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Southern Weddings Magazine

Author: Emily

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

Let’s dive right into it – one of the number one questions we receive from y’all is about ideas for bridal party gifts. You want something personal, meaningful, lovely… and, of course, that fits in the budget whether you have two or ten bridesmaids! We’re so happy to share a few picks from Bip & Bop today – her custom jewelry pieces are perfect for bridal party gifts!

Nicole makes bracelets, earrings, and necklaces that are perfect for bridesmaid gifts. Each comes individually wrapped and ready for giving, and includes a customizable note!

Bip & Bop also stocks pieces perfect for using at your wedding, like her bouquet charms – they can be customized with your initials or wedding date, or to honor a loved one who’s passed away.

As nice as it is to give gifts, sometimes it’s fun to snap up something for yourself, too – and a Bip & Bop piece with your new monogram, new last name, or wedding date is a lovely way to commemorate becoming a Mrs.! :)

Lucky for us, Bip & Bop is offering up a giveaway! Enter below for a chance to win $100 to shop their store.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And finally, if you’re ready to get to shopping, enter code southernweddings for 20% off all orders! The code is good until Friday, June 27, 2014.

emily Written with love by Emily
1 Comment
  1. avatar Bethany reply

    I think you mean we should follow @bipandbop – @luckyluxecouture is the other giveaway being featured!

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Though our mainstay is and will always be weddings around here, we love celebrating the parties that come along with nuptials, too. After all, one of the best things about being engaged is that, between engagement parties, bridal showers, bachelor and bachelorette adventures, crafternoons, and bridesmaid luncheons, there is no shortage of excuses to get together with loved ones. Just a few small details and a little careful planning can elevate a backyard get-together into a memorable celebration, as reader Meredith is demonstrating today! She and her husband threw an engagement party for his sister, and she kindly shared a few photos and tips to inspire your own wedding season celebrations.

We threw a backyard engagement party for my husband’s sister, Marielle. Marielle and Chris were recently engaged and we wanted to celebrate with family and friends in a big local party, since their wedding will be at the beach next year. We had lots of Southern garden party foods, like pimento cheese sandwiches, cucumber tea sandwiches, mac and cheese cups, and glazed ham biscuits. For drinks, I set up dispensers with lemonade, cucumber water, and sangria. A mimosa bar with an assortment of fresh juices and fruit was also available for guests to make their own concoctions. We had tables and chairs on the grass and lawn games to keep everyone entertained. There were some pretty competitive games of cornhole and giant Jenga! It was a fun afternoon of celebrating Marielle and Chris’ upcoming wedding! Here are a few tips I’d love to share from this experience:

1. Use what you have. When you start planning an event of any size, the first few decisions that you make will really influence the design and direction for the party. Once you know what kind of event you’re hosting, think of ways that you can use things you already have. Whether this is a big backyard space to host the party, like we did, tables and chairs you could borrow from family, cake stands or mason jars from your personal collection, or even friends that play in a band to provide entertainment, anything that you already have or can borrow will make life easier later.

2. Prioritize something. Pinterest is amazing for inspiration, but way too often it can be overwhelming when planning an event. Pin all of those gorgeous images as inspiration, but be sure to be realistic and don’t take on more projects than you can handle. Pick something to prioritize, too. Maybe you’re throwing a casual BBQ but you want to have an awesome dessert table set-up. Go for it! I find that it’s easier, especially during the planning phase, to pick a few projects I want to focus on, and keep everything else simple. For this engagement party, I wanted the atmosphere to be casual, bright and fun. Adding the fabric backdrop on our deck really added a lot to the ambiance. I also love flowers, so I really wanted the blooms to be bold and beautiful. I spent time picking flowers from local markets and had coral peonies delivered for use with my collection of vintage blue mason jars.

