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Southern Weddings

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As we’ve been putting together our upcoming print edition that debuts on 11/12/13 (how about that for a release date!?), I’ve been thinking so much about why I love the South and asking myself, “what is it that makes it so magical here?”

Photographed by Jose Villa. This stunning image also graced the back cover of V4!

There is a certain something about the South that makes me slow down and focus on what matters most — celebrating family and love. That certain something is different for everyone, and that’s what makes the South so sweet to me. Whether you’re a Southern transplant or born and bred deep in the heart of Dixie, your South has a story. I’d love to hear from you today what makes your South so wonderful.

Photographed by Faith Teasley for V5.

My South is rich with farmer’s markets and friends that stop to chat on front porches. I love driving home and seeing cows, chickens (especially chickens – y’all know I love our fine feathered friends!) and goats happily grazing on the green landscape. I love the smell of tomato leaves in my garden and the sound of roosters crowing in the distance. I love how I am welcomed into homes of people I just met for a long conversation and a glass of cold sweet tea, as if we’ve been friends forever. I love the magnolia trees, monograms, biscuits, banjos and the plethora of Southern summer blooms that make our days so colorful. You should see the crepe myrtles right now! I love how all of these things (and too many more to name) melt the stresses of life and remind me to slow down and live intentionally. The magic of the South keeps me on the right path.

Photographed for V5 by Joey and Jessica. See the full editorial here.

I love all of this thanks to many generations before me. There is a rich meaning to even the simplest things. As I wrote about in our latest print edition, I love the smell of tomato leaves thanks to my Grampa Cecil, who was born in Excel, Alabama, and would spend many a long afternoon telling me about what Heaven was going to be like as he tended his Early Girls. My love for chickens hatched from a science project in fourth grade where we incubated eggs. We fell in love with our Bantams and my mama has had chickens ever since. My love for flowers and gardening sprouted from my Grandma Celeste, who was a florist in her early years in Birmingham, Alabama. She passed her love of gardening on to my mama who passed it to me. I love the sign in her garden that reads, “God lives in every garden. He loves each growing thing. Forget your ills, get out and dig and sing!”

Photograph by Eric Kelley. More from this amazing shoot here.

I love Southern weddings because a wedding is the perfect opportunity to honor your own special history, heritage, love story and even your grandmother’s prized pie recipe. My perfect Southern wedding would definitely include chickens : )

Photograph by Virgil Bunao.

GIVEAWAY! What do you love about the South? What’s your story? How are you celebrating this magical place we call home in your wedding? Or how did you celebrate with a Southern spirit? I’d love to hear from you! One lucky commenter (chosen randomly) will win one of my favorite prints from our shop that I have in my own kitchen, our South print.

lara Written with love by Lara Casey
22 Comments
  1. avatar Brittany Sweat reply

    There are soo many things I love about the South but if I had to choose one thing it would probably be the sweet people! I haven’t been too many places but when I have visited other states people are as quick to say hello or even give you a smile. I try to be intentional in opening the doors for people and just smiling at people. I love being greeted the same way around the south! You can pop in any little country store and they treat you like family! I love that about the South :D

  2. avatar Hillary Mantha reply

    I love the South for the delicious food, the kind people and the strong sense of tradition.

  3. avatar Jessa R. reply

    I’ve never lived in the South (born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA) but we spent every summer growing up on Kiawah Island for a week. There is nothing like melting mint chocolate chip and catching the sunshine as it streams through moss-covered branches. The sense of peace that pervades on a southern afternoon – it stretches on and on – is a memory that will remain with me always!

  4. avatar Linden reply

    Friendliness, state pride, sunsets, biscuits, monograms, and lakes! Love the south!!

  5. avatar Leigh Pearce reply

    I love so many things about the South. Biscuits and sweet tea, monograms and pearls, college football and mason jars. But what I love most about the South isn’t a thing… It’s the feeling of hospitality and home that you get no matter what state or area you are visiting. People hold doors open for you, folks wave as you pass by, and fruit stands are open on the honor system. I don’t ever want to live anywhere else.

  6. avatar Kristy reply

    I love the music, the food, and the South is where my family is :)

  7. avatar Autumn Lee reply

    I love everything about the south. I am from Texas and moved to Colorado 3 years ago and every day my heart aches to return home. The people are friendlier, the food is way better and they have sweet tea no matter where you go! We had our wedding 2 years ago and our theme was “Front Porch Texas”…basically anything you would find on a front porch back home-whiskey barrels, crates, boots, flowers, wagon wheels, stars, horseshoes etc. We even had flowers in BlueBell Icecream tubs on the tables! There is no place like home!

  8. avatar Mary-Kate McClure reply

    The South is my home and something about home makes my heart filled with joy and warmth! I got married this April and the outpouring of love we were shown absolutely overwhelms my heart. Our loved ones from all over the South gathered around my husband and myself with such generosity, kindness and wisdom! I can not imagine calling anywhere else home!

