It has been a crazy year, y’all. With three new gals in our ranks (plus three new babies!) and so much changing in our business so quickly, we were all really anxious for our third annual team retreat. With half of our team working remotely, having time together to talk shop, get gussied up for team photos, and play a round of Celebrity in our PJs could not come fast enough.
Someone recently asked us on Instagram how we plan such great team retreats. Kristin and I like to think that when we get together to plan events, our brains mesh together in the perfect chemistry under which magic just explodes everywhere :)
Our team retreat looks like it’s full of photo shoots, cupcakes, activities, and laughs — and it is! But it’s also full of big conversation, hard decisions, and a lot of baring your heart. The magic of our team retreat comes from the women around the table.
We have two priorities when we gather for our team retreat every year: to make big decisions that affect the future of our company together, and to spend time in person so that our team is stronger than any obstacle we might face.
We’re not going to sugarcoat it, y’all — this time is hard work. Sometimes tears are shed, sometimes we disagree, and sometimes we walk away from a conversation with eye-opening revelations and no answers. But these are the conversations that bring us closer and make us better in business. These are the conversations we have in order for us all to feel represented, supported, and unified. We all have a huge stake in the work we do because we believe it in, and there is no traditional hierarchy where executive decisions are made. That means there are nine of us around the table fighting to do the best work possible. To us, that’s where the magic happens.
Since we love these women so much, and since team retreats are hard work, we like to surprise everyone with fun gifts and activities!
Each gal received a monogrammed luggage tag from Dixieland Monogram in the mail with a team retreat invitation and packing list (and a retreat playlist, which I do declare is awesome).
After arriving at the Carolina Inn, everyone received a personalized Kate Spade journal for all of their retreat notes, plus a monogrammed Kate Spade water tumbler. Swoozies supplied both of these sweet items, plus surprised us with retreat snacks!
Then, we broke up our work days with a hand-lettering class with All She Wrote Notes! We are the biggest fans of Maghon’s hand lettering classes, and she is the most hilarious Southern woman you’ll meet. We had a blast learning letter forms from her, and then (in true stylist fashion) taking a bunch of pictures of all of our favorite pieces.
We wrapped up the day with a delicious dinner at the Inn’s restaurant, Crossroads. This is my favorite part of our retreats. With no agenda to stick to, and the sweet tea pouring, we tend to talk the most candidly about our jobs, our brides, and how we want to improve every bit of the experience for y’all. (If you follow swmag on SnapChat, you know this is also the time when we bust out our piano ballads.) Then, it was back to our hotel rooms for game night and more SnapChat shenanigans in our soft new Lake Pajamas :)
On the last day of our retreat, we dug even further into action steps, but not before gifting everyone a Southern pineapple print from Thimblepress and a round of Southern Weddings Office Jeopardy!
We broke up the day with BLT lunches at a favorite local spot called Merritt’s, followed by a cupcake decorating class with Randi of Sugar Euphoria. I wasn’t exactly a natural at cupcake decorating like Kristin and Amber are, but the good part is that you get to eat your mistakes and start over!
Finally, we said goodbye to our remote gals who were flying back home early the next morning, and sent everyone off with SW team tanks! Can y’all believe we’ve never had team tees? Ashley at Miller Monograms combined SW’s two favorite things (seersucker and and monograms) to make these tanks for us. Kristin says she feels like a superhero with the SW emblem on her back!
We’re excited for y’all to see the fruits of our time together — things like deciding on more storytelling, more conversation with you, more in-person time with you, and more content that will help you plan meaningful married lives.