3. Know what to hire out. If cooking and baking for a bunch of guests isn’t your thing, don’t take it on for the party. Catering will save you time and energy that you can devote to other things. Enlist family or friends to help, if you can, but know your limitations. Maybe you’re into graphic design and you can design an invitation and logo or accessories for the party. If not, there are plenty of people on Etsy that will do it all for you! For this party, I set up a fun dessert table with a gorgeous cake from a local bakery and an assortment of homemade sweets that we made.

4. Choose your DIY projects. Save money and get crafty! One thing I loved about having the party in our backyard was that I had access to the space whenever I wanted. That meant that I could start projects as early as I wanted and I could start visualizing everything in advance. String up lights and streamers, make that cupcake display you saw on Pinterest, make those stir sticks for the cocktails. All of those details are sure to be appreciated by your guests! Personalization really takes everything the extra mile. I know our guests were really excited and impressed by all the little details that we worked on in advance! I loved the personalized stadium cups that I designed and had printed for the party, plus they served as favors and a save the date reminder for the wedding!

5. Be flexible. The biggest key to planning any party, or even wedding, is to be flexible. Don’t freak out if something has to change last minute. If the weather is bad, make a new plan and move on! Dwelling on what could have been won’t make you feel good and will make it harder to solve problems as they come up.

Invitation: Yellow Brick Graphics | Rentals: Party Reflections in Raleigh | Cake: Simply Cakes | Cake Topper: Paper Treats | Flowers: Fifty Flowers

emily Written with love by Emily
1 Comment
  1. avatar Deidre reply

    Love the details here! Where did you order the cups from?

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Ladies, I am having a hard time gathering my thoughts as to how to introduce today’s guest – there’s just so much I want to say!! Erin, the genius wedding invitation designer behind Lucky Luxe, popped up on my radar a few years ago, when I stumbled upon the story of how she and her husband came to own their home. Walking through a favorite neighborhood with her future husband discussing their dream houses sounded so similar to one of my favorite pastimes that I instantly felt a kinship. I also fell in love with her blog, where she documents the good things that happen every single day of her life.

So when we were brainstorming folks to reach out to for our Southern Newlywed feature, Erin was at the top of my list. And then she turned in her interview answers, and they were even better than I had hoped – I kept whispering yes, yes, yes!! to myself as I read through them! From the way she and Ben do dinner to the way they do chores, I think her outlook on life and marriage is really refreshing and inspiring, and I hope you do, too.

And, of course, it probably goes without saying, but the Mississippi home these two have created is AMAZING – I think you’ll enjoy taking a peek inside it, too :)

Who lives in this lovely home? Ben and Erin Napier, married 5.5 years.
Tell us your love story in one sentence. After secretly crushing on each other for a year, I was assigned to design a story feature on “Big Ben,” the most popular guy on campus, for our college yearbook, so we hung out that Thursday afternoon and said “I love you, let’s get married” on Monday.

What is your favorite part of being married? Oh man! So many things! Just belonging to Ben and sharing his last name makes my heart feel fluttery. How many people marry the biggest crush they ever had? I never forget that. Actually, the way we share everything, come to think of it. We share our work (he helps me at Lucky Luxe, I help him with youth ministry) and we share every meal every day. We’re rarely apart from one another since we both work within a two-block radius of home. On Saturdays, we always have burgers and cherry Sprites for lunch at the old Phillips Drive-In downtown. We collect antique cars and take my 1971 VW Beetle convertible, his 1962 Chevy pickup, and 1964 Pontiac Catalina (which belonged to my grandfather, then my daddy, now Ben) to car shows. Sharing our families, our home, our interests, our cereal, our books and music, and never having to deal with life on my own–that’s what I love about being married.