  9. avatar Tiffany reply

    The South was the place where I first discovered the gloriousness that is red velvet cake! To honor that love, I hope to have red velvet cupcakes at my reception.

  10. avatar Stephanie reply

    I love so much about the south, it is hard to narrow it down! What I love most is how close knit the communities are. I grew up with a large family close by, friends that had known us for years, devoted church friends, and teachers at school that knew my family and had taught a lot of us already! I couldn’t imagine having grown up anywhere but my small town and being surrounded by those people. I hope that my children will have those same blessings!

  11. avatar Peyton reply

    I love the South because I can find every member of my family in Georgia, the Carolina’s, and Louisiana. I love it for it’s jam, cheese grits, and home-grown fried green tomatoes. I love it because it’s where my grandmother taught me how to shag in her kitchen while pecan pie baked in the oven. I love being able to monogram everything I own without anyone looking twice. I love oak trees and Spanish moss and hydrangea-filled summers. I love my sweet neighbors, and the sweet accents that can be heard anywhere below the Mason-Dixon Line. I love the South because it’s my home, I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

  12. avatar Lauren reply

    I love the South because of our amazing Southern Hospitality and the sense of community!

  13. avatar Lauren reply

    I love the South for so many reasons it’s hard to name just one! I love the true Southern Hospitality that is unmatched anywhere else, the undeniable passion for College Football (War Eagle, y’all!) the food (sweet tea and cheese grits are my fav!) and the importance of family. Couldn’t live anywhere else!

  14. avatar Rae reply

    Not married yet and now I’m back up North but my dream wedding would take place under a magnolia tree and the dinner would include fried chicken, Mac & cheese, buttermilk biscuits and lots of sweet tea

  15. avatar Laura reply

    For knowing that you’re never too busy to sit on the front porch visiting with friends, for taking Sunday afternoon drives down back roads with the windows rolled down so you can smell the honeysuckle, and for knowing that your Grandma’s recipe book is worth its weight in gold. I love the South because I am constantly reminded that these simple things are my richest treasures.

  16. avatar Lorel reply

    My family is from the Midwest, but my soon to be hubby is from Covington, KY. I adore his accent and the gentlemanly way he has about him.

  17. avatar Dana reply

    There’s just too much to love down here, but the South excels when it comes to food! The happiest place I can be is on a porch with delicious bbq, biscuits galore, a large glass of sweet tea, and chocolate pecan pie for dessert!

  18. avatar Shelby reply

    The South is home to many, but it means so much more than a house to live in or a town to work, shop, & play in. This place is our family. Whether its your neighbors lending a hand, a peach cobbler to fill your belly, a family tradition that warms your soul, or even the yearly magnolia blooms filling your heart with joy, home in the South is everything.

  19. avatar Samantha reply

    What DON’T I love about the South?? Were celebrating the south through many aspects of our wedding, from the sweet tea station with many flavors of sweet tea (though who could pass up the plain ol’ taste of the original?!), the pie bar, the giant oak that we will be wed under, the magnolias in my bouquet that signify everything about home to me and my fiancé, and plethora of family that will attend and those that have already supported us by baking and crafting!!! Everything we love about the south is only magnified when you’re with family! The tea is sweeter, the flowers fresher! :)

  20. avatar gaji reply

    I love the southern hospitality, warm weather, and beautiful wedding venues.

  21. avatar Katie reply

    What perfect timing for this question! As a recent college grad, I left Virginia after 22 years to move to upstate New York-and my, are things different here! Born and raised in Virginia, my heart belongs in the South, and I am so thankful to have spent my life growing up there. As I have settled into New York, I have day dreams of front porches, more monograms and a familiar farmers market. People look at me like I have two heads when I order sweet tea. I love that I stick out like a sore thumb here, people always notice that I’m not from here, and I beam knowing that I can thank the South for that. I love the sound that ‘y’all’ makes paired with a friendly warm smile, and the comfort that it brings. I love the South for our tradition, and hospitality, for the heat that goes on for days and days. A true Southern spirit is strong, determined, and brave; and I’m thankful for my time away from the South to reflect on all it has taught me! I’m not married yet, but my dream wedding will be covered in Southern goodness. Complete with traditional readings, a huge bridal party,plenty of cold drinks, home-cooked food, monograms and lots of love to go around! The South will always be home=)

  22. avatar Pastel Candy Themed Wedding | Burnett’s Boards – Wedding Inspiration reply

    […] credits: mason jars via Southern Weddings, photographed by Faith Teasley // flowers from Wedding Chicks, photographed by Amy Arrington […]

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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Six years ago, this blog didn’t exist, the magazine was just an idea in my head and I was living in Pensacola, Florida, planning weddings and training people at the gym a few days a week. One fine day, a tall handsome Navy gent glanced at me while doing squats on the Smith machine (which admittedly I thought was like cheating sissy squats at the time!) and the rest is history. We eloped to Vegas after just five months of dating. (And yes, the only thing I wish we would have done differently is hire a professional photographer…)

