Southern Weddings

Tag: lara casey

Belles and beaus, it’s a joy to write to you today with some exciting news!

When I started Southern Weddings magazine ten years ago, I never imagined it would grow to what it is today. What a joy this decade has been! Many of you know that we are a very unique company, running two businesses under one roof with one small-but-mighty team. As my own family, our sister business Cultivate What Matters, and Southern Weddings have continued to grow, it has become clear that we need a few more hands around here! I stepped away from doing Southern Weddings work several years ago to focus on books and babies, and this truly incredible team of women you know so well has taken the reins.

Like I’ve learned in my garden, you can only grow so much with the space and time you’ve been given. I can’t lead two large businesses at once and nurture a growing family, so it was time for someone else to take the lead. This change happened a long time ago internally, but we decided it was high time to change things externally, too.

I’ve been working alongside Kristin Winchester for five years, and her passion for the Southern Weddings mission made her a natural fit. She’s already been doing the work of an Editor-in-Chief behind the scenes: cheering on our team, shepherding the big picture, and encouraging meaningful beginnings to married life. She is a pretty remarkable woman, and we are all SO excited for this new season!

Photo by Blue Ribbon Vendor Nancy Ray Photography

My title is now Founder and Grateful Wife, which fits me to a tee. I’ll still be here behind the scenes, loving on our team and you all, especially as you move into newlywed life. It is with joy that I re-introduce this familiar face to you, as the new Editor-in-Chief of Southern Weddings!

Photo by Blue Ribbon Vendor Jake and Heather Photo

Friends, I can’t begin to express my gratitude. In my wildest dreams, I never imagined my first fateful interaction with Lara at the inaugural SW Gingerbread Barn Building event would one day lead me here. Stepping in as Editor-in-Chief to continue Lara’s legacy is an incredible honor, just as playing a small role in your wedding and marriage planning is a privilege.

I’m accepting Lara’s passing of the torch with grace and humility. Around the office, I’m teased about the way my energy and enthusiasm bubble over when I start talking about new ideas and my passion for this job. (Anyone who’s seen one of my giant-laugh-smiles would probably join in! ;)) It’s my heart for you, dear brides (and future brides), that produces these excited outbursts, though. To say I’m thrilled to nurture and continue spreading the Southern Weddings mission would be an understatement.

From the outside, not much is changing around here. We’ll continue to share the best wedding planning advice and Southern inspiration, the stuff we share with our sisters and best friends the moment they get engaged. And as Lara mentioned, she’ll still be around, weighing in on ideas in the background.

As for me? I’m looking forward to jumping into my new role and having the opportunity to support and cheer on the SW team (who are some of the smartest and savviest gals in Dixie) as we continue to grow. Here’s a little recap on where we are and what’s ahead!

2016 was a big year for Southern Weddings: we added two lovely ladies, three Southern babies, and launched our ninth issue. We also consumed an unknown quantity of biscuits and sent countless emoji- and GIF-filled messages back and forth as we celebrated milestone after milestone as a team.

In the new year, we’ve got big plans to continue to live out our mission and equip y’all with the resources and tools you’ll need to prepare for your wedding days and beyond. We’re busy dreaming up new ideas and bubbling over with anticipation, as we’re already knee-deep in planning for our TENTH (!!!) anniversary issue, due out in November. Stay tuned for V10 sneak peeks, fun celebration plans, and details on how you can join us in the pages of this VERY exciting anniversary issue.

We’ve also got fun newsletter updates coming soon to your inbox (sign up here) and plans for SW Meet-ups as we move into the new year. Safe to say, I have a great feeling about 2017!

xo,
Kristin

P.S. Extra big hugs and thanks to Lara, Emily, Nicole, Marissa, Lisa, Amber and Jess. Each one of you encourages me to be my best self and motivates me to love bigger and laugh harder. It is a joy and privilege to do this work alongside y’all, and I know, without a doubt, that I wouldn’t be able to take on this new role without each one of you right by my side.

lara Written with love by Lara Casey
6 Comments
  1. avatar Laura reply

    Congrats Kristin on your new role! Crazy to think that this year will be a celebration of 10 years of Southern Weddings (and crazy to think that I’ve been a reader since V4!) Can’t wait to hear about the plans for the new year, I have a feeling it’s going to be the best one yet!

