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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 had our reception in an airplane hangar at a small airport in Louisville. Right around the corner on the same property is a beautiful Art Deco building, which is home to Louisville’s finest French restaurant. Even though we were young and had no money for our first anniversary, we got sentimental, put on our wedding shoes, and treated ourselves to dessert and coffee there, and have done the same thing every year since!
– Jaclyn Journey of Jaclyn Journey Events, married 5 years

Written with love by Southern Weddings
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Happy Friday, friends! We have a Southern Newlywed treat for you today. Audrey and Jeremy Roloff, who run a marriage ministry called Beating50Percent, are here sharing a practice that has made a huge difference in their married life. Don’t miss the promo code they graciously included below! – Emily

We are stubbornly confident that there are still people in pursuit of covenant marriages: marriages that are undividedly devoted, completely committed, persistently selfless, value-centered, joy-filled, and love-based. In the United States, researchers estimate that 50 percent of all first marriages will end in permanent separation or divorce. The risk is even higher for second marriages (by some estimates, about 60 percent). How is it that our grandparents’ generation is committed to their marriages at age 80, yet as a 24-year-old, most of my friends’ parents are divorced or remarried by age 50?

What has caused the pendulum to swing so far? Why are people getting married later, ending marriage sooner, and remarrying multiple times? I was in an old antique shop once and read a quote that I think sums it up the best: “Back in our day, when something broke, you fixed it instead of throwing it away.” The quote was inked over a photo of an elderly couple holding each other close.

But isn’t that just it? When our grandparents were growing up, if their car, bike, sink, dress, bed, or radio broke, they fixed it. Nowadays, most people wouldn’t even know how to fix those things even if they wanted to. If it breaks, they just buy a new one — a better one. Seemingly nothing is irreplaceable. And so the same concept has unfortunately translated to our marriages: if it breaks, just get a new one…

Dawn Photography

My husband and I, and I’m confident we’re not alone in this, want to have a marriage marked by “fixing” instead of “throwing away.” To help, we have prioritized a rhythm in our marriage that has led to tremendous payoff: our Navigator’s Council.

Our Navigator’s Council started out as a weekly “coming together” for Jeremy and I to communicate on important matters, share hurts and struggles, celebrate achievements, review where we’ve been, and dream about where we are headed. We were advised to do this by our pre-marital counselors, who had been asking each other a series of questions and recording their answers in a journal every week since their wedding day 18 years earlier. Jeremy and I immediately latched onto this idea and knew we wanted to do something similar!

On our honeymoon, we made a commitment to a practice of weekly councils. Here are a few of my favorite questions we ask every week:

— What’s one thing I can do for you this week?
— What is something that was hard this week?
— What is a dream, craving, or desire that has been on the forefront of your mind this week?

We have been doing our Navigator’s Councils every Sunday since we’ve been married (with the exception of a few, of course!) and each Sunday is a call to reconciliation, a burning away of bitterness, a revelation of truth, and a strengthening of our love.

Not only is our Navigator’s Council a review of where we’ve been and where we are going, but it is a time to share, a call to transparency, a reminder of truth, a discerning of dreams, and a harvesting of love. As we’ve reflected on old entries, we smile at what this simple journal has prevented us from, and the standard it has held us to. The hour that we set aside on Sundays to create time and space for the discipline of communication has been crucial. Yes, it’s a discipline, but I would argue it’s a vital one for marriage – without communication, we are left to assume, and the Navigator’s Council doesn’t leave room for assumptions. Instead, it turns knowing more into loving more.

When we launched Beating50Percent, we knew we wanted to take this practice that’s been so helpful for us and make it available to everyone, so we launched the Navigator’s Council journal. The foundation of the journal is six questions that you will ask each other, and record your answers to, once a week. (We share one journal and take turns writing week by week.) Each week also includes a short devotional and a weekly calendar.

Like us, we hope that someday you will have a bookshelf full of Navigator’s Council journals that have strengthened and recorded the growth of your love. Whether you are newlywed or you’ve been married for 30 years, we believe our Navigator’s Council journal can transform your marriage! We hope that this practice will help you to have the kind of love that’s marked by fixing instead of throwing away.

Thank you so much for sharing, Audrey! For a 15% discount on the Navigator’s Council journal, head over to the Beating50Percent site and use code SOUTHERNWEDDINGS15!

emily Written with love by Emily
3 Comments
  1. avatar Kyla Shattuck reply

    This is an incredible idea! Thank you for sharing! :)

  2. avatar Julie reply

    Tried promo code and didn’t work :( please let me know once fixed. Thx!

