In the special event business, I have been fortunate to work with many talented and creative industry professionals. I'm always reaching out to photographers, post event, to gather images of lovely food, flowers, wedding cakes and smiling faces from special celebrations. It's amazing to see the details, colors, expressions, emotions and overall compositions of some of these images. I often find it overwhelming to select pictures from the galleries of event photos; they all are so striking. There are many very accomplished photographers in our locale.
Ashley Stephenson of Story Photographers and I have had a unique working relationship over the past 2 years. I first became aware of her work while preparing an awards entry submission for an absolutely gorgeous wedding. I could tell she was the kind of photographer that not only customizes the experience for her brides and other clients, but really connects with them, long after the event. One of the photos we used for the awards submission was so representative of our brand, that we also put it on the back of our truck. I worked with our design firm for a couple of months, selecting the right images and getting the vehicle wrap plan together. The bride featured in the image and Ashley came for the unofficial "unveiling" of the new truck. They brought wine with them, took more professional shots and selfies with their cell phones. They were so excited! We were excited too, the trucks look great! (Thank you Capital Wraps). In any case, it was an unexpected surprise that she and bride Katelyn, would want to not only see the truck, but really celebrate it. What a nice way to engage with a client, months after their event, something we often don't get to do as the nature of the weddings - "one and done" (or at least we always wish a lifetime of happiness to every couple though there are some repeaters these days).
Our team continued to encounter Ashley at other weddings and social events, and we always enjoy her enthusiasm and passion for her work.
Ashley contacted me this past Spring with an idea for a fundraiser to benefit Interact a private, non-profit, United Way agency that provides safety, support, and awareness to victims and survivors of domestic violence. She hosted the event at the Merrimon Wynne house in downtown Raleigh. The Cupcake Shoppe and Make Up for your Day also participated and we were delighted to jump on board along with these other women-owned businesses.
During Ashley's career as a photographer, she has come to understand that women are often apprehensive about having pictures taken. She organized the vendors and created a fun and welcoming environment, where they would feel at ease and comfortable with smiling for the camera. In her poignant words, "I wanted women to feel proud to visually represent who they are and the story they carry within themselves."
Make Up for your day offered complimentary make up and hair styling, Catering Works and The Cupcake Shoppe setup delicious food stations as Ashley created beautiful portraits for all the guests. Donations exceeding $2200 were collected, as well as donation items. Goods and services that are vital to the care and recovery of victims of domestic abuse, such as women and children's clothing, shoes and accessories, toiletry items and gift cards are examples of items collected. We look forward to "Her Story" in 2016!!
It's easy to make an online donation to Interact today!