email to your list of subscribers! You want to make sure to really showcase it. Holding a contest is a great way to beef up the calendar if you are looking for clients!

Lauren - founder of Wedding Boss Life

I’m Lauren, your wedding business visionary! I educate wedding pros on the behind the scenes of their businesses through practical knowledge and intuitive strategy. I incorporate my intuitive gifts with solid business strategy to maximize my clients' progress and success. Let’s set up a time to chat!

4 Lies That Are Holding You Back

Talk It Out Tuesday: Coffee Chat

4 Lies That Are Holding You Back in Life and Business


Grab your dark roast + join us as we shed light on some of the most common reoccurring doubts business owners tell themselves and how to finally dropkick that negative self-talk right in the face once and for all.

How many times have you thought to yourself, "Nobody would pay that much…” or “There are already a million other planners/photographers/florists/caterers/fill in the blank out there.”

The list of common doubts that we allow to permeate our stories are endless. Tomorrow, I'm going to chat about 4 of the most common lies we tell ourselves as business owners. These lies are ones that even my own clients before working with me have lead themselves to believe.

I will be talking you through the many shifts I've made over the past 2 years that have made the biggest impacts in my life and business. 

Episode 23 Coffee Chat Replay

Episode 23 Podcast

Our coffee chats are now available on iTunes! Listen to the episode by clicking the link below and be sure to subscribe to stay up to date on new episodes.


Looking for more resources? Check out the Resources page!


The Most Common Lies We Tell Ourselves in Business

Lauren Dragon-Cook: A few of the topics I will be talking about today of the four, may or may not trigger something for some of you. I just want to put that out there. This is not meant to make you feel poorly or bad about yourself. That is not why I am talking about this. We are all victim to doing this. We all have had moments where we accept lies that we tell ourselves. Right? Lies that we tell ourselves about our business. “We aren’t good enough. Their photos are better than mine.” Whatever it may be…

I am going to talk about the four most common lies that I see people telling themselves. I noticed it recently especially with my new clients that have decided to work with me one on one or for a couple of sessions. These are lies that are permeating the industry! If any of these apply to you… you are not alone. You are in good company.

Lie #1

The biggest lie, the biggest misconception, the biggest thing we tell ourselves… I see again and again within the industry is this: 

“Nobody is going to pay that. Oh my god I cannot charge that much. There is no way in hell anyone is going to spend ‘X’ number of dollars if I try charging that”.

If this has been something you have said or thought… you are not alone. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the wedding industry! We creatives we typically undercut ourselves and under value ourselves. I’m going to tell you why, there are two reasons.

  1. Your gift, your talent, what you bring to the world comes easily to you. It comes naturally to you. Taking photos, planning a wedding… any of that does not come naturally to the people who are searching for a service like that. There is a reason why they are searching for someone to hire. Because you think “Am I crazy for charging that?” It would almost be like trying to charge for taking a shower to someone who has never taken a shower before. (That is a disgusting example, please shower everyone). But what we do seems more difficult for somebody who doesn’t do it every single day. KNOW THAT! WRITE THAT DOWN.
  2. You (my friend) are not your ideal client. I can almost guarantee you that. We as artists, as creatives are really really good at what we do but we are also in awe and appreciate others work that we find beautiful. We want to hire somebody to do family photos and their work is absolutely incredible, but maybe we can’t afford that. So that would be something you save up for. So just because you yourself are trying to locate a certain audience, doesn’t’ mean you automatically fit into that audience. Perfect example: When I was a studio manager for a Boston wedding photographer years ago, I LOVED the work she did! Absolutely gorgeous. But its funny because one of the first things I said to her when I started working for her “Dude, I love your work. I would have loved you to do my wedding. But there is now way in hell I would’ve been able to afford you!” She looked me straight in the eye and said “because you’re not my ideal client”. We always need to remember this!

When we start to question our words and our value… remember this. When you are having a rough day… flip back to this podcast.

Lie #2

The second biggest lie I see people telling themselves over and over again is this:

“There are already a million other florists out there, why would anyone want to hire me? How would they find me? The market is so saturated, why should I even bother?”

