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2009 was the year that everything changed.  I learned how far I can push myself, my capacity for love, and that I have a choice every day to make good things happen.  Looking back, I cannot believe how much has happened. I had a mild panic attack putting this post together.  I mean, seriously, this year was INSANE!!  I traveled more than ever

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…and I survived and grew only by the grace of God.   Most of the images here are from my iPhone, which became my visual journal this year, unless otherwise noted.  I have so much to say later this week, but for now…  my year (well, a small portion of it) in review, in pictures.

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January 1st New Years in Vail.  I’m the one who looks frozen.  I started the year doing what I love most- skiing!

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January 6th The premiere issue of Southern Weddings hits stands.  If you’ve heard my story at MTH2010, you know how much that day meant to me.  Brilliant cover by Jose Villa who will be guest speaking with me at MTH2010 Los Angeles.

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January 17th Premiere launch party in Atlanta.  So many great friends came to celebrate with us including the cover couple, Chelsea and Tec.  I was overwhelmed with gratitude and joy that night.

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February 12-19 WPPI Las Vegas.  This was the tipping point of 2009 for me.  You’ll just have to go to MTH2010 to hear why from Jeff and I.  I met some of my best friends in the world that night.

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A week after WPPI, Jory emailed me and asked me to be his agent.  Thus, the idea of Lara Casey Reps was born.  I spent the next months working with Jory and building a brand new business plan.  Thank you, Jory, for starting this fire!

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March 13th My first ever Social Media Workshop in my home town in Florida.  The relationships that were born out of that day have continued to grow and I’ve loved watching the attendees soar this year.

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March 14th SW Barnes and Noble Signing in Florida.  My proud mom and dad came to say hi.

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March 24 Get Married TV Shoot, Atlanta, GA.  I was nervous and my hair was really frizzy.  The clips they ended up using were about none other than bug spray and beer.  So southern : )

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March 25 I was honored that Michelle and the StudioWed crew hosted this party for me in Atlanta.  So blessed to know these women.

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March 27-30 My best fried, Ryan, got married at Barton Creek in Austin, Texas.  Ryan’s dad had me do an impromptu toast and I just about lost it.  We grew up together and he was even the “Man of Honor” at my wedding.

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March 30-April 1  I flew from Austin to LA to meet with a producer and enjoyed a perfect afternoon in Venice with Jory. After just a few moments, I forgot he was shooting me.

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April 7-8 Eventology Conference, Indianapolis.  Favorite memories (aside from the awesome conference): my roomie, Jeannine, getting a tattoo, doing the stanky leg with Jeremy and Bryan, filming the Heather and Lara show, and busting in on Michelle‘s room and singing happy birthday to her at midnight.  Wedding planners know how to have good ole fashioned fun!  Looking forward to speaking at Eventology this year.

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April 13-17 first shoot for Southern Weddings at Watercolor Resort, FL.

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If you know me, you know I fell in love with Watercolor this year.  My far-off dream is to buy a little house there to relax in when we come to FL and to use for shoots.  I just love the way of life – slow and sweet.

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April 20-23 I drove from FL to Birmingham, AL, to speak at the first-ever A Bryan Photo Workshop.  So great to see the ABP guys, Jory and so many new friends.  I admire Bryan and his team more than I can say.

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Miss Whitney Davis brought her sunshine and brilliance to my life!

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May 2009 I went to Florida for entire month to do weddings.  Note to self: do not ever leave home for a month.  Ever again.  No matter what.  It was fun and we produced stunning weddings, but it was really hard on my marriage.  Deployment was easier than wedding season.

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May 7-10th DeAnna and Allen’s wedding on Pensacola Beach, FL.  They’re having a baby this year… so happy for them!

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May 12-16 Poonam and Chirag’s EPIC Indian wedding with Our Labor of Love in Fort Walton Beach, FL.  Awesome.  Love you, P!

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One of my favorite portraits this year from the OLOL Smilebooth at Poonam and Chirag’s wedding.  We had more people ask us about the little floral elephants than you would believe!

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May 20-24th Wedding in Destin, FL.

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June 3-10 Lindsey and Chad get married at my parent’s house in Gulf Breeze, FL.  Photo by my good friends, Rae and Wes.

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June 10-13 I flew to NY with my friend Sandi to visit Nick Onken and my MTH2010 Tour buddy, Jeff Holt.

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June 14-17 Back to Florida for meetings and to catch a few sunsets.

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June 18-19 Back to Chapel Hill, NC, for 24 hours before leaving for…

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June 20-26 Engage09::Grand Cayman Island. So blessed to be asked to speak at Engage!  Thank you, Rebecca and Kathryn for believing in me.  I am forever grateful.

