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Emily Ley is a dear friend of ours–she works with Lara on the Making Things Happen conference, and you may remember her lovely home from one of our earliest Southern Newlywed posts. The advice she shared with us in V6 is just as sweet and thoughtful as she is, and we’re so happy to pass it along to you today!

P.S. Emily announced earlier this week that she is expecting twins!! Congratulations and big SW hugs, Emily!

My best advice is to laugh and laugh often. Never take life too seriously, and at the same time, focus on the things you both care about deeply. Above all, never, ever stop dating each other. A good marriage is built, not found.

Shay Cochrane

Keep up with Emily
Website: Emily Ley
Blog: Emily Ley
Facebook: Emily Ley
Twitter: @EmilyLey
Instagram: @EmilyLey

lisa Written with love by Lisa
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We ended this week on such a wonderful note: a reader meet-up at the beautiful Fearrington Village! We loved enjoying the morning outside, lattes in hand, catching up with old friends and making new ones. We also spent a good bit of time awww-ing over Fearrington’s twin baby goats, and did some location scouting for the shoot we have coming up. We’re so excited to head back to Fearrington next week, armed with tons of beautiful props and accompanied by some of our favorite people (Tec Petaja, Rhiannon of Hey Gorgeous, and Kate Bryan, to name just a few!) to make some magic happen for V7. We have another shoot going on in Florida on the same day, so be sure to follow us on Instagram to see what goes on behind the scenes of #MakingSouthernWeddings!

See more of this engagement session by Laura’s Focus Photography on our Facebook page!

In case you missed it this week…

Kristin’s in-laws shared the advice they’ve picked up over 40 years of marriage in Sweet Tea Sunday.
My fiancé, Dave, took his turn at sharing about life as a Southern Weddings gent.
Catch up on what’s going on this summer at SW–only a few days left to enter our best giveaway ever!
Stop what you’re doing and take a peek at this sweet proposal film!
We loved hearing what our friend Lindsay Bierman loves about the South.
We introduced some of our V7 print sponsors! (Want to be part of this issue too? Email marissa@southernweddings.com).
We love Meg of Belle & Union, so we were thrilled that she shared her home with us in Southern Newlywed.

Elizabeth and Greg are Chicagoans, but they couldn’t resist the charm of Charleston for their wedding!
Chelsea and Will fell in love with their venue, Castleton Farms–it was right in the middle of their two home states.
Sarah and Mike incorporated family members into their wedding in the (literally) sweetest way.
Leah and Tripp‘s wedding was so sweet and Southern, and we love the story of how they met!

Sponsor Corner

Y’all know how much we love and appreciate good etiquette, and if the popularity of our Southern Etiquette column is any indication, we know that you do too! That’s why we were so excited to hear about the latest offering from Atlanta-based luxury event planning and design company, Simply Charming Socials: Charm School! Charm School is a curated collection of tips and advice, including a blog series, online resources, in-person mini sessions, and a full-day workshop, all centered around wedding planning, design, and etiquette. Sounds marvelous, don’t you think? Lucky brides in the Atlanta area, don’t miss this fun opportunity–register here!

Have a happy weekend, and big SW hugs to anyone getting married!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
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My first thought when I saw Meg Sutton’s home was, “Good golly, this is ridiculously adorable.” My second thought was, “It’s like her products came to life!” As some of y’all might know, Meg is the amazingly talented Southerner behind Belle & Union Co., a staple of the Southern Weddings Shop. Since her product collection is impeccably curated, it’s no surprise to me that her home is, too, with not one of the 800 square feet marred by unnecessary clutter. It is, however, filled with plenty of meaningful mementos from their life together. Please enjoy this peek into the lovely Texas home and studio of Meg and Josh Sutton!

Big hugs to Amanda Marie for these lovely photos! And P.S.: scroll down to the bottom of the post for an exclusive Belle & Union discount!

Introducing: Joshua and Meg Sutton
Years married: 5
Where you live: College Station, Texas (whoop!)
Tell us your love story in one sentence. The art student and soldier fall in love along the sandy beaches of Tybee Island and beneath the mossy oaks of Savannah, Georgia. There was exactly one year between our first date and our wedding day. (Crazy kids!)

