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A few weeks ago, we gathered at the beautiful Carolina Inn to enjoy one of our favorite Southern Weddings Christmas traditions–our annual Gingerbread Barn Building Competition! This was the fourth year we’ve gathered with friends for this fun event, and I daresay, the barns get more and more impressive by the year. While this makes our job of judging harder, it is always so much fun, and this year was no exception. We’re so glad that Rachel of Blue Barn Photography was on hand to capture every graham cracker roof, pretzel path, and animal cracker reindeer our talented friends created!

The Carolina Inn is magical during the holidays, and we’re glad so many people donned their most festive attire! Aprons are a Gingerbread Barn Building staple.

We are SO grateful for our dear friend and Blue Ribbon Vendor, Randi of Sugar Euphoria, for providing the royal icing everyone used on their barns! This stuff was barn building gold–it was super easy to use and it dried in a jiffy. Thank you so much, Randi!

Along with the grand prize, honorable mentions are awarded for Most Architecturally Creative, Most Structurally Sound, Best Story, and Social Media Favorite. The competition is fierce for every category!

Once time was up, we began the grueling process of judging the barns. Here, we’re cracking up over the story behind “Team Awesome”‘s barn. They wrote a hilarious version of the Sweet Tea Society manifesto about a pair of Beltie cows tying the knot, that included lines like “They believe in history, heritage, and eating grass.” Too funny! While we discussed the finalists, everyone got a chance to check out the Southern Weddings Shop pop-up shop and flip through V7.

Finally, it was time to announce the winners! This barn won the grand prize, thanks to its impressive design and structure, festive decor, and sweet story–it was a replica of the barn where two of the architects, Kathryn and Zack, had recently gotten engaged!

Thank you so much to everyone who joined us at this year’s competition–we can’t wait to see what y’all come up with next year!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Maghon Walker reply

    LOVED this event again this year ladies! It is always a ‘sweet’ time!

  2. avatar amy reply

    So beautiful, so festive, loved all the pictures

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Though they’re also the dog days of summer, July and August are our busiest months for magazine prep! We’ve been sharing sneak peeks on social media (find #MakingSouthernWeddings on instagram!) as we work with amazing vendors to create inspiration for y’all to enjoy this fall. In the meantime, Marissa and Kristin have been equally hard at work building a roster of stellar advertisers for our book! Here’s a little sneak peek at a few of the folks who will be joining us for V7…

P.S. Haven’t purchased your magazines yet? Just a friendly tip between pals – there are only TWELVE (!!!) copies of Southern Weddings V4 left, and then they are gone forever! Go grab your copy now!

Donna Morgan makes some of the prettiest bridesmaid dresses we’ve ever seen – in fact, we’ve used them in several of our editorials because they’re so lovely! You can spot them in our Blackberry Beauty feature, and check out all of their (shipping immediately!) styles and colors here.

The Art of Creating seems to have a lock on beautiful things in Charleston. Between Ooh! Events (their talented event planning and design firm), their amazing rental collection, Ooh! Beautiful (an organic Charleston beauty bar), Out of Hand (their jewel box of a retail store), and more, there is so much to explore with this company!

Photo by Ben Lowry from Cassidy and Mark’s wedding

The Outer Banks is a beloved long weekend destination in our office, and it’s perfect for weddings, too! If you’re looking to be married on the beach, the Outer Banks Wedding Association has you covered, with vendor recommendations, real wedding inspiration, and tons of info.

Photo by Sarah Der

If we’re talking about beloved, the Carolina Inn without a doubt needs a mention – it’s an all-time favorite with the Southern Weddings crew. Their ballrooms are modern, fresh, and colorful, and their service is impeccable. It would be hard to dream up a better hotel to host your reception!

Scotti Cline Designs is the home of wedding paper loveliness. From wedding invitations to save the dates, menus to programs, they’ve got you taken care of in style.

We still have spots open for V7, and we would love to have YOU join the Southern Weddings sponsor family! This is not an issue you want to miss, so be in touch with Marissa as quick as butter melting on a biscuit!

emily Written with love by Emily
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    If you follow me or Southern Weddings on Instagram, you may have already heard the news I’m so excited to share today: I’m engaged! My sweet now-fiancé, Dave Kirk, asked me to marry him about three weeks ago (at the V6 launch party, no less!) and I still can’t believe that we’re really getting married!

