Lost: Candice Lorraine

Photograph by  Brandon Lata

Photograph by Brandon Lata

Candice, a teacher turned wedding planner and designer, always had a sense of wonder. This made it a little difficult in the teaching profession since creativity is controlled based on what the laws or what the district says. Seeking creative freedom, she began working events on the weekends. “It didn’t matter how sleep deprived I was, because I felt so much fulfillment from the work I was doing,” she said. She also held these words near and dear to her heart: “God wouldn’t put these desires in me and not fulfill them.” After two years, she decided it was time to transition and designed and planned weddings for the next seven years. During these years, she experienced many joyful and heartbreaking moments within and outside of the industry. She experienced feeling lost, but that has not stopped her. It has transformed her and grown her in big ways.

What was it like after the excitement of beginning your creative journey faded away?

I had to find new things to be inspired by. I think the downfall of the wedding industry is that people look at blog posts or Pinterest for wedding inspiration, so trends permeate longer than they should. So, I think for me, I cannot find inspiration from anything horizontally. I can't look at my peers or other publications, I need to find inspiration from something new. At one point, Molly McKinley and I decided to unfollow everyone in the wedding industry and only follow National Geographic, artists, art galleries, interior designers, or things that were creative with a different elements. I remember feeling so stretched- all of my photo shoots then had a tangible piece for inspiration: a book, bread basket, and an apple. There were different things that started to inspire me and I remember feeling like my mind just grew. My eyes were open to different things and to all of the possibilities. Rustic White and I were on a road trip and we talked about how you have to teach your mind to change your creative perspectives. We were driving on these weird treachery roads, and we said: “If someone were to stop us right here in the middle of the road- could I find an angle? Could I find a place for someone to get married? Could I find a place for a table-scape?” It taught us to look through a different lens. These things charged me, and helped me realize I wasn't going to be bored in this and that there was something else to go after. I know there are so many creatives who can come up with these visions that are so beyond the time and beyond people. Those are the people that really make their mark who are not looking horizontally- they are looking straight on for things that inspire them.

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When did you realize you felt lost? What did it feel like?

There was a time where I hit rock bottom. I was sitting in a house in the middle of a field- I didn't have a husband anymore, financial stability, my parents weren't there, I was physically injured, my car got wrecked, and no one knew where I was. You know, when it rains it pours. I remember just having this moment of thinking, “If this is truly the worst it is ever going to get and if I can rise from this moment, then I can do anything.” And that's definitely something I have held through to today. Whenever I go through hardships, I remember I have been through worse. I am resilient, and I can handle far more than what it being thrown at me right now.

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How did you wrestle and how long did you wrestle with it?

I think just choosing the positive. Everything can be awful and go wrong, but I am still breathing. I have a roof over my head. I had a nice meal today. This cup of coffee is amazing. This one conversation that I wasn't expecting really brightened my day. Even if you just made it through another day, there's always one thing that you can find that is positive and celebrate. I think training your mind to focus on those things is key. A creative mind is a positive mind, because creator's are full of hope. We hope in something. We see past things- a tangible object or concept and make it into something that it hasn't even become yet. This is a very hope and positive based industry. So in order to be creative, you have to be positive. You have to believe that you can create or build this thing. Or when you dream it, that you can bring it to life. I don't believe negative people are creative people. I mean, you can handle and harness something bad and use that for something else, but there's still a positive outlook that is presented. That was the biggest thing for me, was working on my gratitude. When I would list them, there were always more than one that I could be thankful for. That makes it easier, because when you wake up, you are already grateful and you have a healthier mindset. That's how I slowly dug up that hole, and I've created that in me as a strength now. I would have never said that I was good at it, but I have it now in my perspective. I keep going and it makes the problems seem more miniscule.

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What helped you find yourself again? Was it stepping away or pressing on?

There are times that I have felt insecure or fearful that I am the only one going through this or no one else has gone through and no one gets me. Instead of choosing to shut down, choose to open yourself to other people. Because that's when you find your people and your tribe. That's when you find the people who are like, “Oh yeah girl, I went through that last year.” or “Oh yeah, I am in it too.” Being able to have that outlet, I mean gosh, I just think that it is so much easier to stay behind closed doors and keep to yourself. It's vulnerable and scary to think about opening up to someone. But, there's never been a time to where I have opened up to someone about something I am going through and I've regretted it. I always, always, always quote my high school yearbook quote, “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the small act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” Leo Buscaglia. I think the natural tendency is when you're going through hell is to protect yourself or to be selfish and want to hold off. I think instead, choosing to love other people and open yourself, can release all of this. Instead of harboring in or hunkering down in self pity, choosing to reach out to other people can help you realize that others are in it with you. People are always surprised by the reactions we get from other people. I remember I reached out to Ginny Branch, Jenn Gietzen, Krista Jannos. I met with these three heroes in my life individually, and there was nothing but great things that came from it. Hearing about their stories or what they had gone through, there was nothing wrong with giving someone a piece of yourself. It makes the selfish a little selfless. Build your community, because when you're known and things are out in the light, there's power. A struggle is not so much of a struggle when someone else comforts you, like the Bible verse where Abraham is holding his arms and he’s tired. Aaron and Hur come to help him hold his arms up. When somebody else is holding that burden with you, it's so much easier to withstand it. Instead of the natural reaction to look inward and be inward, letting other people join with you can eradicate that darkness, fear, and insecurity. I know now that when I don't want to be open with people, I need to be open with people, because that is the only way I can counteract what I am feeling.

