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Southern Weddings

Author: Emily

The Southern Weddings ladies are quite giddy these days thinking of all of the belles who have gotten engaged over the last few weeks and months. It does seem like a lot of rings get presented in December, January, and February, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome the newly engaged gals to our gaggle! Aside from securing your Planner, one task you’ll likely turn your attention to early in the process is creating a wedding registry. We’ve teamed up with our friends at Target to share a few of our best tips as well as a fun, interactive quiz to help determine your registry style!

Take the quiz here and read on for our tips below!

PREPARING TO REGISTER

Start the process early. There’s no need to rush out to the stores as soon as you have a ring on your finger, but we recommend starting at least one registry early in your engagement if there’s an engagement party in the works. Aside from engagement gifts, make sure your registry is open at least two months before your first bridal shower or six to nine months from your wedding date. 

Decide where to register. For a well-rounded registry that caters to all of your guests, register at two to three shops. At least one shop should be a larger chain retailer with an online presence, such as Target. There’s no need to register at each store all at once, so start with your top pick and gradually add additional stores as time allows. Managing registries at more than three stories can quickly become overwhelming, so if you’re looking for maximum variety, choose a universal registry like Amazon.com or MyRegistry.com that will allow you to add items from any online retailer.

Consider your lifestyle. Prioritize the items that align with your values and the life you’d like to live (not necessarily the life you think others expect you to live!). If you and your groom plan to cook and entertain frequently, then by all means, consider adding a full 12 place settings of fine china and monogrammed silver. If you prefer traveling and spending time outdoors, register for a nice set of luggage and camping supplies. Target has an amazing selection of items for every type of couple!

Check store policies. When narrowing down store options, return policies can make or break your decision. Returning a few gifts is inevitable, so make sure the store has a return or exchange policy that’s agreeable to you. You may also want to check if the store offers a completion program, allowing you to purchase any leftover items at a discount. We know of many couples who opt to register for larger items, like a bed frame or sofa, not because they expect to be gifted them, but simply so they can take advantage of a completion discount post-wedding.

Here’s a peek at our quiz! Take it here.

MAKING SELECTIONS

Shop together. Create your registry as a couple. The gifts are for both of you, so it’s important that you’re both happy with the selections. Make a date of it, and enjoy shopping around and dreaming of your newlywed life together! Warning: this step sometimes sounds more fun than it actually is. If control of the scan gun turns into a tug of war over the aesthetic of your future home, take a break and return another day. And may we recommend starting with our Newlywed Style quiz? It will help you hone in on the items that are most important to you both!

Add a variety of items. Be sure to include items that accommodate a range of budgets. As long as you include several affordable gifts, don’t shy away from picking more expensive items, too: your college friends may choose to go in together to purchase a pricier gift, and what is expensive for one person may be considered quite affordable for another. A good rule of thumb is that many couples will be looking for something in the $50-100 range.

KEEPING IN TOUCH

Communicate with your guests. Heaven forbid you include your registry information on your wedding invitation, but you’ll still need to pass along the word. Linking to shops on your wedding website is acceptable, as is word of mouth (be sure your parents and bridal party are up to date on your registry details, as they’re the folks most likely to be queried!).

Follow up. Registries are not a one-and-done thing, so don’t abandon yours after your initial trip! As guests begin to purchase gifts, check in every few weeks to make sure there are still a variety of items and price points from which to choose.

SAYING THANK YOU

Write every note. Yep, it’s true — thank you notes should always be handwritten; no emails allowed! The art of the handwritten note is alive and well, especially in the gracious South, so while it may seem tedious, your guests will expect and appreciate your heartfelt gesture of gratitude. 

Be timely. Thank you notes should be sent promptly — within two weeks of the date that the gift is received for those that arrive before the wedding. If the gift is given at your celebration, send a note within one month of your wedding date. We recommend writing a few notes every day, if you can, so that the task doesn’t become too much of a burden. 

Get everyone involved. While notes for bridal shower gifts should always be written by the bride, there’s no rule that says you have to write every thank you note for the wedding gifts. After all, they were given to both of you, and you’ll both enjoy them! Split the writing duties — if you choose to write to each other’s families, it can be a great way to introduce yourself!