  2. avatar Erin McLean reply

    So excited for you all!! xoxo

  3. avatar Bri A reply

    Congratulations! I’m inspired by the grace this requires on both parts and am honored that you shared this so openly with us. I’m excited to see where SW goes and I’m so proud to see Chapel Hill being represented so well.

  4. avatar Ashley Landry reply

    Congrats Kirstin! And I’m so excited to see what evolves for SW in the new year! I always enjoy reading your helpful content and can’t wait to see what creative ideas lie ahead! Keep up the great work, ladies!

  5. avatar Theo reply

    Absolutely wonderful Kristin! Congratulations!!

  6. avatar Bumby reply

    Congratulations and this is all very excited!
    Kristin, when I read the first part of Lara’s message all I could think about was your story with how you met Lara and said “I am going to work with her someday” You are such an amazing person and your smile is infectious. Each time try to put a bow on Soybean I think of you telling me “the bigger the bow the better the mama” I am very excited for you and all the gals. Cannot wait to see what you do!
    xoxo.

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year: the holidays are in full swing and we’re in full ‘reflect and celebrate’ mode in the SW office. It probably surprises no one that the Southern Weddings V9 Launch Party is near the tip-top of our grateful list for 2016. Gathering together with friends and family from near and far on an exceptionally enchanting evening in early November is nothing short of magical. Add in a few gorgeous Paper Crown dresses, some carnival-inspired fair food, and a wall full of love letters and you have something straight from a Southern Weddings (Notebook-inspired) fairytale.

Big hugs to A.J. Dunlap for these gorgeous images! We’re also tremendously grateful to ZimZoom Photobooth for helping guests capture their very own memories in our always-popular photobooth, and to the Carolina Inn for being the sweetest host in Dixie.

A little BTS secret: we always take a few quiet minutes before the party commences to soak in the room before we throw open the doors to start the celebration. For us, this party is more than just reveling in the launch of a magazine: it’s about honoring all of the MANY friends who play a role in helping make Southern Weddings happen, year after year. To guarantee everyone feels right at home, we make sure there is plenty of cozy seating (thanks Paisley & Jade) and fresh and fabulous floral arrangements (big hugs Serendipity Designs).

As has become tradition, the Southern Weddings gals gather together with our gents for one big group photo to commemorate the occasion; after all, the entire group together in one room (minus Amber’s sweet husband: we missed you Brandon!) is quite an accomplishment and it only happens once a year. Of course, all the gents were looking extra dapper in their High Cotton bow ties and the gals got some serious glam support from the ladies at Parlor Dry Bar and Lula Hair & Makeup. Our dear friends at Kendra Scott helped finish off our looks with some fabulous jewels (I don’t think I’ve taken my pearl bracelet off since the party).

I spy a sweet little June Thomas making her inaugural launch party debut and making sure her mama didn’t forget to sign our cover print and grab a party-favorite button from our sweet friends at Belle & Union. The gal behind that great teal desk is none other than the wonderful Jessica of Simply Jessica Marie, former SW Intern and master watercolor artist. She graciously hand-lettered everyone’s nametag (!!!) as they were checking in and added her artistic touch to many other party details, including the beautiful invitations and all the food signage.

The doors opened and the hugs started flowing!! It was an extra special treat to have Davy Whitener (our V9 cover photographer) and his darling wife Lydia travel up from Georgia to celebrate with us! So many friends traveled from so far and we were humbled and honored to be able to spend the evening with a collection of such talented and inspiring folks.