Do you rent or own? Currently, we rent our little carriage house–800 square feet of living space above the garage, which acts as studio space for Belle & Union. We know we most likely will not stay in College Station forever, as we are here while Josh is in school. We previously owned our home in Savannah, and can’t wait until the day that we buy again. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a fixer upper! Someday, we hope to own a little store with a studio in the back for me, and maybe a café next door for him, on a quaint little main street in smalltown USA.
Tell us about the process of moving in together. When we bought our first home, Josh was actually on the other side of the world, quite literally, serving a tour in Afghanistan. The house-picking process was one for the books, and I had to move everything from our little rental into the house myself. I then had three months before he came home to get everything all set up. I frustrated him quite a bit because I refused to share photos that entire time! I think it was all worth it for both of us when he walked in and said immediately that it just felt like home.

Which items from your wedding registry do you use the most often? I have to admit, the registry was more for Josh than it was for me! That being said, I asked him this question and he was quick to answer his knife set and the pots and pans. Safe to say, he is the chef around here.
What different decisions, if any, would you make for your registry if you knew then what you knew now? White! I wish we had registered for white stoneware from the beginning. We picked red stoneware, which was fun, but we got tired of it very quickly. I would suggest sticking with classic pieces, and adding the fun into your linens and other accessories that can be easily changed without a lot of expense.
Who cooks dinner? Josh is the chef. He loves to experiment in the kitchen, and is currently studying food science at Texas A&M. He cooks, I clean, and everyone is happy.
What is your go-to weeknight meal? Weekend meal? I don’t think we have a regular meal… Josh loves to experiment in the kitchen! But we do probably have Tex Mex at least once a week.
What’s your favorite place to find recipes? My creativity is all on paper, but for Josh, it is with food. We have a stack of cookbooks in the kitchen, but for the most part, he just starts creating. Sometimes, it’s like an episode of Chopped in our kitchen. I’ll pull out a few random ingredients and let him go to town. I haven’t had a bad meal yet!

Which room in your home is your favorite, and why? This is a trick question, since our house is basically one big room! All of the natural light makes it a wonderful spot to just sit and enjoy each other’s company. We were worried that moving from a 1500 square foot house to essentially an 800 square foot studio apartment would make us feel cramped and on top of each other. But honestly, I think we’ve loved living with less. You definitely learn what is more important to you in a smaller space.
Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? My best source has to be my husband. If I can’t seem to find just the right piece, I ask him to build it. Usually, it turns out better than I could have ever dreamed or imagined, and it costs a lot less money! He has built furniture, tiled a kitchen backsplash, and has even sewn roman shades for our kitchen! On the other hand, I do love a good day of junkin’! I currently have a weakness for all things typewriters, oil cans, and windmills.

How do you remember your wedding in your home? We have a few of our favorite wedding photos scattered around the house, but my favorite memento is our cake topper. It’s one of the first things I see every morning when I wake up, and it always brings a smile to my face.
What is your favorite memory from your wedding? My favorite memory is walking back up the aisle arm in arm after we were pronounced husband and wife. There was a bugler playing in the background (a surprise to my husband), and I remember turning and looking at him as we exited the chapel and feeling as if the world stopped spinning for just a moment.

Do you have a favorite date night idea to share? We tend to be homebodies, so there’s nothing either of us quite enjoys more than just cuddling on the couch while watching a movie. During football season though, we love to hang out with 80,000 of our closest friends and watch the Aggies BTHO whatever team we’re playing that week.
What has been the most surprising thing about marriage? I think a lot of brides (and grooms) expect any problems before the wedding to magically disappear after. Marriage doesn’t solve your problems–you have to do that yourselves, together!

What’s your best tip for balancing your relationship and other life priorities? With Josh in school and me working what feels like 24/7, it helps to be able to share what we do. He certainly helps me more with the business than I help him with homework (organic chemistry? No, thank you), but having a support system is invaluable. Knowing when the other person is stressed out and being able to step in, even if it’s something as simple as me giving him a ride to class, or him packaging cards for an order, helps us show love to one another, and thus grow closer together. But, probably the most important thing I can share is communication. Despite popular belief and expectations, we can’t read each other’s minds! Open and honest communication keeps us on the same page.

Do you have children? Currently, we just have one fur baby, our rescue dog, Ellie. The business is a baby all on its own, and combined with Josh in school, there’s a lot on our plates. We’d like to have children someday, once we are settled after Josh has completed school.

What is one small way you love or serve your spouse? When we were first married, it was common for us to leave little love notes around the house for each other to find. We both found our love languages to be words of affirmation (side note: read The Five Love Languages–it rocks). Being able to find a surprise full of kind words was always an instant day-brightener, and the notes were something that could be kept and treasured. For us, it all ties back to the importance of communication. That’s one reason I love what I do so much. For me, the Belle & Union line is not about the greeting card itself–it’s about the message it shares. It’s the opportunity to build, strengthen, and sometimes mend a relationship, connecting people in a thoughtful and tangible way. That’s what we try to do for each other in our marriage through those kind words and acts of love.

Before getting married, I wish someone had told me… love is a choice, a choice that you each have to make every single day. Josh and I have been through our fair shares of ups and downs, many we have put on ourselves, and others, such as hardships like physical separation while he was in the Army. We’ve had to grow up a lot, as individuals, and as a couple, in a very short amount of time. I think it’s key to know those are two very different things! The other person is not responsible for your happiness. They can certainly add to it, but you have to choose to be who you are, and whom you are with.
What is your favorite part of being married? I love knowing without a doubt that he is the man God intended me to be with. Even on days when I may not like him very much, I’m always reminded that he is exactly who I need.

We’re so grateful to Meg and Josh for sharing their hearts and home with us! Be sure to follow along with Meg at @belleandunionco and the Belle & Union site. We’re also offering 15% off all Belle & Union products in the Southern Weddings Shop, including tea towels, cards, recipe cards, and magnets! Enter code ILOVEBELLE&UNION at checkout until August 15.

P.S. We’d love to hear from you! Our hope is to feature REAL couples in the South – your inspiring friend, super talented cousin, or neighbor with the cutest house – the kind of person everyone would love to “e-meet.” If that sounds like you or someone you know, take a peek at our Southern Newlywed submission page and shoot us an email!

emily Written with love by Emily
7 Comments
  1. avatar Rachel Nordgren reply

    What a beautifully curated home! I’m such a fan of small, functional and clutter-free spaces!

  2. avatar Lisa reply

    Not surprised at all that her house is so darling, and I LOVE her interview!

  3. avatar Mary reply

    MEG! Can we be BFFs?
    I just loved this feature so much! As a fellow Aggie, former military spouse, and lover of junkin – I think it’s just meant to be!
    Beautiful home, beautiful views on marriage, and such a wonderful company!

  4. avatar Meg reply

    I’m still absolutely giddy about this! Thank y’all so much for featuring us and our little home. XOXO!

  5. avatar Maria @ ritzy bee reply

    Great feature – your place is awesome Meg…just like you!!! xo

  6. avatar Lindsay reply

    I love how they decorated their home!

  7. avatar Stephanie Creekmur reply

    I am in love with every detail! So beautiful and cozy! I’m definitely envious of that gorgeous studio! :)

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Though they’re also the dog days of summer, July and August are our busiest months for magazine prep! We’ve been sharing sneak peeks on social media (find #MakingSouthernWeddings on instagram!) as we work with amazing vendors to create inspiration for y’all to enjoy this fall. In the meantime, Marissa and Kristin have been equally hard at work building a roster of stellar advertisers for our book! Here’s a little sneak peek at a few of the folks who will be joining us for V7…

P.S. Haven’t purchased your magazines yet? Just a friendly tip between pals – there are only TWELVE (!!!) copies of Southern Weddings V4 left, and then they are gone forever! Go grab your copy now!

Donna Morgan makes some of the prettiest bridesmaid dresses we’ve ever seen – in fact, we’ve used them in several of our editorials because they’re so lovely! You can spot them in our Blackberry Beauty feature, and check out all of their (shipping immediately!) styles and colors here.

The Art of Creating seems to have a lock on beautiful things in Charleston. Between Ooh! Events (their talented event planning and design firm), their amazing rental collection, Ooh! Beautiful (an organic Charleston beauty bar), Out of Hand (their jewel box of a retail store), and more, there is so much to explore with this company!

Photo by Ben Lowry from Cassidy and Mark’s wedding

The Outer Banks is a beloved long weekend destination in our office, and it’s perfect for weddings, too! If you’re looking to be married on the beach, the Outer Banks Wedding Association has you covered, with vendor recommendations, real wedding inspiration, and tons of info.

Photo by Sarah Der

If we’re talking about beloved, the Carolina Inn without a doubt needs a mention – it’s an all-time favorite with the Southern Weddings crew. Their ballrooms are modern, fresh, and colorful, and their service is impeccable. It would be hard to dream up a better hotel to host your reception!

Scotti Cline Designs is the home of wedding paper loveliness. From wedding invitations to save the dates, menus to programs, they’ve got you taken care of in style.

We still have spots open for V7, and we would love to have YOU join the Southern Weddings sponsor family! This is not an issue you want to miss, so be in touch with Marissa as quick as butter melting on a biscuit!

emily Written with love by Emily
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Anyone who has been to South Carolina can attest to the fact that the Lowcountry is easy to fall in love with. Ever since a memorable summer Leah spent in Charleston, she and her family had a hunch that her wedding would someday take place in that neck of the woods! Leah and Tripp met while both visiting their alma mater, Auburn University, and after talking a little, then found out that they both lived in Atlanta and he drove past her street daily. The cherry on top? Tripp is a South Carolina boy, making Leah’s dream wedding destination even more of a reality. The talented ladies of A Charleston Bride (including Haley, whose wedding was featured in V6!) helped bring their sentimental Southern vision to life at the beautiful Brookland Pointe, and Leah and Tripp loved hosting their nearest and dearest there!

Thank you to Tim Willoughby for sharing this sweet day with us!

Tripp and I went to college at Auburn University, but we didn’t meet until after we both graduated. We met on October 23, 2010 after the Auburn vs. LSU football game. I had a hard time finding a place to park for the game, so I decided to park my car by Tripp’s old fraternity house. After the game was over, my friend and I went back to get the car, and Tripp and his friends were there hanging out at the house, celebrating his birthday. Although we had a drive ahead of us, he convinced us to stay and hang out for a little while. Tripp and I began talking, and quickly realized that we both now lived in Atlanta–he actually drove past my street each day on his way to work! After he walked us to our car later that night, he made sure that he had my phone number!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something borrowed came from one of my matrons of honor the day of the wedding–a gorgeous hair comb that she had worn in her wedding seven years before! Something old was my grandmother’s diamond bracelet, which had diamonds in a quatrefoil design–so perfect! I wore blue on my garter, which was very special. The garter had two layers of lace, with lave from my mom’s garter underneath, and new lace on top, with the same peach material on the elastic band that my matrons of honors’ dresses were made of. My mom also collected small charms of different Charleston landmarks and had them sewn all around the garter. It is topped off with a small blue bow from her original garter. I’m saving it in case Tripp and I have a daughter one day! My something new came from Tripp; it was a beautiful silver necklace with a square charm on it showing a palmetto tree on one side and a picture of the scrolling gates that you see all around Charleston on the other side! These days, I’m rarely seen without it on!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I spent a summer in Charleston while I was in college, and the memories I made with my roommates there will last a lifetime. I think my family and I always knew that I would get married in a Lowcountry setting someday. Tripp is from South Carolina and spent many summers vacationing on Edisto Beach. Brookland Pointe was the first venue we visited, and we felt like it encompassed all of the elements we both wanted.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We decided to go traditional with our vows. Tripp thought he might have a hard time handling his emotions if we wrote our own. :)
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We chose Colossians 3:12-17 for our ceremony. We want this to be the foundation on which we build our marriage, and our lives! We wanted our relationship with the Lord to be the focus of our wedding, acknowledging that He was the one who brought us together and we give all thanks to Him!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: For me, it would probably be the aisle signage we had, with the words from the hymn “How Great Thou Art” painted on them. For Tripp, it would probably be the three types of beer that he brewed and prepared himself, with the help one of his groomsmen and closest friends, for our reception! He had a honey witbier, a blueberry cream ale, and a rosemary IPA. They were all a huge hit! We also were in LOVE with our tent–it was a clear-topped tent with gorgeous peach draping and two wagon wheel chandeliers hanging from the top of it. It was the perfect representation of both of our styles!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We had magnolia blossoms and leaves draped over our seats at the reception, which I loved because I am obsessed with magnolias! Our food was amazing, and undeniably Southern! It started with passed hors d’oeuvres of mini fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese, bacon-wrapped quail, and mini she-crab soups (my personal favorite!). We had the most delicious shrimp and grits I’ve ever tasted, a four-cheese mac and cheese station, and a pulled pork barbecue station with three different sauces–a South Carolina mustard-based sauce, a North Carolina vinegar-based sauce, and a honey bourbon sauce!

Our wedding cake was unbelievable! It was four layers, with a gorgeous spearmint-colored background and a white quatrefoil design on two of the layers, and two white layers. The top and bottom layers were yellow almond cake with buttercream filling. One middle layer was marble with buttercream filling, and the other was sour cream pound cake with whipped cream and strawberry filling. We used quatrefoil as a theme in all of our printed items, so our cake was the sweetest addition!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Our favorite moment was probably our departure, when all of our family and friends threw paper airplanes as we walked down the dock and left on a boat! This was a nod to Tripp, who is finishing up flight school to become a pilot.

Tell us all about the proposal! Tripp really surprised me! One Friday night, after a long day at work, Tripp came over with our favorite Thai food. I noticed that he wasn’t eating much, which was unusual for him, and that we were eating very early. After we finished, he said he hoped I had room for dessert. I was so full, but since it was just a fortune cookie, I had to have one! My fortune read, “Will you marry me, Leah? -Tripp” I immediately asked if this was some kind of a joke–I was completely shocked–but then Tripp got down on one knee, holding my ring!!! Once I realized it was real, I said yes!! He then suggested we go out to celebrate at our favorite spot, JCT Kitchen, where a group of friends and family were waiting to surprise me. In true fashion, I took forever to get ready and dressed, because I had a feeling our friends might be there!
When did y’all get married? April 26, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Around 150
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? After a lot of consideration, we did decide on a first look! I originally didn’t want to see Tripp before the ceremony, because I love watching the groom’s face when he sees his bride for the first time, but Tripp felt that it would help calm pre-wedding jitters, and it did. We had our first look under some gorgeous trees, and the light was just perfect! I also don’t think it took anything away from when he saw me walk down the aisle–that moment was filled with emotion, and some tears!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We stayed pretty traditional with our song choices for the wedding. I walked down the aisle to Canon in D, and then we recessed to Trumpet Voluntary. A dear friend of mine, Sarah Kuhlers, sang a beautiful song, “Captivate Us,” by Watermark, during our ceremony. Our first dance was to a song called “Dancing Shoes” by Green River Ordinance, and is so sweet. Our wedding planner, Haley, actually said it reminded her of us, and when we first listened to it, we knew it was our song! Our band learned it for us, and they nailed it!!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We cut costs by cutting out things that were not “must-haves” for our day. I was set on a clear tent, so we spent money on that, but other things, like a lit-up sign spelling out LOVE that we would have liked but didn’t need, we ultimately removed.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Our wedding planner, Haley, and the ladies from A Charleston Bride were our best decision! Most of our vendors that were a part of wedding day were recommended by A Charleston Bride. We were over the moon happy about all of our vendors, and because of them, we were able to enjoy our day with the people we treasure the most!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? I think it’s important to remember that if you do have to remove things to cut costs, those things will never be missed by your guests. They will just be happy to be there to celebrate with you! Invest in a good photographer and videographer because the day really does go by SO quickly, and you will keep your pictures and video for a lifetime!

Photographer: Tim Will / Videographer: Life In Rewind Films / Planner: Haley Kelly, A Charleston Bride / Venue: Brookland Pointe at Brookland Plantation / Florist: A Charleston Bride / Cake Baker: Ashley Bakery / Caterer: CRU Catering / Rentals: Event Works and Snyder Rentals / Linens: La Tavola Linens / Lighting: Technical Event Company / Band: The Root Doctors / Bride’s Gown: “Laren” by Pronovias / Bride’s Getaway Dress: Rebecca Taylor / Paper Products: Smock and Lytle Fober / Bride’s Veil: “V2753″ by Pronovias / Bride’s Earrings and Reception Bracelet: J. Crew / Bride’s Brooch: Twigs & Honey / Hair Stylist: Carrie McLeod of Paper Dolls / Makeup Artist: Elina Mille / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Laura” and “Julie by Donna Morgan in Peach Fuzz and Spearmint / Men’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank / Day-Of Assistance: Cacky’s Bride Aid

A Charleston Bride is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
5 Comments
  1. avatar Dana reply

    love sooo many details of this wedding! It is beautiful!

  2. avatar Julie reply

    How elegant! It is so beautiful. It is elegant southern charm at its best. Charleston bride knows how to produce a classic wedding!

  3. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    What a beautiful wedding! I love the flowers and bridesmaid dresses! And their exit was awesome!

  4. avatar Christina reply

    I can’t get over this sweet story! Also, her dress is stunning!

  5. avatar Mikkel reply

    Great post, Lisa! I love so many details! The cake, of course, the magnolia garland, the amazing clear tent, and even the sweet napkins. I did spy a bacon-wrapped shrimp. :-) Yum! Congrats to Leah and Tripp!

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