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Southern Weddings

Last week I asked you to tell me what you think makes for a happy marriage at 80 years old and the answers were so inspiring! The [randomly chosen] winner of Love Poems is Taryn who said:  I’m starting to realize, after only 7 short months of marriage, that we HAVE to find joy in the every. single. day. Whether it’s a silly laugh in the kitchen while unpacking the groceries or 5 minutes on the couch just sitting together… it’s a big, scary world out there and at the end of the day, if we learn to rely on each other to bring JOY and LAUGHTER to our home, we’ll live long and find ourselves still sneaking slobbery kisses when we’re 80! So true.  Sometimes a tiny moment of joy together can turn your whole world around.  It’s building those little moments of joy into years of laughter and sweet love that I think will get us all to those happy kisses at 80!  Taryn, please email us your mailing address and we’ll get your book to you!

So, Ari and I just moved into a new bigger-for-baby house this week.  In packing and unpacking boxes of mementos from our last five years of marriage together, I kept replaying the memories that got us there.   Through the “better” and “worse”, the little dates, travels, adventures and sweet moments captured in our framed photographs created a marriage.  It wasn’t the grand events that stayed in my heart as much as the hike in the Rockies, walking on the Florida shores together, date nights in downtown Chapel Hill, a weekend on a farm in Newnan, a picnic in the park, playing in the North Carolina snow and, among so many others, the spontaneous times we got out of the house to just have an adventure.

It’s so easy to go through the motions.  So, break out of them and plan little dates and adventures during your engagement.  Just when you find yourself getting into a spat over where Uncle Bob is going to sit at the reception, get outside and get some fresh air!  If buttercream vs. fondant has you in a bind, it’s time to do something fun that will remind you of why you are planning this wedding in the first place.  Fall in love all over again. Get back to the heart of the wedding and have some fun together! 

I was so taken by Katie and Michael’s engagement session, photographed by my good friend Bryan Johnson.  Emily wrote this week about how we all love a real engagement session here at SW.  Nothing too styled or prepared.  Just a couple being themselves – relaxed, happy and authentically joyful – in an environment that tells their unique love story.  You can feel the love in these images, shot at Katie’s family farm in Chelsea, Alabama.

What’s so captivating about these photographs is that you forget there is a photographer there taking them.  Katie and Michael are just enjoying being in love.  Definitely an afternoon I wouldn’t forget.

Erin left this great advice on my last post: A girlfriend at work often says that there’s a difference between the girls who want a wedding and the girls who want a marriage. Exactly!  So, my challenge to you this week: stop planning your wedding for just a moment and plan a marriage. Get out and do something fun together!

If fishing isn’t your cup of tea, there are plenty of great Southern activities this season to get you out of wedding stress mode.  A few of my favorites this time of year here in the South: strawberry picking, a mini weekend trip to a favorite spot like one of these, hiking, rafting, making jam from said strawberries (yum!)…

…a trip to one of my favorite childhood spots Peach Park (the Chilton County peaches are ripe and perfect right now), making peach ice cream (thanks, mom, for the great article!), a simple picnic complete with some Georgia muscadine wine and hot boiled peanuts…

…an adventurous trip to one of Roadside America’s unique attractions and Southern oddities (just take a look at Georgia’s list!), a simple afternoon on the porch with some sweet tea, horseback riding, BBQ, camping, cornhole….

… and last but certainly not least, when all else fails, get in your bathing suit and crank up the sprinklers just like you did when you were a kid!  Trust me, your neighbors will be jealous!

Stop planning for a minute and go have an adventure this week!  Linen and floral decisions can wait a few days. Your wedding will be 1000x more enjoyable – and more meaningful – if you spend the time leading up to it falling in love all over again every. single. day. 

GIVEAWAY! One lucky couple will get one of my very favorite fab finds from V3, two custom luggage tags from Of The Fountain. How fun are these!?

Perfect for all of your adventures ahead!

TO ENTER: Leave a comment here telling me about your favorite Southern activities.  Bonus points if you go do one of them in the next week with your sweetie!

P.S. Congrats to Katie and Michael who were married just a couple weeks ago!  Wishing you blessings on your marriage and many more dates on the farm ahead!

lara Written with love by Lara Casey
  1. avatar Ashley Caroline reply

    I love saving up bread ends and about-to-be-stale pieces in the freezer… then taking it out to thaw just in time for an outing to go feed some ducks! It’s so fun to get outside, go for a walk, and provide a little snack for the critters! My fiance is away for a summer internship, but I have a loaf’s worth in the freezer just waiting for an autumn newlywed day!

