If you’re not familiar with Stephanie Wilson, I have to warn you–don’t click over to her blog until you’re home from work, because it is a little bit addicting! Stephanie is the author of the newly released The Lipstick Gospel and blogger at Stephanie May Wilson, where she shares encouragement, stories, and advice. She radiates with joy and friendliness, and we were so happy when she and her husband, Carl, agreed to share their five favorite date ideas with us! My favorite thing about her ideas is that they’re so, so doable–they’re all inexpensive, fun, easy, and all around great ways to spend quality time together. We hope they inspire you to make some weekend plans with your beau!
Thanks so much to Kailey of Kaileyography for capturing Stephanie and Carl’s date in Nashville’s 12South neighborhood!
By day: Stephanie and Carl live in Nashville, where Stephanie is a full-time writer and Carl owns a branding and marketing company called Anthem Workshop.
How they met: About a year apart, Carl and I both decided to leave home and everything familiar behind to go on an 11-month mission trip to 11 countries around the world. When Carl got back, he moved to Georgia to work at the parent organization that puts on the trip. When I got back to the states a year later, I moved to Georgia to work there too. It took us about a month to start dating, but once we did, we quickly knew we’d met someone special.
Their wedding: It was at an old hotel in Marietta, Georgia–big and white and perfectly Southern, with a garden on the property. Our wedding was on July 5, and so we had our friends and family come in a few days before and celebrate the holiday weekend with us. Our rehearsal dinner was a big party that ended with an incredible fireworks display! It felt like the whole country was celebrating with us. Our wedding was outdoors in the garden, and it was a cool day (for Georgia in July). The reception felt like one big toast of champagne–bubbly and perfectly candlelit, under a canopy of twinkle lights, with a life band performing late into the night. It couldn’t have been better.
Stephanie and Carl’s top five favorite date ideas:
1. Being a tourist in your own city: We’ve noticed that locals rarely do the things a town is known for, so we started becoming a tourist in our own town. We look online for the top five things everyone should do when visiting, and we do those things! There are often really great walking tours, historical sites we never knew were there, and restaurants that we never knew about!
2. Fast, casual, and romantic: This may not be true for all newlyweds, but many newly married couples don’t have a lot of cash for expensive, elaborate dates. This can be daunting, and it has been for us. How do we make sure to go on dates when we’re trying to stick to a strict budget? Then we realized that the restaurant isn’t what makes dates special. It’s the time together, the uninterrupted conversation, the chance to sit at a table across from each other, enjoying a meal together. Now, our most frequent dates are to Chipotle, Noodles & Co., or even Chick Fil A. It may not sound romantic, but it really is. Carl holds my door for me, we’re extra sweet to each other, and we make it a date because we say it is! It doesn’t matter what kind of food you’re gathering over, as long as you’re spending that time together.
3. Man night: Carl is a big football fan, as am I, and something we’ve started doing together is what I affectionately call “man nights.” We go to a sports bar, drink beer together, and eat bar food while watching a game. It’s one of my favorite things to do together, because not only does Carl enjoy it, I do too. It’s such a fun, casual way to play and unwind together, and it’s a great excuse to eat really fantastic, greasy food.
4. Cooking together: I have to admit, Carl is a much better cook than I am. I’m not good in the kitchen, but I’m learning, so cooking has become one of our favorite things to do together. We decide what kind of food we want and then we make it together, with Carl teaching me tricks, tips, and the origins of the food or techniques we’re cooking with as we go. It’s an even better date with some great music in the background and a glass of wine to keep things festive.
5. As lazy as can be: My favorite thing about marriage is that you get to do together what you used to do alone. For most of us, our idea of true relaxation is curling up on the couch in our comfiest pair of sweats, ordering takeout, and indulging in a Netflix marathon. It’s not glamorous, but it’s decadent, especially after a long week. That is mine and Carl’s most frequent date, and the one we enjoy the most these days. The beauty of marriage is that you get to curl up together at the end of a long week, and that in your most unguarded, unfiltered moments, you get to be together. That’s the best date of all.
A little reminder: we’d love to hear from you! Our hope is to feature REAL couples in the South – not just folks who write blogs (though we love them, too!), but also 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!