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Monthly Archives: February 2016

I’m sure I’m not the only one who loved getting to know Catherine and Will Marks through their wedding feature a few months ago–these two are such a sweet, fun couple! I could hardly say “yes” quickly enough when Catherine emailed me about featuring their home on Southern Newlywed. True to their personalities, their bright, colorful apartment outside of Washington, D.C. is equal parts cozy and designed for hospitality (hello, fabulous bar cart and super stylish guest room!). I’m sure so many of you can relate to being in the apartment rental stage of life, and I hope Catherine and Will serve as a big dose of inspiration to fill your home with things that make you happy, no matter how long you’ll be living there.

Thank you so much to Abby Grace Photography for these lovely photos!

The couple: Catherine Marks (28) and Will (29) Marks
Years married: 1
Where they live: Arlington, VA
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. We are Christians, lawyers, dog lovers, and best friends. Will grew up racing go-carts in North Carolina, and I’m a farmer’s daughter from Southeast Missouri. He went to Georgetown, fell in love with DC, and taught music with Teach for America for two years in rural Arkansas. I went to Wash U in St. Louis, had a post-grad fall adventure in Paris, and worked in theater for two years in New York. Our stories collided in law school in Nashville, and the rest is history! We think DC really satisfies our mutual love for both cities and authentic, unhurried community.

Tell us your love story in one sentence. We met at a New Year’s Eve party in law school, went on our first date the next night, were engaged at sunrise overlooking Nashville a little over a year later, got married in the snow, and have been loving life together ever since.
What is your favorite part of being married? We love being a team in every area of our lives. It’s so fun always having your best friend there to share the ups and downs, the chores and budget, the fun adventures out and the movie nights at home, the big decisions and the small celebrations. All of the stresses of life are easier now that we’re together.
What has been the most surprising thing about marriage? I think it was surprising that we thought we knew each other so well when we got engaged, but looking back on our wedding day, we couldn’t believe how much closer we were. Now that we’ve been married a year, we are shocked again at how much richer and deeper our relationship is than it was when we got married. It makes us excited for the future!

Do you rent or own? What are your hopes and plans for the future in this area? Tell us a little bit about where you live. We rent our little apartment in the city, and we absolutely love it for this phase of our lives. Instead of feeling like it wasn’t worth going through the trouble to make our place our own since it’s a rental, I decided to just make it ours all at once! I was a woman on a nesting mission when we moved in. (Will didn’t believe me when I told him he was done with décor honey-dos, but I think time has convinced him.) We love all of the windows and light in our place, and our little balcony where we can have dinner or a glass of wine under our twinkle lights, just like we had at our wedding reception. We live in a sweet, quiet neighborhood between two busier Arlington areas. We have a park for our dog to play with her friends in across the street and a Starbucks in our building! Of course, we would like to buy a house someday soon, but for now, what more could we need?
Tell us about the process of moving in together. Do you have any tips for blending your two styles? How much time do you have? We had a somewhat complicated marriage and moving process. I was still in Nashville finishing law school, and Will was clerking for a judge in Columbus, Ohio. We got married over my spring break and were still long distance until my graduation. When I moved out of my place, I put all my things in a Nashville storage unit and took the bare minimum to Ohio for the summer, stopping to be a bridesmaid in a wedding along the way! When it came time to move to Arlington three months later, we loaded up the biggest U-Haul we could get in Columbus and went on an epic, four-day quest to gather our belongings. The first stop was my parents’ house in Missouri, where all the wedding gifts had been living, then to Nashville for my furniture, then on to ride off into the DC sunset at 50 mph, towing our car. When it comes to blending our two styles, I’m fortunate that Will seems to really like the things I pick out, because most of the “blending” on his side was that he had some great frying pans and kitchen knives!

Which room in your home is your favorite, and why? Well, most of our apartment is one room, so that makes this a pretty easy answer! Honestly, we love having our kitchen, dining, and living room all open, while still having distinct areas for each, though. We love the dining room because having friends over for dinner is one of our absolute favorite things to do, but we were thrilled with how our navy bedroom walls make it so cozy in there at night too.
Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? What are some of your favorite sources for home things? We splurged on items that we thought would work well in any house and be with us for a long time, like our buffet. For things that we know just need to work for this small space, Ikea was our friend! I also love One Kings Lane. But most of our things are wedding gifts from our generous friends and family.

