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Moments after I finished the real wedding interview for the blog, I sent Mrs. Emily Thomas an email with a flurry of excitement and a million exclamation points. The process of filling out the questions brought me right back to my wedding day, and I immediately knew that I would treasure having these answers forever. I also knew that we needed to figure out how to give this gift of memory capturing to ALL our brides. While we can’t feature every reader’s wedding on Southern Weddings (gah, I wish we could), we want to give everyone the opportunity to remember and record this special season of life. Our solution? Meet: Memories of Us: A Prompted Wedding Journal

This sweet prompted journal covers everything from your engagement to the emotional whirlwind of your wedding day, to your honeymoon, to the sweet early days of newlywed life. We know all these memories are precious and we don’t want you to forget a thing! The prompts are inspired by the real wedding interview from the SW blog and print magazine and encourage you to capture all the moments (both big and small) of your marriage journey. We hope that your journal becomes a keepsake for years to come!

Every single one of my girlfriends who gets engaged gets a Memories of Us journal as a gift from KPW and me. Why? Because as someone who self-identifies as an “anti-journaler’ I love this little memory keeper so very much!! The prompts make it feel less like a ‘journal’ (important for someone who is anxious at the thought of free-writing) and more like answering the best and most personal questionnaire. (There are also extra blank pages to capture your feelings and other details if you are a journal kind of gal.)

After getting engaged, I was bombarded with people who told me “good luck, you won’t remember a single thing about your wedding day.” As a gal who had been looking forward to getting married since the ripe old age of four, this was less than encouraging. I knew our wedding season would be a whirlwind, but I was determined to remember as many moments as possible, and I want the same for all my best friends and for all of you. We have a limited number of journals available right here so snag one for yourself or a best friend who recently got a new left-hand sparkler!

I’m grateful that the Memories of Us: A Prompted Wedding Journal is one of my Southern Weddings claims to fame. And even more grateful that our future kids and grandkids will be able to flip back through our wedding memory journal and giggle over the missing candle incident and understand why the first few chords of Strawberry Wine always make me burst into tears.

Happy memory capturing, belles!

PS: Want a peek inside the pages of the journal? Don’t miss the fun video at the bottom of this page: Memories of Us: A Prompted Wedding Journal

kristin Written with love by Kristin
2 Comments
  1. avatar Tu Nguyen reply

    Many people would do a blog but I still love a good old journal <3

  2. avatar Bella Vita Montreal Wedding Photography reply

    love this!!

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Hi belles! Our friend Stephanie Scholl is the newest gal to take you through her wedding process here on the blog! Stephanie will be blogging for us every two weeks or so until her wedding in April. In case you missed her first post, be sure to check it out here! — Emily

Hi friends! We’re a mere six weeks (!!!) away from our wedding day, and I’m feeling both incredibly joyful at the thought of marrying my best friend so soon… and a little bit overwhelmed by all that’s left to do! Luckily, I’ve planned more than a few weddings, so I know we’re at a great place in the grand scheme of things and what’s left on our to-do list are the little details you’d expect as our wedding draws closer. RSVP cards are filling my mailbox every day (it’s a highlight of our day to open them together in the evening!), I have a final dress fitting tomorrow, travel plans have been booked for our guests, our wedding bands are picked out, and Rob and I are both excitedly counting down the days til we’re husband and wife!

Photo by Jenna Walker via Style Me Pretty

I’ve been keeping the design and details of our wedding day pretty private, as I really want to surprise our family and friends when they arrive to celebrate our marriage. I’m also known for my love of surprising people, so it’s only fitting that we keep many elements of our day under wraps! Today, however, I want to share with you some ways we are making our ceremony and reception personalized and meaningful, all while on a budget.

I’ve learned more and more throughout planning our wedding how important it is to us to stick to our budget, which also helps us (me, especially) prioritize what’s most important to us and what novelties we are able to do without. It’s been both demanding and liberating to stick to our set budget, knowing that we could easily spend much more money… but also knowing that we do not want to do so. We’re sticking to our biggest priorities: loving our family and friends well, showing them genuine Southern hospitality, celebrating our marriage alongside our loved ones, and glorifying God through it all!

Bouquet by Philosophy Flowers and photo by Landon Jacob from this editorial

We chose to work with Alana from Serendipity Designs as our wedding florist, and I couldn’t be happier with our choice! Flowers are one my favorite wedding details, and they’re also something I notice right away as a guest. I love (love!!) flowers, and I have no doubt Serendipity Designs will make all of my floral dreams come true on our wedding day.

Many of my very favorite Southern blooms (most of them with great meaning to me) will be present in my bouquet and throughout our wedding design. We’ll be using O’Hara garden roses as a nod to my paternal grandma, as she and I share a deep love of the book Gone With the Wind and all things Scarlett O’Hara. And to pay tribute to my maternal grandma, who passed away a few months ago, we’ll be using Queen Anne’s lace, a beautiful flower that reminds me of her. My sweet mama is also letting me use a ribbon of lace from her wedding dress to tie around my bridal bouquet, as my sister did a couple years ago. I love knowing that I’ll be carrying such significant, sentimental nods to the most important ladies in my life as I marry Rob!

