Over the winter, I made a plan to stop shooting weddings. I announced that here on the blog at the end of January. I had started working on a new business plan and I was really excited to see where 2020 would take me. I went on vacation to Palm Springs during the first week of February, got sick the next week (was it? wasn’t it? we’ll never know) and when I finally felt better in March, the world shut down. And my new business plan was dead in the water. My industry is dead. My business plan relied heavily on the wedding and event industry, my industry, being busy.
And then, two weeks ago, my husband got a job offer in his hometown of Munich, Germany. This isn’t something that was unexpected. We had been making plans to move to Germany for a while now. But it was much sooner than expected, with a much faster timeline that we expected. And so we’re moving this fall! My husband leaves in a few weeks, the kiddo and I will follow after we get the house packed and ready to sell. And I really don’t know what is next.
Do I restart my business as a photographer in Munich? Do I pursue another self employed gig there? How do I even go about starting a business in Germany? Do I work remotely as an American company or for one? Do I find a full time job in Munich? That last one isn’t as bad as I first thought, if the benefits are anything like my husband’s job offering (6 weeks of vacation time, what?!). For now, I know that I need to finish the projects that are currently open in our house, pack up our belongings (and sell what we aren’t taking) and figure out where we’re living after the temp housing we’re booking. This site won’t go away, no matter what I do. Maybe I’ll blog about life abroad, or maybe I’ll spin it into something new. Who knows?
Over the past year, we’ve done most everything with the following question to guide us: does this move us closer to our goal, or further away? For us, the goal was moving to Munich. So, every big purchase, every choice we made, every house project, etc. was made with that in mind. It seems sudden to those who didn’t know what was happening behind the scenes. Just like it seems like a duck is gliding effortlessly across a like, all while paddling like mad under the surface.
I am endlessly grateful for the nine years I’ve had running this business. I’m leaving on a very, very strange note, but I am proud of the work I’ve done over the years. So! Work towards your goals. Live the life your heard desires. Wear a mask, wash your hands, and vote in every election.
While things will be slow here, you’ll be able to find updates about our new plans on Instagram at @wenzel.haus
Photo by The Leo Loves Photography in San Diego.
Our lives are defined by a series of moments. A flip book of little snapshots that make up a whole life. Blink and the years fly by. That’s why I became a photographer. To define those moments in the flipbook of people’s lives.
All my life, I’ve wanted to tell stories. Stories have shaped me into who I am today. My great-grandma’s stories of leaving Switzerland as a teen. My grandfather’s stories of serving in World War Two. My mama’s stories of visiting her grandparents’ store as a child. As a nerdy, artistic kid who never fit in, books were my best friends. I laughed at the escapades of Anne of Green Gables. I dreamed of magic with Harry Potter. I fell in love with Elizabeth Bennett. I drew and read and dreamed and wished for a place where I could sum up the world in a few hundred pages. I traveled the world to find something that I couldn’t define. I went to college to study history because I needed to know why those stories were so important. I saw how stories could shape the world. I learned to use my skills as a photographer to capture other people’s stories.
As I get older, the stories I read and want to tell are changing. Last year, I cut way back on shooting weddings, and recently, I realized, it was time to put aside that story. I won’t say that I will never shoot another wedding, because I might change my mind in a couple years and miss weddings. For now, I want to focus on other things, on other stories. I’m not sure what will happen with the website or the blog, but my goal is to catch up on my backlog this year, and enjoy these last few weddings. I’ve been shooting a lot more families and small businesses, and I’m not sure what the future will hold at this moment. I know I’ll always be a storyteller, and I’m opening my heart up to the next chapter of stories.
I’ve got some ideas, and I hate to be vague, but first, I’m going to enjoy the last bit of this season of my life, and spend some time trying new things, before I make any announcements.
My 2019 wedding season ended with this sweet and beautiful courthouse wedding. Belen + Giovanni, thank you for trusting me with your special day, and for braving the cold weather last week. Congratulations on your wedding, and I can’t wait to share more from your beautiful day with you in the coming weeks!
When Katlin emailed me a few months ago, she told me she found my post on how to elope in North Idaho and knew that’s what they wanted to do. They threw out a couple dates, found a yurt on Airbnb, and booked me. Fast forward to last week and I drove out on a bumpy gravel road to photograph them in the middle of the forest. I love big weddings, but there is something so simple, elegant, and fun about an elopement. More of these please!
