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Monthly Archives: September 2014

Those who know my husband and me know that personal finance is kind of our thing. We maintain a ridiculous (to anyone but us) budget spreadsheet, like to talk really energetically about our savings goals, and will try to convince anyone who will listen to open an IRA. So when Jessica wrote in with the story of how she and her husband Jeremy came to own a beach house in addition to their full-time home at the ripe old age of twenty-something, my ears perked up. And when I saw the colorful and preppy home they’ve created, I knew they’d be perfect for a Southern Newlywed feature. Friends, please enjoy meeting the Hortons!

Names: Jessica and Jeremy Horton
Years married: Almost five
Where you live: We live in Davidson, North Carolina, but our vacation home is in Carolina Beach, North Carolina.
Tell us your love story in one sentence. We met in high school, dated, broke up, got back together, and then were married nine years later!
What is your favorite part of being married? Having someone on your side all the time. “This is a ‘we’ thing” is our motto – it’s engraved on our wedding rings.

Do you rent or own? We own. We hope to move into something larger with more privacy and space than our current home offers soon. We would love to eventually have more rental properties to help assist our income.
Tell us about the process of moving in together. I bought our house in Davidson just before we got engaged. Jeremy’s lease was up on his apartment a few weeks before I closed, so it made sense (and cents!) for us to split a $600 mortgage instead of him having an $800+ rent payment (thankfully, we also felt ready for this in our relationship). My best advice is to work on your home together. As frustrating as it is to go to Lowe’s with him, or fabric shopping for curtains with me, we each get a say in nearly everything that goes into the house. In regard to our beach house, we designed it with an architect and then worked with a builder to tweak it the way we wanted it. There were many occasions when I wanted something very specific, and then had to hunt through Pinterest or magazines to show Jeremy what I meant. Once he saw it, he understood how it could work and trusted me. Make sure you each have some give and take. I couldn’t care less about a giant flat screen or surround sound, but he does. He couldn’t care less about pinch-pleat curtains and coordinating pillows, but he knows I do.

Which items from your wedding registry do you use the most often? Plates! We got really nice white places from Crate and Barrel and we use them every day.
What different decisions, if any, would you make for your registry if you knew then what you knew now? Register for more serving bowls and platters! We got one of each and it’s nowhere near enough. I wish we had three of each.
Who cooks dinner? We both do, but I cook often just because I get home first.
What is your go-to weeknight meal? Weekend meal? We eat a lot of tacos–beef, chicken, fish… we love them all! We also love to cook breakfast on the weekends. Our favorite is Neese’s Sage Sausage with some cheesy eggs and a great cup of coffee!
What’s your favorite place to find recipes? My best friend put together a book of recipes as a wedding gift. A lot of my late mother’s friends and our family contributed recipes that they were famous for. It’s so great to have them all in one spot!

Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? Our splurges were the carerra marble counter in the kitchen and the master bath. Another was upgraded insulation–we routinely have a power bill of well under $100 a month (for a 2300+ square foot house!). Spending the extra on the insulation is paying for itself each month in savings. We saved on all of our lighting. We were given a $3000 lighting budget in our contract, which sounds like a ton, but when that number needed to include can lights and under-house lights, it went fast. When we picked out everything from the lighting guy, we realized we had gone over budget by over $1000, and I didn’t even like anything. I wasn’t about to drop a grand on lighting I hated, so we cancelled all of it except the can lights, closet lights and under-the-house lights. Spending more out of pocket for lighting left me limited on my budget, but I found vanity lights for $50 that I could live with at Lowe’s (as opposed to $300 from the light guy) and a few special ones from other places like Urban Outfitters and Shades of Light. Spending a few hundred out of pocket freed up about $900 from lighting that we could use to upgrade the tile in the master bath.

What most makes your house feel like home? Nothing’s too nice. Our “rustic” (a.k.a. beat-up) coffee table is a $25 dining table from the Habitat ReStore that Jeremy cut down. No one cares if your glass sweats on it, or if your sandy feet kick up on it.
How do you remember your wedding in your home? We have our wedding album in our living room. I had our table runners at the reception monogrammed, and afterwards, I cut the monograms out and had them framed (one is in our bathroom and one in our living room). The candlesticks that were on the fireplace mantle in our reception are now on the TV cabinet.
What is your favorite memory from your wedding? Walking back down the aisle and into the hotel (Cheshire Hall) lobby and realizing that we had really done it! We were married!