Do you rent or own? We rent a loft in downtown Laurel that was our first home after our wedding. As Lucky Luxe grew, it took over the loft, so we bought the yellow 1925 craftsman cottage I’ve been in love with since junior high in our historic district. It’s two blocks from the loft and we were still too sentimental to let the loft go, so we just kept it for my studio. Now, we’re working on building a little garage in our backyard so Ben can do mechanics and build furniture out there. Living in Mississippi affords you many great things–one of which is the crazy low cost of real estate!
What most makes your house feel like home? In most of the rooms in our house, you’ll find gallery walls of old photos of our grandparents and parents from the 1940s through the 1970s. None of them are in color, and they make us smile when we see them. For instance, there’s one of my daddy’s parents in their 20s, in their swimsuits at the lake, leaning against a 1940s Buick mid-laugh, holding a watermelon. My grandfather is making a face that looks like he just said something flirty and off color to my grandmother. They aren’t old–they’re just like us, now. Every photo is a one-of-a-kind work of art. We don’t want pictures of ourselves hanging around to stare at–we can see each other in real life any time.

Who cooks dinner? My cousin, Jim, married my college roommate, Mallorie. They have a baby girl, Lucy, and they live a couple houses down from us. They’re our best friends and we share dinner with them on our porch or in their 1912 city farmhouse almost every night of the week. Sometimes I cook, sometimes Mallorie cooks, but no matter who cooks, we make enough to feed us all. Most nights, we’re too tired and just eat out. Ben is the master of skillet meals. He can take random ingredients like mushrooms, eggs, chicken, sausage, and salsa and make something incredible.
What is your go-to weeknight meal? Weekend meal? I’m the Italian cook in our little crew, so if I’m fixing dinner, it’s going to be something rich and saucy, like spaghetti and homemade meatballs, pasta Roberto (a sausage and red bell pepper pasta with creamy tomato sauce), or my mama’s lasagna. On the weekend, we’re usually grilling.
What’s your favorite place to find recipes? I have a few sources for meals that hit the spot every single time. Obviously, The Pioneer Woman is one, and my favorite cookbooks are La Cucina (by the Italian Academy of Cuisine), An Italian Palate (by Robert St. John–the pride of Mississippi!), and Bell’s Best.

Which items from your wedding registry do you use the most often? The kitchen stuff gets used every single day, particularly our Tag bubble glass drinkware and our Biltmore knife set. I never would’ve splurged and bought myself a KitchenAid stand mixer, but that was a post-wedding gift from our friend, Mickey, a chef, and I don’t know how I lived without it before. You can dump anything in there and it’ll make magic. Also, someone gave us a mattress pad that keeps you cool all night while you sleep. That’s solid gold when you sleep next to a 300 lb. furnace.

What different decisions, if any, would you make for your registry if you knew then what you knew now? I would have registered for a really good toaster oven. Can you believe I forgot to? We’ve had bad luck in the toaster arena. They never work as well as the one I grew up making grilled cheeses and English muffin pizzas in. One thing I’d advise: we registered for really nice Ralph Lauren towels in white and light blue. The blue ones mildewed after a year, no matter how many washings they got, and now they’re just shop towels, but you can bleach the white ones every wash and they never mildew or stain. We’ll be using those same towels when we’re retired. Register for white towels, people!

Tell us about the process of moving in together. The thing that I think makes our home style work is that every room is anchored by a masculine thing. In the living room, our side table is an old, warped, oiled and worn butcher’s chopping block. In our bedroom, it’s the antique soldier’s cedar chest at the foot of our bed and the hulking armoire Ben and daddy built. In the kitchen, it’s the old wooden Brehmer’s Pub sign and the cotton factory pulleys that our lights hang from. I love white, linen, hydrangeas, patterned wallpapers, and antique floral engravings, but if that’s all our house was, the look would fall flat and be totally unoriginal. Every room needs to reflect a little ruggedness to feel like it’s really OUR house, I think, right down to the Civil War portraits and Hemingway books that live in the all-white half bath under the stairs.

Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? Ha! I hardly ever splurge. We like shopping flea markets and architectural salvage, or Ben builds things himself. I’m not impressed by money or expensive things. My sofa is a crazy comfy hand-me-down from mama and we had a custom white denim slipcover made for it. All of the old family portraits of our grandparents and parents are in mismatched brown frames we found at dollar stores all over town. My work desk was a $30 Craigslist find. If we do splurge, it’s because we just couldn’t live without it or couldn’t find a less pricey comparable option. The short list: our Restoration Hardware linen bedding and Jamison latex mattress (good sleep makes life worth living, y’all), and the stately portrait of Tony Soprano and his race horse in our dining room that was used in the HBO show. Other than that, if it’s in our house, we probably found it on the side of the road.

