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Southern Weddings Magazine

Author: Marissa

A few weeks ago y’all learned what it’s like to be the Southern Weddings’ Art Director, but I can tell you that life in the Southern Weddings office is a bit different for me than my sweet counterparts. Namely, because I’m not usually in the Southern Weddings office. Sit a spell with me as I walk you through a typical day for Southern Weddings’ Ad Director!

To set the scene, let’s take a look at my workspace:

This is what my “desk” looks like most mornings: clean, organized and ready for the day. However, I should add that my desk changes based on where I am in the USA – sometimes it’s a coffee table, sometimes it’s a kitchen table, and sometimes it’s a picnic table.

And this is what my “desk” looks like by the end of the day. A complete hot mess! Nicole and I share of a love of Post-it notes, but as you can see, mine sometimes get out of control!

3:15am Yes, you read that right! As many of you know, my husband plays minor league baseball, which sometimes means getting up at an absurd hour of the night to “wake up” and pick him up at the field after a long road trip and bus ride back from who-knows-where!

8:50 I try to only drink water, but after a crazy early wakeup call, a little Monster Rehab is much needed! At least I’m keeping it Southern – a Rehab is like an Arnold Palmer with way too much energy! Yes, I actually have to step through a whole boatload of baseballs in my daily routine – they’re seriously everywhere!

9:00 I sit down at my nice and clean desk and prepare for the day. I keep everything organized with my Emily Ley notepads. This one is my favorite – it helps me break down my giant list into more manageable steps.

9:10 I open my email client, and it’s flooded with gorgeous gowns, sparkly baubles and sweet notes from our advertisers. I love days like this!

10:30 Since I work remotely most of the time, I Skype into our team meetings. Let’s just say the background of my “office” always entertains my fellow SW ladies. From random baseball players trying to chat, to my bedroom wall (yes, there’s a monogram there!), to a bloody Nolan Ryan photo (yikes!), the options are always entertaining!

Can you see me in the background? :)

11:30 After gushing over the gorgeous gown options we have for our cover shoot, and narrowing down the perfect bling to accompany said gown, we break from our meeting. I organize my crazy gobbledygook meeting notes into a more legible list, and get started working on V5 prep. Currently, I’m tracking down the perfect cover shoot gown — and requesting diamond rings. FUN!

1:00 I pause for a quick lunch, usually Chipotle or an omelet. After, I head out to drop BDK off at the ballpark for his day to start.

1:30 Back to work. Today I’m working on a proposal for some really awesome new advertisers. I love creating custom campaigns to help our clients grow their businesses and connect with our sweet brides.

3:00 I prepare to write a Real Wedding intro by swooning over the stunning details, then sniffling over the sweet proposal story, then deciding where to start. I’m pretty sure Emily assigns me the prettiest ones! By the way, on a typical day, I’ve already exchanged 15-30 emails with Emily at this point.

4:00 Back to emails to finish up the day. I’m very type A, so leaving a full inbox is not an option for me! BUT, I do love when my inbox is full of newly engaged readers – I get way too excited for them!

5:00 I start wrapping up my day, making sure I let Emily know text for my posts are ready for edit. I email Nicole some lovely V5 ads for editorial review, and I Hey Tell gown options with Lara (one of my favorite things to do ever!).

5:45 I close down my computer and start getting ready to head to a baseball game. Outfit selection is very important and completely based on what will make me the least sweaty in this Southern summer heat and humidity.

I am so thankful that everyday is different and exciting – and I love working with such amazing ladies! From image sizing help, to graphic creation and email editing, Emily, Nicole, Kristin (who you’ll meet soon!), and Lara help me be able to do my best everyday.