Which room in your home is your favorite, and why? I probably love our loft the most, or maybe our master bath–it’s so hard to choose! I love the loft because of the built-in beds we installed in there. It’s very customized and cozy. I worked really hard to find all the linens on the beds in there, and we customized the sectional sofa to fit the space and be extra comfortable. This room has a lot of needs (a TV stand and sofa table!), but it’s a great space that both adults and kids love. I love our master bath because it feels a little spa-like. The vanity is one of my most proud accomplishments in the entire house–we hunted out a sideboard buffet to fit the spot and had it converted to house two sinks. We had a beautiful custom top made and found the wall-mount faucets online. We did it all for about $800. Above our clawfoot tub is a small TV–it’s a wonderful spot to hang out with a glass of wine and watch HGTV.
Do you have children? We have been trying since May 2013, and after no success, I went to the doctor only to be diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Just after I was diagnosed, we found out I was pregnant and possibly miscarrying on the same day (which I did). We hope to have several running around someday, biological or adopted.

What’s your best tip for balancing your relationship and other life priorities? I think we have a mutual understanding that work has its place, but when we are home together, we do what we can together. A big one for me as a business owner is to shut everything off by 7 P.M. After a demanding client a few years ago, I realized I don’t need to be accessible at all times, so I put my work and phone hours in my email signature. Now I don’t feel guilty for not returning emails or calls after dinner, and my clients don’t expect me to. Another biggie is that I don’t take weddings on holiday weekends. Having a normal “day job” means that those are my three-day weekends too, and I want to spend them at the beach! As far as extended family, we’re lucky that our parents live about 20 minutes apart, so we never have to split holidays!

How does your family handle finances? We have two checking accounts (one everyday and one for our beach house) and one savings account. I get paid once a month and I pay all the beach house bills as soon as I get paid. The remaining either goes toward a credit card payment or goes into beach house checking. Jeremy gets paid every two weeks, and his check pays our Davidson mortgage and all bills associated with that house, as well as groceries, gas, and daily spending. We do set a budget, but we are not always the best at sticking to it. Lunches out and gas for travel (I travel for work a lot) tends to eat up quite a bit. A shared Google calendar has made life so much easier. Jeremy put all our bills and their amounts on the calendar and then I go in and look at it every pay day to see what’s coming out of that check and how much is left for groceries, gas, and “extras.”
What is one small way you love or serve your spouse? Jeremy gets up before me for work, so a lot of times, he makes my lunch and starts my car when it’s cold out! Sometimes, when we are having marathon laundry day, I’ll set the ironing board up and iron everything of his. I also love to bake and try new recipes for him.

What has been the most surprising thing about marriage? How naturally it has come. Marriage has definitely been work, but in the best possible way. Our preacher told us at our counseling session that “life is a series of adjustments; it’s how you handle them that will make or break you.” Those words are so true, and we remind ourselves of them often!
Is there anything else about your home or family life that you think our readers would be interested in? You don’t need to be wealthy to own a vacation home. Three months after getting married, Jeremy was laid off from his job. We had a nice savings, so that helped us pay cash for the beach house lot we bought in 2010. We kept our spending to a minimum and worked really hard to save money (which was easier after Jeremy’s 14-month layoff ended!).

We’re so grateful to Jeremy and Jessica for sharing their hearts and home with us! Be sure to follow along with them:
JJ Horton Photography
JJ Horton Facebook
Jessica’s Twitter

P.S. We’d love to hear from you! Our hope is to feature REAL couples in the South – your inspiring friend, super talented cousin, or neighbor with the cutest house – the kind of person everyone would love to “e-meet.” If that sounds like you or someone you know, take a peek at our Southern Newlywed submission page and shoot us an email!

emily Written with love by Emily
6 Comments
  1. avatar Kristin reply

    Ok. So I want to move into J+J’s beach house. It beams with love and light and it is at the beach – my happy place! (I am pretty sure that NAY needs that orange monogrammed shower curtain!!)

