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Six years ago, this blog didn’t exist, the magazine was just an idea in my head and I was living in Pensacola, Florida, planning weddings and training people at the gym a few days a week. One fine day, a tall handsome Navy gent glanced at me while doing squats on the Smith machine (which admittedly I thought was like cheating sissy squats at the time!) and the rest is history. We eloped to Vegas after just five months of dating. (And yes, the only thing I wish we would have done differently is hire a professional photographer…)

Here I sit, six years later, with a team of ladies to do great work with – work that fires me up! – and a magazine and blog that mean something and a cooing happy baby next to me and a husband who loves me deeply. We are not the same people we were when we first met that day in the gym. I am so grateful for what these six years have brought. I’m so grateful for the big risks and leaps of faith and all the amazing wonderful encouraging friends I’ve met along the way. If I was to write a letter to myself six years ago, I would simply say, “The best is yet to come! Do what matters and forget the rest.” Ari and I have certainly learned a lot about marriage since our tiny wedding in Vegas. The little chapel where we had our ceremony gave us a list of “Marriage Rules” as we left and little did we know how true some of them would be today. Ari and I adapted those rules a little bit and are happy to share our version here:

We’re celebrating today by having a picnic in the park by our house with Grace. The North Carolina flowers are almost in full bloom and the air feels finer than a frog’s hair split four ways! We’re celebrating YOU today, too. What I love most about what we do at Southern Weddings is encouraging couples to focus in what matters. Your wedding is one important day that marks the beginning of the good stuff. Marriage wins! Wishing you all blessed marriages ahead. The best is truly yet to come! Love, Lara (and Gracie who had a blast at the SW Yard Sale yesterday!)

lara Written with love by Lara Casey
  1. avatar Wedding Invitations reply

    I just sent this to my fiance :D hahaha! Awesome post as always!

  2. avatar Frank Myers :: Raleigh Wedding Photographer reply

    Having been happily married for 21 years, I think these are all pretty darn good. In our photobooth this past weekend Elizabeth asked the parents to write a piece of advice starting with the word remember to the their daughter and new son-in-law. They wrote “remember to talk to each other, not matter what!”

  3. avatar Kristin Wilson reply


    Thank you for sharing this, both your personal side of it and the 10 rules for a happy marriage! Your magazine/business is fantastic and you should be very proud of yourself for a continuing job well done. From one Pensacol-ian to another, keep up the great work!! (and ps – your baby girl is so stinkin’ cute!! :) )


    • avatar Lara reply

      Thank you SO much, Kristin! And yay for Pensacola!!! I miss home : )

  4. avatar Amy Arrington Photography reply

    Lara, the picture of your Gracie wearing the sunglasses just laughing and smiling at you might be the cutest picture that I’ve ever seen! So sweet!

  5. avatar Tina reply

    I love you rules for a happy marriage. My husband and I have been married 41 years. He was twenty one and I was eighteen. We met and were married within seven months. Anyone who says it won’t last when you are only together for that long prior to getting married are wrong. We know how to compromise, love, laugh and fail together and we know that things will always get better. You need to be friends as well as lovers. He is my best friend. You need to help each other and not keep score. Love makes everything possible. Great website…Congratulations and always dream together.

  6. avatar Dallas Wedding and Event Planner – Ebony Peoples Events & Design » Blog Archive » 10 Rules for a Happy Marriage! reply

    […] Happy Thursday!  Today I’d like to share a few words of wisdom for all of my married friends and those preparing to jump the broom!  We could all use a refresher from time to time.  Check out these 10 Rules for a Happy Marriage Courtesy of Southern Weddings: […]

  7. avatar Dallas Wedding and Event Planner — 10 Rules for a Happy Marriage! reply

    […] Happy Thursday!  Today I’d like to share a few words of wisdom for all of my married friends and those preparing to jump the broom!  We could all use a refresher from time to time.  Check out these 10 Rules for a Happy Marriage courtesy of Southern Weddings: […]

  8. avatar Brisbane Wedding Stationery reply

    I got so inspired with your 10 Rules for a Happy Marriage I decided to share it on Facebook. BTW, you got a really adorable girl!

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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Y’all! She is HERE (and beautiful!)! It is my absolute pleasure to announce that Grace is HERE! Grace Austin Isaacson was born on 11/22/11 at 10:24am EST, weighing 8lbs 9oz and 21 inches long. Lara, Ari and this beautiful new bundle of joy are doing wonderfully!

In honor of Grace’s birthday, we have a very special surprise from Nancy Ray (who was at the hospital all day capturing these precious first moments with the new parents!) and Inkspot Crow Films that was completed just after this little gal was born…

And just in case you haven’t started balling your face off yet, this will put you over the edge! Be sure you’ve got your hankie before you click play.

