Saying Goodbye to CGP

Caitlin Gerres Photography has been a wild and crazy adventure that I never expected. Just a few months after we got married, I started learning about photography and researching what it would take to run my own business. Four years later, Ryan agreed to become my 2nd and I started training him. And although we loved working together on wedding days and we knew many couples who turned their photography business into something they both did full time, we never felt like that was the right choice for us. Ryan loves the business world and trading his job in business intelligence for bookkeeping, marketing, and web maintenance wouldn't have made him happy. So we kept my business small. And we knew at some point, we would reach the end of this season.

When we got pregnant with Darcy, I stopped making a 5-year business plan. I had no idea what having a newborn would be like. I didn't know if Darcy would be an easy baby or a difficult baby. I didn't know how I would handle work and mom life together. So we started taking things one year at a time in our business.

God told us at the beginning of this year that our time with CGP was over. I was surprised. And to be honest, I was not happy about it at the beginning. We had JUST gotten back from Disney. I wasn't pregnant. There was no reason NOT to have another great wedding season. Maybe wedding photography with two kids and all the extra stuff Ryan has going on and our increased service at church would be too much, but we had time to make that decision. We didn't book that far in advance. 2019 could be a great final season for us before we added another child to our family.

But God was still saying no. I wanted one more wedding season. I wanted to celebrate our 'last wedding'. I wanted to go out with a bang.

God gently said, “You're already done. You've had your last wedding. And you loved and served that sweet couple without any of the attention being on yourself. And now I'm calling you to other things.”

A few weeks after making our official decision and sharing the news with our close friends and family, we found out we were pregnant. And then I got horrible nausea that lasted for 3 weeks. (And minor nausea that's still lingering and annoying me every day.) It has been such a GIFT to have a very short weekly to do list right now. Instead of working during Darcy’s naps, I’ve been resting and watching The Great British Baking Show, because feeding him lunch and getting him in his crib wipes me out.

So here’s our official announcement. We are stepping away from our photography business. We've loved it. We're going to miss it. We love all of our couples and the amazing vendors we’ve been able to work with. And now it’s time to set CGP aside so I can focus my time on caring for our growing family.

Season - My Word for 2018

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It’s 2019 and my word of the year is Pursue. And that scares me a bit, because my 2018 word of the year ended up meaning a lot more than I intended when the year started out with confetti poppers and fresh powersheets goals. Now that 2018 is in the past, I wanted to share all of that with you.

I chose the word 'Season’ for 2018 for a couple of reasons. I wanted to say yes to the things that were right for us right now and give myself permission to change as soon as something stopped working for us. I wanted to think short term and focus on one step at a time instead of putting pressure on myself to think long term. As a mom to a 1 year old, I’d figured out that Darcy’s schedule would change every 3-4 months and all of a sudden what had been working for us would stop working. We’d have to throw our entire routine out the window and piece by piece, create a new schedule that would work for us in this new season. Type A Caitlin likes a good routine, so I chose the word Season to encourage me to embrace these changes and be flexible until we found a new rhythm.

Those are the seasons that I expected for 2018. But we experienced some BIG unexpected seasons throughout the year.

Ryan’s job - Ryan moved to work for another business under the same company umbrella early in the year. Then in the summer, his roll changed again. And in December, he accepted a job with another company in the business intelligence field. None of these changes were expected, and each was an exciting new opportunity.

Our house - We always knew the little yellow house wasn’t our forever home, but we weren’t growing out of it yet. At first we just wanted to finish up our projects and figure out what we’d be looking for in our next house. Then we started looking at houses, and we were surprised that what we were looking for was actually in our price range. So we decided to put our little yellow house on the market. And it sold immediately. It was so clear that God wanted us to move. But as we shared last year, every step after that one was very unclear. The house BUYING process was really hard and filled with a lot of second-guessing and back tracking. God gave us winter before the spring in a very real way. There were so many moments that one of us wanted to walk away from the short sale. It often felt like the wrong decision, and we had no idea if we’d ever receive an answer. Finally unlocking the door to our new home was a moment of such relief and joy.