Katlin + Matt, congrats!! I can’t wait to edit and share your whole gallery with you.
I feel like this summer just flew past us. Maybe it’s because we skipped fall and with the snow (snow!) last weekend, I feel like I should be getting ready for Christmas instead of Halloween. Ahhh! July and August were good. July was super super busy, and I helped organize a huge event for my neighborhood. August I took some time off and was able to catch up on a few personal things and really breathe. It was nice. I need to do that every summer.
1. We hopped over to Montana/Idaho and rode the Hiawatha Trail with my family. We’ve been doing this off and on for over a decade (H and I rode it for the first time in 2008!), and it’s crazy how popular and busy it has gotten.
2. Running running running. I can’t even tell you where I took this photo, because all I did all month in July was dash from an event to a meeting to my office and back again. It was bonkers, I was beat, and yet, I loved every minute of the work I did.
3 & 4: These sweet garden photos make me so sad, especially since our garden got killed by the snow and frost we’ve had this week. My little garden helper is pretty bummed that we’re not picking tomatoes every day now.
5. This good boy. Some days this dog drives me crazy, especially when his fur is all over our house, but most days, I’m so thankful we have a dog. I love having him next to me in my office all day while I work, and I love when we get to take walks together.
6. I had to swing up to the north side to run some errands, and while I was there, I went to World Market. Y’all, if you are an expat, or have lived overseas, you know the dangers of World Market. I loaded up my basket with way too many goodies from places I miss. Even with trips to Germany every 6-12 months, we still can’t bring back enough of the things we miss. So stocking up in between is the most bittersweet thing.
7. In July, I helped put together the South Perry Street Fair. It was one of the hardest, craziest, most amazing things I’ve ever done. And it was exhausting, but so great to see something we’d planned for months come to life.
8. Sometimes I photograph events that have petting zoos. And I take photos of them to send to my daughter who is pretty into Llama, llama, red pajama. She was pretty thrilled.
9. What’s more fun than stealing mom’s garden hat? Stealing mom’s garden hat and asking her to take photos to send to grandma.
10. Little miss decided that Shadow was a her baby and needed a blanket in order to take a nap. I was so surprised at how well he took it. He gave me the saddest face every, and yet, he just laid there and let her put blankets on her until she got distracted and then he ran away.
11 & 12. We traveled all the way over to the Olympic peninsula for my brother in law’s wedding, which I was a guest at (yayay!) and the other two were in. Little miss had a hard time understanding that the ferry was a boat, and that the car could go on the boat. Then she loved it, and sobbed when we had to get off. Plus, the views of downtown from the Bainbridge ferry are my favorite.
13 & 14. We have been looking into an electric cargo bike to lower our carbon footprint and reduce our car dependency (and get outside more). We test rode a couple bikes at G&O Family Cyclery in Seattle in August and loved it. Dreaming of the day we can get one!
15&16. We stopped in Leavenworth for a bit of family time on our way back from the wedding and enjoyed this short hike. N has reached a point where she can hike part or all of a short hike on her own, and then goes up in the backpack when she gets tired. She loved it!
17. I did some solo blueberry picking at Greenbluff this summer, in order to maybe get some of the blueberries that we go through each year. This might hold us for a couple months? We go through a lot of berries!
18. The garden was very good this year. There were days when I was picking 15+ pounds of produce from our garden, and we couldn’t keep up. Luckily, our daycare teachers and H’s coworkers were happy to take the extras.
20. Another day, another produce haul.
21. This summer, we tried to bike to school once a week. Sometimes I had meeting right after drop off, and we couldn’t do it, but we had so much fun. Can’t wait to get the ebike!
22. My office and the guestroom had the least functional closet ever, and to fix that, I ripped out the old system and we installed a new one. Now it’s no longer a black hole!
23. Summer rainstorms are great for finding puddles! N insisted on wearing her snow boots instead of her rain boots, and under her rain suit, she was wearing shorts and a tanktop! What a silly kid!!
And that was a look at July and August! Still trying to catch up on all the rest of my blogging too. I’ll get there eventually.