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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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Are y’all ready? Sweet V9 hits newsstands in less than four weeks and we’re planning to pour big glasses of sweet tea and toss the confetti. We’re also thrilled to formally and officially invite you to the Southern Weddings V9 Launch Party!!

We’ll be celebrating the launch of our new issue at The Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill, NC on November 10, starting at 7:00 P.M. There will be toe-tapping music, sweets a plenty, snacks inspired by our latest issue, and a few more surprises inspired by our cover that our all-new for this year! But as always, there will be lots of fun swag, a fantastic photo booth, and some of the sweetest folks in Dixie. Rumor has it the Duke/Carolina football game will also be streaming live for the Tar Heel and Blue Devil fans in the house!

The party is open to everyone, but you MUST RSVP and purchase a ticket ahead of time in order to attend. Our last four launch parties (see them here, here, here and here!) have sold out quickly, and we know this one will too, so if you want to join us, please pick up a ticket ASAP!

We like to get a little fancy, so don’t be afraid to wear your Sunday best! In celebration of V9’s cover (which we’ll be revealing really soon!), we invite you to come dressed in your finest light blues, whites, and creams (with a peach accent if you so choose!). Good news for both our gals and guys in the fashion department:

— Our friends at Parlor Blow Dry Bar are opening their doors to any gals looking for a little Southern glam support. You can hop over to any Raleigh-area location and use the code SOUTHERNWEDDINGS for a 10% discount on all products and services the day of the party! You might just see the SW gals at the new Cary location :)
— Any gent looking for a spiffy new bow tie for the party can grab one from High Cotton Ties (may we recommend the SW collection?). Use code V9LAUNCHPARTY for 25% off.

We’re honored that we get the chance to celebrate another love-story filled issue with y’all. We can’t wait to see you in a few short weeks to toast nine wonderful years of Southern goodness!!

P.S. If you are one of our many friends traveling in from out of town, there are plenty of options in the area, including the lovely accommodations at The Carolina Inn. We’d also recommend checking The Franklin Hotel and the Aloft Chapel Hill, both of which are nearby.

P.P.S. Can’t make it to the party? We will be broadcasting live that night! Tune in over on our Facebook page for our welcome and speeches around 8:15 P.M. EST.

kristin Written with love by Kristin
4 Comments
  1. avatar Janna reply

    I won’t be there, but at a friend’s wedding who as an engagement gift I gave a copy of v.8 and she used as part of her wedding inspiration! :) Have fun and can’t wait for v.9 to come out for a gift for one of my besties who just got engaged this past weekend!

  2. avatar Mary Kay reply

    This looks like so much fun!

  3. avatar Ashlie Muller reply

    One day, I say one day I’ll come to the launch party. I literally Googled mapped where it is and it’s over 5 hours away from where I live, near Atlanta. I’m sure it will be lots and loads of fun!!!!

  4. avatar Friday No. 3 – Kyla Mary reply

    […] Weddings announced the details of their V9 Launch Party yesterday and I spent about an hour trying to find a financially feasible way to visit North […]

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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!

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