This is something that comes up a lot for people when they hop on talking clarity chats with me. What I want to say about the market being saturated is… this will sound cliché as hell, I promise you, but it is so true! There is a reason why it gets said so often. There is nobody else out there quite like you. Just because there might be a handful of other incredible photographers in your area, there is nobody that has the same shooting style as you or the same personality or the way you see the world like you.

Yes, absolutely hands down the wedding industry has become saturated. Yes, but on the flip side I want you to start looking at that a little differently. You got into this industry for a reason. You had a passion. You had a fire in your belly to create something, to make something, to be helping others with your talents and gifts. We tend to lose sight of that very easily, any time we start to look around and see what it going on around us. When we start to look and see what the competition is doing and see our competitors Instagram, any of that bullshit… that is when we start to doubt ourselves. 

Your talent, your gift, is incredible. You believed in it enough right out of the gate to start, to begin, to create this business that wasn’t existing before. Why in the world are you now going to futtle that all up because you are going to start to look at someone else and what they are doing? WHY? Stay your path, stay your journey. Don’t be looking at their path and your journey. They either have their blinders on and cruising forward and making waves. Or they are doing exactly that and starting to look around and that is when you become lost in your own business and become uninspired in your business. That is something we all are guilty of. No one is above anyone else when it comes to this. This is something we all go through.

The difference though for the ones who are “super successful” is just a matter of how they handle it, how they deal with it. So many people I see get caught up in this. Those are the people that stay stuck. The people that think these things, let it sit for a day and then the following day they give it a big middle finger and say “I am good enough, I am awesome, and there is room for me”. That is the difference!

Everybody’s level of success is different. They will never look the same! When you start to look at what other people have achieved and you adopt that as your own, when in reality it was never yours to begin with, you get caught up.

Lie #3

“Well… I’m just going to see what happens. Maybe I’ll make it, maybe I won’t. I’ll start the business and then I’ll just let it ride and do its thing and see where it leads me.”

Fuck that! You can’t do that! You can’t do that to yourself. You obviously either have lost the spark that began the business in the beginning or you were never passionate enough to ever pursue it.

Think about it… if you are just riding the wave and seeing where it brings you, that is not how business owners run businesses. The problem is, so many people do this and they do it subconsciously. They just don’t set goals. They don’t set a finish line. They don’t work towards anything. They are just sort of hanging out and doing their thing.

The third week in June we are going to be talking about how to create goals and talking about the process I do to create my own goal setting. If this is something you struggle with, or having an end game for your business is driving you busy… come to this chat!

I’ve done that when I’m at low points within my business. Not knowing which direction to take, not knowing what to do. Waiting for a sign from the universe.

We are all in the same boat, but there is a reason for it and it will be over soon.

Lie #4

The fourth and final lie we tend to tell ourselves… this one I contemplated putting for number one but I kind of want to start off easy and work my way up. So ladies…

“Nah, I got this. I can do it on my own. I don’t need help.”

I really feel like this one needs to be talked about. 

“No one has done this before. I am too poor to afford help.”

That is the single biggest reason why this is a lie and why this has just rocked my world recently. I will go into that a little bit. I am guilty of this myself. Mindset, money mindset, money affirmations, ya-da-ya-da. You have heard the words and the terms. There is this wave happening in the culture of coaches and within the world of spiritual healing. There is this permeating lie that we can do it all on our own. There are quite a few reasons for that.

If you are a woman reading this… we have a terribly difficult time at accepting help. We do. We are nurturers by nature. We are the caregivers. We are the ones that bring the family and community together. That is how we operate and how our DNA is programed. What I have found in working with my own clients… we are women tend to have major blocks to accepting help, to receiving anything! Whether it be help, gifts, abundance, joy… doesn’t matter. We as women have a hard time with receiving. 

Let me tell you what that does. Picture two pipes. One on the top and then one of the bottom. They are joined together by joints. On the very top you have a spout where you can pour water in. What happens if you just continue to pour water but nothing comes out? It becomes overflowing and it backs up. So what needs to happen? There needs to be a spicket on the bottom for the water to flow out so it can be a continuing cycle of water. What we do as women entrepreneurs, we do not have the bottom spicket. We just give until the day is gone! Our time, our energy, our service, our products, money! But then here is the problem!