Photo by Amy Arrington from Lauren and Kristian’s wedding

For our ceremony, we hoping to portray our faith and God’s love for us in all aspects. One of the very first things I did after getting engaged was to rent a wooden cross for our ceremony (local Triangle brides, check out Homemade Bride!), as we want Christ to be the center of our wedding and our marriage. Even though we’re getting married outside under the trees, as I’ve envisioned my entire life, we know that we can still have a church-like ceremony, especially with a cross at the center of it all. And, as a nod to our engagement session under the Spanish moss and my love of Spanish moss, our florist will be adorning the cross with Spanish moss, a little detail I’m incredibly excited about it.

Photo by Nancy Ray Photography from Callie and Jamie’s wedding

During our ceremony, as one of our first acts together as husband and wife, we will be serving communion to all of our guests. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time, and I tear up when I stop and think about the ceremony: walking down the aisle with my daddy, having our best friends stand by our side, saying our vows to one another and marrying Rob, praying with our pastor and our wedding party during the ceremony, singing our favorite hymns, and serving our family and friends communion. I can only imagine how many times I’ll cry happy tears on our wedding day!

Photo by Davy Whitener from this editorial

One of our biggest hopes for our details is that they showcase our love of our family. Rob and I both are blessed to have marvelous families, and we are grateful for the legacy of lifelong, abundantly loving marriages for all of our grandparents and parents. All of our grandparents and parents (and their marriages) have made a profound impact on us, and paying homage to those marriages at our wedding is something we’re very excited to do. Our beautiful venue, The Merrimon-Wynne House, has gorgeous white mantles in almost every room, which are the perfect spaces to display wedding photos of our grandparents and parents. I am also working on compiling marriage advice from our families, and we will be displaying their wisdom in a beautiful way, too.

Photo by Haley Sheffield from Emily and Joe’s wedding

Goodness, designing all of these details is something that makes my wedding-loving heart so happy, and knowing they are for OUR wedding is icing on the cake! I am truly giddy about the thought of it all and seeing these meaningful details come to life on our wedding day.

Tell me: if you already got married, what were the most personalized details you chose to incorporate that are a nod to your love story? And if you haven’t planned your wedding yet, are there any details you are absolutely set on having? (I used to want a black and white checked dance floor (and I still do!), but it simply isn’t in our budget and wasn’t an absolute priority for me!)

P.S. In case you missed a post:
The proposal
Venue and photography
The dress
Bridesmaid style
Engagement photos

Landon Jacob, Amy Arrington, Nancy Ray, and Davy Whitener are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
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A few weeks ago, the SW gals gathered for a favorite Southern Weddings’ tradition–our annual Gingerbread Barn Building Competition. This was the sixth year inviting our friends to join us for a night of barn-building and hot cocoa-drinking at the Carolina Inn!

Big thanks to Ally and Bobby for spending the evening with us and capturing these wonderful images you see below!

If you can’t tell from above, Christmas at the Carolina Inn is simply magical! So magical, in fact, that our very own Kristin couldn’t miss out on a second Gingerbread Barn Building event in a row! She surprised us with her lovely face and ooh and ahh at the Christmas decor alongside us!

We are grateful for our dear friend and Blue Ribbon Vendor, Randi of Sugar Euphoria, for providing the icing everyone used on their barns! This stuff was barn building gold, and it made for some of the tallest and most structurally-sound barns we’ve seen yet (three story structures!)

Each team dove right in when the competition began, and you could feel the excitement in the room as we strolled around to see plans, blueprints and designs begin to unfold! I must say, being a judge certainly takes some of the pressure off!

I wouldn’t be a true UNC alum if I didn’t mention the lovely replica of the UNC bell tower. Between KNW and myself, we must’ve taken three dozen photos to send to our beaus who are fellow UNC grads. If you look closely enough, there was even a Ramses made out of marshmallows. Be still my heart!

This group may have been some of the most creative builders we’ve seen yet! Herringbone pathways, pretzel chandeliers, and beautiful hand-letting covered in sprinkles–the ideas seem to get better each year!

We loved hearing the story behind our Honorable Mention Best Story winner’s barn below! Each tiny home was created by a different member of their team, and had a matching story to go with it!

Each creation we saw was not only beautifully executed, but had a darling story to match it! After much deliberation, we handed out the grand prize award to a sweet group of ladies who created the beautiful snow-covered creation you see below, complete with a sweater-wearing reindeer!

We also passed our four Honorable Mentions–Most Festive, Most Architecturally Creative, Most Creative Story, and Most Structurally Sound–to other builders! Y’all certainly didn’t make deliberations easy this year!

Thank you so much to all our friends who joined us at this year’s competition, and to The Carolina Inn for hosting us all–we can’t wait to see what y’all come up with next year! Happy holidays!

Written with love by Jess Metcalf
1 Comment
  1. avatar Bri A reply

    These are so beautiful! I think I need to up my gingerbread game. And the marshmallow Ramses — consider this UNC alum in love!

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