What is one small way you love or serve your spouse? If I’m awake first, I go start his coffee. I’ve got to have a real Coke first thing when I wake up, but he’s very attached to his coffee. He swears nothing makes him feel more loved and it’s an easy thing for me to do for him. He runs a bath for me every night before bed, always.

How does your family handle finances? We’re hardcore about tithing. We give to our church, no matter what, every single week, and our needs have always been met. Ben always says, “In the same way that prayer focuses us spiritually, tithing focuses us financially.” When you give up what controls you (money) and put your faith in God, He always provides. If you do it with confidence and without bitterness or worry, it’ll change your life. Ben also sets aside a couple hundred dollars from every paycheck for our vacation fund because we love to travel. When it’s time to buy plane tickets, it feels like, “Hey! Free trip!” We generally don’t spend money unless we really need something, or we might spend a little more if we’ve had a great week with Lucky Luxe. Otherwise, we save everything we can and invest it in mutual funds, our IRAs, and real estate trusts at the end of every year. Jim is a financial advisor and is helping us build a really nice little nest egg already, even at 28 and 30 years old. If you get a financial advisor, you’ll thank yourself later. They’re worth every penny, and it’s not even many pennies!

Before getting married, I wish someone had told me… how hard it would be to plan Christmas. No matter what, since our families live four hours apart, one of our mamas won’t have all her babies at home on Christmas morning. To make sure it’s fair, we alternate Christmas morning every other year (and every other year, I still cry over it), but it’s always wonderful no matter where we spend it. There’s going to be good food and and our favorite people in the world either way–it’s just SO tough to coordinate with siblings and their families. I urge you to put it on your calendars to make a Christmas plan in the summer. It’s the best way to cut out the confusion!

What’s your best tip for balancing your relationship and other life priorities? If you can share them, do that. Whether it’s shipping Lucky Luxe orders, making youth sabbath slideshows, or folding laundry, it spreads the burden, lightens the load, and becomes quality time if we’re doing it together. Also, you’ve got to get out of town sometimes. A quick one-day trip to the beach that gives you a little sunburn and sand in your overnight bag clears away so much mental debris.

Do you have a favorite date night idea to share? Well, it used to be aimlessly wandering through Blockbuster, picking up old movies we used to love, usually followed by a trip to Sonic for a strawberry limeade. Thanks a lot, stupid Netflix! Now that college is over, date night consists of dinner with friends. Or not with friends. But always a good dinner. It’s seems trite, but it’s a real pleasure for us. Oh wait, I love Netflix. It gave us House of Cards!

Do you have children? Only a handful of our friends don’t have kids yet, so it’s on my mind constantly, though I don’t feel quite ready for it yet. Lucky Luxe has been our baby since we were married, but as it’s become more sustainable in the last few years, I find we’re talking about babies more. I’m still working on building up my courage for the physical realities (labor?! AH!) of having babies, but it’s definitely part of the plan. If we try and find we aren’t able to, we’ll adopt. It’ll all work out just the way God has planned for us, and thankfully, that means it’s not in our control. That’s all I know for sure.

Which room in your home is your favorite, and why? Does a porch count as a room? We really live on the front porch. We have breakfast out there every morning, my family comes over for porch lunch every Friday, and our friends come over for supper after work. We lie on the porch bed and read on lazy Sunday afternoons. We can hear the church bells playing songs every hour, our neighbors walk by with dogs and babies and kids on bikes, and you can hear live music on the weekends drifting from the restaurant downtown if the wind blows just right. We watch weddings beneath the old live oaks on the lawn of the museum house across the street on Saturdays. Life is always happening from the porch. With the screen doors Ben made for us last fall, the porch now sort of creeps right into the living room–my second favorite room of the house–any time the weather is nice.