Want more behind the scenes? Check out our “In the Office” posts here.

marissa Written with love by Marissa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Lisa reply

    Marissa, your job sounds like so much fun! I love reading these “behind the scenes” looks and seeing all the joy that goes into my favorite magazine! The fact that y’all love your work so much shows constantly :)

    • avatar Marissa reply

      Thanks for your sweet words, Lisa! I really do love the magazine, and we’re so luck to be able to have such great readers like you! xx

  2. avatar Cathleya reply

    These are always my favorite types of posts! Love hearing about your day, M! Isn’t it amazing that when we went off to college, we never realized all the kinds of cool jobs that were out there and that we could be doing? I always thought I’d just work in HR. I have no idea why. Your day sounds so great (and much more organized than mine!)…fun to see a fellow work-from-home’er’s day! xx

  3. avatar Marissa reply

    Thanks for the sweet comment, C! Let’s just say this is a “typical” day! Some are not nearly as organized, and some are all around wild!! CANNOT wait to see you in, NYC! xx

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Hey friends! We’ve already asked for your help once with our preparations for V5 (respond here if you haven’t done so yet!), but today, we’re back with another query!

We’re working on a special feature for the next issue, and we’d love to know: What do YOU love about the South?

Emily was kind enough to volunteer one of her favorite things about the South for this post – deviled eggs! (Both photos from Saveur) Maybe for you it’s front porches, or sweet tea, or peaches at the height of August ripeness. Whatever it is, we want to know! Just leave a comment here telling us what you love most about the South. If you leave your first name, last name, and hometown, as well, we’ll assume it’s okay to print your answer in V5! We’d love to have you join us!

P.S. We had one of our last photo shoots for V5 yesterday at our office, and the set-up was pretty crazy! Here’s a snap:

Can’t wait to share!!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
25 Comments
  1. avatar Kristyn M reply

    Handmade wooden rocking chairs on big front porches!

  2. avatar Kathi reply

    Buttermilk pie!

  3. avatar Katie O’Keefe reply

    Big, lazy trees hanging over a drive full of Spanish moss….love it

  4. avatar Megan Smith reply

    Fried anything…especially pickles!

  5. avatar Theresa reply

    The slow pace to life.

  6. avatar Jess // Curating Style reply

    How friendly everyone is, the history, fried chicken, and the better weather. And of course, my wonderful boyfriend is from the South, and I’d be amiss in neglecting to mention him. :)

  7. avatar Jennifer reply

    heritage. reinvention. the smell of tobacco smoking in a barn in the fall. our dusty rural areas make for some pretty spectacular sunsets. family dinners – oh the cooking!

  8. avatar Rachel reply

    SEC football
    Big hair
    Bigger wedding parties
    “Y’all”
    Lace & burlap
    Monogrammed seersucker

  9. avatar Kelsey B. reply

    I love sweet tea, tailgating during football season, big front porches, beach music and shagging, and the smiling faces that follow “Hey y’all!”

    -Kelsey Ballance
    Columbia, SC

  10. avatar Christina S. reply

    Warm pecan pie with a scoop of vanilla bluebell ice cream :)

  11. avatar Lindsay Heisler reply

    I love how the old mixes with the new so well in the South. In Charleston,SC you can spend the day touring old homes and then have dinner at a new and wonderful restaurant. And there is no place better for Shrimp n Grits and Sweet Tea!

    Lindsay H.
    Greer, SC

  12. avatar Laura reply

    Too many things to count! All the amazing Southern desserts, the word “y’all,” hospitality, seersucker, manners, gentleman who hold open doors for you, the warm weather…the list goes on and on!

  13. avatar Ashley reply

    SEC Football! Family dinners that include 5 generations, sunny beach days on the gulf and hurricane parties. -Ashley Moore, Pensacola, FL

  14. avatar Lauren Winstead reply

    Hands down, my favorite thing about the South is the fierce loyalty we all have to it. It’s full of hardworking people who love and believe in their friends and neighbors, and I’ve never visited a place where home and family are so important. And the food isn’t bad, either! -Lauren Winstead, Raleigh, NC

  15. avatar Kate Collison reply

    I’m a “Southern Transplant” – born in Indiana and getting married in Georgia… I’ve fallen in love with The South quite rapidly! My fiancé calls me a “displaced peach” because I get homesick for southern living! My most favorite part of The South is the genuine, simple hospitality that goes along with every aspect of life… whether it’s daily or for a big occasion! The world needs more of that. Plus, there are southern pines. I love southern pines.

