As the Southern Weddings team has grown (from three ladies in 2009 to seven ladies in 2014!), we’ve realized the importance of carving out intentional time to be and think and dream together. Our team is small but mighty, and when we’re all on the same wavelength we are better for each other and, most importantly, better for y’all. So this year, we extended Marissa and Kristin’s “team photo visit” by a few days and spent the time dreaming, strategizing, and, yes, having a whole heap of fun together at Fearrington Village.
Lara did a masterful job packing our three days together full of eye-opening sessions, insightful discussion, and straight-up fun. A few of the highlights:
Before the retreat, we were each asked to choose an “item of note” to share, and then we discussed them to open one of our sessions. To give you a few examples, Lisa chose a UT commencement address, I chose this TED talk, and Lara chose this podcast by Andy Stanley. This was a great way to get everyone engaged even before we got started.
We got to room together! We intentionally paired up with someone besides our usual partner in crime (usual partners in crime = Marissa + Kristin, Lisa + Emily, and Morgan + Nicole). Instead, Kristin and I roomed together, Lisa and Nicole were together, and Lara and Morgan were together. (We gave Marissa and Emerson their own room!) This was an invaluable way to carry the conversation out of the boardroom and ensure some deep bonding.
One of our first sessions was about thinking big. What would make Southern Weddings a successful company in each of our eyes in five years? 25 years? Why would we each continue to work here over the long term?
We interspersed huge questions like those with more practical sessions, like swapping tips on great phone, email, and conversational skills; how to efficiently handle email; tips for better instagram photos; and how best to approach a subjective disagreement (something that happens often, and that you must be comfortable with, when working in an office of seven opinionated and design-minded individuals!).
Invigorating business and mission sessions were broken up by pure fun, including Irish dancing lessons from yours truly, tea time, conversation starters, and a bouquet competition! It was so fun to see y’all guess whose bouquet was whose on instagram. Can you guess below?
For our final session, we split up into groups of two or three (Emily + Lara, Nicole + Lisa, and Marissa, Krisin, and Morgan) and had a deep + brief brainstorm about the three ideas sparked during the retreat that we felt MOST needed to be implemented. Let me just say, the excitement was high in the room when we came back together to present to each other!
In fact, I think we’re still riding a bit of a high from the experience – but one that’s cooled into a ferocious desire to do what we do better, smarter, and with even greater love. We can’t WAIT to share what’s coming down the pipeline with y’all over the next few weeks and months, starting with Volume 7 of the magazine!!! (In case you haven’t done so yet, be sure to place your pre-order today!) And as always, we are so grateful to y’all for encouraging us, believing in us, and being excited right alongside us. Big SW hugs all around!
P.S. Our amazing stay at Fearrington deserves its own post – more details and photos coming soon!