Ready to get inspired? Take our Newlywed Style quiz here! Already ready to register? You can begin setting up your Target Wedding Registry right here!

This post is brought to you by Target–thanks for your support of the brands that make Southern Weddings possible!

emily Written with love by Emily
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Welcome to the new year, friends! The Southern Weddings gals are already feeling a bit dazzled by all the potential 2016 holds, but before we jump into the real weddings, advice, and inspiration that it promises, we wanted to take one more walk down memory lane. We love inviting you into our office, whether it’s through daily peeks on SnapChat or Instagram or the #MakingSouthernWeddings hashtag; what we do wouldn’t be nearly as much fun without y’all alongside, offering feedback and encouragement! So here’s a look back at a few of our favorite moment from 2015, including a few we weren’t able to share with you along the way!

We started 2015 with a visit from a contractor, as our growing team needed a bit more space to stretch its wings. Holes in walls followed shortly, which made kicking off our V8 shoot plans with editorial partners a bit more challenging – but we persevered! We also had a mini flower arranging lesson from our friend Kelly Perry, and began interviewing candidates for a Southern Weddings Marketing position. Little did we know, the latter is a pursuit that would continue until the very last month of the year!!

V8 editorial planning continued in February! Lisa jetted off to New York City for a few days to shoot a campaign with Zales – you can see the completed videos here, here, here, and here! We were all so proud of her! We also were so excited to launch a fresh new design in our sister storefront, the Lara Casey Shop. The office renovation continued :)

In March, it was my turn to leave the still-being-renovated office to fly to New York, this time to speak at our friend Holly Chapple’s workshop on creating editorials and magazine submissions. I missed out on a visit to our office from Lysa TerKeurst and the Proverbs 31 team, but got to hear the enthusiastic reviews from the other gals. Those talented ladies helped us implement some new ways of doing things, and we are still so grateful! Later in the month, Lisa and I flew to Texas for our first two V8 shoots (yeehaw!) — one in Houston and one in Austin — and two reader meet-ups, making it back just in time for the spring Making Things Happen conference. The SW gals always help host, and we hope to see some of you at the 2016 version – tickets are on sale for half price for a few more weeks!

Just a day after the MTH Conference concluded, we headed to the wilds of North Carolina for our third V8 shoot – Love Preserved! There was lots of pig snuggle time to be had (behind the scenes photos and video here!). We also moved into our new office space (take a tour here – yippee!!), did more interviews for our marketing position, and set aside some time for our annual team retreat and team photos with Katelyn James. Our retreat even included a surprise bridal shower for Lisa, who was getting married in just a few days!!

After two years with our team, we said goodbye to our Assistant Art Director Morgan in May, but not before celebrating Lisa and Dave’s wedding!!! It was an amazing celebration that really brought to life everything we believe about weddings and marriage. I headed to Charlottesville solo for our Equestrian Elegance editorial while Lisa was on her honeymoon, and then the two of us reunited for our Fore the Love editorial and reader meet-up in Charleston later in the month! Nicole attended Alt Summit for the first time and also began looking into moving our shop fulfillment out of our small office. Oh yes, we also interviewed some more people :)

In June we wrapped up our final two big photo shoots for V8: the Southern belle shoot and Our Kentucky Home! (Marking the first trip to Kentucky for Lisa and me!) Nicole began laying out our new issue’s pages, and met with another potential fulfillment house for the Southern Weddings Shop.

Even in the hustle of getting V8 ready for print, there was lots of community happening in July! The NC Southern Weddings gals continued our yearly tradition of blueberry picking while the Florida division hosted the first ever reader meet-up in that state as part of our “Summer Love” theme. We also gathered with our beaus for our annual team summer BBQ! Finally, we had an extensive meeting with a production company for a possible Southern Weddings TV show (!), but ultimately decided it was not the right opportunity for us.

The most exciting thing that happened in August was that Lara had a baby!! Our gang of girls was more than happy to welcome Joshua to the office. We shot a few last photos for V8 on the back porch of our office, Lisa spearheaded the V8 cake shoot, and she and I worked hard on a proposal for a super-secret project! And, after another round of lovely but not-quite-right marketing interviews, we opened up another application with slightly different criteria. Whew!