Which items from your wedding registry do you use the most often? Our Vitamix! We make smoothies most mornings, but have also made everything in there from cauliflower rice to soup to hummus. I also love all the Beatriz Ball pieces I got and use them for everything I can.
Who cooks dinner? We both do! Will is a great cook, especially when it comes to whipping something delicious up with what we already have, while I’m a recipe-follower. We like to take turns cooking and cleaning up.
What is your go-to weeknight meal? Weekend meal? We eat fajitas all the time! I could never get tired of Mexican food, so we usually have everything we need to make them in the fridge already. On Sunday mornings, I usually convince Will to make me chocolate chip pancakes with lots of powdered sugar.
What’s your favorite place to find recipes? Lately, we’ve been doing the Fresh 20, which really does all the meal planning for us, and it has made life so much easier. But my mom also put together all her favorite recipes that I grew up with in a big binder for us, so we turn to that a lot! If I know what I want to make but just need a recipe, I usually just google it and see what looks yummiest and easiest.

What’s your best tip for balancing your relationship and other life priorities (work, personal time, extended family, etc.)? We try to come home around the same time every day to make dinner together when we don’t have our small group or something else going on. That helps create boundaries on work hours, even if we have to finish up work after dinner. We also make lots of plans with friends and try to get away for a day or weekend as often as possible, because having things on the schedule holds us accountable for having fun! We love that we can be at wineries in Charlottesville, mountains in West Virginia, ski slopes in Pennsylvania, beaches in Maryland, or the theater in New York all in a couple of hours.
Do you have a favorite date night idea to share? We just like to pick a neighborhood and then scour the internet to find out what the fun things to do around there are! We are definitely still exploring and getting to know our area.

What most makes your house feel like home? Just being there together every night! I’m also a huge believer in lots of photos. I get that from my mom. We have a gallery wall of some of our favorite memories from our relationship so far that we think kind of tells our love story, and we look forward to adding to it!
What is your favorite memory from your wedding? Walking back up the aisle and out of the church as husband and wife!
How do you remember your wedding in your home? So many ways! My mom had our whole invitation suite framed together, and it hangs over our bar cart. We also have glitter “M”s from the bars at our reception sprinkled around, our toasting flutes from our cake table, our guest book, the sketch Heidi Elnora made of my dress, and, of course, tons of photos.

What is one small way you love or serve your spouse? We both appreciate acts of service around the house when one of us is stressed, tired, or not feeling well. We both just take up the slack during those times with cooking, cleaning, laundry, Pippa duty, etc. We also just try to make time to focus on one another without phones or distractions to talk about our days each night. We also try to have a “meeting” on Sunday evenings about what’s coming up the next week, how we can pray for each other, how we can help each other, and how we felt loved the past week.
Do you have children? What are your hopes and plans for the future in this area? We don’t yet, but hope to someday, Lord willing!
Before getting married, I wish someone had told me… that my husband and I would find each other in God’s timing and that it would all work out. Actually, a lot of people told me that, and I didn’t listen, but it’s true!
This year, our family is most excited about… settling in to life in DC and growing our friendships here so it feels more and more like home.

Catherine and Will, thank you so much for sharing your hearts and home with us! Follow along with them on Catherine’s blog and Instagram.

P.S. Just as a reminder: we’d love to hear from you, too! If you’re interested, take a peek at our Southern Newlywed submission page and shoot us an email!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Sarah Chancey reply

    Absolutely loving the cobalt blue and pips of metal!

  2. avatar Dana reply

    this apartment is like a dream for me!

  3. avatar Our First Anniversary – Classic Catherine reply

    […] When Southern Weddings asked me what the most surprising thing about marriage was, I didn’t know what to say. I think it’s hard to remember what I thought marriage would be like before, but if I’m being honest, not much has surprised me. We’ve grown SO much closer, and we love being a team in every aspect of our lives. If something is stressful for Will, it’s stressful for me. If something makes him happy (that I wouldn’t normally care about), gosh darn it I’m happy too. That’s not surprising, but it’s really fun. […]

  4. avatar 2016 in Review (Part I) – Classic Catherine reply

    […] February we shot our little photo shoot for Southern Newlywed right around the time of our […]

  5. avatar Five on Friday – Attention to Darling reply

    […] Will and Catherine’s completely adorable apartment (+completely adorable doodle Pippa) are featured over on Southern Weddings today.  Catherine is also launching a blog which you can get a peek at here. Fun fact, we […]

  6. avatar Will & Catherine | DC Anniversary Session | Modern International Wedding Photographer reply

    […] after the ladies of Southern Weddings reached out to me to photograph these two for SW’s Southern Newlywed At Home series! And after just a couple of minute with the pair, they put me completely at ease. […]

  7. avatar Friday Favorites No. 27: Rose's Luxury – Classic Catherine reply

    […] two were “discovered” from their Southern Newlywed interview on the same column that we were on! Erin and Ben remodel older homes similarly to Fixer Upper, but they have a totally unique style […]