The biggest problem that you can have is that because you give you aren’t willing to receive so you don’t feel you deserve to invest in yourself. You feel it is okay, you’ll get by, you’ll recharge your batteries on your own… NO! That is the biggest part of this lie. You will burn out faster than you could ever imagine, if you don’t have somebody to lean on. Now that can mean anything. Many of us have partners, spouses, friends, coaches… you need somebody who understands exactly what you are going through and can help to recharge your batteries. Sometimes we can’t do it ourselves.

The problem with being a woman is we find excuses to help ourselves, to take time for ourselves to recharge. We find it so difficult to pamper and see our own self worth and nurture that. You have to invest in yourself in some way shape or form. You cannot do it on your own. Whether you feel you need a mentor or a day at the spa or get your mails done… do whatever you need to do. Your business will not sustain itself. You as a person will not sustain yourself, by yourself. Doesn’t work that way. Ever hear that saying “it takes a village”? Sometimes that one area we forget to invest in, cultivate, and nourish is our self. 

Think of it this way, when you are your best self and living your best life and kicking ass and taking names… when you are doing all of that… when is that? When does that happen? When you are on top of the world! When you are listening to your own needs. But what happens in your business? In every area of your life? They are green and growing and prospering! Think of it that way. I feel sometimes we value money over our own self worth. We tell ourselves, “oh I can’t afford this, I can’t afford to do that…” but the reality is, yes you can. You just need to prioritize. Wouldn’t it be easier to work with someone that could just help you avoid the pitfalls and help you focus on what is most important in your business? Remind you to take those spa days?

If Anything, Remember This

The piece I want to leave you all with… if nothing else take this away from today’s episode: Let go of questioning your every move. Let it go. I feel like freakin’ Elsa right now, but let that shit go. Confident business owners, the ones that are confident in themselves, their business model, their clients and family… these are the ones that are booking clients and sustaining themselves with their business, the ones that are making waves, the ones that are rising to the top. So how did they get there?

They stopped believing these bullshit lives. They stop believing and starting realizing they cannot do this on their own. Whatever capacity that looks like, you cannot do this on your own. I’ll tell you, from experience, when I finally realized that and I joined the mentor community that I am a part of as an educator and thought leader… my business blew the eff up! I had support to lean on. I had people to lean on. I had a mentor to lean on. Was it expensive? Yes. But it is an investment in my business.

Some of you may not need a mentor, some of you just need to take a day for yourself. Go take yourself out to brunch, have a stay vacation! Do something that will fuel yourself. Please. I am seeing so many people burning out right now.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I cannot thank you all enough for staying connected with me week after week. Our community is growing by leaps and bounds because of YOU. You are the megaphone for this community and I cannot thank you enough for that. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. So much love and so much thanks. So much of all the good stuff.

Much love to you all. Next week my friend Brandy Sales will be here. He is diving into how to do more video with your phone to boost your business. He does everything from his phone… edits and shoots!

I would be most appreciative if you invite your friends to this community and show them this podcast. You never know who needs it. You find it, when you need to find it. It happens when it needs to happen. So much love!

Card Reading

There has been a request made for me to pull a card today. The color purple came up so that is what we are going with! I am intuitive. YAY! I am an empath and I bring my gifts and my talents and god-given skill set to YOU. I read oracle cards, so right now I am about to pull a full spread. You all literally brought me so much joy today.

How many of you haven’t yet embraced the fact that you yourself are an empath in some capacity, shape or form? When I invited your guides in, yes goosebump city! 

1. General theme of the week: Focus on Service. Your soul desires to only joyfully serve and to swim in a constant stream of bliss. This stream continuously feeds you everything you need. Put your entire focus on in the stream of giving and receiving in every situation and in all that you do. (I just love it!) This card comes to you because you have been worried about your life’s mission. Perhaps you have felt insecure about whether you will make enough money, be successful, or be well received by others. Instead of concerns about what you will receive or other peoples reactions, focus solely upon how you can serve. Use your natural talents, passions, and interests to help others or some vital cause. Then through the law of attraction you will receive all the support you will need. Release money worries to the universe and the angels, be receptive to inner divine guidance and follow it without hesitation. If you get nervous, focus on service.