  2. avatar Taryn reply

    I love being outdoors….especially here in Nashville!!!

    My fiance’ is from a very small town called Summertown. I love going there with him and going to flea markets and antique shops as well as shopping in the Amish community(homemade pickles!) ! I also love camping and sitting around a bonfire in an open field at his parents :)

    As a matter of fact….we have plans for that this weekend :) hope for good weather!!

  3. avatar Leah reply

    Since it has been so warm outside lately, our favorite southern thing to do is go canoeing on the weekends. It is so peaceful and relaxing to be out on the lake during the stressful weeks leading up to our wedding.

  4. avatar Adrienne reply

    In Virginia there is a incredible live music scene. That’s what I love about Southern Summers, packing up some food and sittin’ by the bay listening to locals bands.

  5. avatar courtney reply

    in the south, florida for me, there is this perfect, amazingly wonderful afternoon breeze that lasts for only a few weeks, right before it gets into the 90’s. literally everyone in town is on their porch, at an outside restaurant, walking their dog, playing basketball, or simply opening up a window. my husband and i just got back from our honeymoon on monday and even though we were incredibly exhausted, we sat on my grandmother’s front porch swing…feeling the breeze, talking about memories we each had this time in years past, and just enjoyed the moment. we both were reminded of why we love living in the south. this breeze doesn’t happen anywhere else :)

  6. avatar Erin reply

    So excited you quoted me, quoting my coworker! Haha, I passed it along to her and now we both feel totally famous :) Excellent advice from both you AND her!!

  7. avatar Rebecca reply

    Sitting outside with a cold beer, bushel of crabs, music and friends!

  8. avatar Stacy reply

    Favorite Activity – Drinking lemonade on the back porch…

  9. avatar casey reply

    love these pics! My fiance and I have dated for the past five yrs and are finally tying the knot sept. of this year….Our favorite thing to do is hop in the car with no destination in mind and explore (as we like to call it) :)….We love to go to the local battlefield and hike or bike..or even get a little history lesson while we are there…We also love to go to the local smalltown theme park, Lake Winnie, (the location of our 1st date) and ride the rides, play games, and of coarse eat funnel cakes and cotton candy..At the top of the ferris wheel is where he popped the question….We actually shot our engagement photos at both of these locations…they are awesome, and so special to both of us….We have traveled to so many places all over, but nowhere beats the fun & beauty of the South!

  10. avatar sarah g reply

    in the past, i would have said anything involving being outdoors with s’mores, but my maryland soon-to-be hubby has introduced me to the delights of crabs and beer, so that’s definitely a new favorite!

  11. avatar Kelly reply

    Every summer, my fiance & I go to his house in the mountains in Boone, NC. It’s a perfect escape. Your cell phones never work, and the humidity is next to none. The first time I went, he taught me how to skip rocks in the river, and we found fields of wild strawberries and daisies. His lab, Bourbon, can’t get enough of swimming in the river. The local general store has the best old fashioned candy, and even in the summer you can sit by the bonfire at night and enjoy this little southern escape from reality!

  12. avatar lindsey dawn reply

    I believe there is a reason baseball season is so long, and it has nothing to do with a tournament! There is something so very southern (and American) about grabbing your sweetie, or a bunch of friends, and heading to the ball park. My fiance and I have been baseball fans since we could yell, “Go Braves” and “Go Orioles.” Even when we can’t make it to Baltimore or Atlanta, we enjoy a minor league game in our hometown. Funnel cakes, hot dogs and beer always make for a great day with excellent memories.

  13. avatar Perryn reply

    My Fiance, Michael, and I LOVE to go fishing- we’re both from Pensacola FL, and go out any time we get the chance (he even gave me a custom fishing rod the night we got engaged!) There’s nothing better then sitting on the porch with a beer, watching the sunset over the bay and smelling the fish you just caught that day on the grill. I’m not a morning person, but I’ll be up at 5am excited and ready to go fishing.
    Since we’re all over the place for our jobs (in Kansas right now!) we haven’t been able to go lately- but we still find small ponds to fish in here—it looks a lot like the pictures you posted!

    • avatar Lara reply

      So fun, Perryn! My family lives in Pensacola. I love it there so much!

  14. avatar Mary reply

    We just moved to Central Texas where there are so many fresh water rivers all around us. Not only are they beautiful, but on a hot Texas day (and we’ve had a lot of those recently), it’s so fun and relaxing to blow up some tubes and go tubing down one of the spring water rivers. It makes me feel like a kid again… only this time, I’m a girl who gets to do this with the love of her life. We’ll probably get to go tubing this weekend since his parents will be in town. I can’t wait!