  8. avatar Big News, Big Praise, and Big Gratitude: I've Joined the Southern Weddings and Cultivate What Matters Team! – Classic Catherine reply

    […] In the spring of 2016 I attended the incredible Making Things Happen conference, and I don’t throw this phrase around a lot, but it changed my life. Lara finally gave me a way to harness all those competing priorities and passions, focus them, and start channeling my time toward them in a much less overwhelming way. (Come join us in March!) I started using the primary weapon for doing this in real life, Powersheets, and I felt so much more assured that I was spending my life working toward the things I will care about when I’m 80.* Around this time I also decorated our newlywed apartment feverishly in the hope of being featured on the Southern Newlywed column, and yes, that dream also came true. […]

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We’re just tickled to get to introduce y’all to a new set of Blue Ribbon Vendors, because we know any one of them would be a joy to you if you choose to work together! We’re using a few of our favorite BRV interview questions to help you get to know these lovely ladies and gents. Click through to their listings to find out more about them!!

Name: A.J. Dunlap Photography
Category: Photography
Where you call home: Raleigh, North Carolina
Favorite part of a wedding day? The moment just after a couple is pronounced husband and wife. It never fails, every single couple gives the biggest smiles and joy radiates from them!

Name: Kelly Parker Smith of Hello World Paper Co.
Category: Invitations & Paper Goods
Where you call home: Belleville, Illinois
Favorite part of a wedding day? The cake! White on white cakes with simple details are my absolute favorite!

Name: Jesilyn Kay Calligraphy
Category: Calligraphy
Where you call home: Austin, Texas
How I got into weddings: I have always been drawn to creating beauty in whatever craft or project I decided to take on. The wedding industry is ultimately about creating beauty and joy that will be cherished in memories forever, so it was a natural fit to find myself working here. I am blessed to work with clients every day who want beautiful details to add to their big day, and it’s an honor to be able to provide that for them. I truly love it!

Name: LC Custom Vacations
Category: Honeymoon Travel
Where you call home: Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia
Favorite thing about weddings in the South? The hospitality! I love weddings where everyone is treated like family. It is really special to see two families become one.

Name: LULA Hair & Makeup
Category: Beauty
Where you call home: Raleigh, North Carolina
Best piece of advice you can give to brides and grooms? Laugh as much as possible.

Name: LulaKate
Category: Fashion
Where you call home: Charleston, South Carolina
How I got into weddings: My best friend’s sister got married early on in my career and was asked to do the bridesmaid dresses. After saying no a number of times, I was finally convinced and the rest is history! My first wedding took place in a barn in the mountains of NC. The dresses were a beautiful persimmon orange. It was a great way to get my start in the bridesmaid world!

Names: Rebecca Rose Creative
Category: Invitations and Paper Goods
Where you call home: Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Favorite part of a wedding day? The moment the doors open and the bride walks down the aisle is always so special. We dare you to say you’ve never shed a tear at that moment!

Name: Southern Season
Category: Venue
Where you call home: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Favorite thing about weddings in the South? All of the thoughtful details that go into the planning. And lots of flowers and lots of dressed up people!

Name: Strasburg Children
Category: Fashion
Where you call home: Nashville, Tennessee
Best piece of advice you can give to brides and grooms? Always forgive. Try not to mess up big, but if you do, remember that we are all just people.

Name: Tracy Enoch Photography
Category: Photography
Where you call home: Dallas, Texas
Favorite part of a wedding day? Bride and groom portraits, when they have a bit of time to themselves and I get the opportunity to document their natural excitement!

Check out all of our favorite vendors in the Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory! I also want to mention that we’re working particularly hard to expand some of our areas of slim pickings–namely Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and West Virginia. If you would like to recommend someone (or nominate yourself!) for any of these states, please email kristin at!

kristin Written with love by Kristin

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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Robin certainly didn’t expect to meet her future husband while on a girls day out with friends, but sure enough, that’s the day Jon came into her life…and a few short months later, she was on a plane across the pond to spend four months in England, so the two could date in the same city! They were engaged in London, and set out to plan their wedding in Robin’s hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina. While such long distance planning required a little bit of creativity and a lot of faith, with the help of our talented Blue Ribbon Vendor Rebecca Rose Events, Robin and Jon’s wedding became the perfect way to introduce their international guests to the South, as well as a deeply meaningful time for them to become husband and wife!

