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Southern Weddings

Author: Nicole

It has been a crazy year, y’all. With three new gals in our ranks (plus three new babies!) and so much changing in our business so quickly, we were all really anxious for our third annual team retreat. With half of our team working remotely, having time together to talk shop, get gussied up for team photos, and play a round of Celebrity in our PJs could not come fast enough.

Someone recently asked us on Instagram how we plan such great team retreats. Kristin and I like to think that when we get together to plan events, our brains mesh together in the perfect chemistry under which magic just explodes everywhere :)

Our team retreat looks like it’s full of photo shoots, cupcakes, activities, and laughs — and it is! But it’s also full of big conversation, hard decisions, and a lot of baring your heart. The magic of our team retreat comes from the women around the table.

We have two priorities when we gather for our team retreat every year: to make big decisions that affect the future of our company together, and to spend time in person so that our team is stronger than any obstacle we might face.

We’re not going to sugarcoat it, y’all — this time is hard work. Sometimes tears are shed, sometimes we disagree, and sometimes we walk away from a conversation with eye-opening revelations and no answers. But these are the conversations that bring us closer and make us better in business. These are the conversations we have in order for us all to feel represented, supported, and unified. We all have a huge stake in the work we do because we believe it in, and there is no traditional hierarchy where executive decisions are made. That means there are nine of us around the table fighting to do the best work possible. To us, that’s where the magic happens.

Since we love these women so much, and since team retreats are hard work, we like to surprise everyone with fun gifts and activities!

Each gal received a monogrammed luggage tag from Dixieland Monogram in the mail with a team retreat invitation and packing list (and a retreat playlist, which I do declare is awesome).

After arriving at the Carolina Inn, everyone received a personalized Kate Spade journal for all of their retreat notes, plus a monogrammed Kate Spade water tumbler. Swoozies supplied both of these sweet items, plus surprised us with retreat snacks!

Then, we broke up our work days with a hand-lettering class with All She Wrote Notes! We are the biggest fans of Maghon’s hand lettering classes, and she is the most hilarious Southern woman you’ll meet. We had a blast learning letter forms from her, and then (in true stylist fashion) taking a bunch of pictures of all of our favorite pieces.

We wrapped up the day with a delicious dinner at the Inn’s restaurant, Crossroads. This is my favorite part of our retreats. With no agenda to stick to, and the sweet tea pouring, we tend to talk the most candidly about our jobs, our brides, and how we want to improve every bit of the experience for y’all. (If you follow swmag on SnapChat, you know this is also the time when we bust out our piano ballads.) Then, it was back to our hotel rooms for game night and more SnapChat shenanigans in our soft new Lake Pajamas :)

On the last day of our retreat, we dug even further into action steps, but not before gifting everyone a Southern pineapple print from Thimblepress and a round of Southern Weddings Office Jeopardy!

We broke up the day with BLT lunches at a favorite local spot called Merritt’s, followed by a cupcake decorating class with Randi of Sugar Euphoria. I wasn’t exactly a natural at cupcake decorating like Kristin and Amber are, but the good part is that you get to eat your mistakes and start over!

Finally, we said goodbye to our remote gals who were flying back home early the next morning, and sent everyone off with SW team tanks! Can y’all believe we’ve never had team tees? Ashley at Miller Monograms combined SW’s two favorite things (seersucker and and monograms) to make these tanks for us. Kristin says she feels like a superhero with the SW emblem on her back!

We’re excited for y’all to see the fruits of our time together — things like deciding on more storytelling, more conversation with you, more in-person time with you, and more content that will help you plan meaningful married lives.

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
6 Comments
  1. avatar Lisa Hays reply

    Sounds like a great way to do business and have some fun. I love your website and am dreaming about being mother of the bride and of the groom in the not too distant future. When that happens, I will lead those kids of mine straight to you!

  2. avatar Kyla Fetzner reply

    It looks like y’all had a wonderful time with lots of southern goodness and meaningful activities sprinkled in! :)

  3. avatar Skylar Caitlin reply

    Y’all are seriously team retreat goals!! What kind of structure for your discussion works best in creating a productive retreat?

    • avatar Nicole reply

      That’s so sweet, Skylar! We usually have a list of questions we want answered or decisions that we want to be made. Otherwise, it’s a really open conversation, with a bit of moderation to make sure we’re staying on topic and on time :)

  4. avatar Kristin reply

    This makes my heart soar! So much good + hard work (and a lot of laughs) packed into those three days!!!