  15. avatar Stephanie reply

    I love me a low country boil! Boiled peanuts… yummmmmm!

  16. avatar Linden reply

    I love so many Southern activities… but I’d have to say my favorite is enjoying the lake. Getting up early to waterski on the smooth water while everyone else is sleeping, grilling and eating out by the water, staying up late talking under the stars…. I love it all! My very favorite has to be 4th of July on the lake though- nothing beats watching fireworks while sitting on a boat holding hands with the one you love most! (It also happened to be during our first 4th Fireworks show that he realized I was The One- doesn’t get much sweeter than that.)

  17. avatar Rochelle M reply

    Well I’m not sure if it’s Southern but it’s definitely Floridian. My fiance and I live just close enough to ride our bikes down the Clearwater inlet and over the clearwater bridge over to Clearwater Beach. We just love packing up a backpack cooler and blankets and spending the day out in the sun on the beach and enjoying the view. The sand is as soft as powder and riding our bikes allows us to get exercise & beat the traffic & avoid having to pay for parking. (These are quick cheap dates for us since we are “saving” for our wedding and honeymoon ;) )

  18. avatar Jennifer Underhill reply

    My favorite southern activity is visiting my family’s small farm. We hop on the John Deere Gator and take a quick ride down a little path… past lots of green ferns and over a small stream in my parents backyard to a big field where my brother keeps his cows and goats. There are usually deer walking around back there too. It always smells like animals and grass and hay and you can hear tiny ‘bahhhhs’ and deep low ‘mooooos’ as soon as you come up on the pasture. Some of the cows have names and others just have numbers but most come right up to you and let you pet them or feed them. I love taking pictures back there while my brother fills up the water bowls and we ride back up to my parents house for an amazing home-cooked dinner. There is nothing like it.

  19. avatar Stephanie reply

    In Texas, the best summer weekends are spent floating down the Guadalupe River. Slow and steady sunning in a big black tube with the almost-but-not-quite-too-cold water flowing beneath you. After you hop out, dinner at the Grist Mill is a requisite, then you two-step the night away at Gruene Hall.

  20. avatar Kam reply

    My favorite southern activity to scavenge the market in Charleston, SC for unique items. There’s a lot to see and we have a lot of fun browsing together – and it makes for interesting conversation pieces when you find unique buys!

  21. avatar Andy reply

    Baking cookies together is a winner every time. Look up recipes for monster cookies and go nuts. My lady loves it when I make a batch and share.

    Travel hammocks make a lovely impromptu outdoor date. Grab a fun book, your lady and the best tasting sub sandwich you can find. Go to the lake on a weekday and you’ll have the place to yourself.

  22. avatar Davonne Head reply

    My favorite Southern activity is taking hikes through Central Texas. My finance and I love to go hiking and will hopefully go this weekend to explore some parks around Austin then eat some BBQ!

  23. avatar Davonne reply

    I love getting out and enjoying this spring weather and my finance and I love going for hikes all around Central Texas, where we live. We love spending time outdoors and seeing all the lovely wildflowers and exercising our two dogs. It also gives us a chance to work up our hunger so we can stop and get some awesome Texas BBQ.

  24. avatar Caroline K reply

    I think this is my favorite SW post ever. To me, those ordinarily wonderful moments are what add up to a lifetime of happiness. Perhaps because our graduate student budgets forced it, but most of our relationship was built wandering through small bookstores, sandwich shops, and towns in this Old North State. My favorite of these “wanderings” is when we meandered up the Outer Banks last summer– staying only in B&Bs, stopping at any interesting shop (or sand dune), and eating all the local ice cream we wanted!

  25. avatar madelynne miller reply

    My fiance and I love to eat good southern food!! We go get barbecue or eat at local meat and three’s whenever we can! We both also love to visit our grandparents when we can!

  26. avatar Jennifer reply

    The food! Low country boils, good southern BBQ, REAL banana pudding! Just being outside with a picnic is perfect… And the smell of honeysuckles is my favorite.

  27. avatar Robyn reply

    I adore the rowboat pictures and have to keep that in mind!
    My favorite southern activity is going camping and bringing the guitar! There is nothing like hearing him sing to me out under the stars!

  28. avatar Allyson L. reply

    Now that the winter is gone and everyone is starting to enjoy the outdoors again we love to go hiking, we have several favorite places near our home in NC. We also just got bikes so we’ve started riding together around our neighborhood and taking our dog with us. My fiances favorite thing to do would definitely be to grill or smoke dinner on a nice afternoon. We’ll sit outside, have a drink and sometimes friends will come over, it’s a great time every weekend.