ON MY GOD, does that not sum up this entire episode today!? BOOM.

2. Block: Trustworthy guidance. You received a wonderful idea as an answer to your prayers. This idea is real and trustworthy. You can safely move forward with it, knowing that we are with you every step of the way. Ask for and be open to receiving our support for anything that you need related to this idea. The angels gave you this card because they want you to believe in your ideas which are answers to your prayers and you can trust them. You’ll be supported as you move forward to put your ideas into action as long as you check in with your angels regularly for continued guidance. If you ever feel vulnerable, ask your angels to reassure you with emotional, spiritual, and material comfort. Don’t worry about the details, they will take care of themselves as you go along. Go for it. Your idea is valid and divinely inspired. You are safe to make changes and move forward.

Again, wasn’t this the entire message of this episode!?

3. How will you overcome this block: Let your past go. You received this card because your thoughts and feelings about the past are holding you back. You’re seeing a pattern because of unrealized emotions from your past. This card is a sign to forgive and move on, to stop painful patterns. It doesn’t mean that you need to be with the person you have forgiven, it simply means that you have let toxic feelings go in exchange for peace. Approach a new experience or relationship with positive expectations. Avoid routines. Speak to a counselor or support group. Forgive those who have hurt you, forgive yourself. The worst is now behind you. Keep your thoughts about this situation high and bright.

4. Probably outcome given the path we are now on: Ground yourself. When you detached form awareness of your body and the world, you become ungrounded. Although it is pleasant to float heaven-ward, your attention is needed upon the Earth. For helping you balance the spiritual and material so you can a fulfilling earthly life. This card is a signal that your energy and attention need to be grounded. If you’ve been feeling spacy, confused, or forgetful, this card speaks to the reason. Ungroundedness means your attention is directed up too high, as if you’re not in your body. A balance is needed between a focus on spirit and a focus on Earth. You can ground yourself easily by walking barefoot on grass or eating foods from the ground, by rubbing bare feet, by touching a tree or plant, or by visualizing roots coming from the bottom of your feet into the Earth. Grounding will help you to better concentrate and help focus and will and increase your connections to the angels and the universe. Spend time gardening. Work with flowers. Adjust your diet and habits so they support your physical and mental awareness. Make sure the words you speak are right, grounded, practical, and understandable. Be down to Earth and authentic in your relationships. 

  • Wildcard: Relationship. Your primary relationship is with yourself and the universe and every other relationship falls from there. To retract, help or balance a relationship, then snuggle more closely with your loving creator. As you feel safe and loved within, so shall your other relationships bloom and prosper. This card that you are entering a more positive space with your relationships. You are now out of the forest and entering an area filled with light and beauty. You just need to hang on a little while longer. The answer to your question relies within your relationship. Trust your feelings about your current relationships and act accordingly. The angels are helping you manifest a wonderful new relationship. Send light and love to the angels in your present relationship. A positive transition is occurring in a current relationship, which could include a healthy ending.

I haven’t been doing a lot of the woo-woo on these calls for one reason… because I have felt lately like it is not well received by everyone. I have felt like the path that I was taking with the community and with everything. I felt it wasn’t being well received so I stopped doing it for awhile. This is the first reading I have done in a while for the group.

I am so overwhelmed with gratitude and love. Thank you, so much. I could not have gone through the deck and chosen any cards that could have been more of a mirror to the talk I just did.

If you are feeling like you need guidance and help, you know I am here and you can always schedule a coffee and clarity chat with me. I would love and be honored to work with all of ya’ll. If something comes up for your later on, message me!

I’m being pushed to tell you this… I am actually going to be creating a group and a place where it is a monthly membership type thing. It is something I feel is really needed within our group and community. That is why I am pursuing it. Just know that. 

Q + A

Q: I always think someone is out to scam me.

