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Southern Weddings

Author: Nicole

Though we love providing y’all with inspiration and practical advice, possibly the most rewarding part of our job is creating products that will live in your homes and at your weddings, helping you to celebrate the things that are most important. And we won’t pretend—we make the things we’d love to have and can’t find anywhere else!

Today, we are thrilled to introduce you to two new products in the Southern Weddings Shop!

Our Welcome Home Guestbook is a place for your friends and family to record the memories that they make at your home—anything from the first dinner you host as newlyweds, to Friday night movie marathons, to Thanksgiving as one big family. My favorite part of this guestbook is that it’s something you can start together, whether you’re dating or have been married for years!

The Welcome Home Guestbooks come in coral, blue, and natural linen. Each is foil-stamped with hand lettering from Hand Lettered Designs!

Our Vows Booklet Sets are a sweet place to write down your wedding day vows. At less than 4 inches wide, they’re small and beautiful enough to carry down the aisle and read from on your wedding day. Knowing this, we partnered with Moya Minns of MM Ink Studio for our cover calligraphy—we know her styles are timeless and that these booklets will look just as beautiful for years to come.

The Vows Booklet sets are available in blue and cream. I love the covers of each of these little booklets—they’re soft to the touch, and embossed with Moya’s calligraphy.

Find these and all of our products in the Southern Weddings Shop!

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
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A habit that I’m trying to pick up from Emily is to savor my days rather than rushing time by celebrating or preparing for the holidays too early. However, when your mom texts you multiple times a week asking when you’re coming home for Christmas, it’s time to make some plans!

Choosing which holidays to share when you’re dating is a challenge we’re all well-acquainted with. With multiple families to see, traditions to take part in, and miles between each of them, how do you choose which you do together? How do you invest time in each other and each other’s families when you’re not engaged or married yet (or even thinking about it!), but still honor the traditions you’ve made among your own family and friends?

Taylor and I have learned that there’s no one way to do the holidays. In fact, we do it differently every year, since we both balance two sets of divorced parents, siblings and their respective spouses, everyone living in different states, and ever-changing work schedules. Actually, this is the first year we’ll be spending every holiday from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve together! It’s given us a great excuse to start making our own traditions, and to add even more cheer to the holiday season.

I asked the ladies in the office if they would also weigh in with their experience doing holidays while dating, and which fun traditions were formed from that time. I hope it helps to remind you that while the holidays can come with their fair share of schedule-wrangling, and time-compromising, there’s still plenty of time to do something that’s exciting and celebratory for the two of you!

For me and Taylor, this year will be the first in the four years we’ve been dating that we’ll spend Thanksgiving together. Two years ago, we started our own tradition to make up for the holiday we didn’t get to spend together: an annual Friendsgiving dinner with our best friends. Not only has this helped me hone my turkey-roasting skills for the day when we get to host family Thanksgiving, but it’s also been a really sweet way to spend time with our friends and each other during the holidays without taking time away from already-established family commitments.

Kristin: Initially, Kyle and I spent holidays apart.  Over time, we made a joint decision to spend different holidays with one another’s family in the light of different factors like location, timing, and established family traditions. We had very open conversations about how to best do this, knowing that our decision impacted more that just ourselves. And once we made a decision, we stuck with it. Early in our relationship, if we weren’t spending the holiday together, we started to exchange cards on all of the major holidays, slipping them into suitcases or cars in advance. I found my very first holiday card from KPW tucked in my school bag right before Thanksgiving, after he had left to go home to be with his family. While we spend all holidays together now, we still continue the card exchange, leaving them under pillows or taped to the bathroom mirror.

Amber: When we were dating, my family was local, but his family was a three-hour drive away. We alternated years, with some spent at his family’s house on Thanksgiving and mine for Christmas. Brandon had been away for many holidays during his seven years in the Air Force, so it wasn’t hugely disrupting to his family for him to be away on any respective holiday.

Emily: John and I grew up in the same town, so our parents conveniently live only 10 minutes away from each other. While we were dating, we stuck with our own families for the major events (Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas Eve, Christmas morning), but made sure to each spend time with the other’s family while everyone was in town for the holidays. Things like baking cookies with John’s sisters and sledding down the hill behind his house were priceless opportunities to get to know his family better! Starting with our very first Christmas, though, John and I exchanged stockings. We went to college together, so we’d do the exchange—complete with hot cocoa and cookies from the dining hall—before we went home for the holidays. More than gifts, stockings to me represent something you do only with your family, so I love that we made this a tradition for our own budding family unit long before we actually got engaged.

Jess: When Logan and I were living in the same city, we’d have breakfast together on Christmas Eve before driving our separate ways to celebrate with our families. Now that we live in different states, we’re having to get a bit more creative about creating new holiday traditions.

Marissa: Since our families live in different states, the holidays have always been a bit tough for us. However, we have always wanted to be respectful of each other’s family commitments. During our time dating, we chose to celebrate the holidays with our own families. We wanted to give our undivided attention to our respective families, so we spent the time surrounding the holidays together creating memories and traditions. One tradition that we began when we were dating was trips to Callaway Gardens to see the lights. Add in hot chocolate and a cozy blanket, and it’s the perfect date night!