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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Drumroll, please… After logging more than 50,000 votes from readers across Dixie and beyond, we are tickled pink to announce our 2017 Best of the South Wedding Award winners!

But first, a little history. You answered our call for the best and the brightest in the Southeast in a big way, nominating thousands of wedding vendors for our 21 categories. After two weeks, we tallied up the nominations and selected the top vote-getters to compile our 12-15 finalists in each category.

You responded even more enthusiastically, voting your favorite wedding vendors to the top of their categories through more than 50,000 votes cast. It was amazing to hear the outpouring of support and respect for these folks and all of our Southeastern wedding vendors – we truly are so lucky to live and work in this corner of the country!

Without further ado, we’re packing up the golden pineapple trophies (a.k.a The Pineys) to ship to our winners, spread across the Southeast in seven different states!

P.S. If you call Alabama home, you might want to stick an extra feather in your hat today, as we had 10 winners hail from the Heart of Dixie!!

Prettiest Chapel: All Saints Chapel (NC)
Best Farm or Barn: The Barn at Shady Grove (AL)
Best Plantation-Style Venue: The Merrimon-Wynne (NC)
Best Hotel or Ballroom: The Biltmore Estate (NC)
Best Garden Venue: The Swan House (GA)
Best Paper Goods Vendor: Empress Stationery (AL)
Best Calligrapher: All She Wrote Notes (NC)
Best Band: Sol Fusion (NC)
Best DJ: DJ WellDunn, WellDunn Entertainment (AL)
Best Honeymoon Destination: Charleston (SC)
Best Bridal Salon: Ivory & White Bridal Boutique (AL)
Best Hair Stylist: PinkLouLou Design Studio (KY)
Best Makeup Artist: Katy Lynn Beauty (NC)
Best Event Planner/Designer: Mariée Ami (AL)
Best Rentals Vendor: Prop House (AL)
Best Florist: The Southern Table (TX)
Best Cake and Sweets Baker: Olexa’s (AL)
Best Caterer: Shindigs (AL)
Best Videographer: BrideFilm (LA)
Best Digital Photographer: Aaron & Jillian (SC)
Best Film Photographer: Photos by Heart (AL)

To each and every vendor nominated, we couldn’t do this wedding work without you. What you do matters. Thanks for pouring your heart and soul into your business. And to our sweet brides, how lucky are you?! These vendors are ready and able to help bring your wedding days to life and prepare you for meaningful, joyful marriages. We hope that you love working with them as much as we do!

Watch the video below for the Facebook Live award announcement from Kristin & Emily!

Again, biggest congratulations to all our 2017 Best of the South Wedding Award winners, finalists, and nominees! We can’t wait for next year!

kristin Written with love by Kristin
9 Comments
  1. avatar Maghon Taylor reply

    Thank Y’all SO so much! This is such an honor and we couldn’t be more excited! I so appreciate all your hard work making this awesome opportunity possible for all of our small businesses.

  2. avatar Kourtney Walker reply

    A huge congrats to allof y’all!! 🎊🎉💖

  3. avatar Katy Doss reply

    Thank you guys so much for allowing me to be involved in this experience! I never would have imagined a few years ago we would even be a finalist in the Best Make-up Category but to win it, that is a dream come true!!!

  4. avatar Aaron and Jillian reply

    Our hearts haven’t stopped beating out of our chests since 10am this morning!! Y’all, we’re SO HONORED to have won and are so thankful to y’all for giving the wedding community a chance to acknowledge all of these talented vendors who pour their hearts and souls into their crafts and spaces day in and day out!! We adore you girls and all the things you do to bring the southern wedding community together while still being a constant source of inspiration for Southern brides to be!! You’re all incredible and we love you!!! xoxo, Aaron + Jillian

  5. avatar We Won!! » Aaron & Jillian Photography reply

    […] Aaron and I were named “The Best Digital Wedding Photographers In The South” by Southern Weddings Magazine!!!  We’re crazy giddy over here today at the big news and are so honored that we were […]

  6. avatar Charleston Wedding Videographer reply

    Congrats to our Charleston friends! <3

  7. avatar Brandon Dunn reply

    Go Alabama!!! Congrats to ALL and GREAT JOB Southern Weddings. This was wonderful to be a part of :)

  8. avatar Jeffrey Newton reply

    Congrats to everyone! Well deserved !!!
    Maybe next year we can add a transportation category up there.

  9. avatar Shelly M reply

    Congratulations to Sol Fusion!!! They are the best in the country, not just the Southeast! It’s wonderful to see them recognized. I’ve seen them LIVE 4 times now and I’m always impressed. I love TK and Stephanie! Two of my favorite performers!!!! Just powerhouse entertainers!

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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