I’m optimistic about 2024. . . despite concerns about war in the Middle East, Ukraine and other hot spots in today’s world. Despite the doom and gloom emanating from our country’s leaders. Despite the heart-breaking senseless violence reported with such blaring headlines on social media. Despite fears of increasing costs and decreasing opportunities.
   Why the optimism. . . because succumbing to the noise and fear paralyzes, and worse, steals the overriding possibilities that exist in any situation.
   And because for those of us in this crazy industry, love will not quit, nor will it be stalled. Engagements and weddings will rebound in 2024, maybe not to the level prior to COVID, but in higher numbers than 2023.
   No doubt 2024 will be challenging, made so in part by a shopping-intensive, indecisive bride who may also be overburdened by the challenges in her life and the choices she faces. (Two solid articles in the Dec 2023 edition address these issues.)
   But we should not pull back from promotions and marketing in some sort of knee-jerk, short-sighted effort to cut costs.
   It does not matter how beautiful your boutique, how knowledgeable your staff if you don’t broadcast your uniqueness to perspective customers.
   A wonderful metaphor for this is the fishing photo above, a visual reminder that without casting into the waters even the best “gear” and experience will be for naught.