Thank you so much to our Blue Ribbon Vendor Callie Davis of Nancy Ray Photography for sharing this lovely day with us!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. In May 2014, Jon came to Georgia to visit a friend. Left on his own one day, walking around the small town, he meandered into a coffee shop. I was sitting among a group of friends when Jon approached us because he recognized a woman at my table. It turns out they had met two years earlier, albeit for five minutes, in a cafe halfway around the world in Kigali, Kenya. He started chatting with our table and found he had many mutual friends with our group. I hadn’t even looked up from my laptop at this point–truthfully, I couldn’t have been less interested in his British accent. When my friend invited him to go kayaking with us the next day, I was actually a little peeved that he would be interrupting our girls day out! The next day, it rained, so instead of kayaking, we went back to the coffee shop, where Jon and I chatted for almost two hours, and my friend wandered off, leaving us to ourselves. When we finally made it kayaking, my friend bailed, so Jon and I spent four hours out on a still lake, just the two of us, floating and chatting. We bumped into each other a few more times that week, and when he left Georgia, we kept in touch, chatting almost daily. Within a couple of weeks, I knew he was the one for me. Two months later, I flew to the U.K. to visit him for a week. After a few days, he asked me to extend my stay for four weeks. Within the month, we planned to spend Christmas together, and I planned to move to England in January for four months so that we could date in the same city.

Rebecca Rose Events designed our flowers to complement and enhance the overall aesthetic of our wedding day. Right from the start of the planning process, we decided on a wedding that would emphasize a family gathering in an intimate setting, and we selected a color palette of calming blue and olive tones with pops of burgundy and gold. These colors are all inspired by heirloom treasures. Our designer, Becca, created bouquets, centerpieces, and other elements that captured the essence of romance found in nature, with organic texture and plenty of movement. I love peonies, but since those are pretty hard to come by in the month of September, she used beautiful, lush garden roses instead to create a similar look. I also loved the olive branches, thistle, and other interesting textures used in the designs.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We decided to write our own vows. There were two lines in my vows to Jon that I especially love and try to meditate on continuously: “I vow to create peace in our home by trusting God and trusting you as the leader of our family. I vow, regardless of circumstance, every decision I make will be to demonstrate my love and obedience first to the Father, and also to you.”
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? During the ceremony, we washed each other’s feet. Jesus did this with his disciples as a symbol of his devotion to humble himself as a leader and serve his followers. It was the only part of the ceremony when I cried. It was also memorable that Jon couldn’t quite figure out the straps on my shoes, so instead of putting them back on, we finished the ceremony with bare feet.

Since I lived in England during four months of our engagement, I had to do all my venue searching online. We knew we wanted to get married in my home state of North Carolina and that it would need to be close to an international airport. My mom lives in Charlotte and I grew up in Raleigh, so I scoured the Internet for venues in both cities. As a wedding photographer myself, I had seen enough weddings to know my priorities. In my mind, the perfect backdrop would be a classic, Southern home with lots of white and antique fixtures. When I found the Merrimon-Wynne, I thought it was too good to be true! I immediately sent one of my Raleigh-native bridesmaids to inspect the place and confirm that it was indeed as amazing as it looked on the website. Having our wedding in Raleigh meant that all our friends and Jon’s family could experience the Southern culture I was rooted in growing up. Fifty of our guests came in from out-of-state and of the twelve in our bridal party, only two people were from the South! Raleigh was the perfect city to show off our pride in BBQ and hospitality. The Merrimon-Wynne was the most stunning, accommodating, and centrally-located venue we could have asked for.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The vintage setting of the Merrimon-Wynne made for the most Southern atmosphere. Food is the best language of culture, and so we opted for a rehearsal dinner that showcased good North Carolina BBQ, and a wedding caterer who knew how to honor Southern cuisine with his menu. We served braised shrimp and lots of local veggies. We made it a weekend affair–one of my aunts even hosted a traditional Southern “morning after” brunch for the wedding party and family.

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? I knew planning a wedding would overwhelm and overtake our engagement if it was left up to me. The best decision I made for our wedding was to hire Rebecca Rose Events to plan and design the day. They took away so much of the stress. Jon and I had so much more time to focus on planning and preparing for the most important thing: our marriage.