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One of our favorite parts about creating the Southern Weddings for High Cotton Bow Tie Collection was that we got to focus on and celebrate our Southern beaus! It’s not often that we get to create something specifically for men or shine a spotlight on them in our photo shoots — our groomsmen reader models were surprised when our “super secret shoot” put them directly in front of the camera!

Creating this bow tie line with the help of High Cotton was certainly a labor of love, and studded with many tips and expert knowledge from the High Cotton owners, Judy and James. Take a peek into what went into creating each of these bow ties, and our fun photo shoot with Anna Routh!

Like most projects at SW, we started with an inspiration board, pulling together the colors we wanted to bring to life, and the Southern style we wanted the collection to evoke. It was important to us that each bow tie represented a bit of the South and its personalities — from classic blue stripes to cheeky coral check — and that we could envision our own beaus happily wearing each one.

Working with High Cotton is truly like being invited into the family! Thank goodness for Judy and her son, James, who traded dozens of emails, thread, and fabric swatches with us as we narrowed down our choices. Once we decided on patterns, we then sprung into color options. As a designer who lives for nuances in color, this was the hard part! For example, the blue couldn’t be too cool or too warm, the gold had to be yellow enough to read as gold, but not too yellow that it wouldn’t be a classic neutral color.

With lots of patience from the High Cotton team, we finally made our decisions! High Cotton ordered our fabric from all over the world — madras from weavers in India, silk from the same weavers that work with Hermès — and sent them to a local North Carolina manufacturer to be sewn.

Seeing the bows ties in person for the first time was like a blast of spring! Each of the colors was just what we were looking for, and we were happily surprised that many of them matched various bridesmaid dress swatches from this year’s collections. Don’t you agree that High Cotton’s suit-donning mannequin looks handsome in his coral check bow tie?

After picking up our brand new bow ties, our photographer, Anna, and I headed to The Bradford for a photo shoot debuting the goods, crossing our fingers that the forecast for rain wouldn’t be true!

After a few sprinkles of rain upon our arrival, the sun came out in full force, giving us plenty of light indoors to prep.

Meristem Floral created a few different boutonniere options to represent each bow tie’s personality, plus an amazing bouquet for our bridesmaids to carry! We loved using them throughout the shoot and then taking them home afterward to put in bud vases :)

I busted out my bow tying skills (usually only handy at our launch parties) to style some flat shots, while Ashley Mooney gussied up the gals and the gents got dressed.

(Don’t know how to tie a bow tie yet? Stay tuned — we’ve got you covered!)

Y’all, these gents we’re killin’ it! While the guys don’t normally get a ton of camera time, each of our models shined, beamed, and posed like pros. Lucky for us, Anna’s also a blast to work with — making everyone laugh easily and feel totally comfortable.

It was an amazing day for a shoot, leaving Jess and I marveling at the weather and the amazing vendors and readers we get to work with.

Love these bow ties? Read more about the Southern Weddings for High Cotton collection here, and find them in High Cotton’s shop. The bow tie line is also available for Home Try-On, so you can see them in person before deciding which is best for your wedding or event!

Photographer: Anna Routh / Bow Ties: Southern Weddings for High Cotton / Makeup: Makeup by Ashley Mooney / Floral: Meristem Floral / Venue: The Bradford / Bridesmaid Dresses: Donna Morgan

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
1 Comment
  1. avatar Emily reply

    SO fun to see the behind the scenes! Can’t wait to see real grooms in these beauties, too!!

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Back in May, we put up this blog post announcing that our team was growing and that we were looking for another great person to add to our office space! Well, a few months later, we’re still looking. Specifically, we’re hoping for a Marketing and Customer Delight Manager who can serve our readers on a one-on-one basis, and analyze our business as a whole to find new ways to share our mission. We’ve met dozens of amazing candidates for the job in the past three months, and though we aren’t 100% positive that we’ve found the right person, we are so glad that we know a few new friendly faces.

Finding the right person to add to our team is a tall order since each of us highly values our office culture and the relationships we’ve built. Finding someone who can seamlessly add another dimension to our group while balancing the many job responsibilities of this position is our biggest priority. We had a few specific conditions that might have disqualified someone from applying the first time around, but now we want to open up a new application to get to know anyone who might be perfect for us!

Think you’re the right person for the job? Take a look at our job description and requirements below, as well as the link to apply. We’ve now opened up our search to include remote positions, as well as candidates who have less than two years of post-grad experience.

