On our tenth wedding anniversary, we gave each other a new reception space. That one’s gonna be hard to top, but I’m sure Aaron will come up with something. Turns out that running a business with your spouse is both incredibly challenging and the best thing ever… but I digress. I think we’d all agree that every new building needs some new decor: maybe a prized work of art, a meaningful photo, a few thrifted trinkets. But what to choose?
In our case, this reception space goes along with the strikingly beautiful “second free wedding chapel in the world”, and just so happens to be a part of our “campus for marriage”, which also doubles as a wedding venue. This means it is both heavily trafficked and heavily photographed: we’re talking about 8 weddings a week, roughly 75-100 guests per wedding on average, plus about 12 couples per week touring. Which means I didn’t want to slap up photos of just anything everywhere. BUT, if you know anything about The Brim, you know that (like all businesses) our story is our greatest asset, so I sure wanted to tell that story- without having art that was taken off the walls by photographers or photoshopped from every couple’s bridal portraits.
Which led me to ask- where are my clients (and all of their guests and therefore other potential clients/word-of-mouth-spreaders) visiting that isn’t heavily photographed, where I can tell our story and honor our journey? We have a couple of meaningful plaques in our chapel telling the story of our bells – but where else? Where does almost everyone go at least once, maybe up to 4 or 5 times if the margaritas are really flowing? You guessed it: the bathroom. So guess what I did? Yep. I put framed, “in progress”, intentionally chosen photos telling our story in our bathroom. On the walls, in the stalls, smiling up at everyone when they go in to do their business. Aaron’s even giving the lucky folks in stall two a thumbs up in front of our old tent during the very last reception before we sold it and broke ground on our new space.
We tell our story at all of our tours. We tell it on our website. We share videos of us telling it on our social media and we sit back and catch others telling it in the line to get tacos before they run out of espinaca. I have literally been asked to sit down and “share my testimony” with a group at a wedding, and I’ve been stopped while Windexing the front door with “Hey, aren’t you one of the owners”? Recently a man came up to me during the cha cha slide and asked between sips of Sangria if the pictures in the bathroom were all of the space being built, was that our cute little family strategically positioned in the ADA/Family Restroom just above the diaper changer? When I responded with yes, he told me, “That’s the coolest thing ever.” And he’s not the first to say it. I don’t label the photos. I let people peek again at the newly framed walls and realize that they’re standing in the very room in the photo (once we added drywall and some rockin’ AC). And I let them figure it out when the man behind the bar that night looks shockingly like the man walking hand in hand with his toddler and some white poles above stall two.
The point is this: tell your story. Honor your journey. Where are clients most frequently visiting your business? Is it a storefront? A drive through? The phone line? Your website? Or maybe it’s the place where they’ll need something to look at for a while… while they take care of their own business. Wherever it is, use it to tell your story- and tell it often. Own it. Separate yourself. What makes you you, what makes you different? THAT will be the thing they remember, the thing they tell others, the reason they pick you, the reason they fall in love with you even when you have porta potties, or before they are ever engaged- before they ever need you. What story do you have to tell? What smile will you hang above your toilet?