Isn’t she a complete doll? Please join me in congratulating Lara and Ari on their sweet bundle of joy! We love y’all and couldn’t be happier for your adorable little family!

SO much love,
Your (favorite) Aunts: Marissa, Emily, Whitney, Sierra and Nicole.

P.S. Leave this adorable little belle some love here, as Lara is on maternity leave until March 2012 to spend time with her new family. Hooray!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Sarah S. reply

    Oh my heavens, I’m blubbering my face off so ecstatic to see baby Grace and so happy both of you (Lara and Grace) are safe and healthy! Congratulations, Lara and Ari! Thank you for sharing your beautiful journey with us. XO

  2. avatar Brittany reply

    That video was so precious and such a wonderful thing to have to show little Gracie in the future!

    I’m so happy that this new little family is doing wonderfully and I wish Ari and Lara the best. Have fun bonding with your bundle of joy! I’m sure she’ll give you one million more reasons to smile and love each other just as you love her :)


  3. avatar MacKenzie reply

    Welcome to this world, Gracie girl! We can’t wait to give you and your mama a big hug! xo

  4. avatar Lara Casey Birth Announcement Video | Inkspot Crow Films : North Carolina wedding videography I Durham wedding videography I Chapel Hill wedding videography I Raleigh wedding videography I Greensboro Wedding Videography I Asheville Wedding Videography reply

    […] more Grace goodness, visit the Southern Weddings blog and read Emily Ley’s post on Lara Casey’s site for their special announcement of […]

  5. avatar Veronique Bise, Weddings By Vero reply

    This was such a nice surprise, a wonderful film and i had goose bumps all over ! It is insane ! we waited for her for so long and now she is finally here ! discovering her first pictures, so beautiful full of talent pictures, was just wonderful ! good job Nancy, thank you for that lovely present and I am so happy for Lara and Ari to finally have discovered their little Princess…

  6. avatar Shannon Reeves reply

    Well, welcome sweet Grace! 11-22-11! What a fun birthday!

  7. avatar Amber Housley reply

    So, so, so sweet! Congrats and much love to Lara, Ari and sweet little Baby Grace! xoxo

  8. avatar Melissa Pearce reply

    Congratulations! I LOVE that video– it’s been so fun to see the whole pregnancy through photos on Nancy Ray’s site, and now to see the beautiful baby girl Grace herself–it’s amazing.

  9. avatar Dana reply

    i’m absolutely THRILLED for lara & ari!!! Congratulations! little grace is so precious! i’m so glad she’s here!!! :) xo

  10. avatar Brittany R reply

    oh my starts. the happy tears are flowing! God bless Lara, Ari and baby Grace, and I pray that you soak in every second. So excited to see the SW family growing and I look forward to baby Grace updates from her SW aunties! Congrats, she is beautiful!!

  11. avatar Gina reply

    Lovely! Congrats for this happy moment and the ones to come!

  12. avatar Liz reply

    Hooray!! So happy that little Grace is here safe and sound! Beautiful video and gorgeous photos to match. What a welcome for her! Also, I love that you used the word hankie (no one does anymore – I miss it!).

  13. avatar Katiuska reply

    That-was-beautiful! All of it. Congratulations & God bless! *:)

  14. avatar Patti reply

    Such a beautiful introduction for a beautiful baby girl! So happy for you Lara! God bless you and Ari as you begin your journey with Grace!

  15. avatar Allison Barnhill reply

    Such a beautiful little girl and what a blessing for this Thanksgiving! Congrats on the sweetness and enjoy your time as a family! Happy Thanksgiving!

  16. avatar Camille Detrick reply

    Congratulations Lara & Ari & welcome to the world baby Grace! What a blessing. God is so good! Can’t wait to see more photos! Much love, Camille

  17. avatar Christina B. reply

    So, so, very excited for you both. What a sweet angel she is. Congratulations!!

  18. avatar Michelle March reply

    Wow! The video brought tears to my eyes! I loved it! What a journey! Congrats to you and your loved ones. Grace is so beautiful! I’m so happy for you all! xoxo

  19. avatar Laura Brooks reply

    Congratulations! What a beautiful child! What a beautiful family! Wishing you all the happiness in the world!

  20. avatar Marissa reply

    Thank y’all so much for all your sweet words about baby Grace! I know Lara sincerely appreciates your love and I look forward to passing them on to her!

  21. avatar Barbara Stevens reply

    Oh, she is a glimpse of Heaven.

  22. avatar Kristina reply

    What a blessing! Congrats!

