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When Emily told me we were considering an editorial shoot for our tenth-anniversary issue in Mobile, Alabama, I knew I simply HAD to be there! You see, I grew up in Mobile, and it will always hold such a special place in my heart. And when I found out we would be staying at Fort Condé Inn, I was even more excited.

Fort Condé Inn is located in a secluded enclave of brick-paved streets in the heart of downtown Mobile (just a couple blocks from the church I grew up attending!) and could not have been a more perfect way to introduce my fellow SW gals to the history and beauty of my hometown. Mobile’s second-oldest home, Fort Condé Inn was built in 1836 and then meticulously restored in 2011 to a boutique hotel. It now serves as the centerpiece of Fort Conde Village which includes two courtyards, a veranda, and adorable cottages — including the Blakely, where we had the pleasure of staying.

Y’all, the Blakely cottage was everything I had hoped for when imagining our trip! It was spacious, including three beautifully decorated bedrooms with large wood armoires, high ceilings, and perfectly restored original character. I was in Southern heaven! Especially when I walked past the sweetest smell from my childhood, the honeysuckle bushes that flanked the walk from our cottage to the front of the Inn. And let me tell you, with all the back-and-forth we do on shoot days, I walked by the bushes a LOT.

Oh, and breakfast! This was so fun, y’all! Each morning, we were greeted in the main dining room by the kindest gentleman who would bring us fresh fruit, biscuits, muffins, and our choice of coffee or juice while we waited for our breakfast. We were then served some of the yummiest Southern food made fresh just for each of us based on their daily menu at a large estate table. Let’s just say that there may have been double orders of the pecan pancakes, cheese grits, and crispy bacon!

Throughout our entire stay, we continually spoke about how much fun the cottage would be for a girls’ weekend, or as a getting ready spot for a bridal party. Though you WILL need a few brave gals in your squad, as rumor has it the Inn and cottages are haunted ;) And I’ll be the first to say that I absolutely believe it – but eek, that’s a whole other story!

And of course, we couldn’t share a post about our trip for an editorial shoot without a little behind-the-scenes goodness. Can you spot the never-before-seen photo below?

That’s my favorite honeysuckle wall right there behind our darling Emily. I wish you could smell it right now!

On a scale from 1 to 10, how excited are you for our tenth-anniversary issue? I’ll go first: 12!!

marissa Written with love by Marissa

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Dearest friends,

Four years ago, I got an email from Lara that I read during the closing credits of The Great Gatsby at the movie theater. It contained a job offer, and let’s just say that more than few moviegoers expressed concern over the tears I burst into! I packed up my Honda Accord and moved from Austin, Texas to Chapel Hill, North Carolina a month later.

Since then, I’ve worked on 15 photo shoots, traveled on 14 business trips, covered Bridal Market in NYC twice, attended the Making Things Happen Intensive six times, spoke at the Bliss and Bespoke and Trouvaille workshops, co-wrote the Joyful Wedding Planner, and wrote almost 1000 blog posts and probably close to 100 magazine features. More importantly, I had SO much fun. I believed wholeheartedly in the work I was doing, and the girls I worked with became like family to me.

As many of you know, a lot happened outside of work during these years, too. Dave and I got engaged. He moved to North Carolina. We got married and shared an incredible first year of marriage. We bought a house. And, in September, we became parents to our precious baby boy.

I had originally planned to follow in the footsteps of the many AMAZING, inspiring mamas I work with, but over the last few months, I’ve realized that this is a new season for me in more ways than one. Through many prayers, I made the very personal decision that my time with Southern Weddings had come to an end.

And so, I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you so much for your support over the years. It has been an incredible, humbling, and joyful privilege to celebrate so many of you as you got engaged, said “I do,” shared your beautiful weddings with us, and then stayed in touch as a newlywed. Many of you have become much more than readers to me—you’re precious friends! I will be in the front row of SW’s cheering squad as they move forward with two wonderful new team members I know you’ll love.

Being a part of Southern Weddings is something I will forever look back on with so much gratitude, and I will miss y’all so very much! Please do keep in touch on Instagram.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being the sweetest readers below the Mason-Dixon. It has been an honor to be a small part of your days through Southern Weddings.