Tell us all about the proposal! For our first Christmas together, one of Jon’s gifts to me was an envelope that read, “Do not open until you get to England.” Mid-January, I would be traveling over to the U.K. to live near him. I’m not very patient with surprises, so I was desperate to know what was in the envelope. I waited the three weeks to open the envelope, and as soon as he picked me up from the airport, I ripped it open. Inside was ANOTHER envelope that read, “Don’t make plans for January 24.” This envelope also read, “Do not open until instructed.” I kept that date clear and waited patiently until I was allowed to open the envelope. A couple days before the date, he let me see what was inside: two tickets to see Les Miserables on West End–my favorite musical! That Saturday, we put on our fancy clothes and drove to London to see the show. It was, of course, incredible. After the show, he took me on a walk along the River Thames. It was getting close to midnight, and Westminster Bridge was still filled with tourists, but once we reached the London Eye, there was no one in sight. As we walked, talking and laughing, I heard the faint music of a busker standing nearby. Before I had a chance to look at the guy playing his guitar (who turned out to be Jon’s best mate), Jon turned me to look out at the river. By the time I recognized that he was playing our song, Jon was down on one knee. I was so frantic, repeating, “Is this happening? I can’t believe this is happening!” Neither Jon nor I quite remember what he actually said, but I said yes a thousand times! We danced and danced by the water under the stars. It was a full minute before I actually looked down at the ring. When I did, I couldn’t believe it. The ring he placed on my finger was the ring I’ve always imagined wearing–my grandpa gave it to my grandmother 68 years ago when he proposed. Later, I found out that my mom snuck the ring to Jon through my suitcase over Christmas!
When did y’all get married? September 13, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 90
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I found my dress two months after Jon proposed, while I was still living in England. I knew I wanted to go dress shopping with only one or two other people because I’m easily swayed by others’ opinions. Jon’s dear friend, Jane, who had by then become my dear friend and bridesmaid, went with me. After just one shop, I knew what I liked: sheath, lace, and a Queen Anne neckline. I looked online and narrowed down my choices to five gowns I knew I wanted to try on. I found a shop that carried all the gowns, and the first one I tried on ended up being the one! It was a surprisingly simple and relaxing process, and we got a day trip to the beautiful Windsor, England out of it.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We chose songs of worship to play throughout our wedding. I walked down the aisle to “Steady Heart” by Steffany Gretzinger, and the wedding party recessed to “Future/Past” by John Mark McMillan. Songs of worship to God are the most important and joyous songs we could include in the celebration of our wedding. We spent such a long time deciding which songs we wanted! The most significant part of the ceremony music was having some of my dear friends perform the songs live and lead us all in worship during the ceremony. For worship, we chose the songs “Never Run Dry” by Housefires, “Your Glory” by All Sons and Daughters, and the classic hymns, “Nothing but the Blood” and “In Christ Alone.” For our first dance, also played live, we chose a song by Brooke Fraser called “Sailboats.” Jon had this song on several mixes in his car when we traveled around England during the first month of our relationship. Every time it plays, I think of him driving while I sit peacefully looking at the beautiful mountains of England’s Lake District.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We had our favorite scriptures written in calligraphy on banners and hung them as decorations throughout the house. We wanted decorations that we would use again after the day. They have become lovely keepsakes. I even used one as a table runner for our Thanksgiving dinner!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Some of the decisions Jon and I argued over seem so silly now. Compromise with each other and don’t stress over the details. You won’t remember them after the day is over! What you will remember is how you loved one another through the engagement process. Take time to focus on what you want your marriage to look like. Spend more time having conversations about your future life than your wedding day plans.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? In mid-July, we will be welcoming our first little one! We are both very excited to be parents and make more memories here in the U.K. while we have time close to Jon’s family.

Photographer: Callie Davis of Nancy Ray Photography | Videographer: Story Spark Films | Planner and Florist: Rebecca Rose Events | Venue: The Merrimon-Wynne House | Cake Baker: Cakes by Chloe | Caterer: Beau Catering | Rentals and Lighting: Party Reflections | Bands: Glenn and Erin Deuel and The Derringers | DJ: Bunn DJ Company | Paper Products: Rebecca Rose Creative | Bride’s Gown: “Aveline” by WTOO | Bride’s Hair Accessories/Veil/Jewelry: BHLDN and Crowning Glory Designs | Hair Stylist: Estee Salon | Bride’s Shoes: Nina | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Annabelle” by Jenny Yoo | Groom’s Attire: Jos A. Bank | Envelope Calligraphy: Calligraphy by Carole | Scripture Banners: Sarah Cason Designs

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Robin and Jon Merrimon-Wynne Film Wedding | Nancy Ray Photography reply

    […] thanks to Southern Weddings for featuring this wedding on their blog today! Click here to see the full […]

  2. avatar The Merrimon Wynne House- Downtown Raleigh reply

    We absolutely loved having this wonderful couple at our venue– Best wishes to Robin and Jon!

  3. avatar 2016 Online Features Part 1 | Nancy Ray Photography reply

    […] and Jon’s Merrimon-Wynne Wedding Featured on Southern Weddings Photographer: Callie […]

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!

Reply to: