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For Southern Weddings V9, we asked a few of our wisest, most creative, and just plain fun friends how they celebrate their anniversaries. From simple takeout dinners served on wedding china, to trips back to honeymoon destinations, and everything in between, their ideas spanned every timeframe, budget, and tradition we can think of. Whether you’ll be celebrating your first anniversary or your fifteenth this year, we hope these ideas inspire you–we’ll be sharing a new one each Sunday!

Jen Dillender

We live in the same city where we were married, so on our first anniversary, we drove over to our wedding venue and walked around the place we said “I do,” talking about our favorite memories of the day. We read each other our wedding vows again (we wrote our own and never want to forget those sacred promises—re-reading them keeps them fresh in our minds!). We also celebrated with a mini getaway at a boutique hotel in the next town over, the same place we stayed on our wedding night. My husband Bobby had a romantic evening planned, and we ended the night by eating our wedding cake and toasting to our first year of marriage!
– Ally Willix of Ally & Bobby Photography, married 2 years

lisa Written with love by Lisa
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Have you heard? It’s Engagement Celebration Week! Whether you’ve been engaged for two days or twelve months, we invite you to join the party and celebrate like you said yes yesterday. Upload a proposal or ring shot to our hashtag, enter to win giveaways all week on Instagram, or take 20% off our wedding planner with code JOYFULLYENGAGED. We can’t wait to cheer you on!!

Let’s face it–decorating a home is not easy. Juggling masculine and feminine, stylish and comfortable, and budget-friendly and heirloom-worthy is enough to make any newlywed couple’s head spin! While I’m sure decorating wasn’t without a few hiccups here and there, I do think that our couple today, Anne Collier and Skip, have done an inspiring job of balancing all these elements in their Atlanta cottage. From boxwood topiaries to buffalo check curtains, their home has a classic Southern feel that I bet you’ll love as much as we do!

Thanks so much to Amy Arrington for snapping these photos!

The couple: Anne Collier (27) and Skip (27)
Years married: Two
Where they live: Atlanta, Georgia
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. Skip is from Charlottesville, Virginia and I’m from Atlanta, Georgia. We met our freshman year at Washington & Lee University–Skip was literally the first person I met on campus! We now live in Atlanta where Skip works in finance and I’m an accountant with a love for all things interior design. When we aren’t working, we like traveling, having friends over, and exploring the city with our (giant) dog, General Hank!
Tell us your love story in one sentence. Met our freshman year of college, married at our alma mater six years later, and now enjoying life in Atlanta together!

What is your favorite memory from your wedding? Walking down the aisle of Lee Chapel and seeing everyone we love there supporting us was the most incredible feeling! I remembered how during move-in of freshman year, my mom mentioned that the university president told parents, “By now, some of your children will have met the person they are going to marry, and in a few years, they will be walking down the aisle in Lee Chapel.” At the time, I replied that that certainly couldn’t be me…famous last words!
How do you remember your wedding in your home? (Pictures, mementos, etc.) One of our favorite objects in our home is the “guest book” from our wedding, which was an antique English box where our guests left us notes. It currently sits in our living room, and it’s so much fun to open it up and read the sweet notes from our friends and family. I also really treasure the beautiful sketch of my wedding dress that my sister gave to us. It is extra special to me, as my dress was made using the lace from my mom’s wedding dress. The sketch sits on my bedside table, and I love that it’s the first thing I see every morning.

Do you rent or own? What are your hopes and plans for the future in this area? Tell us a little bit about where you live. We rent a 1940’s cottage in the Collier Hills area of Atlanta. Although our house is pretty small (especially with the addition of our dog!), we love how charming and cozy it is. Renting has been perfect for this stage in our lives, and our neighborhood will definitely be at the top of our list when we look to purchase a home in the future!
Tell us about the process of moving in together. Do you have any tips for blending your two styles? I could not have been more excited by the prospect of decorating our first home, and Skip graciously handed me the reins. I wanted to be mindful of the fact that it was our shared space, so I tried to use a balance of masculine and feminine styles when choosing pieces for our house. As a result, our house truly feels like a home for both us.
Which room in your home is your favorite, and why? Our dining room–I love the way we’ve decorated the room with a blend of contemporary and traditional pieces, but even more, I love the meals we’ve shared with friends and family there.

Which items from your wedding registry do you use the most often? We really enjoy having friends over and entertaining, and any piece of cookware or serving ware that we received from our registry has gotten a lot of use over the past couple of years! We also love using our china and silver on special occasions–it’s too beautiful to not be enjoyed!
Who cooks dinner? I meal plan every Sunday morning, do a big grocery run, and cook our weeknight meals. Skip will often take over on weekends and grill out or try a new recipe.
What is your go-to weeknight meal? Weekend meal? Weeknight meals are usually a Barefoot Contessa recipe–Ina Garten’s recipes are easy to follow and always delicious! On the weekend, we might grill steaks or (honestly) just have wine and cheese (counts as dinner on the weekend, right?!).