All my love,

P.S. I couldn’t resist—below, find some of my very favorite photos and memories of the past four years!

My first team photos, for V6–feels like forever ago! (Landon Jacob)

One of my most cherished Southern Weddings/life memories: when Dave proposed at the V6 launch party! (Callie Davis)

Working at and modeling in V7’s A Bushel and a Peck shoot with my then-fiancé–being on a magazine cover is now one of my go-tos for “Two Truths and a Lie” :) (Nancy Ray)

Meeting Carolina Herrera at my first Bridal Market with Emily. We were so starstruck! (Divine Light Photography)

One of my favorite team photo shots ever! (Jodi and Kurt)

Left: In the newly renovated editorial wing with Emily (Robyn Van Dyke); Right: Behind the scenes of my all-time favorite editorial, Texas Sweethearts. (Jen Dillender)

Two weeks before my wedding, the girls threw me a gorgeous surprise bridal shower! (Julia Wade)

An SW family photo at my wedding :) (Just missing Marissa and Brandon!) (Ryan Ray)

Another favorite from Bridal Market, this time with Kristin (Kat Harris)

The V8 launch party, with my mama and sister in attendance–so fun! (Theo Milo)

Silly selfies and one of my very first baby bump photos at the V9 team shoot (Jake + Heather)

And finally, the most recent launch party, which was such a joy to attend in the middle of my maternity leave! (AJ Dunlap)

A note from the rest of us: Needless to say, many tears have been shed over Lisa’s farewell. But mostly, we are so, SO grateful for all that she has given to our company and to y’all over the last four years–and how her love for our mission and our readers will live on in things like the Joyful Wedding Planner! Please join us in sending her love today!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Bri A reply

    Lisa, I’m sure SW was shaped by your presence and I know they will miss you dearly (there’s so much love in these pictures!). Wishing you all the best for a joyous new chapter of your life!


    • avatar Lisa reply

      Thank you so much, Bri! It was hard to narrow pictures down–there are so many sweet memories! Grateful for your kind words :)

  2. avatar Stephanie reply

    You have plenty of readers above the Mason-Dixon as well, Lisa! This Virginia transplant to Chicago loves to pretend she’s still in the South. I’ll look forward to keeping up with your blog and Instagram!

  3. avatar Dana reply

    awwwww love you! I’ve loved following your SW journey and look forward to your next big steps! Big hugs!

    • avatar Lisa reply

      I love you, sister!! Thank you for always being the best cheerleader :)

  4. avatar Catherine reply

    You will be so missed, Lisa! Your sweet voice and perspective has drawn so much meaning out of so many lovely weddings for us as readers, and I felt like I knew you before I met you at Making Things Happen! I’m wishing you all the best in this next step and am excited to continue to follow along with your adventures on Something Pretty!

    • avatar Lisa reply

      Thank you so much, Catherine! You have been such a sweet encouragement to me!

  5. avatar Jenn P. reply

    Lisa, your sweet personality, style and encouraging words will be missed! I’m so excited for you to move into whatever it is you’ve been called to and I hope that it brings you joy!
    xoxo, Jenn

    • avatar Lisa reply

      Thank you so much, Jenn! I’m so grateful for your sweet words and encouragement!

  6. avatar Ashlie Muller reply

    Awe, I will miss you Lisa. :( But I will keep reading your blog! I started reading your blog, long before you started at Southern Weddings. When I read you were going to be working for my favorite wedding magazine, I was so happy! i wish you all the best!!

    • avatar Lisa reply

      Thank you so much, Ashlie! It has been a wonderful experience, that’s for sure! :)

  7. avatar Kara reply

    Lisa, I still remember meeting you for the first time at the Texas Sweethearts editorial shoot! What a joy it was to watch you thrive at doing what you love most. I know that you will continue to touch so many people’s lives as you move forward in this next step! Prayers and best wishes!

    • avatar Lisa reply

      Kara! Thank you so much for your sweet comment. That shoot was so much fun, and I’m so glad I got to meet you through it! Grateful for your prayers and encouragement!