Taking a nod from Ali and Noah’s carnival run-in, our friends at Ashton Events helped us create our very own fair booth: pick a duck and win a prize! It was a pretty fun way to claim your swag bag or win a custom canvas from our friends at CanvasHQ. Too bad we couldn’t figure out how to put a Ferris wheel in the parking lot ;)

The Carolina Inn spoiled us rotten with their menu, inspired by the delicacies found in the pages of V9 – we nibbled on everything from miniature hot dogs to hot chicken sliders. And it wouldn’t be an SW party without pimento cheese, ice cold Cheerwine, and a feast of miniature Southern-inspired sweets. Our friend Randi of Sugar Euphoria brought her famous homemade macaroons and miniature cupcakes. Everything was so delicious, it was gobbled up before I made it over to the table to snag a treat.

Noah & Allie’s love story is an SW office favorite and we could think of no better way to honor their legacy than to create a love letter wall with help from our friend Leigh of Leigh Pearce Events. Party guests spent the evening crafting notes to other party guests and pinning them to the wall. Popping by to pin a note or check for your name was a highlight of the evening!!

It’s such an honor to stand up on the stage, look out into the crowd, and see ALL the faces of the friends who have gathered together to celebrate. Our sweet Lara was a bit under the weather the night of the party, but she said she couldn’t miss the chance to share gratitude with all our friends who gathered both in person and virtually. Speaking of our virtual friends, our hostess-with-the-mostess, Maghon Taylor of All She Wrote Notes (and her precious “Baby Tay” bump) made sure everyone who couldn’t join in person got an extra special party experience via Facebook Live! We wrapped up our speeches with a celebratory dance, and our favorite local DJ, Joe Bunn, kept the music flowing all night via a compilation of 40’s and 50’s tunes as another nod to our friends Noah & Ally.

We couldn’t be more grateful for all y’all who traveled from far and near (and fought through the crazy traffic) to join us in Chapel Hill to celebrate. I feel like we’re a broken record, but your love and support of V9 and the Southern Weddings mission means so much to us. We love y’all more than all the sweet tea and biscuits in the world!

A.J. Dunlap Photography, Serendipity Designs, High Cotton Ties, ZimZoom Photogbooth, Paisley and Jade, Simply Jessica Marie, and Sugar Euphoria are all delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory.

kristin Written with love by Kristin
1 Comment
  1. avatar Bri Arey reply

    From the first picture I thought “that looks like the Carolina Inn!”. :) Looks like an amazing night full of celebration! Congrats on another year.

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Thanksgiving may be over, but we still have a whole lot to be grateful for in the Southern Weddings office, especially as we look back on a sweet evening from a few weeks ago! Right after Southern Weddings V8 hit shelves, we gathered at The Carolina Inn for a magical night of celebrating with friends and family from near and far. As impossible as it may seem, the launch party gets better year after year after year. And this year, between the bacon bar and Bloomsbury Boys, I think we succeeded in making it the best party yet!

Big hugs to Theo Milo for all of these amazing photos! We’re also so grateful to Handspun Cinema for capturing the night on film (keep an eye out for the video soon!), to Hot Dog Photo Booth for providing the photo booth so that guests could capture their own memories, and to Eliza Gwendalyn who provided some fun photo booth props!

These behind the scenes photos might be my favorite snaps from the whole day! This is real life, y’all–SW gals (with big hair blow outs from Parlor and makeup by Lula Hair and Makeup) sitting on the floor in between a million cardboard boxes, putting all the amazing swag bags together a few hours before the party. Our little helper (Marissa’s girl, EK) was a big fan of the koozies, and helped make sure every bag got at least one ;)

The gals over at Fiore Fine Flowers really outdid themselves. They road-tripped from Wilmington with the most gorgeous florals in tow, and even managed to lend a hand with stuffing the final swag bags and moving tables to get everything just right before the doors opened. I still can’t get over that gorgeous garland that spiffied up the magnificent chalkboard bars from Paisley & Jade. Big hugs to our friend Maghon from All She Wrote Notes, who loaned us both her handwriting for the bars and her hospitality for our LiveStream/Periscope feed.

All our guests, as well as a certain SW mama-to-be, were very thankful for beautiful places to sit, rest their feet, and nibble on treats. Paisley & Jade‘s rentals were a perfect fit in the Hill Ballroom, and their pretty peach sofa was the talk of the evening. And it wouldn’t be a Southern Weddings party without a few buckets of ice cold Cheerwine–the perfect toasting beverage, in my humble opinion!