  29. avatar Heather reply

    We both grew up in the south, but have since moved away for jobs. Every time we are home for the holidays we make sure to get some sweet tea and fried chicken in!

  30. avatar Erin reply

    I think pretty much everything I do counts as a Southern activity, living in South Carolina and having grown up in the mountains of Virginia. I love to play a good game of paddleball on the beach, go for a hike in the mountains, or just sit and swing on the porch on a warm summer night with a cool glass and some good friends! (oh yeah and I plan to do ALL these next week with my sweetie!!!)

  31. avatar Nicole reply

    My fiance and I relocated to South Carolina earlier this year and are in love with pace of life, the adventures we find around every corner, and the time we are taking to just explore our new home. We LOVE camping, fishing, and walking our puppies around the beautiful green areas of SC, the mountains to the coast!

  32. avatar Rachael reply

    Our favorite summer outdoor activity would be packing up our dog, our kayak and heading camping! We live in Tampa and within a 2-3 hours drive there are so many amazing kayaking/canoeing and springs!Crystal River is one of our fave spots! The water is always lovely at 72 degrees and often we spot manatee’s swimming along, our dog goes crazy when we spots one!

  33. avatar Natalie reply

    Going to watch some small town baseball or football and eating boiled peanuts… And if I’m not in the mood for that I love hiking to local waterfalls (NC, SC, and Georgia have some of the most beautiful ones I have ever seen!)

  34. avatar Tricia reply

    My favorite southern activity is opening the windows in my home every day for the 2 weeks of the year that we have weather that is good enough to do so. =)

  35. avatar Kelsey reply

    Certain activities take you back to when you were a little kid and playing capture the flag with all of your neighborhood friends and there’s nothing better than a humid North Carolina night outdoor cookout with all your friends to bring back those memories. Especially after a day of yard sale and flea market hopping!

  36. avatar Edi reply

    I adore that fish picture :)
    Those luggage tags are great! I love things that are special and personalized!

    My favorite Southern activity is air boating :) I love when we go just the two of us…fishing, relaxing, playing on sandbars…the best :)

  37. avatar Katie reply

    My favorite southern activity is slowing down and enjoying an evening on my parents’ back porch after dinner. We’ll sip lemonade while we laugh and just have some good old fashioned family time.

  38. avatar Weekly Round-Up « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] is important so Lara is asking everything to go out and have some fun! Fall in love again with a Sweet Southern Adventure. Better yet, tell us your favorite Southern activity to enter to win one of our favorite Fab Finds […]

  39. avatar cherie reply

    We love having family BBQs!! Father’s day is coming up and we’ll have one then :) I’m so excited!!

  40. avatar Ashley Stout reply

    Defiantly the best thing to do in the South is have a good fun home cooking meal with the whole family. Following by enjoying each other. We actually did it this afternoon started out by going to church, then good old brisket,green beans,and mashed potatoes, and don’t forget the peach cobbler. We ended up filling up an old wheel barrel with water and made a southern pool for my five month old niece. Got to love my in laws!!!

  41. avatar CLaire reply

    Well, unfortunately my fiance and I don’t live in the south. But it touches our hearts every time we are down visiting my brother in Atlanta. We travel probably twice a year to visit them! The so called ‘southern hospitality’ truly exists! Everyone is so pleasant. We’ve had our eyes opened up to so many amazing things! Our favorite is bouncing around and checking out little mom and pop restaurants and stores (Virginia Highlands sits at the top of our list) and then riding the bikes to Piedmont Park. Sitting outside on the grass or playing frisbee for hours and just enjoying the ATL Heat and Sun!

  42. avatar How do you want your wedding to feel? GIVEAWAY « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] thanks to y’all, I have a plethora of new Southern adventures I want to try. Such great answers on my last post! Congrats to [randomly chosen] winner of the […]

  43. avatar Taryn reply

    Can’t believe I missed the big announcement! I was just catching up on all my favorite blogs and was shocked to see my own name above :) Thanks SO much, y’all! Can’t wait to receive that sweet book in the mail :) I love SW Mag!

  44. avatar Marina Engagement Shoot by Gabe Aceves « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] for sharing, Gabe! If you liked this engagement shoot, you might enjoy these, as well… Katie + Michael’s lakeside engagement Taylor + Brandon’s wharf engagement Jenn + Mike’s camping engagement xo Emily June […]

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    […] credit from top to bottom: A Byran Photo (see more of this sweet Southern adventure here), Mastin Studio via Green Wedding Shoes, Matt Shumate, next two beauties Sheena Jibson via Ruffled […]

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