A: Girl, you and me both. Me, because I have been scammed for thousands of dollars. It is something I have talked a little bit here and there with people, but I don’t want to give it any power. I don’t want to give that situation any juice. I don’t want to help it in any way shape or form. So trust me when I say to you, I understand. I am not sitting here on a soap box telling you to hire me. I hope you know that. What I am trying to say is you need to find what works for you that will help fuel you. I had invested in something that I thought was going to fuel me. Turns out it was a scam. I can laugh about it now, but let me tell you those were dark days as hell! I understand the hesitation and where that comes from.

Q: Sometimes I feel like I am a failure or a hack.

A: The people who felt this way and then chose to get help and do something about it… those are the people who are now at the top. Right? So don’t feel that way. Don’t feel less than if you find something or someone who is going to help you. You are not less than, you are smart as hell.

Q: You definitely need to find people you can trust and talk about things to. That is always my fear. I open up to some people and get hurt later on. Makes me put the walls up about being open.

A: The one thing that has helped me a little bit in getting burnt, is knowing that karma exists. And it took me a long time (like two years), but anytime my heart becomes hurt or someone has hurt me intentionally or not I just open my heart bigger. I open it up more! Then I am able to receive more good. So instead of closing off tight, not letting anything in good or bad… open it up to let more good in!

Q: We have all invested in things we regret.



I’m Lauren, your wedding business visionary! I educate wedding pros on the behind the scenes of their businesses through practical knowledge and intuitive strategy. I incorporate my intuitive gifts with solid business strategy to maximize my clients' progress and success.

The Shady Side to Styled Shoots

Get Real Series

Falling for the Fallacy: The Styled Shoot Tree can be Shady AF

by Kasey Kyprianou


Kasey Kyprianou, a trailblazing stationer and lead badass designer of revelry + heart, joins us on the blog today to shed light on the controversial topic of styled shoots within the wedding industry. 

Shedding Some Light on the Shady Side of Styled Shoots

We need to talk about styled shoots.

What is a styled shoot? For credibility, I decided not to dictate what my version of a styled shoot is, although you know I found a definition I agreed with--because well, that’s kind of the point of this post.

Our creative leaders are traveling around the country creating and designing styled wedding shoots (with models, hair & makeup, gowns, flowers, cake, stationery*, reception tables, a beautiful venue, etc... the whole nine!) for photographers to capture beautiful details and portfolio worthy images. Of course, photographers at the shoots are welcome (& encouraged) to submit their photos for publication and use them to help build up their brand and/or the clientele they are after. -Styled Shoots Across America

To sum it up, it’s a mock wedding that creative event professionals collaborate on in order to mutually benefit everyone participating by getting portfolio images and creative liberties to explore new creative outlets.

It’s a photoshoot. Fantasy.

Dog Wedding Invitation

Dog Wedding Invitation


Photo by Marina Rey Photography

I was able to be on site for this shoot to style my lay flat, I really appreciate that I was able to show all the pieces without crowding, and add in little details like the dog treats.


  1. Event planners get to show off their design and communication skills
  2. Photographers get to shoot the exact event they want to shoot
  3. Event professionals get professional images of their work
  4. Models/Couples get images of themselves
  5. Everyone gets to flex their creative muscles

And if all goes according to plan: you get published and get to put a .png badge on your website to convince people you know what you’re doing.

Obviously, there are industries that benefit more than others for styled shoots. You don’t often see musicians participate, because well, you can’t hear music no matter how many words a picture may be worth. Videographers add a great social media nugget to the mix, and allow musicians or djs to join the party--but it’s rare to have video coverage, at least that I’ve seen. There is rarely ever a caterer involved because well, it’s all fake. No one is going to eat anything (besides maybe some cold pizza out of frame) and food photography is a whole other ball game. Couples want to try your food no matter how beautifully it photographs, so it’s not really worth the effort it would take for them.

My industry--design of all pretty people things. I design stationery and decor for styled shoots and I’ve had both fantastic and horrible experiences. Stationers have an advantage in that they can send their pieces across the globe to be part of a shoot without actually being physically present. But that means they lose the opportunity to style their work, which, much like a florist would want, makes neck hairs stand up over presentation fails.

