Hi there, friend! Renee here! I'm a wedding photographer located in Bucks County, pa! I'm in love with my husband, my two kitties and conversations over a glass of wine or coffee! I'm so glad you're here! Enjoy getting to know my amazing couples and viewing their beautiful weddings!

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Guest blog by Erin Cole, owner and lead planner of Laurel Wedding Co, LLC

When Renee asked me to be a guest on her blog, without a shed of doubt I said YES!! And what an honor it is to be featured by another friend/wedding vendor, as we say “friendor,” whom I love, admire, and respect both personally and professionally! That was over a week ago. And up until this morning, I had no idea what I was going to blog about… Especially in this pandemic season of life.

I love reading blogs like Renee’s or other wedding vendors, especially photographers! I mean, who doesn’t love reliving a wedding through sweet stories and pretty pictures?!

I’ve written blogs, both personally and collaborations like this. And, I have experience, stories to tell, and yet days went by… still no words. I would brainstorm out loud, in my journal, over a glass of wine.. Nothing. Anyone who knows me knows I am rarely, if ever, at an actual loss for words!And then, it hit me. As usual, on the day my blog was supposed to be done, my morning quiet time came through! (can anyone else relate?!)
There has never been a time or season of life where I am painfully unaware of what I do not know. 

I don’t have all the answers.

Did you catch that? I’ve never been made to be silent, made to not have the words, to realize the one thing I am trying to convince myself isn’t true: I don’t have all of the answers. 

As a Wedding Planner, I pride myself on – you guessed it – having the answers. Timeline questions? Got you covered.Vendor referrals? Ask away. Need to get that dirt off your wedding dress? Emergency Kit to the rescue! The reality is, wedding planner or not, our world has been rocked these past two weeks thanks to COVID-19, Coronavirus, a.k.a. what I now call, Corona. (Let’s face it, it’s more fun referring to this pandemic as a yummy-summer-beach-beer, than a terrible virus – right?) Corona has reminded me that we don’t have all the answers. 

Not knowing is hard.

Why was/is this such a hard concept for me to grasp of not having the answers? Maybe because in one way, the answers are technically all around us: The news is full of information about Corona. TV in general is all about it: interrupted shows, special programs, there’s Q&A sessions everywhere, on every network. And if there aren’t, there’s TV shows being conducted from home to remind us of the times (thank goodness for Jimmy Fallon, right?!). 

I’ve received numerous emails from great wedding organizations like HoneyBook with special helpful resources and “tool kits” on how to answer questions and operate during the pandemic. We’ve listened to great podcasts The Goal Digger Podcast!) that have both challenged and energized me to be productive during this “slower” time from updating my website to cleaning out my inbox. I’ve seen thousands of social media posts from wedding vendors and friends with great suggestions and answers to questions about the pandemic, and also encouragement for getting through this time (go follow @goodnews_movement on Instagram if you don’t already!).

Don’t get me wrong, I have great resources and am helping many brides postpone and reschedule weddings, and am finding great JOY in that work! I love planning weddings, and if you are a bride facing postponement or rescheduling, I would LOVE to chat with you and walk alongside you during this crazy season of life!

What I Do Know & What I am Loving During this Pandemic-Season by Erin Cole

It’s about the Bigger Questions…

I’m talking about the bigger questions, needing deeper answers – giving encouraging answers that I am challenged to give as a wedding planner during a not-so-encouraging time. We know this too shall pass, but we don’t really know the rest, despite ALL the answers that are all around us. 
By now, we are two weeks in.

I can honestly say (and hope that I’m not alone), I’ve eaten too much, watched too much TV, I’ve been productive and at the same time lazy. I’ve relaxed and at the same time felt anxious, laughed and cried – all of the above. And I am thankful it took this time and this blog for me to finally knock it off and stop trying to find the answers. Or, even convince myself that what I’m doing is giving myself all the answers. Sure, I can offer what I’ve learned… But, the ultimate answers to everything going on, how I’m feeling and what I should be doing, are answers I already knew before all of this even started. 

Instead of writing a blog to try to give advice and give you the answers, I thought I’d share what I do know. And, of course, what I am loving during this pandemic-season.

The first thing I know is what was put on my heart this morning: My Identity.

I am a child of God. I am a new creation and  I am a friend of Jesus. And, I am created by God to do good. I am free in Christ, chosen and loved and I am not ruled by fear. I am forgiven and I am God’s possession. And, I am free from the desires of the flesh. I am a light in the world and secure in Him. Most importantly, I am loved by God. 

Believer or not, I recommend Rhythms of Renewal, Trading Stress & Anxiety for a Life of Peace & Purpose by Rebekah Lyons… Especially during times like this! This list came from her, but there’s also other great truths and information shared that I hope you will also find encouragement in!

The second thing I know is there is such a thing as “Information Overload” And it’s okay, even wise, to take a break.

It only took me a couple of days into this pandemic to pick a fight with my husband and break down. I had to go a little crazy before realizing I needed to put up boundaries. Now, we don’t watch the news every day. I took a weekend off of social media, and ever since, only periodically check. Instead of cooking dinner to the TV in the background, one day we just had music going! It totally helped my mood stay positive! If you find yourself going crazy, start small with a break from the news or social media. Try just one day before going back to it. Almost like a mini “news fast,” and it might be good for your soul.

And when in doubt, play this instrument of “In Da Club”, instant mood changer.

The third thing, and what I’m loving during this season, is something we are seeing everywhere:

Working out is medicine, and should be followed by a good meal. 

Anyone who knows me knows this was not a truth I needed to learn from the pandemic. Although, it has challenged me to run a little further or work out a little longer. Thanks to a few longer workouts, I’ve been able to try a couple of new recipes and if I can cook them, and even my husband likes them (picky eater anyone?), then you can too! 

Cajun Shrimp Pasta

Crock Pot Deep Dish Pizza (even YOU can make homemade pizza dough)

Sausage Alfredo Zoodles (yes, zucchini noodles can be delicious!)

I hope this is a little piece of encouragement for you today! And if nothing else, thanks for scrolling all the way down to read to the end! While I don’t have all the answers during this pandemic season, remembering the answers I do have is good for my soul. I hope it gives yours a little boost, too.

What I Do Know & What I am Loving During this Pandemic-Season by Erin Cole
Photo Credit: Olivia Rae Photography

About Erin: Erin is the Owner and Lead Planner of Laurel Wedding Co, LLC! While she mainly serves the Lancaster/Central PA area, she also coordinates for brides in and outside Philadelphia! She offers Event Management/Day-Of, Partial, and Full Coordination packages. Erin & her team strive to energetically serve brides making sure they are guests at their special event!