It seems like every year when I sit down to write this post, I end up declaring it an "incredible year." But 2018 lands in a category allllll its own. Reading through my 2017 post as I prepared to write this one, I was brought back to my life one year ago and how much things have changed. Traditionally I pick out my 5 favorite happenings from the past year and most of them center around my business. After all, I've been single my whole life and year after year, although I've felt incredibly blessed, life has been largely unchanged. But this year my life took a sharp curve and I somehow made up for the lack of personal milestones all at once. In 2018 I got engaged, married and pregnant. CRAZY! Life sure looks different than it did this time last year but I am in love and feeling SO blessed with all the change. And more than any other year, this one deserves some reflection and celebration!

So without further 5 favorite happenings from 2018 are...

#1 -- I got engaged!

I met Bruce in October of 2017 and by February of this year we were engaged. It seemed fast, but was also just right. A few of the reasons for our short courtship and engagement were: we were dating long distance (which can get expensive and annoying), were committed not to live together before marriage, and knew we were right for each other. You can read more about how we met and how Bruce proposed here. I still marvel at the beautiful story that God wrote for us and how He worked out the timing perfectly.

#2 -- I got married!
We were married on June 23rd in the mountains of Colorado surrounded by 120 of our family and friends. We recently spent an evening watching our full-length wedding video delivered by Sula Studios and both of us were in tears. Planning a wedding in 4 months from a distance was a ton of work, but man was it worth it! We had the most amazing team of vendors who are friends as well, and so many dear friends traveling in from far away to celebrate with us. We poured our hearts into making the day significant and personal to us, and we love how it turned out. I could relive that day again and again. And I get to through Daniel Kim's beautiful images! To see more from our wedding day, click here for the photo post, and here for the video highlight!

#3 -- We found out we were expecting a honeymoon baby!
Yep. We thought, "Why not do ALL THE THINGS in one year?" haha! Actually, we had no idea if we could get pregnant or how long it would take, so we left it up to God and now we get to meet our little boy in March! We are thrilled, feeling beyond blessed and SO excited. As I'm typing this, I'm 27 weeks along and feeling well overall. Just all the little discomforts and inconveniences that come along with pregnancy. But I'm told it's worth it in the end ;).

#4 -- Lots of fun travel
This year I got to travel to Colorado, North Carolina, Tennessee, Chicago, Cancun, Nepal AND spend a good portion of the summer in Montana, which was my favorite part. Phoenix summers are brutal and for the first time, I had a great excuse not to be here this summer. Bruce was living in Montana before we got married and because summers are my off-season for photography, we decided to hole up there for about 6 weeks while he finished out his job in the oil industry. We did some backpacking, explored Yellowstone National Park, and enjoyed the beautiful weather. To see more behind the scenes of our travels this year, check out the highlight reel on my Insta-stories!

#5 -- Business developments
With all of the personal change in my life this year, my businesses didn't receive as much of my focus. Thankfully I have amazing teams in place and have systems set up that provide me with a lot of flexibility. And we were once again blessed with some amazing clients to work with! Here's a recap of some of the developments from 2018 for each of my three businesses:

Melissa Jill Photography -- We added one new associate photographer to our team and between the 5 of us we shot a total of 23 weddings. I did 10 myself, which was perfect for a busy year. And man -- I loved my clients! I feel so blessed to get to work with such incredible people. In addition to weddings, I photographed a number of newborns on film which is super-fun.

Align Album Design -- My album design company continues to grow. We have now served over 1,000 photographers in our 6+ years of business! Our focus is to help photographers succeed at albums and I've loved providing more and more education to help photographers navigate how to sell albums well.

Rendezbooth -- My photo booth company had our second full year in business and we were able to participate in 44 events over the course of the year! Rendezbooth is getting some extra attention as Bruce has taken over running it full-time. He is quickly learning the ins and outs of being an entrepreneur and Rendezbooth is growing rapidly as a result! We are enjoying working from home together and it's soooo nice to have someone else running alongside me on this business journey!

Thank you all for reading and sharing in my journey! I can't wait to see what 2019 holds in store for all of us!
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