In 2014, our family is most excited about… There’s big stuff coming up for Lucky Luxe with our first full-page feature in Martha Stewart Weddings this fall, and we’re planning a road trip down the Pacific Coast Highway. Every fall, we take a big trip, usually to New England or NYC, but this year, we want to experience California. Would love some tips if any of you other wandering Southerners have some must-see spots between San Fran and San Diego!

What has been the most surprising thing about marriage? I’ve been surprised by how easy marriage is for us. I get that it’s not so simple for everyone, and a lot of people have disagreements on important things like kids and finances, but we haven’t struggled with that. Marriage is our comfort zone and support system; it’s as natural as breathing and just as necessary for making my way through life with all its good and hard times. People say, “Marriage is hard and it takes hard work.” That hasn’t been my experience. I think that if you marry the right person for you, the disagreements won’t feel like work.
Is there anything else about your home or family life that you think our readers would be interested in? You need two books: Streams in the Desert and The Perfectly Imperfect Home. They’ll keep your heart and home in good working order.

Follow along with Erin:
Lucky Luxe
Lucky Luxe blog
Personal blog
Lucky Luxe instagram
Personal instagram

emily Written with love by Emily
11 Comments
  1. avatar Lindsay Colvin reply

    This whole home is absolutely breaktaking but that porch, oh my heavens! Also, love their philosophy about finances, definitely spot on with tithing and needs being met.

  2. avatar Elizabeth reply

    I LOVE this house, the story, and how this cute couple made it such a cozy home. It seriously looks like it is straight out of a Nicholas Spark’s novel. Loving these features, too! :)

  3. avatar Julie reply

    I am just so inspired by this feature. I love Erin and Ben’s outlook on life, home, and marriage. As a soon-to-be married chica, I adored this!

  4. avatar Kristen reply

    I grew up in the same small town as Erin and also grew up in love with that precious house in historic downtown. It is absolutely beautiful and rich with character. Beautiful article…congrats Erin!

  5. avatar Erin reply

    Love love love this feature! I laughed out loud at Erin’s comment about Blockbuster, and her philosophy is just so wonderful!

  6. avatar Abby reply

    That porch bed is brilliant and instantly was added to my list of must-haves in buying my first home!

  7. avatar Lisa reply

    That porch is a dream!! Love their outlook on decorating, community, and marriage.

  8. avatar Southern Newlywed on SouthernWeddings.com | Lucky Luxe Couture Correspondence | Letterpress Wedding Stationery reply

    […] super in-depth questions about mine and Ben’s marriage and our thoughts on home style for Southern Weddings, the sister publication to Southern Living. I’m long winded (as you’ll find), but it […]

  9. avatar Southern Weddings Weekly Round-Up – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] Blue Ribbon Vendors! We took a tour of Erin Napier’s seriously amazing Mississippi home in Southern Newlywed. Megan and Barnett chose two sentimental venues for their jewel-toned Alabama wedding. Lauren and […]

  10. avatar Cami reply

    This home is a dream. Absolutely beautiful and so incredibly warm and inviting.

  11. avatar Hannah reply

    Gosh, seriously my favorite “at home” post yet! I love everything about this cozy home and the wise words from the owner!

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It’s really a joy to get to introduce y’all to a new set of Blue Ribbon Vendors each month, because I just know any one of them would be a joy to you if you choose to work together! This time around, we’re introducing you to a few of them through their answers to some of our favorite BRV interview questions. Click through to their listings to find out more about them!

Name: Alyssa Arlene Events
Where you call home: Small town Louisiana
Why you do what you do: I want to work hard to prepare for your wedding day so you can work hard to prepare for your life together.

Name: Ashlee Virginia Events
Where you call home: Virginia, but we are constantly in South Carolina and Florida!
How I got into weddings: I founded AVE in 2009 after working as a wedding planner at a well-known Virginia venue. One of the blessings of being in the DC area is that you have access to every type of venue imaginable, and I wanted to design events at all of them! I took a leap of faith and have been blessed with wonderful brides and grooms that believe in me.

