It’s time for some peach pie and a sweet tea toast, ladies and gents, because yesterday was our fourth birthday! On April 1, 2008 the first post was published on this here blog, and we like to think that weddings in the South have never been the same :) Shall we take a walk down (the wisteria-draped) memory lane?
When Lara started the Southern Weddings blog four years ago, her goal was to share the amazing, fresh things going on in the wedding world with Southern brides. Wedding blogs were just beginning to gain ground, and no one was focusing on celebrations beneath the Mason-Dixon Line. Interestingly, I feel that our mission has now flipped, with us focusing on sharing all of the amazing things happening beneath the Mason-Dixon Line with the rest of the world! What do you think?
Turns out Lara’s posts struck a chord, because the SW blog took off “like a freight train in Georgia,” as she likes to say. Readers clamored for more, so just a few months later, she stepped out with the bold move of publishing a print magazine. Lara is the first to admit she really had no idea what she was doing – and, in fact, laid out the whole thing in Microsoft Publisher (yikes!) – but even so, the first issue of Southern Weddings debuted in the fall of 2008 to much acclaim. We’ve sold out completely of V1 (as this first issue came to be known), but you can still see the whole thing in our Digital Trilogy for old time’s sake.
In November 2008 we also launched the second version of the SW blog. Remember this one?
I turned up in July 2009 (along with Katharine!), and just a few months later, in November 2009, V2 released! V2 was the first issue we produced a cover shoot for, along with four photo shoots in Watercolor, Florida. What a learning experience that was, y’all, for all of us!
Over the next few months we added several now-familiar faces, including Marissa (in April 2010), Nicole (in May 2010), and Sierra (in September 2010). With their help, we produced V3, which released in October 2010. We loved our gorgeous Veil & Bow cover, and had so much fun with (and were a bit overwhelmed by) our first and only cover contest! V3 was also the first issue in which we included reader models, a clean cover, bigger photos, and staff commentary sprinkled throughout the issue, now all hallmarks of the Southern Weddings style.
Veil & Bow from our editorial galleries
Oh my! In December 2010, we released the brand new SW blog, the blog you’re visiting today. Our new platform also allowed us to launch our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory, Real Wedding galleries, Editorial galleries, and the Honey List!
2011 was a big year for us. We sadly said goodbye to Katharine in April, then spent the next few months traveling around the South producing beauty for V4, which released in October. We also were inspired by Lara’s spring trip to the Engage conference to dig even deeper into our Southern niche, which has brought so many amazing changes to how we do things! It also sparked some awesome blog features, like Southern Traditions, Southern Stems, and Southern Delicacies. Oh yes, and there was much pinning and staff-meeting throughout, and many, many trips to the post office.
Finally, we welcomed our smallest staff member, Miss Grace, into the fold, and our office has never been the same.
Lastly, we owe all of you lovely people a huge, HUGE thank you. It sounds trite, but none of this would be possible – at ALL – without y’all, so please know that we are grateful for you, our readers, sponsors, and friends, from the very bottom of our hearts. We particularly want to recognize our sponsors and Blue Ribbon Vendors (125 strong, and growing!), all of our past Southern Brides of the Month, and our Southern Bride Bloggers.
Thank yous, also, to anyone who’s ever commented, to any vendor who’s ever submitted work to us, every bride and groom who’s ever asked their photographer to submit their wedding to us, and every bride and groom who’s filled out our real wedding interview. Huge hugs, too, to all of the vendors that have contributed to the photo shoots featured in our past four issues. Oh goodness, we could go on and on and on!
We feel so lucky to do what we do, to be a part of your journeys to the altar, and to hopefully inspire you and encourage you along the way. We work hard to be better and better every day, and we do it for you: to make your wedding planning adventures easier, happier, full of all the goodness the South has to offer, more fun, more beautiful, and more clearly focused on what matters. Your comments, emails, tweets, posts, and smiling wedding photos are the best reward we could ask for.
So here’s to you, and here’s to four years of wedding magic, and here’s to many more years to come!!