Throughout 2018, we were continually shifting from one season to another in our home, in our work, with Darcy, and with the actual seasons. We grew and adjusted, and at the end of the year, we were so grateful for each of those seasons and where they brought us. So when God put the word Pursue on my heart for this year, I really wanted to pick something else. Pursue sounds so active… so exhausting…. But I am also excited to see how much GROWTH will come from a word like Pursue. Let’s do this, 2019!

Top 18 in 2018

It’s a shiny new year, but before we shut the door on 2018, we have one more recap post. Each year we share favorite moments: our top 15 in 2015top 16 in 2016, top 17 in 2017, and now our top 18 in 2018. Here they are in roughly chronological order:

1. Booking our Disney trip - just a couple more weeks now!

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2. Darcy's dedication at church

3. Reading all the Harry Potter books back to back

4. Ryan started working in business intelligence

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5. Girls' weekend in Asheville

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6. Saying goodbye to our little yellow house - we loved it but we were excited to move on!

7. Walking through our short sale for the first time

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8. Living with my parents for 125 days - Darcy got to spend so much time with them!


9. Showing Darcy that playing in sand is fun - this one took some work!


10. SUP yoga - and holding crow pose on the paddleboard JUST long enough for a photo

11. Lots of fun new things for CGP: new venues, shooting a 2nd wedding for the same family, and two print features!

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12. Finally getting the keys to our new home

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13. Watching Darcy play with his dinosaur tail

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14. Darcy's birthday

15. Uncle Jon's visit

16. Lucas Family visit

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17. Meeting Darcy's cousin - I'm an aunt!

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18. Celebrating Christmas with Darcy - he actually understands it this year!

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:
2018 Best of Weddings
2018 Best of Engagements
2018 Best of Ring Shots
Behind the Scenes 2018

Merry Christmas!


It’s Christmas Eve! I hope you’re as full of Christmas cookies and hot chocolate as we are! We’ll be rocking our pajamas for most of today, reading all of our Christmas books a dozen more times, and baking Jesus a birthday cake!

Merry Christmas to you and yours! We’ll be back in the CGP office after the New Year, but check back next Monday for our favorite ring shots of 2018!

I Am Not A Hustler

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Many successful small business owners have stories that start something like this: “I dove into my business headfirst and HUSTLED for 3 years to make it happen. I worked 7 days a week. I poured all of my profit back into my business. I barely spent time with my friends and family. Every spare moment was focused on building my business.”

But inevitably this story is followed by: “And then… I reached a point of burnout smack in the middle of my busiest season.”

My story is not like that. And I have to continually remind myself that I have (so far) avoided burnout when I start to feel jealous of others and how big their businesses have grown. Because the people with full calendars and full bank accounts are often the ones on the brink of burnout or still trying to recover.

My business is SMALL. My wedding calendar is spread out. My schedule almost never feels too hectic. (Which is good, because I'm a mad-woman when there's too much on my calendar!) And to be totally honest, people are surprised when they hear how few weddings we do each year.

Hustle is a buzz word that I refuse to adopt for my life. And because of that, our family is in a really healthy place, but my business isn’t where I dreamed it would be.

And that means it’s time for some new dreams.

Giving Thanks

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I really love this time of year. Wrapping up in a cardigan. Drinking in the afternoon sunlight and enjoying it more because I know it’s ending. Ending the CGP wedding season with our fall weddings. Celebrating our son’s birthday. Eating so many (too many) delicious treats. Crunching the colorful leaves under my feet. Looking forward to Christmas and all the twinkle and magic that it brings. Planning and dreaming about a fresh new year ahead.

This season is filled with so many good things. And it is FULL. I’ve noticed the struggle of that this year more than ever and I’ve tried to face it head on with intentionality, choosing the things that bring us the most joy and settling other things aside for this year.

And for me, there’s something really special about Thanksgiving week. I take a few extra days off work and find a little quiet and stillness in between all the baking and cooking.

Because in those moments of stillness, I want to find a heart full of gratitude.