    And of course, I love the reiteration of the advice from their pastor – “life is a series of adjustments; it’s how you handle them that will make or break you.”! Amen. I believe that marriage is about showing up every day, so I especially love this perspective about how important it is to expect life to be unexpected. Thanks for sharing your home and your hearts, Jessica + Jeremy!

  2. avatar Abby reply

    I love these post and look forward to them every Friday!! Love getting a peek into the newlywed life that I’ll be entering in 5 months! :)

  3. avatar Lisa reply

    Their style is so classic, but so fun at the same time–I love it!

  4. avatar Jessica Horton reply

    Thank you guys so much for featuring our home!!! We’ve had so much positive feedback on the feature :-) I cannot wait to share more of how we met this goal (financially) on our blog next week!

  5. avatar Stacy {Woodsy Weddings} reply

    Their house is comfortably elegant. I love the beds with navy blankets lining the walls and the large glass globes in their kitchen!

  6. avatar Vickie Hoffmann reply

    Congratulations! What a lovely home. I saw your yellow bar stools on Google images and I love them! Wher did you find them? Thanks

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We hear time and time again from brides that having all their loved ones in one place was the most special part of their wedding days. After watching Mary and John’s wedding film by Light Cannon Films, I can only imagine that this is one of their sweetest memories as well–the love that surrounds this couple radiates off the screen! From the joyful ceremony, to the most touching speeches, to the tearjerking first look Mary did with her dad, it’s clear that Mary and John’s love has created a truly beautiful community around them.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story! John and I met have pretty much known each other our entire lives. We went to the same schools from middle school through college. Since John is two years older than I am, we never interacted more than the occasional wave and hello. Two years ago, I started attending the church where John is a youth pastor in Wilmington, North Carolina. Three weeks after deciding to call his church my church, I saw him at a worship night and heard a whisper in my heart saying he was my future husband. I laughed it off and thought I was crazy until two days later, when he came up to me and told me we should get together. I ran away and avoided him for about a month, as he continued to pursue me and talk to me. Then, on Christmas Eve 2012, he came up to me after church and shared his heart as to why he wanted to know me. Something struck my heart like never before, and I couldn’t help but agree to getting coffee with him. The rest is history! We had an incredibly fun and deep dating relationship for ten months and then got engaged on November 15, 2013, which happened to be exactly one year since that night I heard the quiet whisper that he was my husband. We were engaged for seven months and married on June 22, 2014!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? My great aunt has a large collection of beautiful doilies and tablecloths made out of tobacco twine and cotton thread. She made some herself and she has some that have been passed down from her mother. We used them as our centerpiece decor, as well as on our cake table and sweetheart table. We used wooden crates to hold lavender cones for our guests to toss during our exit. Lastly, John’s favorite part was our sweet tea and lemonade station, where guests could enjoy either drink, or of course, the infamous Arnold Palmer. All of these details and more made for a sweet Southern wedding!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The most memorable moment of the day for both of us was seeing one another for the first time. The big wooden doors opened and we got to look down the aisle at the one person we were choosing above all others to be ours forever. What an amazing adventure is has been and will continue to be!

Videographer: Luke Brown of Light Cannon Films / Venue: St. Thomas Preservation Hall / Photographer: Mackenzie Kern Photography / Caterer: Angie’s of Chris’s Restaurant / DJ: Nate McCorkle of Done Deal Entertainment / Florist: Olivia Prevatt and Sarah Coe / Hair and Makeup: Hannah Lynn and Natalie Morfin of Beauty Bar Boutique / Lighting: High Performance Lighting Company / Rentals: L&L Rentals / Cake: Whole Foods / Day of Coordinator: Erin Padgett of Simply Southern Wedding & Event Design / Bridal Salon: Fountaine Bridals / Bridesmaid Robes: Silkandmore

See more of our wedding films here!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Kathrin reply

    This is just the darn sweetest wedding video i’ve ever seen! So. Much. Happy.