  16. avatar Delaney Gates reply

    I love that in the South, ladies and gentlemen are not the exception, but the rule. –Delaney Gates (Rogers, Arkansas)

  17. avatar Lisa reply

    Where to begin? I love that every Southern state has special qualities that make it unique, but we all value family, kindness, hospitality, loyalty, and politeness above anything else! -Lisa Olson, Warrenton, VA

  18. avatar Victoria Derrick reply

    I love College Football season in the South. SEC all the way, baby! (Columbia, SC) Go Carolina Gamecocks!

  19. avatar Diego Molina reply

    Quality of life low pace, football and most defenitively the foood. Ohhh one more hospitality :).

  20. avatar Samantha Daniels reply

    Everything is simply sweeter in the south…the people, the tea, and the football victories. Samantha D. Matthews, NC

  21. avatar Madelynne Moulton reply

    My favorite thing about the south would definitely have to be the ‘southern gentleman’.

    My husband has opened the car door for me for FIVE years and counting. Men here are nicer, more polite, and know how to treat a lady!

    Madelynne Moulton – Birmingham, AL

  22. avatar Shelby Thomas reply

    Long words, wide front proches, sweet tea in a Mason jar, pine trees, SEC football, and putting’ on pearls no matter what the occasion!

  23. avatar Katie Bethune reply

    Grandma’s house in the summertime!

  24. avatar Katie reply

    I love the peace that settles in after a summer sunset. The sky is that perfect shade of blue and pink, the lightning bugs are coming alive, everyone feels content and the air smells of fresh cut grass. Now that I live in a more urban (and northern) area, that’s something I miss the most, especially on summer nights when all I want to do is run barefoot through the grass and see who can catch the most lightning bugs.

    Katie Eide
    Meadowview, VA

  25. avatar Ashleigh Farley reply

    I love that in the south your hair can never be too big, tea can never be too sweet and you can never give too many hugs.

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When I took my first peak at Nicole + Rob’s wedding images, I was completly taken with Nicole’s gor-geous Olia Zavozina deep scoop-back gown. For a self-proclaimed tom boy, this girl sure cleans up nicely! Beyond the stunning gown, Nicole + Rob’s big day was full of lovely Southern details. My favorite has to be the old refurbished church pews at the ceremony – y’all know I’m a sucker for outdoor Cathedrals, and adding in the Tennessee rolling hills. I think I might need to rework my renewal plans!

The dress was my first purchase. Two of my sorority sisters were visiting and wanted to go dress shopping. It was only a few weeks after we got engaged, so the thought of trying on wedding dresses felt slightly overwhelming. After two appointments, I didn’t really like anything and disliked the process even more. It just felt kind of fake and forced (I should note I’m a self-proclaimed tom boy so this didn’t surprise me). While heading to dinner, we passed a new bridal store, and the light was still on. My friends flocked to the window to peak inside and the door opened. It was the designer, Olia Zavozina. She told us her store was set to open the following month, but if I wanted, she would allow me to come in the next day. I did and fell in love with the first dress I tried on. Talk about fate!