The Carolina Inn blew us away with their menu of delicious savory bites–we munched on everything from miniature chicken pot pies to bite-sized pimento cheese sandwiches. I think I had half a dozen mini BLTs from the bacon bar (yes, bacon bar!!!), and I heard that the chicken and waffles were a party favorite.

Being a part of Southern Weddings is a family affair, and watching our SW family grow over the last few years has been so much fun! Joshua (Lara’s newest little guy) and EK (Marissa’s sweet girl) had a miniature photo shoot before the doors opened. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that there were bows and bow ties aplenty between the two of them!

Biggest hugs to Rachel Simpson for our pretty and practical footwear, and to Jane Summers for our most fabulous frocks–the epitome of fun Southern glam! Our friends at Kendra Scott also helped us pick out the most perfect baubles to complete our outfits. Meanwhile, the High Cotton Ties team made sure the gals weren’t the only ones gussied up for the party. All of the SW gents sported High Cotton bow ties, and dapper party guests were able to “rent” a bow tie for the evening. James also offered some free tying lessons!

When the doors opened, we were standing there with open arms, ready to hug each and every guest as they walked in. So many people help make V8 happen, and being able to celebrate some of those friends in person was such a joy. It was an extra special treat to have Alexandra (our gorgeous cover girl) and her precious family join us. We were also blown away by the number of friends from out of town (including our cover photographer Eric Kelley) who traveled to Chapel Hill to be with us. Y’all are the bee’s knees!

Part of the magic of each issue is welcoming reader models and friends to be a part of our pages. It is even more magical when some of those friends travel back to NC to celebrate with us at the launch party! Big hugs to our flower girls from Love Preserved and Kimberly from the Southern Belle shoot!

Our sweet Lisa got engaged at the V6 launch party a few years ago, so it was extra special to have some her family at the V8 celebration (especially since they make an appearance in the pages of this issue in her wedding feature!). We have said it before, but it bears repeating: being a part of Southern Weddings is a family affair.

Being on that stage, looking out into the sea of faces as we share our gratitude is always a highlight of the evening. It comes as no surprise that Grace stole the show again this year with her speech, but it was the tender words that her mama, Lara, shared that brought the room to tears. There is so much heart and emotion that goes into making each issue, and Lara’s words summed all of it up perfectly.

I have it on good authority that the sweets tables were busy all night long, and many of the treats disappeared before I could get over to sample them. Our friend Randi of Sugar Euphoria made Emily’s mini sweets dreams come true with a spread of everything from mini peach cobblers to blueberry hand pies to every Southern flavor of cupcake you can imagine! All the lovely signage and other paper products. including party invitations, were designed by our friend Scotti of Scotti Cline Designs.

The Chic Sweets sweets table, complete with the most darling bow tie backdrop, was back, and so were Natalie’s famous cake pops and chocolate-dipped Oreos!! No one can say they left this party hungry. I managed to snag a chocolate-dipped Oreo before they were all gobbled up, and may have helped myself to two cake pops–one of each flavor. Yum!

At the end of the evening, the Southern Weddings gals gathered together with our gents (minus Lara and Ari, who had headed home to put the newest SW gent, Joshua, to bed) for one final photo. There was so much laughter and joy as we linked arms and squished together to capture one more memory for the V8 yearbook. We couldn’t be more grateful for all y’all who celebrated with us from near and far. Your love and support of the Southern Weddings mission and of V8 blew us away. This party was definitely peachier than cobbler!!

To top this sweet post off, please enjoy the highlight film from the party created by our friends at Handspun Cinema!

Chic Sweets, Fiore Fine Flowers, High Cotton Ties, HotDog! Photogbooth, Paisley and Jade, Scotti Cline Designs, Sugar Euphoria, and Theo Milo are all delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory.

kristin Written with love by Kristin
3 Comments
  1. avatar Dana reply

    the best party I’ve ever been to (not including Lisa and Dave’s reception)! Can’t wait to come back next year and the year after and after! Y’all are amazing!

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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