Name: Hannah Mayo Photography
Where you call home: Palm Beach, Florida
Best piece of advice for brides and grooms? Remember that this is about your love, first and foremost. Infuse the day with your personalities but make sure it all comes down to building a future together with your soul mate.

Name: Kate Foley Designs
Where you call home: Ft. Worth
How I got into weddings: After studying flowers and interior design in college, my best friend asked me to be a bridesmaid and design the flowers for her wedding. I fell in love with wedding flower designs and 15 years later, I still love what I do!

Name: Krystal Kast Photographers
Where you call home: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Dream travel destination? Corsica, France, or a cycling trip around Sicily

Name: Legacy Farms
Where you call home: Tennessee
Favorite thing about weddings in the South? How sugar-sweet the guests are! There aren’t many weddings in which hearts aren’t being blessed and cornbread isn’t part of the bread basket.

Name: Llorente Design
Where you call home: Miami, Florida
Favorite part of a wedding day? The bride and groom’s first dance. I always cry.

Name: O.Henry Hotel
Where you call home: Greensboro, North Carolina
Things you’d write home to your Momma about: O.Henry Hotel was hand-selected to be a member of the “Southern Living” Hotel Collection and is also a AAA four diamond hotel.

Name: Poppy Lane Design
Where you call home: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Favorite part of a wedding day? The happiest moment is the bride’s face when she sees her bouquet for the first time. To us, it’s equal to the groom seeing her for the first time.

Name: Rachel May Photography
Where you call home: Madison County, Virginia
Favorite thing about weddings in the South? The sweet Southern hospitality. The care and love of every detail for each guest. I also love the tradition and how each family treasures them; it’s not done as a routine but as a gift passed down.

Check out all of our favorite vendors in the Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory! I also wanted to mention that we’re working particularly hard to expand some of our areas of slim pickings – namely, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and West Virginia. If you would like to recommend someone (or nominate yourself!) for any of these states, please email emily at southernweddings.com!

emily Written with love by Emily
1 Comment
  1. avatar Rachel May reply

    Yay!! So honored to be a part of the SW family! <3

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It was so fun to relive my and Lisa’s stay at the Salamander Resort on Tuesday! Our trip wasn’t all spa treatments and horseback riding, though – we were in Virginia to work! We met up with one of our favorite florists, Holly Chapple, and one of our favorite photographers, Katie Stoops, to pull together our bouquet feature for Southern Weddings V7. Our floral features have been inspired by a number of things in the past, including Southern states and different aspects of the South, but I dare say this one is our most fun yet.

Our day started with a visit to The Old Luckett’s Store out in the cow fields of Leesburg, VA. Anyone who has been to this vintage treasure trove and/or feels the same way I do about collected goodies knows how painful it was for me to walk briskly through all four floors, sticking to my list, instead of meandering from room to room for the rest of the day. We left with an armful of artifacts to complete our vision, and headed to Holly’s delightful home studio!

The rest of the day was really just the best kind of photo shoot dream. The weather was gorgeous, so we set up our shooting space outside in the garden, and the rest of the day was spent building bouquets, choosing ribbon, snipping branches and greenery from the yard, and composing images.

We even had a few helpers as Holly’s kids came and went! Miss Grace was particularly taken with the cotton bolls we were using, and asked us very sweetly if she could keep one after we were finished. We said yes :)

That’s it for today, but keep an eye on the instagram hashtag #MakingSouthernWeddings – we’ve been sharing the daily bits and pieces and tiny steps that somehow, over the course of a year, add up to a big, beautiful magazine!

P.S. We’re still looking for reader models for our Charleston and Nashville editorial shoots!

emily Written with love by Emily
2 Comments
  1. avatar Lisa reply

    Such a fun day!!

  2. avatar Kat reply

    This makes me even MORE excited for this issue!!! YAY!

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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