Tom boy? Um, I’d have to go with complete knockout! Nicole sure knows how to rock the glam look!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? I went back and forth on this. I think every girl (or most girls) wants to see her husband-to-be’s expression as she walks down the aisle. Ultimately, we both decided to do a first look. It was great because this moment was not only a special moment we shared together, privately, but we were able to take all of our pictures before the wedding to maximize time with our out of town guests post-ceremony. It was perfect.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My longtime friend Melissa read from The Equality of Woman and Man. “The Lord made woman and man to abide with each other in the closest companionship, and to be even as a single soul. They are two helpmates, two intimate friends, who should be concerned about the welfare of each other. If they live thus, they will pass through this world with perfect contentment, bliss, and peace of heart, and become the object of divine grace and favor in the Kingdom of heaven. Strive, then, to abide, heart and soul, with each other as two doves in the nest, for this is to be blessed in both worlds.”

It was important to us to have vows that sounded like us. I’m a bit of a research geek, so I had a ton of fun pulling verses and copy from varying sources. My favorite part of our vows was actually a line towards the end that was something I told the pastor when he asked me what my vision was for our marriage. I told him, “As I look to the life that we will build together, I hope that we will continue to push each other towards the best versions of ourselves.” It was a nice touch to our vows that he took from our one-on-one conversations.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? That’s tough, as you would imagine. The more sentimental memory would be Rob and I walking down the hill after the ceremony. We were both so relieved for it to be over (it was kind of stressful!) and just take in the scenery of the Tennessee rolling hills. The more fun memory was a dance off between Rob and me to Salt n Pepa’s “Push It.” That happened unplanned, and it was fantastic. Rob did his classic butter churn dance move, sans his shirt.

My bouquet was a mix of white peonies, white cushions, orchids and green hypericum berries throughout. The bridesmaids bouquets had white hydrangeas with green hypericum berries, Robert had a green mini cym with an orchid and white status boutonnieres and the groomsmen had green berries. Our tables had spyders, cushion berries, million star and Queen Anne’s and our outside ceremony alter had white hydrangeas at the top.