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Gracious alive, I think we hit the Southern wedding jackpot with Jennifer and Justin’s Virginia wedding! I could literally list each and every one of their details as the best part–I know Kristin would agree, considering their wedding is like a smorgasbord of our combined favorite things! While you must scroll down to completely understand, humor my list-making heart and let me share a few: monogrammed Jacks, pineapple centerpieces with magnolias, seersucker LulaKate dresses, hush puppies, and did I mention monograms galore? Yes, these two included so much Southern goodness in their wedding, and they did so with the best frame of mind: making their friends and family feel at home through sweet Southern hospitality and gracious love.

Hugs to Nikki Santerre for sending us this lovely day!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something borrowed was the pair of David Yurman pearl earrings my sweet new sister in-law lent me to wear on the wedding day. My something blue was my shoes, a pair of navy blue monogrammed Jack Rogers. My something old was my late grandmother’s handkerchief, which I carried around my bouquet. My something new kept up with our celebratory koozie theme. I asked all the girls to be bridesmaids with monogrammed koozies embroidered with “Will you be my bridesmaid?” so for my something new, my bridesmaid Heather, who does all my monogramming, surprised me with a matching monogrammed bride koozie. It was such a sweet keepsake and it fit perfectly in the pocket of my dress to save for the reception!

Describe your wedding flowers. The bouquets had pink peonies, which are my absolute favorite flowers, and white and green hydrangeas to go with our pink, green, and navy color scheme. We had the same flowers in half the centerpieces, and the other tables had pineapples with magnolias and Spanish moss on them.

Dear Sweet Tea Monograms, can WE be friends?

I am a huge history buff and loved the idea of having our wedding reception at one of the oldest and most historic plantation homes in Virginia. It was a great way to show our family and friends all the wonderful things the South has to offer. The Cathedral was important to us because the Monsignor that does weddings there also did my First Communion and First Reconciliation, so it was very fitting to have him marry us as well. It is also a historical landmark with beautiful architecture and intricate design.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: It’s tough to narrow it down to just one because we tried to reflect our personalities and who we are as a couple in almost every aspect of the wedding, but we both agree the location and the weather really helped make the day. The Plantation’s view of the James River and the magnolia and weeping willow-lined walkways made quite the picturesque setting. We could not have asked for better weather–being outdoors in the summer in the South is always a gamble, but we lucked out with sunshine and low humidity, which made for a beautiful day.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We wanted our family and friends to experience a taste of Southern hospitality at our wedding. We served some of our favorite Southern foods including mac and cheese, chicken biscuits, Old Bay shrimp, and my personal favorite, hush puppies. We incorporated the Southern symbol of hospitality, the pineapple, along with magnolias in many of our decorations and details. Every Southern girl loves her monograms, and one of my bridesmaids has a monogramming company, so we put monograms on everything from our favors (koozies, of course), to our cups, to our corn hole boards. We utilized several Southern companies for our wedding party attire and our Firefly and lemonade signature cocktail. Plus, we rocked the dance floor with some of our favorite country and Southern rock songs.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in the summer of 2003. I was finishing up my freshman year of high school and got my first job working as a lifeguard at my neighborhood pool. Justin was finishing up his junior year at a neighboring high school, and was a veteran lifeguard who was assigned to the same pool. After a couple of dates, one of which included dinner at Arby’s and a movie, we have been together ever since! We dated all through college while we were both at James Madison University, stayed together when Justin went to grad school in Florida, then both ended up getting jobs back in Richmond, Virginia.
Tell us all about the proposal! Two of my best friends (and bridesmaids) live around Charleston. We love Charleston, so we could not wait to visit them. While we were down there for a long weekend, we planned a beach day on Sullivan’s Island. We were laying out on the beach looking out at Ft. Sumter and the Charleston skyline when my friends said they had to go back to the car real quick. Justin then asked me if I needed another drink from the cooler. When I turned around, he was on one knee with a koozie embroidered with “Will you marry me?” and my new married monogram on it. He had stuck the ring box in the koozie! Our friends were hiding getting pictures of it all. It was the perfect proposal for me because he made sure to incorporate all of my favorite things: monograms, koozies, the beach, my favorite Southern city, and even some Civil War history!
When did y’all get married? June 28, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I went dress shopping with my mom, my future mother-in-law, and my future sister-in-law in Richmond. A few friends had recommended their bridal consultant from Bella Rosa, so I made an appointment with her. She was so helpful in working with what I knew I didn’t want, and helped me realize what I did want. We ended up narrowing it down to three dresses and I was so indecisive. However, I knew I had found the one when I tried it on and someone in my group mentioned it reminded them of something from “Gone with the Wind.” Extra bonus: it had pockets!
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did not do a first look. We are pretty traditional when it came to wedding details and I always knew I wanted the first time Justin saw me on our wedding day to be when my father walked me down the aisle. I love a good surprise!
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows. Again, in keeping with tradition, we thought there was something special about using the same wedding vows that have been used for generations!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? One of the biggest challenges of planning a wedding is staying focused and within budget. In this age of technology, there are so many distractions; with all of those ideas, it is easy to get wrapped up in all the little details and stress about having a “perfect” wedding. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you are married to the person you want to spend the rest of your life with.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Our advice to couples currently planning a wedding is to TRY to relax and enjoy it. It all goes by so quickly, and the next thing you know, you’ll be back at work after the honeymoon wishing you could re-live it all again!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are looking forward to settling into married life in the Richmond area and enjoying the rest of the summer with our dog, Stonewall. We recently built a house and can’t wait to finish decorating it.

