Well, that is a catchy blog post title - anything that says Give-Away is pretty exciting. And there is a Give-Away - I do not tell lies. But, I do tell stories, so I want to tell the story behind this Give-Away first, then the details of what I'm giving away, and to whom.
Today, June 13, 2018, marks a significant day for me. After today I will have lived more days than my mom did. Yes, I sat down and counted this out when I turned 53, because I'm like that. So assuming I don't die tonight, I'm going to be older than my mom ever was tomorrow.
Here's the back story: In 1997 my mom was diagnosed with Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer, a cancer that at the time had zero (0) documented survivors to 3 years, and an average lifespan from diagnosis of 2-6 months. It is a devastating disease, and 21 years later the prognosis is not really any better. She lived 5 months from diagnosis.
Several days before the surgery that resulted in the diagnosis, I got engaged. When her medical condition and the dire nature of the prognosis became clear to us, Andy and I determined to get married as soon as possible - like 7 weeks from the day of our decision. We had a wonderful wedding, My mom was able to attend, although a week later and I think she would have been too weak to do it. She died a little over two months after the wedding.
My mom lived a full and dynamic life. She had great family, and amazing friends. She was creative, smart, resourceful, and although there was a toughness to her, she was soft-hearted, particularly to children and those in need. She was the wife of one man, my dad, who she married when she was just 19, after knowing him for a month. They were married for 33+ years. She was the mother of four. She had a positive influence on those around her. I could go on and on about her, but I think that is enough. All in all, she was a remarkable woman, with an incredible faith.
So, I've been anticipating this day for actually a couple of years now. And I'm still working out all of my feelings about it. There was some of the expected fear of "will I live longer than my mom?" But mostly I assumed I would, but realized I don't have a role model for how to do life as I move forward. (Well, really I do, because there is her sister, my Aunt Susan, and I am close to her). You get the gist, it is weird to be older than my mom ever got to be. And I count the time as a blessing.
Now, I want to do something to celebrate that blessing.
As I mentioned above, my wedding was planned rather quickly, and in circumstances that were less than usual. Basically, her dying process and our marrying process were all jumbled together emotionally.
Even though I "grew up" to become a wedding photographer, and I had a real value for photography already back then, I did not have a really great photographer at my wedding. There just wasn't time to get one, and when a friend volunteered her husband to do it, I said yes, checked one more thing off my list, and moved on.
Andy and I have photos from our wedding. And we cherish them! But, the truth of the matter is, they aren't what I wish they were. I'm not complaining, but I'm being real. Now that I know what they could be, I wish we'd had the wisdom to make hiring a professional, experienced wedding photographer a priority. We got married on a private property right at the water's edge of Lake Tahoe, and don't have one epic photo to document that. Bummer!
All of this, plus my usual practice of doing one wedding a year away for a very discounted price for someone who otherwise would not have the opportunity to have professional photographs, got me thinking. What if . . .
What if I gave away an extraordinary photography package - like the full thing - a full day of coverage, including a second shooter. And I throw in an engagement session, boudoir or bridal session, trash the dress (if wanted), and maybe even more. But then, what if I made sure to do it a bit over the top - a documentation of the planning process - meeting with vendors, writing out the invites, all of that kind of thing done in a "day in the life" style of photography. A bit of a photo documentary of the whole wedding planning process. I think that is pretty cool myself. So, that is what I'm giving away.
Yes, this is the part you've been waiting for! Like anything in life, there are some conditions:
1. I'm only giving away one of these. Not trying to be stingy, but a girl has to make a living too! And there is no purchase necessary to win. Just email me and I'll give you the application, and once you turn it in, you are in the contest.
2. I get to decide who has the need/story that inspires me to do this. Completely my discretion at what touches my heart, nothing objective about it. But, I promise, I don't have anyone in mind at this time, so it is not rigged. I'm an open mind waiting to be inspired. This is not going to be based strictly on financial need, although that may be a factor. I want to hear compelling stories of people who are over coming all sorts of issues to get married. I want to participate in a wedding that the couple fought to make wonderful and a meaningful celebration.
3. People have to get their application to me by October 1, 2018. Yes, there is an application process! Email me through my website to ask for an application starting July 1, 2018. But I will tell you, the application process is going to be such that I need to know you are familiar with my photography style, and that you like it. This is designed to make someone very happy, not to allow them to easily check the box on their to do list where it says "get a wedding photographer." You need to actually want my particular style of photography for your wedding (otherwise it isn't a good thing for you or me).
4. The exact photo shoots included in this wedding package are:
a. Engagement photo shoot of 1.5 hours;
b. Up to 10 hours of wedding planning activities covered in a "day in the life" style - this can be of all sorts of planning and preparation activities.
c. A 1.5 hour boudoir photo shoot OR a 1.5 hour bridal wear photo shoot prior to the wedding - either of which can be at my studio, or a location within 75 miles of Bozeman, but if it is not my studio, you are responsible for any fees associated with the site or permits to use the site;
d Up to 8 hours of wedding day photography with Susan Beth Breuner as the primary photographer and a second shooter of her choice for as many hours as she determines is appropriate for the schedule; and
e. At the discretion of the couple, a 1.5 hour "Trash the Dress" photo shoot within 4 weeks of the wedding date - again, if there are fees associated with the use of the site for this photo shoot, the winner is responsible for paying those fees.
5. The couple must be willing to let me share the process on my social media and website - basically for all the world to see. I mean, if you are going to touch my heart with your story, I'm going to want to touch other people's heart too.
6. The couple must be planning the wedding for 2019. Winter, spring, summer, or fall, I'm open to it, as long as I'm not already booked for their date.
7. The couple must not have already engaged another photographer - I will not be interfering with already existing contracts, as I respect my fellow photography community too much for that.
8. The couple must be getting married within 75 miles of Bozeman, MT.
9. The winner will be announced on October 5, 2018, and I will post who that is by October 10th, 2018.
10. The value of the package being given away is $4500.
And just because I want to keep us all out of trouble, some information for the compliance with Give-Away Contest Laws: This contest is sponsored by Susan Beth Breuner, D/B/A Elements of Light Photography, P.O. Box 603, Gallatin Gateway, MT 59730.
If you have questions, leave them in the comment section below, and I will answer them so that everyone gets a chance to learn more.
All of the photos in this post - you guessed it, those are my mom, and that is me with her in the one and my Aunt Susan in another.