We saw the style of our wedding as being crisp, clean and classic with a little rustic feel (after all, it was on a farm). Our color palette was white, navy and Kelly green. We had old refurbished church pews at the ceremony site with the Tennessee rolling hills overlooking the farm; there were two barns with bars alongside a gorgeous backyard setting where guests were seated. Our specialty drinks were Jack Daniel whiskey and coke and vodka and tea. Guests enjoyed family-style BBQ that included pulled chicken, beef brisket, mac-n-cheese, squash casserole, green beans and corn bread and honey butter. We also had old quilts that adorned the seats in one of the barns and a classically chic chandelier.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert: We had a two-layer buttermilk cake with chocolate filling and white icing on the outside, and cupcakes in triple chocolate, coconut cream, red velvet, vanilla and white chocolate.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Rob and I were introduced through our mutual friend, Jennifer. Jen and I work together, and she had mentioned that she thought her neighbor and I would hit it off. She described Rob as tall, handsome, athletic and polite. He had a good job in investment management and was from Oxford, Mississippi. Who could turn that down?! Our first date was during restaurant week on a snowy night in January. Oddly enough, we didn’t initially hit it off as one might think! Looking back, I think it was first date nerves and the restaurant wasn’t really our scene. After some encouragement from Jen, we both agreed to give it another shot. Fast forward a few days to our second date. Rob took me to a local sports bar to watch the NFL playoffs. We were able to relax, banter and watch some good ole’ fashion football. Suffice to say we hit it off immediately. We realized we had a lot in common: An affinity for SEC sports (Go Gators), the Giants (he likes Eli, I love NYC), a Christian upbringing, running, dogs, music and a sarcastic sense of humor. Not to mention I found Rob incredibly good looking. After what was an infinitely more successful date, we were inseparable.
Describe the proposal. We decided to take a trip to Rosemary Beach in the Spring. It was our first night there and Rob planned a dinner at a swanky restaurant. We biked around most of the day and as we headed back to our condo, Rob suggested going for a walk on the beach before dinner. We showered and got dressed, and as we stepped out on the beach it started to torrentially downpour. We went back inside and our electricity went out! I laughed and suggested we just head to the restaurant early for a drink. Rob sat down on the couch and motioned for me to join him. He pulled out a four-page letter and started to read it to me. What he was reading aloud didn’t really sink at first, but I quickly realized it was a letter he wrote to my mother. He went into detail about how he felt about me; that even after only four months, he knew that that I was what he had waited his whole life for; that I was the love of his life and that he would call her on Saturday to talk through his intentions and address any questions or concerns she had. My father passed away from cancer in 2004, so Rob knew that my mother’s blessing meant everything to me. The thought to write her a letter and give her time to process everything before he called was something you just didn’t hear about much. It was unique…but perhaps that’s just how they do it here in the South. He called my mother that Saturday and after some assurances Rob gave her, she wholeheartedly gave her blessing. Before she hung up, she just said, “Nikki’s father would have wanted me to say this; but please just please take care of our baby girl.” Rob went on to tell me that the day my engagement ring arrived, my mother called him and asked if the ring came in. It caught Rob off guard, since the ring had arrived a couple days before it was expected. When Rob told my mom that the ring arrived that morning, she simply replied, “I knew it. Today is the day that Nikki’s dad and I got married!” At this point, tears were streaming down my face. Rob got down on one knee and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him — to which I more than happily obliged.
In what month did you get married? April 2012
How many guests attended your wedding? About 90 guests total
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. We had a string trio play during the ceremony. During the wedding party processional, they played U2’s “Beautiful Day” and Coldplay’s “The Scientist.” As I walked down the aisle, they played the more traditional Canon in D. During the recessional, the played Muse’s “Starlight.” We took dance lessons for 10 weeks to prepare for our first dance. We learned the rumba to Ray Lamontagne’s “You are the Best Thing.” No one knew we had a choreographed first dance, so it was a fun surprise for everyone and we looked great. It was a blast.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The chic chandelier over the bar in the barn behind an old mirror that listed our specialty drinks.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Being patient. I’m a perfectionist and planner by trade (I work in advertising), so it was tough for me to let go and trust that my wedding coordinator and venue would take care of everything. It was a lesson in patience, for sure.
What range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? Hands down my photographer. Being in advertising, I know what good photography can do for the end product. It was important to me that our photographer embodied a photo-documentary style. I really disliked wedding photos that looked overly staged. Without question, I knew I wanted Leslee Mitchell.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Have faith that everything will work out, and even if something happens unexpected on your wedding day – the guests likely won’t even know. So enjoy it and take it all in, because the day itself goes by in a blink.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? House hunting, travel and beginning talks of children. More planning!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Andre Blais reply

    What a beautiful wedding! Gorgeous photography also! Thanks for sharing!

  2. avatar Iceni reply

    Fabulous article. Love the rustic looks the bride & groom chose, and Nicole looked amazing in her gown. Fab sparklers to finish of the night.

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Summer in the South means beach getaways, gingham shirts, crazy humidity, and really good music! Last week we asked for y’all’s help rounding up the best music festivals in the South, so without further ado, let’s get started! We can’t help but think that any of these awesome events would make the perfect break from wedding planning…

Bonnaroo is a four day long music and arts festival taking place on over 700 Acres of Tennessee nature. With over 80,000 happy campers, 150 performances and 10+ stages of music, comedians, Bonnoroo is described as “overwhelming happiness. Hugging a stranger by accident. Bonnaroovian Dancing. An escape into Excitement.” Now that sounds like a blast!

The KISS Country Chili Cookoff holds a special place in my heart. It’s where I started my corporate event planning career, it’s also where my husband rode in a golf cart with Jewel, and where Jessica Simpson wore those famous jeans! Not to mention it’s the South’s largest one day outdoor concert, jam-packed with the best country artists and a Chili Village full of awesome vendors. Also tons of cowboy hats.

