The gals and I joked that my Day in the Life post would just be a “Gone Fishin’” sign. While Emily and Lisa are busy as bees from June through August, my busiest time of year starts in August and runs through October. Right now, we’re waist-deep in layout for our next print edition, developing a bunch of exciting shop products, and have some pretty fun partnerships and projects happening at the same time.
Photo by Faith Teasley
8:53am I’m always the first in the office, which I love (it means I get first dibs on fridge space for my lunch bag and get to open the mail!). I go upstairs to our office bungalow and settle into my chair. My to-do list today is titled, “hustle,” which has become our unofficial motto for this time of the year.
8:58am I open up my internet browser and three tabs at once: my inbox, the Southern Weddings blog and the Southern Weddings Shop dashboard. I make sure everything on the blog is displaying correctly and then take a look at how many V7 preorders we’ve gotten overnight. Whew! It’s a lot!
9:00am The rest of the gals trickle into the office and Lisa and Emily are reliably in matching outfits. I get started with my emails. Marissa forwarded over a bunch of gorgeous V7 ads that need approval (done!) and some that need ads made. Like Emily, I also try to work on a one-touch email system, so I always download and copy over materials to a design document as soon as I read the email. Next in my line of emails come wireframe designs for an web project and a long message from one of our shop product manufacturers — our email chains are ridiculously long as we both try to get all of the specs and files perfect and print-ready.
I love my monogrammed chair! When we’re in the thick of layout, I like to make a cup of tea and sink into it with an orange blanket. There’s now a giant iMac on my desk, too, for laying out the magazine. Photos by Faith Teasley.
9:30am I make a list of all the decisions still waiting to be made in my inbox. Many of them require the input of the rest of the gals and I always wait to go over everything at once with them so I don’t keep them from their own tasks. As I wait for their time to free up, I get started with some product designing. A new line of 2015 items and holiday gifts are on our list to complete, so Morgan and I huddle for a few minutes to make sure we’re on the same page and to distribute the tasks.
10:00am Lara’s ready to go through proofs for new products and talk about our schedule for the day. Since so much of the design work is a combination of ideas and collaborations from the two of us, she’s often at my desk going over projects with me. I give her a quick update on all of our projects and then have her look over a mockup of designs that Morgan and I have been working on. I’m particularly nervous about these since they’ll be sent off to a partner we’re really excited to work with. Lara reassures me that we’re moving in the right direction. This is such a big relief for me and is just another reminder of how grateful I am to work with women whose opinions I trust and who are always supportive.
10:30am I get a call from our magazine printer who wants to make sure we place our order with them in time to acquire the paper needed for all tens of thousands of copies. Our circulation has increased this year, but we haven’t received a final order from retailers yet. I send out a slew of emails to make confirm our retailer orders and check in with competing bids.
A big part of my day is spent making new products for the Southern Weddings Shop and the Lara Casey Shop. We just finished a new design of PowerSheets and are working on something special for Southern Weddings that we’re almost ready to announce!
11:00am I see a bunch of DropBox folders and gallery links come into my inbox and they’re all full of gorgeous print images that we haven’t seen yet! I open them right away to give them some time to download. Then, I email the artists and calligraphers we’re working with for this issue. I’ve pulled some examples from our calligrapher’s website that I really love and send them to her to make sure we’re on the same page. We’ve got 17 real weddings in print this year, so I want to make sure she has enough time to hand-letter all of them and that the style matches our taste and direction.
11:15am We design a handful of ads for our print sponsors each year, so I get started on one for a bakery. (It’s not great timing — all of their dessert photos are making me hungry and it’s not even lunch time!) I’m quite familiar with this company, but I always take some time to reacquaint myself with their website and all of their social media accounts. In part, this is to make sure the ad we’re creating for them has the same voice and style as their web outlets, but I’m also looking for photos of their desserts and buffets that really stand out to me and that I think will make a great impression, in addition to the ones they sent over. I usually create three to five different versions of an ad for a sponsor to choose from. It’s always fun and insightful hearing which ones they like best and why!
12:00pm Emily sends over a bunch of V7 text pieces that she and Lisa have been working on. One of them needs a little experimentation with layout, so I quickly put the text on the page and style it to see how much room we have and what the possibilities could be.
A giant inspiration board above my desk helps me focus on things that make me happy when I need a break. Candy and tea are always within reach, too. Photos by Faith Teasley.
1:00pm I trade desks with Lara for the next hour or two so she can pick her favorites among the hundreds of images we just got in. We systematically label them in Adobe Bridge. When I start laying out those features, I can quickly look at and place only the images we think are best for print. Thank goodness for technology!
2:00pm I join Lara back at my desk so we can review the features that I’ve already laid out. I always design features and photographs so they’ll tell a story and show our readers place, context, detail and love story. However, getting Lara’s eye and opinion is so helpful in making the story even clearer, and bouncing ideas off each other always results in a better end-product.
3:30pm With the final layout of most of our features approved, I go back and make sure that all of the images are aligned correctly, that they all have the proper color-mode and that they’re all large enough to print at high quality. I record all of our final image choices and send those in to the respective photographers to see if they want to make any final edits, making sure to point out certain images that are running full page.
3:55pm I go back into our layout for Volume 7 and begin working on the features Lara have just chosen photos for. Some stories are told easily and come together intuitively. Some require a lot of experimentation. After playing around with many variations, I think I might have gotten one of our weddings to read just as elegantly as the images.
Lara and I trade notes on selects for the next issue. We get a ton of flash drives and DVDs of images that come with the prettiest packaging!
5:00pm Usually around 5, we’d all be wrapping up our projects for the day and heading home. Lately, everyone stays late to accommodate the workload. I take a break from layout so I don’t go cross-eyed staring at the same page. I move on and try to separate myself from the project a bit by picking up on product design. I wish I could tell y’all more, but all I can say right now is that we’re working on a really fun new collection for SW and a ton of updated and brand new items for the Lara Casey Shop! I made headway on some projects and also wrap up the first design round on others. I send a PDF of the designs out to the rest of the girls to get their opinions and make sure we’re all happy with it.
5:45pm With some fresher eyes, I take a look at the V7 layout again and make some changes to what I did just an hour before. It’s amazing how much clearer a vision gets once we give yourself a little room to breathe!
6:45pm I check my email again, make a to do list for tomorrow and get any little things off my plate while I’m still in the office.
7:00pm I’m usually the last one out of the office, especially during layout season. I pack up all of my things, turn off my computer, turn off all of the office lights and head downstairs. Sometimes Lara and Grace have an overflow of veggies from the garden to give me, which just makes my evening. I drive home and then usually whip up dinner using one of their home-grown tomatoes or carrots.
Next week, get a peek into a day in the life of our Ad Director, Marissa!