The person most fit for this position:

  • Has a positive attitude and is a team player
  • Is well-spoken and has a great grasp of grammar and punctuation
  • Is energetic
  • Has experience with digital marketing/marketing strategy
  • Is an early adopter of new technology
  • Has a love for marriage and the South and has a Southern voice
  • Enjoys goal-setting and encouraging others
  • Has an indefatigable spirit and thrives on “situation solving”
  • Thrives on relationship building and exceeding expectations with charm
  • Experience in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, and experience styling and photographing, is a plus

Job Description & Responsibilities:

  • Cultivate trust in the Southern Weddings and Lara Casey audiences through relationship building and marketing efforts.
  • Manage, track, and grow our campaigns, programs, and relationships
  • Collaborate with the design and editorial teams to create well-timed social campaigns to promote events, new products, and new features
  • Create in-office imagery and help with product styling
  • Respond to all customer service inquiries via social media and email with a positive and friendly voice
  • Infuse our social media voice with our brand’s core and mission
  • Write and schedule all social media posts
  • Post to all social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google Plus for all Lara Casey Media brands, including Southern Weddings, the Lara Casey Shop, and Making Things Happen
  • Identify brand advocates and leverage their voice to further encourage strong relationships in our readers
  • Track our social media and shop analytics, and use the data to guide new efforts
  • Spearhead brand social conversations and marketing plans, including some in-person events
  • Coordinate and manage quarterly themes
  • Help pack orders, when needed

Job Requirements

  • Must be able to lift at least 50 pounds
  • Must be able to begin working full time by the end of the year
  • Must be able to work in our Chapel Hill office or telecommute daily (preference given to CH candidates)
  • Must be able to commit to 4-5 interviews (including at least one in-person interview)

To apply, fill our our application here, and have these items ready to upload:

  • Your resume (bonus points for showing us your personality and any fun facts about yourself here!)
  • A styled Instagram shot that illustrates your personality brilliantly. Feel free to get creative here and interpret this in any way that feels right to you!

We’d suggest giving yourself 30-45 minutes to complete the application. Applications will close Friday, August 28.

For more information about working at Southern Weddings and what we look for, explore our Working with Southern Weddings page.

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
12 Comments
  1. avatar Katie reply

    Hey SW ladies! Are you accepting applications from people who didn’t attend college?

  2. avatar Jessica reply

    Oh, if only this was one year away! I graduate with my Communications/Marketing degree in May from Texas A&M, and will be moving to the Southern Pines, NC area in the fall of 2016! You ladies have been my dream team since I was 17 years old. Oh, if only you knew… (You’re actually the reason I have interned at two magazines thus far.)

    Keep doing what you’re doing, you’re inspiring belles across the country. Maybe one day, if it’s God’s will, I can be a part of your inspiring, classy and driven team!

    P.S. – Congrats Lara on your sweet little red-headed ball of blessing, Joshua! <3

  3. avatar Andrea reply

    Hi there! Just wanted to let you know that the link in the first sentence isn’t working.

  4. avatar Chelsi reply

    I just submitted my application. Best application I’ve ever filled out! The questions were so thoughtful and purposeful. I hope to have the opportunity to interview.

  5. avatar Kyla Fetzner reply

    Oh gosh how I love y’all. This is very exciting :)

  6. avatar Shelby Vanhoy reply

    How exciting! I can’t believe this opportunity is still open. It would be a dream to work with y’all! Application submitted.

    Shelby

  7. avatar Alex B reply

    This is such an exciting opportunity! I submitted my application the other day but never received a confirmation email that is was submitted. Just want to make sure that y’all got it since the application closes today!

  8. avatar Sierra Kalain reply

    I see that this position technically closed a few weeks ago, but since the opportunity arose again once before- I wanted to ask if the perfect candidate had been selected! If not, I’d love to offer my services up! Please post an update and I will inquiry if so! Thanks so much Southern Weddings!

  9. avatar Sara Jones reply

    Hello! I read your blog post and I was wondering if this position is still available? I saw that the deadline was back in August, but I thought I might as well ask. Hope y’all are having a wonderful week.

    Regards,
    Sara Elizabeth Jones

  10. avatar Katie Bell reply

    Hey Ladies!

    Just wanted to inquire to see if this opportunity is still available. I see the application closed a few months back but if you are still conducting interviews I would absolutely love to apply. Happy V8 launch week!

    Thanks so much!

    Katie

  11. avatar Bridget reply

    Hi!

    Iw as wondering if this application is still open? I noticed its from August, but since it is still up I was curious if I could still apply.

    Warmly,
    Bridget Cauley

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Bridget! Applications are now closed for this position. Thanks so much for your interest!

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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