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How did you find yourself again or have you ever?

I would say that a month ago I thought I found myself again, but I don't think that's true either. I don't think you find yourself all at once, I feel like you find yourself in chunks. I feel like each chapter builds on the next chapter and you can't just skip to the end- you have to have all of those crucial steps in order to get there. If I look back on the chapter of my first marriage, I learned all of the things that I needed to learn- the things I needed to keep, get away from, and how to grow as a person. And I hold that a put that into my wedding planning, my relationships- I found new ways to invest the things I had just learned. I am even doing that now- how can I be a better person now because of all of these life lessons that I just went through? I found this quote on Pinterest and I believe it is spot on, “You don't know this new me; I put back my pieces, differently.” It's still me, it's all the same pieces, but they are all in different spots and things look a little different now. I think choosing, even though it's hard to remember and reflect, taking those life lessons- that's how you grow. When you don't do that, that's when your life keeps repeating itself because you didn't grow. That's the only way you can move on. Like in a video game, you can't make it to the next level until you complete this one. You have to do it again and again until you complete it. It's painful and not always easy, but take those pieces and apply them! I journal everything- I'm not saying journal- I'm not even a good writer. I simply make notes at the bottom of my planner- what did I like about today? What didn't I like about today? What can I do differently? When I look back at my planners, I'm like oh my gosh, it's amazing where God takes you and where you take yourself.

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If you could travel back in time to share advice with yourself before this happened, what would it be?

I think I would tell myself to have grace for myself. I know that that's the creative mantra, but really though- grace at a level deeper than that. I grew up thinking that it was arrogant to celebrate things that were good about myself. So instead of celebrating, I would harp on how I wasn't perfect or how things needed to be perfected. Growing up, I've realized how that sucked me up as a person because I had a complex of how things could always be better. Which is a terrible perspective to have as a creative person and I think, for me, I wish I could just hug myself. I would tell myself that exactly where I was in that moment was where I needed to be. These are the things that are amazing about you, love them. It's not arrogant. It's not pride. God gave you these things, and you are just celebrating the way God made you. I think this is partially within the Christian culture, I think we have a hard time bragging ourselves. Obviously, there is a level to do it and you can see through someone's heart and intentions. But there's a difference with being, I am really good at this, like really good at this. I am excited that I am good at it. It makes me want to go to work, and I feel fulfilled. There's nothing wrong with loving the crap out of everything. I love this quote from Ryan Adams: “Negative people find their walls. So never apologize for your enthusiasm. Never. Ever. Never.” I always tried to tame myself- Candice you're too loud, you're not controlling your tongue enough. Yes, there is wisdom and maturity in that, but I wasn't letting myself be myself. I was always trying to be someone else or what everyone thought a perfect wedding planner would be. I then missed out on all these other opportunities because I just wasn't focused. And I just think, yeah, I wish I could tell myself that 6 months ago, 10 months ago, a year ago, 10 years ago. Where you're at is where you are at right now. You are the best version of yourself you can be right now and celebrate the things you are good at. Because when you feel great about what you're doing, energy begets energy. You're spurred on to do more. When you're constantly comparing and looking horizontally, you cannot grow from that. So, yeah, I wish I loved myself a bit more and accepted my quirks instead of hiding them all of the time.

PHOTOGRAPH GALLERY

STORY DETAILS

Photography by  Erich McVey | Event Planning by Ooh! Events | Catering by Larkin's Catering & Events | Flowers by Out of the Garden | Videography by Life in Rewind | Stationery by Dear Elouise | Calligraphy by Fleur De Letters | Cake by Tessa Pinner | Music by The Downtown Band | Rentals by Ooh! Events | Bride's Gown Lazaro | Bride's Accessories by Toni Federici | Veil and Headpiece by La Gartier | Ceremony Shoes by Stuart Weitzman | Reception Shoes by Badgley Mischka | Engagement Ring and Wedding Bands Summit Diamond | Hair and Makeup Stephanie Simpson with Wedding Hair by Charlotte | Bridesmaids' Dresses Jenny Yoo | Groom's Tuxedo Calvin Klein | Groom's Accessories Brackishbowtie |  Louis Vuitton  | Lighting and Tenting Skyline Tent Company |

PHOTOGRAPH GALLERY

STORY DETAILS

Venue Kiawah River | Photography by Chris Isham Photography | Cuisine by Harvest Catering | Rentals by Snyder Events | Bar by Spike Bar Service | Specialty Drink by Holy City Handcraft | Calligraphy by J. Lily Design | Florals by The Lindsay Bishop | Entertainment by Bryan the DJ | Lighting by Technical Event | Spirit by Sutler’s Spirit Co. | Design & Styling by Candice Lorraine

PHOTOGRAPH GALLERY

STORY DETAILS

Creative Direction by Jess Graves | Photography by Danielle Hulsey | Styling by Candice Lorraine | Client The Drawing Room ATL |

Stephanie Abbitt