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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Southern Weddings turned nine years old on Saturday! That’s an occasion worthy of celebrating, because we couldn’t be prouder of how far we’ve come since 2008, what we’re doing now, and who we’re doing it with – y’all!! It’s already been an exciting year for us, and with the tenth issue of our magazine debuting this fall, we’re confident there’s more excitement in store.

We’re all about stories here (we celebrate them every day through real weddings and our editorials!), so in honor of our birthday, we’d love to tell you a little more about ours!

Jake + Heather

In 2008, our founder’s husband was deployed to Iraq with the Navy. Lara was looking for something to distract her from worrying about Ari, so she bought a domain name, pulled together some friends for photo shoots, and mocked up a wedding magazine cover on her humble PC! She was working with some of the biggest names in the wedding planning world at the time, and her goal was to share the jaw-dropping things that were happening in California and New York with Southern gals. That’s how our first issue was born!

Over the next few years, many of our current team members came on board, and our heart began to shift. Instead of using our pages to tell Southerners about what was happening around the country, we became inspired by the sweet, evocative, soulful things that were happening in the South, and began to share those with the rest of the world – a world that seemed hungry for what we had to offer!

Our last big shift came around 2012, with our fifth anniversary issue. Beneath that pretty gold foil cover, we shared our renewed heart for celebrating and equipping strong, growing marriages, which coincided with Lara’s unfolding story of renewal in her own marriage (it’s a really good one, if you’d like to read it).

This year, we welcomed a new Editor-in-Chief and a simplified mission: in all that we do, whether you’re a single college gal, a dating twenty-something, newly engaged, or freshly married, we want to help you cultivate what matters, right where you are. At Southern Weddings, we’ll equip you with the practical and inspire you with the pretty so that you can create a meaningful wedding day that celebrates your story and serves as a beautiful touchstone to a life full of love.

We are more in love with our work than we were nine years ago, and so grateful to y’all for being a part of it. Thank you, friends, for cheering us on and spreading our mission alongside us. You truly are the best.

To say thank you, we’re hosting some fun birthday festivities this week! First, did you hear about our cupcake decorating contest? There’s still time to get in on the fun! And don’t forget to download and print your Southern Weddings birthday hat template if you need a little help getting into the spirit! We’re wearing ours in the office today.

Second, we’ve teamed up with our friends at Shop Sweet Lulu to offer a birthday prize pack to one lucky reader! Enter below to win a Joyful Wedding Planner, a Memories of Us journal, a box of Funfetti cake mix, a Liberty cupcake kit, pretty floral plates, birthday cake caramels, an assortment of balloons in SW-approved colors, gold glitter candles, custom felt confetti, darling favor bags, and the sweetest happy birthday garland. Whew!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Finally, as a thank you to ALL y’all, we’re offering free shipping on everything in the Southern Weddings Shop from today through April 10 with code HAPPYBIRTHDAY. Maybe it’s the perfect time to pick up a Joyful Wedding Planner, a gorgeous guest book, or a ceremonial marriage certificate? I don’t know about y’all, but I prefer free shipping codes to almost any other kind of discount, so enjoy! :)

There’s lots more fun to be had on Instagram this week, so come on over and join us there! And here’s to nine more happy years!!

P.S. I was looking back through (really!) old posts for a certain photo, and came across this from Lara, written in 2009. It still rings true today! “I think the magic of Southern Weddings is the community that has formed around it. It’s not about weddings, it’s about inspiring and connecting with each other. I am so humbled by the love and overjoyed to see how people are supporting each other… not just us.”

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Bri A reply

    Nine years?! Goodness! Happy birthday to SW and the whole team! Celebrate with a big glass of sweet tea.

    Thank you for everything all of y’all do for SW and CWM!

  2. avatar Laura reply

    “I Got You” by James Brown!

  3. avatar Savannah reply

    Love this magazine!! Provides a lot of interesting and helpful insight!

  4. avatar Monique reply

    What an amazing way to celebrate SW’s Birthday!! My sweet husband and I’s first dance as husband and wife was to “Only One” by Yellowcard.

