des moines, iowa and beyond

workflow & systems strategist

Creative at Heart Conference | 5 Lessons for Life & Business


I cannot believe it has been two weeks since I was greeting friends, new and old, and soaking in all of the wisdom and joy that is the Creative at Heart Conference! Raleigh was such a wonderful experience and I am still sorting through all of the nuggets and inspiration from those three days.

When it comes to continuing education, there are so many options in the creative and wedding industry. So many, in fact, that I have a long wish list, but find it hard to click ‘yes’ and go. These experiences are an investment and it’s important to make sure we are selecting those that fit our business and season the best. Due to this fact, I have only attended a few in person conferences/workshops and only one as a repeat attendee. That conference is Creative @ Heart.

Why? Because Creative at Heart Conference just keeps pushing the envelope, striving to be better and always welcoming anyone with a creative dream to be part of the family. Yep, I said family. I reconnected in person with so many friends from a couple years ago and make new friends that I know I’ll be in touch with for years to come — in just THREE days!

I attended the inaugural C@H in January 2015. I was super nervous, had no idea what I was getting into and it was my first ever in person conference experience. From the first time I emailed with Kat, she made me feel loved and welcomed. Y’all, this girl has a heart of gold and more to give than anyone I know. The fact that Raleigh was the 7th conference experience in 2.5 years is such a testament to her heart for helping and serving creatives!

It was an honor to be asked to serve this group as an alumni volunteer last week. It brought me so much joy to help make the week such a memorable one for the 100+ attendees. Not only did I help, but I was given the opportunity to meet so many new friends and sit in on the majority of the presentations by the fantastic educators!

To be completely transparent and honest, I entered the week and experience praying for clarity and direction. As we navigate this new season in our personal lives, my professional and entrepreneurial journey is taking all kinds of twists and turns. In our panel group on Monday night, with floor tacos (yum!), I was shocked that I blurted out to the group that I felt completely overwhelmed and lost. Though I was looking for a bit of direction, I didn’t feel that far off the path. Or at least I didn’t think I did…

Y’all, I’m a planner by nature. Adam and I have sat down multiple times to discuss what HHE will look like next year, so I felt like I had a handle on it. Then, I said that out loud and my heart felt lighter. This is the beauty of being part of the C@H community. Not everyone has a break through heart moment, but the environment welcomes you to and makes you feel safe. We are among others who truly, deep down understand all of the roller coaster feelings and experiences we have as creative entrepreneurs.

You might be thinking, “man, Jenn, that’s super vulnerable. Why are you sharing this on your blog?”. Well, friends, I always want to be honest and share the truth behind what being a creative business owner is. While my brides and grooms are the heartbeat of what HHE is all about, I also want to be a voice to and for other entrepreneurs. We are all in this together and you are not alone!

Here’s the thing, regardless of what your social media presence looks like, how many clients you have or how put together things seem, we are all human. We all struggle with something (or things) and there is no shame in that. If there is one thing I took away from last week, it is that we are all enough and doing our best to serve our clients and our families to the best of our abilities. The thread of defining our why and cultivating the things that will matter to us when we are old and grey was so inspiring. (more on that later, because I was 3 feet away from Lara Casey!!)

Throughout the presentations, that sentiment was echoed and we were pushed to really dig deep. I honestly wrote things in my notebook that shocked me in the best ways. So, what were my big takeaways? I’m so glad you asked!

  1. Fear has been holding me back. Fear of failure, what others will think, if I am meant to do this or if I’m a fraud. I have to be done with that. I AM qualified and gifted, or God wouldn’t have started me down this path. Bye, fear. It’s totally you and I’m moving on. Hello world of possibility and embracing me!
  2. I’m doing better than I thought. The core of HHE is to focus on relationships and that is all that matters. If I can love on one couple and make them feel special and taken care of, then my job is done. Of course, we are blessed to cross paths with so many more, but one is more than enough!
  3. My goals are legitimate! I do not need to feel less than or crazy for the big dreams I have. Or the little ones.
  4. It’s not as hard as it seems. While entrepreneurship takes grit and is definitely challenging, it is not a magic unicorn that is out of reach. The things I build up in my head are actually not so complicated. The educators did a fantastic job de-mystifying so many things for me. My lists might seem longer, but they are more digestible and I no longer feel like I have to tackle everything at once. Slow and steady is ok. In fact, it is often better.
  5. We all need a tribe. Hope Taylor talked about ‘kitchen table friends’ and that hit home. Having a close knit group of people who will speak honesty and encouragement into your journey is a necessity. I have a few of those people and didn’t even realize it. I am so excited to lean into and speak into that group in the months and years to come.

So many of my feelings have been echoed by fellow alumni in their posts this week, which is absolutely a testament to the hard and heart work that Kat, Matt and Emily put into creating this experience for all of us. Thank you to every, single person who was in attendance, helped behind the scenes and welcomed all of us to Raleigh! You truly have impacted so many of us directly, and in turn, our clients that we will love on for years to come.

This highlight video by The Herringtons is absolutely amazing and was such a wonderful surprise on Wednesday as we wrapped things up. Enjoy!

If you are looking for an educational experience that leaves you feeling fully capable, empowered and rejuvenated, then get on the list to hear about the 2018 Creative at Heart Conference experience! If you have any questions, please email me – I’d love to chat!

xoxo, Jenn

All photography by the ever talented Holly Felts!

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