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June 22nd I launched Lara Casey Reps. with Jory, Jeremy, Kyle and Jeff. Thank you, Ross, for making all my crazy ideas come to life this year!

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July 4th weekend – Flew to FL to get my car that had been there for wedding season and drove it back to NC.  My mom took this picture with her old Minolta right after a storm.  Made me feel at peace about moving forward with Lara Casey Reps.    I was terrified to launch it.  I knew it would change the course of my life and it certainly has.

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July 5th  Back to the office in Chapel Hill.  The bulk of wedding season had ended and Whitney and I spent a week cleaning the office.  We started reading Getting Things Done together and got rid of all of the “stuff” that was just laying around collecting dust.  By the end of that week, we both felt this huge weight had been lifted and we were ready to conquer the rest of the year.  That was also the week I took the plunge and hired Katharine and Emily. (read Emily’s story for all the details)

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July 15-16th Katharine, Whitney and I flew to Atlanta for the Bridalbar Atlanta Launch.  So great to celebrate with Harmony, Rebecca, and all of our ATL friends!

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July 17-20th Whitney and I flew from Atlanta to Florida to do Rachel and Lee’s awesome Wedding on Pensacola Beach.

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July 25th I launched this little blog : )  Get the skinny on all of the header images here.

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August Emily and Katharine move to NC!  Holy Moley!

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They instantly changed the way I think about business.  Suddenly, the office was humming with possibility and we set out to plan our first shoot as a team.

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August 20-27th 2nd Watercolor Resort Photo Shoot with Jory, Jeff, Fred and Kyle. This was a BIG weekend- loads of people, models, photographers, makeup artists, products, dresses, flowers, and fun! Sandi, Whit, Em and I wearing Sweet Pea and Fawn headpieces below.

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Gorgeousness from Fred

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So lovely… images below by Jory Cordy. Pick up a copy of our current issue to see the rest.

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I drove back to NC after that whirlwind shoot and did a whole lot of thinking … wrote my Truth Day post and started to find my voice on this blog.

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September 6-9th I did one of the most spontaneous things I’ve ever done.  I woke up one morning and decided I needed a solo vacation to Jamaica.

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I left the next morning on a great adventure.  I didn’t tell anyone except my mom, Ari and the ladies in my office where I was going.  Incredible experience for me personally and exactly what I needed.

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Back to Chapel Hill, refreshed, perspective shifted, ready to hit the ground running on our new issue.

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September 22-24 Cover Shoot with Jeremy Cowart in Serenbe.  Jeremy and his crew were brilliant.

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We had such a great team and the shoot was phenomenal.  This was another one of those projects that started as a “crazy idea” in a morning huddle.   Pictured below with Ashley, Michelle, Eliana and Heather.  photo by kyle barnes

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October 2-4 Jay and Patricia’s wedding in Atlanta with Emily and Eliana.  In case you missed it, I broke up a fight during the ceremony.

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October 10-15 Engage Encore, Las Vegas.  I heart Randi Fenolli.  You can read my iPhone recap here.

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Magazine crazy time. Work work work work. With the help of my fearless colleagues, I laid out the magazine in 11 days.  Yes, that was nuts.

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October 25-28th Magazine Press Check, Florida.  Longest night of the year… stayed up till 6am proofing.

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October 30th Bridal Site Tour for a 2010 wedding in Salisbury, NC.  Such a beautiful venue, amazing couple, solid family… can’t wait.

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November  Fall in Chapel Hill was beyond beautiful.  I started to really love it there when I saw the leaves change.

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November 5-8th Southern Weddings V2 Launch Party in Atlanta at Bridalbar!

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Good times with the Mammoth Men followed by an EPIC dance party.  I’ve never had more fun in my life!

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November 10th Southern Weddings V2 hits stands with our gorgeous cover shot by Jeremy Cowart.

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November mailing madness (<—understatement) and my favorite post on Southern Weddings this year.

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November 15th Nancy Ray steps into our office for the first-ever behind the scenes peek for Brooklyn Bride.

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Welcome to our office…

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This was also the week I bit the bullet and got Kath and Em MacBooks and iPhones.  The office is working at lightning speed now.

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November 26th-29th Thanksgiving in Florida.  My mom just had hand surgery and my grandmother had broken her arm.  They somehow managed to cook dinner with a collective two hands.

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Epic sunset…  Grandma said, ““this is what I envision the coming of Christ to look like”  It was a moment I will never forget.

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December 3-6th Winter Shoot in Colorado with Jeff, Kyle, Jesse and Shannon. Great times in the snow with dear friends and my brother who lives in Denver.  The images turned out fabulously.