In honor of our former editor, Sierra, we couldn’t leave the CMA Music Festival off this list! This four-day country music fest takes place in June in Nashville, Tennessee. Beginning in 1972 as Fan Fair, the event now draws over 400 artists and celebrities who hold autograph sessions and perform in one of the many concerts offered throughout the festival. In 2011, total combined attendance for the four-day event was estimated to have exceeded 250,000 people, and visitors came from 41 different nations, and all 50 states. Whoa!

Taking place in our own Ms. Lara’s hometown, DeLuna Fest is officially America’s original beach party! For three-days, music fans can dance on the sugar white sands of Pensacola Beach, revel in a diverse mix of live beach-friendly bands and musicians, and admire gorgeous Florida’s sunsets. DeLuna Fest celebrates Pensacola’s rich heritage with great music and a big ol’ party!

The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival might have been our most-suggested festival from y’all! The Nola Jazz Fest is a 10-day cultural event where thousands of musicians, cooks and craftspeople welcome nearly 400,000 visitors each year. With 12 stages of “soul-stirring” music from jazz, gospel, Cajun, zydeco, blues, R&B, rock, funk, African, Latin, Caribbean, folk, and much more, the festival is a celebration of many cultures. In 2001, the Festival celebrated Louis Armstrong’s centennial, and the total attendance eclipsed 650,000 attendees, smashing all past records!

Have you been to one of our favorite festivals? Or have a favorite music festival we missed? Let us know! Then put on your favorite Southern song, and let’s enjoy the last few weeks of summer!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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During baseball season, I spend the majority of my nights talking myself out of eating ballpark food. The smell of funnel cake and caramelized pecans can be quite persuasive, y’all! I’m lucky to have made some amazing girlfriends from around the world in the stands, and we all try to hold strong together. One of my best girls is from Minot, North Dakota.

Yes, our accents are very different, and so is our culture. Y’all, she had never had a boiled peanut! What? I know! This summer I took it upon myself to introduce her to this yummy delicacy – she thought they tasted like little potatoes!

Clockwise from top: Recipe and photography by Our Life in the Kitchen, recipe for Hot Spiced Boiled Peanuts and plain Boiled Peanuts, both from Southern Living

Originally called “goober peas” (LOVE!), boiled peanuts have been a staple in the deep South since the 19th century. When the peanut crops were ready, unsold stock would be prepared in a “boiling,” and extended families and neighbors would gather to share conversation and food. Sounds just like the South, right? Unsurprisingly, boiled peanuts are still a symbol of Southern culture and cuisine.

Raw (or “green”) peanuts in the shell are put in a large pot of very heavily salted water and boiled, generally from four to seven hours and using several gallons of water. A tip: green peanuts cook faster and tend to be better tasting! Modern cooks sometimes use crock pots, but I still think it would be fun to make a day of it and invite your friends and neighbors over for an old fashioned boiling! Interesting boiled peanut fact: on May 1, 2006, Governor Mark Sanford signed a bill making boiled peanuts the official snack food of South Carolina! Closer to home, they are also an all time favorite of our own Ms. Lara!

CWF Photography

We love the idea of boiled peanuts as wedding favors or late night snacks!

Will you be incorporating boiled peanuts in to your wedding? Do you have a favorite Southern food? Let me know in the comments below!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
6 Comments
  1. avatar Megan reply

    Boiled peanuts are my absolute favorite! Pick some up every weekend to take out on the boat. They are my one request to my future in-laws for the rehearsal dinner. :)

    • avatar Linghesh reply

      Boiled peanuts always remind me of late summer nights eating al fresco and talking until the stars come out. They also make a great snack for a day spent hiking.

  2. avatar Bobbi reply

    I’m from ND but had the pleasure of living in SC for 2 yrs and loved boiled peanuts. I think I need to make some now!

  3. avatar Amy reply

    I have friends that always serve boiled peanuts as a appetizer when they’re hosting a dinner party but they always taste best with Savannah Sand Gnats baseball!

  4. avatar Whitney reply

    Love love love this idea! Where did you get the printed paper bags?

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