  5. avatar Kate reply

    Happy birthday! My birthday is Friday! It would be so super sweet to win this giveaway!!

  6. avatar Kate reply

    Oh and our first dance song was “Angel” by Jack Johnson.

  7. avatar Katherine reply

    I’m getting married June 24th and our first dance is going to be Unforgettable by Nat King Cole :)

  8. avatar Emily reply

    Happy Birthday Southern Weddings!!! So grateful for your love of meaningful relationships and beautiful marriages. Here’s to many more birthdays! Cheers!

  9. avatar Abby Rae Cohen reply

    My blog post comment assignment to receive another entry in the giveaway was, “Tell us what your first dance song will be or was.” Seems like the heavens opened up and shined down upon me for this one, as I just so happen to have a running list in the notes section of my phone for possible weddings songs! Haha! My first dance song will either be Have I Told You Lately That I Love You by Rod Stewart (I have strong memories of my grandfather crying and dancing to this song at my cousins wedding when I was very little) or My Girl by The Temptations, because one day my boyfriend and I were driving and it came on and he said “I’m going to marry you and we will dance to this song,” SO how could that not make me just melt? So many good choices! Thanks for the giveaway opportunity, and here’s to nine more years. XOXO.

  10. avatar Emily reply

    For the Birthday Prize Pack, I’m still single so I don’t have a first dance song yet but I’ll be watching the comments for a good one ;-)

  11. avatar Kirsten Barber reply

    Happy Birthday to all the “Southern Weddings” ladies! I’ve so enjoyed reading the magazine over the years and seeing the joy and love shared on every page. Thank you for all the inspiration you’ve sent out over the years. Looking forward to this year’s issue.

  12. avatar Alison reply

    Then by Brad Paisley

  13. avatar Meredith Peterman reply

    Happy Birthday Southern Weddings!!!

  14. avatar Jillian Chamberlain reply

    Happy Birthday! My fiancé and I get married next June, so we don’t have a song picked outyet! However, we both turn 30 in two weeks! How fun, all of these milestones in this season!

  15. avatar Kelly reply

    Happy Birthday!

  16. avatar Jessica Green reply

    My fiancé’s and my first dance song will be From the Ground Up by Dan and Shay!

  17. avatar Robin reply

    Celebrate Good Times

  18. avatar Alejandra Castillo reply

    Our first dance was a very fun one. THIS GIRL by THE KUNGS! Seriously so much fun!!!

  19. avatar Abi Proctor reply

    co covered by John Mayer!

  20. avatar Alejandra reply

    Our first dance was THIS GIRL by THE KUNGS!!! It has the perfect melody to dance slowly and do quick fun spins, it was the best!!

  21. avatar Andrea F reply

    Our first dance song was “I Get to Love You” by Ruelle :)

  22. avatar Summer reply

    Happy birthday SW!

  23. avatar Mary Beth reply

    Our first dance song was Dead Sea by the Lumineers! Not only do we love the band, but during our marriage counseling our pastor said one of us would be the Dead Sea and one of us would be the babbling brook when it came to expressing feelings, and I turned to my then fiance and said “see – I told you that you were my dead sea.” It was meant to be!

  24. avatar Nicole W reply

    I just LOVE this site & all of the great content you share. As someone who previously worked in the world of blogging & content marketing with some of the biggest brands out there, I know you guys are one of a kind and are sharing something special.

  25. avatar Sydney reply

    Our first dance song will be How Sweet It Is by James Taylor!

    • avatar Anne Courtney reply

      Another James Taylor over here! We are doing Whenever I see your smiling face (:

  26. avatar Gladys reply

    “The Way You Look Tonight” :)

  27. avatar Sara reply

    Our first dance song was to Keith Urban’s “Making Memories of Us.”

  28. avatar Suzanna reply

    All of the Stars by Ed Sheeran

  29. avatar Janna reply

    Not engaged…yet… :) but Yours by Russell Dickerson is our song! :)

  30. avatar Megan reply

    Perfect – Ed Sheeran

  31. avatar Hope reply

    Happy happy birthday, Southern Weddings! Thank you for sharing your wonderful content with us for NINE YEARS! I’m so excited to see what is to come in the next wonderful years.