Here I sit, six years later, with a team of ladies to do great work with – work that fires me up! – and a magazine and blog that mean something and a cooing happy baby next to me and a husband who loves me deeply. We are not the same people we were when we first met that day in the gym. I am so grateful for what these six years have brought. I’m so grateful for the big risks and leaps of faith and all the amazing wonderful encouraging friends I’ve met along the way. If I was to write a letter to myself six years ago, I would simply say, “The best is yet to come! Do what matters and forget the rest.” Ari and I have certainly learned a lot about marriage since our tiny wedding in Vegas. The little chapel where we had our ceremony gave us a list of “Marriage Rules” as we left and little did we know how true some of them would be today. Ari and I adapted those rules a little bit and are happy to share our version here:

We’re celebrating today by having a picnic in the park by our house with Grace. The North Carolina flowers are almost in full bloom and the air feels finer than a frog’s hair split four ways! We’re celebrating YOU today, too. What I love most about what we do at Southern Weddings is encouraging couples to focus in what matters. Your wedding is one important day that marks the beginning of the good stuff. Marriage wins! Wishing you all blessed marriages ahead. The best is truly yet to come! Love, Lara (and Gracie who had a blast at the SW Yard Sale yesterday!)

lara Written with love by Lara Casey
9 Comments
  1. avatar Wedding Invitations reply

    I just sent this to my fiance :D hahaha! Awesome post as always!

  2. avatar Frank Myers :: Raleigh Wedding Photographer reply

    Having been happily married for 21 years, I think these are all pretty darn good. In our photobooth this past weekend Elizabeth asked the parents to write a piece of advice starting with the word remember to the their daughter and new son-in-law. They wrote “remember to talk to each other, not matter what!”

  3. avatar Kristin Wilson reply

    Lara,

    Thank you for sharing this, both your personal side of it and the 10 rules for a happy marriage! Your magazine/business is fantastic and you should be very proud of yourself for a continuing job well done. From one Pensacol-ian to another, keep up the great work!! (and ps – your baby girl is so stinkin’ cute!! :) )

    Kristin

    • avatar Lara reply

      Thank you SO much, Kristin! And yay for Pensacola!!! I miss home : )

  4. avatar Amy Arrington Photography reply

    Lara, the picture of your Gracie wearing the sunglasses just laughing and smiling at you might be the cutest picture that I’ve ever seen! So sweet!

  5. avatar Tina reply

    I love you rules for a happy marriage. My husband and I have been married 41 years. He was twenty one and I was eighteen. We met and were married within seven months. Anyone who says it won’t last when you are only together for that long prior to getting married are wrong. We know how to compromise, love, laugh and fail together and we know that things will always get better. You need to be friends as well as lovers. He is my best friend. You need to help each other and not keep score. Love makes everything possible. Great website…Congratulations and always dream together.

  6. avatar Dallas Wedding and Event Planner – Ebony Peoples Events & Design » Blog Archive » 10 Rules for a Happy Marriage! reply

    […] Happy Thursday!  Today I’d like to share a few words of wisdom for all of my married friends and those preparing to jump the broom!  We could all use a refresher from time to time.  Check out these 10 Rules for a Happy Marriage Courtesy of Southern Weddings: […]

  7. avatar Dallas Wedding and Event Planner — 10 Rules for a Happy Marriage! reply

    […] Happy Thursday!  Today I’d like to share a few words of wisdom for all of my married friends and those preparing to jump the broom!  We could all use a refresher from time to time.  Check out these 10 Rules for a Happy Marriage courtesy of Southern Weddings: […]

  8. avatar Brisbane Wedding Stationery reply

    I got so inspired with your 10 Rules for a Happy Marriage I decided to share it on Facebook. BTW, you got a really adorable girl!

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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Howdy, friends! It’s a bittersweet day for me. I’m savoring my last day in the office with the wonderful SW ladies before I head out on maternity leave. Seriously, y’all, I’m so sad thinking about not seeing Emily, Whitney, Marissa, Sierra and Nicole for a few weeks! They are the bees knees. I’m 40 weeks pregnant and due any day now. Wahooo!! So, we decided to make y’all a fun little video with some exciting updates so you could join in the fun…

Southern Weddings Staff Meeting Updates! from lara casey on Vimeo.

The wonderful SW ladies will fill you in when Grace arrives and you can always stay posted on my personal blog, daily tumblr and twitter. Wishing you a wonderful holiday season ahead!

lara Written with love by Lara Casey
7 Comments
  1. avatar Taylor reply

    This is so adorable. What I wouldn’t give to work there!!

  2. avatar Meredith Perdue reply

    Too cute! I hope you all enjoyed the cupcakes!

  3. avatar Angee & Vincci reply

    What a fabulous team! Your video literally brightened up our day. :) It’s a true pleasure working with the SW team.

  4. avatar Kelsea Russo reply

    I absolutely love getting a glimpse of what goes on behind-the-scenes at SW! You girls are simply darling!

  5. avatar Clair Fabrizio reply

    Y’all are seriously the cutest! Loved the video :)

  6. avatar cake toppers reply

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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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