Photographer: Nikki Santerre / Ceremony Venue: Cathedral of the Sacred Heart / Reception Venue: Berkeley Plantation / Florist: Petals & Twigs / Cake Baker: Candy Valley Cake Company / Caterer: David Watson / Rentals and Lighting: Party Perfect Event & Party Rentals / DJ: Greg Haynes / Paper Products: Collins Printing / Bridal Salon: Bella Rosa / Hair and Makeup: Bombshell Salon / Bride’s Shoes: Jack Rogers / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Zoe” by LulaKate / Bridesmaid Dress Salon: Bella Bridesmaid Richmond / Men’s Attire: Southern Proper / Men’s Attire Store: Natty Beau Richmond / Monogramming: Sweet Tea Monograms / Bridesmaids’ Earrings: Kate Spade

marissa Written with love by Marissa
11 Comments
  1. avatar Loverly reply

    Swooning over those seersucker bridesmaids dresses!

  2. avatar Nikki Santerre reply

    Thank you so much for featuring Jen & Justin’s wedding day! xoxo!

  3. avatar Heather reply

    Loved seeing this gorgeous wedding featured on the blog today! As one of Jennifer’s bridesmaids and good friends, this was such a special day for all of us! And YES let’s be friends! :) xo Heather from Sweet Tea Monograms

  4. avatar Caught My Eye, Volume 25 reply

    […] and I are in full-on wedding planning mode.  I’m loving the bridesmaids dresses in this Pineapple and Seersucker wedding.  What do you think, […]

  5. avatar AC reply

    I LOVE Jennifer’s dress!! Is there any way you could share the name of the designer or collection?

    • avatar Marissa reply

      Hi AC! Of course, we tracked down the dress info for you. It’s “Diana” Dress by Kathy Ireland Weddings in ivory, but Jennifer did have a few custom alterations made. Best of luck! xx

  6. avatar Southern Weddings Weekly Round-Up – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] Madison and Brady fell in love with their charming farm venue from the first photo they saw of it. Jennifer and Justin filled their wedding with meaningful details that are oh so Southern. We couldn’t stop […]

  7. avatar Stacy {Woodsy Weddings} reply

    The church is stunning and the monogram details on everything are an adorable idea! It really makes the pieces special for that day.

  8. avatar Mer reply

    In love with the pineapple centerpieces – such a brilliant idea. And Stonewall is just a perfect name for a dog!! :)

  9. avatar Pineapple Dreaming | Ses & Jen Stylefiles reply

    […] centrepiece, simple scoop out the flesh, fill with oasis and style your arrangement. Click here for more […]

  10. avatar KMD reply

    Hi! Love love love the Virginia monogram koozies! Any chance y’all know where the couple got them? Thanks!

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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