Classic stationery designers are known to design beautiful thin scripts in pastel inks on white papers. You can imagine that would require a very refined photographer to shoot and edit to make sure the work is showcased properly. Overexposure is real--am I looking at a hand calligraphy invitation or a blank piece of paper?

Mexican Vibrant Invitation Suite

Mexican Punk Invite


Photo Credit Ana Teresa Photography

This suite was a perfect mash up of creative minds with just enough creative freedom. I pitched a couple of ideas and they chose one that I ran with. I got to be on site to style the shoot and surprised them with a few extra elements like custom menus that weren’t part of the original deal because I felt so appreciated and embraced.

Styling the suite is just as important as the final design. Random accessories (why are there shoes with the invitation?), invitations hidden under their suitemates, haphazard layouts and 2 photos as a result of  work that took hours are reasons the artist prefers to be onsite and styling their work. Sidenote: I’m the one asking for all the inserts to get captured from different angles (I need the ig content more than anything…) more than a few shots of the whole suite, and some sort of human being holding my work.

Even a shoot with the best intentions has a fairly good chance of being disappointment for the artist involved. But what about the shadiness of the whole idea of styled shoots? Can we talk about that? I didn’t come here to post on how to plan or participate in a styled shoot, I came here to call them out.

I. e x p o s u r e

I am a graphic designer. And if there is anything artists and designers know is that designing for exposure is the bane of our existence--no, really, we can’t feed ourselves or buy a home with exposure, if we could, I’d have invested in that ish way before bitcoin was a currency.

“But Kasey, how do you expect [paying] clients to find you if you don’t get your name out there?”

That’s literally my job as a small business owner. Make people know what I do and do it.

It happens through relationship building, referrals, paid marketing efforts, and maybe some wholesale priced work (still pro-bono if you ask me considering I’m not charging you for your time). I don’t do styled shoots for the exposure alone, because 99% of the time, it’s not worth it.

I have booked ONE wedding because of a published shoot.


As a naïve baby artist, I designed for free. They promised me that once the company took off they’d pay me. Spoiler alert: none of the 3 companies went anywhere.

Styled shoots are just a shady way of asking a professional to deliver premium work without paying for it. And the intention is great, in theory, a rising tide lifts all boats and all.

The truth is, people are out there for themselves. If there is nothing in it for them, they’re ghosts. Now you know why people bail on a shoot after initially agreeing, or if they’re smart, ask the planner of the shoot 99 questions before agreeing to join in.

  Photo Credit -  Something Blue Photography    Once a stationery suite arrives at a shoot, sometimes it sits on a table, maybe styled, maybe not, and it either shot first or last with little attention to how to creatively display it. I am adamant about having a human element in at least one photo to stir an emotional response in my viewer and bring the suite to scale in a real world setting. 

Photo Credit - Something Blue Photography

Once a stationery suite arrives at a shoot, sometimes it sits on a table, maybe styled, maybe not, and it either shot first or last with little attention to how to creatively display it. I am adamant about having a human element in at least one photo to stir an emotional response in my viewer and bring the suite to scale in a real world setting. 

  Tile Invitation Suite    Photo Credit -  Something Blue Photography    This sorcery just blows my mind. This suite was on a glass table. GLASS. The wizardry of my photographer made it on a marble background and really made it pop. I got to style this lay flat which meant that there was no crowding and plenty of breathing room for all of the components. 

Tile Invitation Suite

Photo Credit - Something Blue Photography

This sorcery just blows my mind. This suite was on a glass table. GLASS. The wizardry of my photographer made it on a marble background and really made it pop. I got to style this lay flat which meant that there was no crowding and plenty of breathing room for all of the components. 


II. You are not a client.

There are VERY fine lines that need to be emboldened if styled shoots are going to work the way they were intended.

If I’m working for free it’s because it’s a passion project. Full stop.

I am not, by any way shape or form, designing something according to your parameters or personal opinions. If you ask me to be part of, or agree to my request to design for a shoot, you have me on board because you think my work aligns with your vision. Trust in that.

Maybe that makes me sound like an asshole, actually, I’m fairly sure it does, but you like something about this asshole’s work, so you get the whole asshole package.