I would LOVE to hear how you’re spending your holidays with your significant other and your family! What fun traditions have you created, and how have you navigated both families’ commitments?

All photos by our Blue Ribbon Vendor, Caroline Lima.

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
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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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For the first four years that Taylor and I dated (as in, up until this summer!), he worked in sports videography–working seven days a week and attending every football and basketball game, whether at home or away. Since my fall was mostly dedicated to getting our annual print edition out, there would be many days where we would both get home late at night and hangrily grumble at each other until we went to bed (okay, maybe that was just me…).

Making time for date nights and quality time was a challenge for us. We both believe that we shouldn’t have to sacrifice the time we spend on personal hobbies and passion projects for each other. After all, those things are what made us who we are, and they’re a huge part of why we love each other! So with time so scarce, how could we find ways to continue to grow closer? After our first year of experiencing this particular season of crazy together, we had to get creative about how we approached date nights. I know we’re not the only ones who are in this position, so here are some of our tips and ideas for making dates happen at any time.

Images by Ais Portraits.

1. Plan in advance. Take a look at your calendar and spot any overlapping days or nights off that you can. Block them off so you can spend them together! It doesn’t matter if you use that time to finally make that road trip you’ve been talking about, or if you just binge watch your favorite TV shows and go out to dinner. If you’re able to, give yourselves a date that you can look forward to, whether you plan something big or nothing at all, you’ll know the weekend didn’t escape you and you used the time well!

2. Make it any time. Maybe you only found one or two days that you were able to block off in advance. That means you’ll need to use whatever time is left in the best way possible. Date nights aren’t always an option, so why not date mornings? One of my favorite dates I’ve had with Taylor is when we decided to get up early to get breakfast and then explore a museum downtown before he headed off to work. Date mornings practically guarantee an equally great day (and usually inspire a string of text messages throughout the day, too!).

3. Make it anywhere. I think this is half the fun of dating! Any place can be romantic or fun enough for a date, whether you’re meeting for a Chick-fil-A lunch at the exit between your two offices, meeting in the grocery store parking lot to split an ice cream, or meeting over the phone before bed. Get as creative as possible–those are some of the best dates to look back on!

4. Make it anything. Let me tell you a story. When Taylor and I moved in together and experienced our first busy season under the same roof, dinners were tense. I would get home a little earlier than he did and start cooking right away. Mostly, I did it out of hunger, but I also did it because that’s how I wanted to show Taylor I supported him and his late nights–by taking one more thing off his plate. Eventually, though, I became upset that I was the only one doing this. As it turns out, cooking together is one of Taylor’s favorite ways to spend time with me, so instead of prepping dinner on nights that I worked late, he waited, wanting to unwind over wine and chat about our days while we concocted something delicious. Discovering this made our busy season so much more enjoyable because it took a burden off both our shoulders and turned it into something fun instead. I had to pack extra snacks for work so I wasn’t starving by the time I got home, but it gave us many nights of happy conversation and quality time doing something we both love to do. The moral of the story: identify the things that bring you the most joy in your relationship and make those a priority. Dates can be anything you want them to be as long as you approach them with a bit of romance and whimsy :)

5. Make it pizza. Or whatever you use as your fallback. There is no shame in ditching fancy, creative dates. Or homemade meals. Or forks. Or the dinner table. We’ve instituted “pizza picnics,” which give us an out on the few days when cooking is the last the thing we want to do, and our brains are spent. We order our favorite pizza from a nearby restaurant, lay a blanket on the floor, and call it a date. It’s nothing fancy and nothing new, but the fact that we’ve given it a name and made it a tradition makes it so much fun. When we say “pizza picnic” at home, both our eyes light up and we pull out our favorite blankets, splurge on a Mexican Coke, and chat happily until the doorbell rings. Plus, you can make this a date anywhere. We’ve been known to crave pizza picnics on vacation when we’re spent from sight-seeing and new-experience-having.

6. Take an interest. This isn’t a date idea, per se, but one of the tips Taylor and I implemented early on in our relationship that have made our untraditional date nights easier to embrace. We’ve been told a number of times to leave work at work, but quite frankly, that just doesn’t work for us. We’re emotionally invested in what we do, or we just can’t turn our brains off when we get home, so our vote is to talk it out. Trying to compartmentalize didn’t work for us–instead, it left us distracted when we were together. So, we’ve decided to talk through our days thoroughly–both the wins we had at work and the struggles we face. There are so many benefits to this! We get to be fully present with each other since we lay all our cards on the table. We’ve built up a lot of trust in each other because we share our problems and we seek advice and comfort in each other. And lastly, because we’re both fully aware of what’s going on in the office, it makes it much easier to be understanding when you get that text at 9 P.M. that says “I’m still at the office–eat without me tonight. Xo.”

I’m always searching for more fun date ideas — what are some of the best or most creative dates you been on?

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
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  1. avatar Kelly reply

    Absolutely love this! Great advice!! :)

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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