What most makes your house feel like home? Soft lighting! My friends all know that I have a bit of an obsession with soft lighting and candles, but it truly makes all the difference in making a space feel cozy and relaxing. If our house wasn’t a rental, I would have dimmers on every light switch!
Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? What are some of your favorite sources for home things? Our splurges tend to be antique pieces that we will enjoy forever. The monthly Scott Antique Market in Atlanta is hands down our favorite place to buy furniture–you can find anything there! For other home items, I love sifting through Target and HomeGoods, or even transforming something through a DIY project. Because we aren’t in our “forever” home yet, I try to find accent pieces and accessories that can be flexible for a future space.

How does your family handle finances? Do you use a set budget? At the beginning of the year, we set a budget as a guideline for what we will contribute monthly to our joint account. Then at the end of the year, we review our actual spending and assess our savings goals to see what we should adjust in next year’s budget. We contribute to the joint account in proportion to our income, and it has worked out well using that account for our shared expenses and keeping our separate accounts for our individual expenses. We both work in finance/accounting, so we probably enjoy this kind of stuff a little too much!

What’s your best tip for balancing your relationship and other life priorities (work, personal time, extended family, etc.)? Conscientiously making time for each other, even if it’s a just a few moments a day, is so important. We have dinner together almost every week night (despite our varying work hours), and we really enjoy having that dedicated time to reconnect and catch each other up on our days. We also love traveling (we are big believers in spending money on experiences vs. material items), and we try to plan a fun trip at least every other year–last year’s trip was hiking 100 miles in Scotland! As we learned on our honeymoon, our travel styles really complement each other well (I’m the planner, Skip is the impromptu adventurer), and taking time to plan trips and travel together has been a great way to prioritize our relationship.
Do you have a favorite date night idea to share? We love taking Hank for a walk on the Atlanta beltline and stopping to try one of the many food stalls at Ponce City Market or Krog Street Market. In a city where we’re always driving, it’s nice to explore a more walkable part of town!

What is one small way you love or serve your spouse? Because Skip works later than I do, I try to have the lamps on, candles lit, and dinner ready when he gets home–I want him to feel instantly relaxed when he walks through the door. Skip, on the other hand, will often surprise me with flowers or a pint of my favorite ice cream. He is also the dedicated bug killer of the household, and for that, I am so very grateful.
This year, our family is most excited about… Celebrating the weddings of many of our close friends and family (including my sister!) and planning our next vacation together!

Thanks so much for sharing your hearts and home with us, Anne Collier and Skip!

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!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Kelly reply

    I LOVE these posts. Such great interior design! And that puppy 😍

  2. avatar Kirsti Cook reply

    I love the mix of masculine and feminine and how they incorporated new and antique toking pieces to bring warmth and history into their home!

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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Have you heard? It’s Engagement Celebration Week! Whether you’ve been engaged for two days or twelve months, we invite you to join the party and celebrate like you said yes yesterday. Upload a proposal or ring shot to our hashtag, enter to win giveaways all week on Instagram, or take 20% off our wedding planner with code JOYFULLYENGAGED. We can’t wait to cheer you on!!

If you missed it, here’s Part I of the First Steps After Getting Engaged series!

There are parts of wedding planning that are REALLY fun, while others are significantly less fun, but still important. These next two steps include one of each, but even though one of them may be tough (spoiler: it’s about the budget), here’s the exciting thing: you’re planning your wedding!! Your real, actual wedding–where the people you love most in the world will all come under one roof to witness you commit your life to your best friend. It’s really happening, and if there is one thing I can promise you, no matter what happens over the next few months, your wedding is going to be a completely magical day for that reason alone. Do your best to keep that in mind moving forward (I’ll remind you as often as I can :))–and without further ado, let’s jump in!

If you haven’t done so already, start saving–and start the budget conversation. I know, talking about money can be awkward, but chances are, anyone who may be contributing to your wedding (parents, grandparents, etc.) is fully anticipating this conversation, and will appreciate you broaching the subject graciously. Gracious is the key word here, friend! As Emily likes to say, you can throw a wedding on any budget, you just can’t throw ANY wedding on any budget. No matter the dollar amount you’re working with, I promise you’ll be able to plan a beautiful, meaningful day, so be grateful for any contribution, and have an honest conversation with your fiancé about what the two of you will contribute, too.

Now for the fun part! Before even thinking about your guest list, take the time to dream a little. Some gals will know right out of the gate what type of wedding they want (or, let’s be honest, years before), and some will have absolutely no idea. Either way, it’s okay! Hop on Pinterest and start collecting images and ideas you’re drawn to. Don’t worry about curating quite yet–for now, the more ideas, the merrier! Chances are, it won’t be hard to see a few patterns emerge later on, once you have a good selection of images. We also encourage you to talk with your fiancé about how the two of you want your wedding to feel. Elegant, welcoming, fun, intimate? Come up with a few key words or phrases together, and then use them as a “filter” of sorts to run your wedding decisions through.

We’ll be back with more steps to take after getting engaged next week! Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss a single post of this special series–there’s lots more fun to share! As a bonus, when you sign up, you’ll receive an exclusive “Will You Be My Bridesmaid” card printable created just for Southern Weddings readers by Sage Paper Company!

See more from this engagement session by Eric & Jamie on our Facebook page!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Shaun – Asian Wedding Photography reply

    Engagements are so exciting. Some genuinely great advice here. Thank you

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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