It’s funny, we tell our couples all the time that despite their family’s contributions to their wedding, it doesn’t give them a right to dictate how it will play out. When they aren’t paying the couple should do whatever they want.

The Style Shoot Tree Can Be Shady AF

What a concept.

Event professionals get final say on their work for every styled shoot. Unless they are misrepresenting a fellow pro in some way, that’s just how it is.

Because of my work in non-traditional invitation mediums, I often get styled shoot coordinators asking me for a certain medium, which, yes, if it’s not paper, I’m probably your girl, but, if at my discretion, something works better, I get to do what I think is best. We don’t hire a natural light photographer to capture posed shots and we don’t ask for subjective design decisions from a designer.

So no, you don’t get to tell me you don’t like the font or the color of the envelopes. You are not a client. Because if you were, we’d have a much different process. Timelines, contracts, even communication boundaries are much different with clients, because they earn certain rights when they put their money where their mouth is.

III. A real party is not a styled shoot.

I’ll say it again for the people in the back.

A   r e a l   e v e n t   i s   n o t   a   s t y l e d  s h o o t .

This happens when I get asked to design for “shoots” that aren’t weddings. Or maybe they throw a pair of people in there as models to take photos of before the real event gets started--yeah no, not a styled shoot.

This is the shadiest shit I have ever seen.

Images by Amber Robinson | Raleigh Wedding Photographer | Kasey

Wood Invitation

Photo Credit - Amber Robinson

My work is heavily specialized in non-traditional mediums. This means that it can be especially tricky to photograph the details of woodgrain, the texture of fabric, and the visibility of clear acrylic. I partnered with one of my local professionals to get dedicated lay flat shots of my work for web and brand use that weren’t part of a styled shoot. The best part was that I had control over how my work was displayed, and we worked together to get the shots I needed.

You are asking a fellow creative to work a real event for nothing.

I have been told shoots are shoots only to get deeper in the process and find out that wasn’t the case. My red flag is when I get asked for a digital design or more than a couple copies of a suite.

Sorry, but 85 invitations are not for a styled shoot.

It doesn’t matter if you’re submitting it for publishing, it would be under the real weddings category if it were a wedding.

This is some grade-a bullshit right here where people ask their professional network to be part of a personal event for them with no intention of paying for their work. It honestly blows my mind, especially when we all would come to bat when a couple asks, “Is it more expensive because it’s a wedding?”


I spend 4 hours of design time on average for each real wedding. My couples get 3 rounds of proofs with unlimited changed and at minimum, 12 weeks of me as a professional resource.

Non-wedding designs are the bastard love child of an idea and a designer--not 2 consultation calls and a details questionnaire that takes approximately 20 minutes before I even open up adobe creative suite.

If it’s for an event with real guests, pay for the work you’re asking for.

IV. Stop saying yes.

I didn’t do styled shoots for a bit. They cost big money to create the batshit crazy ideas I come up with--seriously, I have a sample of one invitation that cost me $150 wholesale. Even now, I’m exceptionally wary of the ones I say yes to. I honestly do them for fun, when clients are sparse, or both and I need a hit of that sweet sweet gratification that comes from a gorgeous professional image of my work. I ask if there’s an interested publication and who--everything must line up with my scope.

I’ve also said no.

It’s lead me to be asked more often about better opportunities. It’s earned me respect because I don’t bail unless circumstances change.

Styled shoots are shady business. Don’t get burned out there. Be your own asshole.

*Special thanks for the spelling edit of stationery from Styled Shoots Across America. It's important to use right titles of your fellow industry professionals. For more on stationery vs. stationary, see my blog on common stationery terms here.


Kasey Kyprianou is the owner and founder of revelry + heart, a custom design studio for couples that revel in their authenticity and crave design that evokes conversation. In a past life, Kasey was a graphic design student who interned at a stationery store in Greenwich, Connecticut. It was there that she worked on projects with the likes of Brenden Fraser and Flo Rida. Now, a seasoned business owner, she owns her own studio and designs for her own celebrity clients around the world. She's an envelope-pusher, a family treaty peacemaker, timeline expert and non-traditional stationery queen.

Leave her some love on InstagramFacebook, or Pinterest!


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