In September, we hit a fun milestone: 100,000 Instagram followers! Crazy to think we’re already up to 158,000 as I type this, all thanks to you lovely readers and the way you generously share us with your friends. Thank you, thank you!! Also in September we styled and shot the surcees feature for V8 all by ourselves, which was a big milestone for us! We also said goodbye to Elizabeth, our summer intern, and hello to Jill, our fall intern!

October was a total whirlwind, and kicked our tail in a lot of ways! There was tons of action on the V8 front, from final layout adjustments to copyediting to color proofing at our printer in Wisconsin. Lisa and Kristin traveled to Bridal Market for three days (posts here and here), and Lisa and I traveled to Charleston to speak at Bliss & Bespoke for three days. We also moved our shop product out of our office into our fulfillment house, we got to see the first copies of the magazine, and we did a ton more interviews for our marketing position!

We didn’t really slow down in November, however: the first two weeks included the fall Making Things Happen Conference, V8′s newsstand launch day, a mini baby shower for me (so nice!!), and the V8 launch party (our biggest ever, at our beloved Carolina Inn!). We rounded the month out by sharing all of our V8 editorials with you, and more marketing interviews!

Finally, in December, we were able to pause and reflect on our year, together. We had a mini team retreat at the beginning of the month to work through our PowerSheets as a company and begin to set goals for 2016. Lara spoke at the Rising Tide Society Summit, which was awesome! We had our annual team celebration dinner, and celebrated with readers at the fifth annual Gingerbread Barns event. And finally, finally, in the final week of 2015, we offered positions to two new ladies (one more for the Southern Weddings side, and one more for the Lara Casey/Making Things Happen side)… and they accepted. We can’t wait to introduce you to them in the new year!

Dear readers, thank you doesn’t really begin to cover all that we feel. We couldn’t do any of this without you, and we are so grateful for the ways you encourage us in and inspire our mission. Here’s to a really beautiful, meaningful 2016 for all of us!!

emily Written with love by Emily
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  1. avatar Dana reply

    Congratulations on such an amazing year! Y’all work so hard and it is appreciated! <3 Can't wait for more great things in 2016!

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2015 Most Memorable: Sweets

by in Inspirations on

Just as guests everywhere eagerly anticipate the revealing of the wedding cake at the end of the party, so, too, do the Southern Weddings gals eagerly scan submissions for gorgeous confections! Whether they took the form of a homemade spread or a tower of traditional tiers, we featured some to-die-for desserts this year. Here are ten of our favorites!

Caroline and Luke’s peony, succulent, and ranunculus bedecked cake by Jim Smeal (photo by Courtney Dox)

Jessica and Michael’s gold foil and peony cake by Sugar Bee Sweets set atop pink glitter linens (photo by Tracy Enoch)

Anna and Nathan’s naked cake with fresh strawberries (photo by Chris Isham)

Caroline and Will’s classic almond cake with buttercream icing by Couture Cakes (photo by Ali Harper)

Amy and Brian’s gold dusted and coral charm peony wedding cake by Ella’s Cakes (photo by Set Free Photography)

Hanna and Nick’s dessert spread by Layered Bake Shop including blueberry galettes, baked honey and walnut pears, macaroons, and a chocolate mousse cake with a watercolor wash and gold foil (photo by Charla Storey)

Jordan and Dave’s cheeky flamingo-topped cake by Chocolate Pi (photo by Kristin Sweeting)

Jill and Mike’s classic red velvet cake by Bev & Rick (photo by Amy Arrington)

Rachel and Brett’s donut tower by Harold’s Doughnuts (photo by Scott Patrick Myers)

Mary Grace and Jason’s armadillo groom’s cake by Elegant Temptations (photo by Flora + Fauna)

Whitney and Parker’s towering classic white cake by Simon Lee Bakery (photo by Jennifer Lindberg)

Courtney Dox, Chris Isham, Tracy Enoch, Sugar Bee Sweets, and Amy Arrington are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
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