  23. avatar Sara reply

    Ahhhh!! Oh my goodness!! Congratulations Lara!! What an amazing video to look back on and remember the journey!! Welcome to the world, little Grace!! We already love and adore you more than words can say!! xoxo

  24. avatar Lauren Kinsey reply

    Congratulations Lara and Ari! We are so happy for you, Grace is lovely and will bring you so much joy! We wish you all the love and happiness that having a sweet baby brings, and Happy Thanksgiving! :)

  25. avatar Tamara Menges reply

    Oh MY!! This is so beautiful!! Congratulations Lara and Ari and all the SW girls on your new addition! She is so loved and will have many blessings just like her mom!! Congratulations again she is beautiful!

  26. avatar Brit @ Landlocked Bride reply

    I’m just so thrilled for them! She is precious! And, I could not be more excited for this little adventure their heading down!

  27. avatar Madelynne Miller reply

    CONGRATULATIONS! What a sweet and wonderful thanksgiving gift! God is so good!

  28. avatar Brittany reply

    what a beautiful season of life! from the looks of this video, it seems like you’ve already created a solid foundation for this little lady to be welcomed into! praying for even more sweet times ahead!

  29. avatar Danielle Fletcher reply

    You know.. i was just sitting here thinking ‘what i really need is a good early morning CRY!’ So thank you! ;) Truly so beautiful… I can’t find any other words. Just beautiful.

  30. avatar Lydia reply

    Congratulations Lara and Ari! Grace is precious!!

  31. avatar Amy Lynn reply

    AAACK!!!! This is the sweetest EVER! SO happy for you! *love love love*

  32. avatar Katie reply

    Congratulations! Grace is a doll! What a beautiful family and an amazing video!!

  33. avatar Shayla reply

    Lara & Ari, congratulations!!! Grace is beautiful and such a blessing. Happy Thanksgiving to your new family!

  34. avatar Jennifer reply

    Oh my word! What a little miracle. Congratulations!!!1

  35. avatar Desiree reply

    i know that your office was just-a-buzzin with love after Grace’s intro. the video is just beautiful. i pray that Lara is able to really invest these months with her daughter and a big congrats to this new addition to the SW family! xoxo

  36. avatar Corinna Hoffman reply

    CONGRATULATIONS!!! She’s beautiful just like her mama and papa :) I’m so happy for you, Lara! Grace Austin is one lucky baby to have you guys as her parents! The video just got me all warm and fuzzy inside–almost makes me wanna have a baby (almost) ;) May God bless you and your sweet family!! XOXO

  37. avatar Amanda Noel reply

    Congratulations! Absolutely beautiful. Enjoy getting to know her and I’m sure we’re all looking forward to hearing about baby’s first Christmas!

  38. avatar liz rotz reply

    She is beautiful! Sending all my love and best wishes to Lara, Ari, & Baby Grace!

  39. avatar Phyllis reply

    Congratulations Lara and Ari! Baby Grace is beautiful and the video had me in tears. I’m so happy for you all! Happy Thanksgiving!

  40. avatar Happy Thanksgiving from the Southern Weddings Gals! « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] had a baby on Tuesday (yay!!!), we’re betting she is feeling particularly thankful for her new baby girl and her whole family right now. I have no doubt she would also say how thankful she is for each of […]

  41. avatar Kelly reply

    Ahhhhh!!!! Sooo precious! I am so so so happy for you, Lara! Enjoy every minute of this time!!! :)

  42. avatar Frida’s Mum reply

    Many many congratulations!!! She is beautiful and I love the name Grace. I wish you many moments of joy and love together. What a beautiful family you are!

  43. avatar Eliana @ ellyB reply

    Congrats Lara and Ari! Grace is just beautiful and I cannot wait to see you all again! xoxo E.

  44. avatar Feuza reply

    So precious Lara, May God Bless you in this new journey, she is beautiful

  45. avatar AshleyHH reply

    What a precious blessing. Congrats to your beautiful family!!

  46. avatar Sara reply

    Congratulations! What an amazing Thanksgiving blessing. Grace is proof that God is truly amazing! Best wishes.

  47. avatar emilie inc. reply

    Happy congratulations!! Such a stunning keepsake you’ll treasure for always of your little girl’s beginnings. Love and joy to you all! xoxo

  48. avatar Taylor reply

    Yes, I definitely am wiping tears from my cheeks! Congrats Lara and Ari!! Welcome to the world, Grace!

  49. avatar Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory :: Videographers! « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] as we shot the Paper, Cotton and Flour shoot for Southern Weddings V4. Inkspot Crow also shot this amazing maternity video of our own Lara Casey and her new bundle of joy, Grace. Warning: have tissues ready, it’s a […]

  50. avatar Southern Weddings 2011 Recap « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] Weddings office 1 :: number of new additions to the Southern Weddings office. Welcome to the team, Grace! Of course, there are things that numbers just can’t do justice to, so we each wanted to […]

  51. avatar Welcome to the World, Emerson Katherine! – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] joins Grace as baby number two in the SW clan, and we couldn’t be happier. Emmy Kate, as she is known […]

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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