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December 16th someone had the brilliant idea to do our office Christmas party live on Twitcam.  We were all nervous but then it ended up being a ton of fun!  What I learned:  I laugh a lot and I say “amazing” far too much.  Thanks to everyone who joined us!

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December 21st the first-ever Making Things Happen Intensive in Watercolor FL. Out of everything that has happened this year, this first intensive — not even two weeks ago — has blown my mind more than anything.  The energy from the attendees doubles by the second.  Want to see for yourself?  Just follow the #MTH2010 hashtag for a few minutes. The bold moves that have already been made are unbelievable! I’m so so grateful for what’s to come!

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December 25th Christmas in Florida which means wearing my special “Christmas suit” which is like a box of fabric with arm and foot holes, sitting by the tree and spending time with my 92 year old Grandma Bunny… my favorite lady in the world.

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December 27th – My 30th Birthday.  So grateful for all the love this year.  Despite my fears about this large and in charge birthday milestone, it was a blessed day.  The water was like liquid silver that day and my mom drove across the state line to get illegal fireworks.  It was quite the show and made me feel very loved.

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December 31st – Tonight I’m with my family: Ari, mom, dad, Steve, Abby K Pants and Grandma. My mom is making Mexican food (the house smells amazing!) and we’re going to light up a few more fireworks. I love my family. PS – want to know what Katharine and Emily are up to tonight?

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What I’m looking at right now

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I’ve lost sleep over what to write as the year comes to a close.  I thought about telling you what I’ve learned, what I loved most, and what changed me in 2009.  But, instead, I just want to say thank you.  I have so much to share in 2010 and can’t wait to take you, dear readers and friends, along for the ride.  Thank you for sharing your hearts with me here on this little blog, teaching me through your experiences and making me feel like it’s ok to just be me — emotional, driven, wildly passionate, and flawed.  I owe everything to God and can’t thank Him enough for every laugh, tear, triumph and failure I’ve experienced this year.

I have a special post coming this week, but for now, here is my wish for 2010: to listen more –in the largest sense of the word– and to take ultimate care of myself –even when I don’t feel like it– so I can be my absolute best for others.  I wish to know Christ deeply this year and that His love would live in me and shine brightly.  I wish for a year of connection and giving as much of myself as humanly possible.  Inscribed in my wedding ring is a verse that I am adopting as my mantra for 2010: “I can do all things through Christ.” – Philippians 4:13

It is with deepest gratitude that I bid this year farewell and welcome in a brilliant new decade.  Happy New Year to old friends and new!

xo

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What’s your wish for the New Year?

Show Comments (13)
  1. kristin

    lara – it must sound cliche – but you are just pure inspiration! after reading this year in review it is amazing that you are just one person.
    thank you for sharing so much with the industry.
    here is to your continued success and happiness in 2010 :) cheers!

  2. Jenifer Simpson

    Lara…what an AMAZING year…great post! I remember seeing a lot of these event unfold on Twitter :) I am hoping to attend MTH in Atlanta…Happy New Year!

  3. Michelle @ HERPRESIGN

    My wish for 2010 is to grow into a better version of myself. Thank you for opening up your heart to us this year. I know the best is yet to come. :)

  4. Sarah Sheeler

    Lara,
    Thank you for sharing. I love reading your posts all the time. Good luck in 2010 and maybe you will be planning my wedding one day!!!!

  5. angel swanson

    what an incredible year you’ve had!! loved reading this recap and looking back on the amazing things God has brought you through in 2009. can’t wait to see how you continue to shine in 2010! happy new year! xo

  6. Jeff Holt

    Lara… wow! Great post, I love the idea of a visual journey. Looking forward to 2010 with you and all of the girls. Congratulations to you on such an amazing year!

  7. Kirsten Alana

    Wow! What a story, what a year, what a mass of blessing!! Can’t wait to see where 2010 takes you Lara! And can’t wait for MTHNYC in March!!!!

  8. The Broke-Ass Bride

    What a year you had, missy! You are a fearless warrior! My wish for 2010 is to get out of my own way and rush headfirst into the fire of my dreams, which are too numerous to list here.

    And to meet you :)
    But that one is already on its way – thanks for making it all possible by starting #MTH2010 and for being my fairy godmother in so many inspiring ways!

  9. Hannah Taylor

    Emily, thank you so much for this post. It was really great to read how you got your dream job! It really made my day reading it and has really inspired me to work on my own personal branding.

  10. Jory Cordy

    SHEESH!! Such a huge year for you. Honored to be a part of it. Congrats!!

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  12. David Soong

    What a wonderful year!! Thanks for sharing, you have inspired me.

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