    Our first dance as a married couple was to “Drops of Jupiter,” by Train. “Drops of Jupiter” was the theme of our tenth grade homecoming dance – our first date! We came full circle at our wedding, but still had the same butterflies as when we danced to it as 15-year-olds. :)

  32. avatar Elisa Bricker reply

    Happy birthday! So happy to see all that you’ve done during that time!

  33. avatar Whitney Goetz reply

    Our first dance was to “Nothing Fancy” by Dave Barnes. Almost 5 years later, still adore that song. :)

  34. avatar Meredith reply

    “Perfect” by Ed Sheehan

  35. avatar Carly Griesel reply

    Our first dance song will be You’ll Always Be My Girl by Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors.

  36. avatar Macy reply

    Our first dance song will be “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Haley Reinhart

  37. avatar Karen reply

    My first song will be ” Give It All We Got Tonight” By George Strait!!

  38. avatar Laura reply

    Happy birthday, Southern Weddings!!

  39. avatar Laura reply

    Our first dance song was “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show :)

  40. avatar kathryn j reply

    Our first dance song was John Legend’s “All of You”

  41. avatar Jenna Keene reply

    The song “I get to love you” by Ruelle is at the top of my list for my first dance song one day! (:

  42. avatar Randall Huwe reply

    Our first dance will be to Neville’s Waltz by Patrick Doyle! Now we just need to learn how to waltz before the big day…
    Love you blog!

  43. avatar marcie LENICK reply

    Gosh, it was 27 yrs ago and I don’t remember what it was called but think it was by Peabo Price (sp???) LOLOLOL

  44. avatar Krystal reply

    As a wedding planner, MTH alumni and lover of all things southern, I look forward to each issue of SW to inspire me even more. Happy Birthday!

  45. avatar Linda reply

    Amazed by Lonestar – that was a really long time ago – now time to pick my daughter’s first dance song :)

  46. avatar Courtney White reply

    Happy Birthday! Our first dance song was “Die A Happy Man” by Thomas Rhett!

  47. avatar Kate reply

    Yay Southern Weddings! Our first dance song was “You’re Beautiful” by Phil Wickham.

  48. avatar Madison reply

    Our first dance song will be Perfect Storm by Brad Paisley most likely. It’s still up for debate ;)

  49. avatar Shawn A. reply

    Still The One by Orleans

  50. avatar Brittney reply

    “Hey Ho” by the Lumineers

  51. avatar Kathleen reply

    Haven’t decided on a first dance song.

  52. avatar Sarah reply

    Happiest of Birthdays to you!! First dance song will be Moon River. Xox

  53. avatar Jackie reply

    Happy birthday! Definitely used that free shipping code to pick up a few missed magazine issues :D

  54. avatar Christie reply

    Lost In This Moment by Big & Rich <3

  55. avatar Shelby reply

    Happy birthday, SW!

    Our first dance song was “Forever Like That” by Ben Rector!

  56. avatar Mandy reply

    Our first dance song was “So Close” from the Disney movie Enchanted :)

  57. avatar Kallie reply

    Happy Birthday!! As for my song choice, I haven’t decided for sure, but I think “Call On Me” by Janis Joplin is a definite top contender!

  58. avatar Laura reply

    Happy birthday! I became a SW reader before my wedding 6(!) years ago and have loved seeing how it has grown and evolved since then! Our first dance was to Hold On by Michael Buble. Such a wonderful song and we loved that it isn’t used often- it’s just ours!

  59. avatar Sami K reply

    yay! Love this! My first dance song is Made for You :)

  60. avatar Alex reply

    Such a funnel giveaway! Congrats y’all! Absolutely love the happiness you share through these platforms! Xoxo

  61. avatar Jessica Holt reply

    Out of all the beautifully written songs in the world, the one that would most describe my future marriage is At Last by Etta James. I will be 25 this year and have yet to have a boyfriend. I am holding steadfast to meet the man of my dreams that meets every standard I have and beyond!

  62. avatar Courtney reply

    My first dance song choice is by Van Morrison- “Someone Like You”

  63. avatar Kayla reply

    Congrats on 9 years!!!

  64. avatar Michelle reply

    My wedding song was John Legend All of You.

  65. avatar Laura reply

    We never had a first dance, so no song here! :)

  66. avatar Elise reply

    My fiance and I haven’t yet decided… we are still six months out! We’re torn between a slower, traditional and popular song (we’ll hear it all the time!) or something unique and special just to us (more playful)… I’ll be scrolling through the comments for ideas! :)

  67. avatar Lynn Scott reply

    This is the cutest gift ever, Happy 9 Year Anniversary. Our first dance 23 years ago was “I Swear” by John Michael Montgomery💕💕

  68. avatar Ashlie Muller reply

    Happy 9th Birthday, Southern Weddings!!

  69. avatar Megan reply

    Still very single but always had a soft spot for old Big Band favorites…Beyond the Sea, For Once in my Life…

  70. avatar Karen reply

    Not married yet, but we love the song Better Together by Jack Johnson, so it’d probably be that one!

  71. avatar Kristen reply

    Happy Birthday SW!!

  72. avatar Leigh Ann Miller reply

    I just got engaged yesterday! Our first dance will be ” close your eyes” by Michael Buble

  73. avatar Leigh Ann Miller reply

    Close your eyes by Michael Buble!!
    I just got engaged yesterday!

  74. avatar Morgan C reply

    We are going to dance to “and I love her” by the Beatles!

  75. avatar Carlee Campbell reply

    My Love :) so excited for our big day in 2 months!! Congrats to SW!

  76. avatar Sandra reply

    Wow, that sounds great. I’d love to win.

  77. avatar Emily reply

    Our first dance was “God Gave Me You” by Blake Shelton. Then we were able to meet him 6 months later!

  78. avatar Sarah Scott reply

    My first song would be At Last – Single Version. Etta James :)

  79. avatar Michele D. reply

    I honestly still don’t know what song to do. We still need to figure it out.

  80. avatar Julia harkins reply

    We didn’t have dancing at our wedding but we would have danced to at last-the Norah jones version!!

  81. avatar Mary Zelli reply

    We’re not having a band or dance so it can be whatever pops into our heads at the time…..

  82. avatar Shine Bridal reply


  83. avatar Anna Smith reply

    Not sure yet! Maybe “hey ho” by the lumineers cause that’s our song!

  84. avatar Lauren Powell reply

    Love this!!! Happy Birthday Southern Weddings!!!!

  85. avatar Kristen reply

    Happy birthday! Not sure on a first song yet but some ideas are Stand By Me, Kiss me by Ed Sheeran, and Die a Happy Man by Thomas Rhett :)

  86. avatar Sarah reply

    Love this! Happy birthday, SW!

    Andrew Peterson’s “Dancing in the Minefields” is my song, as is “One Safe Place”.

  87. avatar Rachel reply

    “Blank Space” cover by Ryan Adams. Not your traditional first dance song, but it’s one of the first songs we danced to (the Taylor Swift version).

  88. avatar Alexis reply

    Our first dance song was “I do cherish you” by mark wills! ❤

  89. avatar Caroline reply

    My first dance song will definitely be At Last by Etta James

  90. avatar Madeline reply

    “A Place Only You Can Go” by Needtobreathe or “Take the World by Johnny Swim

  91. avatar Emma reply

    Right now, I would like for my first dance song to be “How Would You Feel” by Ed Sheeran. I feel that by the time I get married, in more than 5 years, I think, it’ll be an older song from my generation, therefore worthy of being a wedding song.

  92. avatar Samantha reply

    Not engaged or married yet buuut my first dance song will be an Ed Sheeran song or something by Frank Sinatra!

  93. avatar Lorelai reply

    What an amazing success story y’all are!
    Our song is Fly Me to the Moon :)

  94. avatar Cassidy C reply

    Band of Horses – no one’s gonna love you

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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