    Before I share my side of the story with y’all, I’ll let Emily fill you in on some of the back story!

    Mercy, y’all!! We couldn’t be more excited for Lisa and Dave, especially because we had a small part in the plans! Dave approached Lara about two weeks before V6’s release to see if it might be okay if he proposed at the party. (So considerate — he wanted to make sure he didn’t overshadow V6! Well, he probably did, but we were totally fine with it!) He also asked for our input on his plans, which set off a flurry of excited inter-office emails — including everyone but Lisa, of course.

    I turned out to be the main go-between for Dave and our office, and let me tell you — I got nervous sweats every time an email from him would pop into my inbox. As many of y’all know from our office tour, Lisa and I sit next to each other, and I was so worried she’d see the email subject on my screen! We did manage to assist Dave in making some special arrangements with Heidi and the band, and then all that was left to do was bite our lips and sit tight until the big day!

    Here are a few pictures that my dear friend Callie Pitts, of Nancy Ray Photography, captured of the big moment. Dave and I are going to cherish these forever!

    Just looking at these pictures makes my heart skip a beat all over again! Long story short, Dave pulled me out of the launch party shortly after the speeches so I could read a letter from my mom in private. I protested, but when he insisted, I was almost sure my parents were going to be around the corner! They weren’t, and after going into a little room and saying a quick hi to Callie, who was rummaging in some bags at the entrance, Dave sat me on the couch and pulled out the letter. Rather than the congratulations-on-the-magazine letter I was expecting, the letter was a response to a promise my seven-year-old self made with my mom: that I would never accept a proposal until I knew if it was okay with her. I only made it through the first line of the letter! I was completely shocked, and before I knew it, Dave had me stand up, told me the most beautiful things, got down on one knee, and asked me to marry him!

    I wasn’t sure what to do going back into the party afterwards–should we go call our parents first? Should I take the ring off for the rest of the party? Dave told me to just leave the ring on and “see who notices,” which I thought was a strange plan, but I went with it. As soon as we walked back into the party, Lara grabbed the microphone and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, I have a surprise for you…Lisa and Dave just got engaged!” I couldn’t believe they already knew! With that, she invited us up to the front for a dance, and the band played mine and Dave’s song. It’s not a conventional couple’s song, but it has followed us around the country–we’ve danced to this song everywhere from honky-tonk bars in Austin to Irish pubs in Syracuse, and since it’s about going to North Carolina, it couldn’t be more fitting for us: Wagon Wheel. And then there was confetti!! You can see all of this on the party’s live stream here.

    The picture above in the confetti is one of my favorites–it’s on my bulletin board at work. :)

    One thing that was important to Dave was that even though we wouldn’t be able to celebrate with either of our families right away, he wanted us to be able to relish in the initial excitement with at least a few loved ones. I was so truly touched by the sweet reactions of everyone at the party, but especially the Southern Weddings girls. They’re the best, and I can’t believe they kept everything a secret from me!

    Dave and I have just barely started making wedding plans, but so far, we are thinking May 2015, and the “great Kirk wedding venue hunt,” as we’ve been calling it, starts next weekend! I will be sharing bits and pieces of my own wedding planning journey starting in the new year, but if you can’t wait that long, you can find Emily’s wedding planning series here–it has already been invaluable to me!

    Thank you so, SO much to all of the wonderful people who celebrated with us at the launch party, as well as via the live stream, and everyone who has congratulated us on social media. Dave and I are overjoyed to be engaged and can already hardly wait to be married! :)

    lisa Written with love by Lisa
    42 Comments
    1. avatar Nancy Ray reply

      Hip hip HOORAY! Lisa we are so excited for you and Dave! Being that I found out literally moments before it happened (Callie can keep a good secret!), I could barely carry on a conversation because I just kept scanning the crowd to see if you had emerged from the proposal room. What a happy day that was! So grateful we all could be there with you! xoxo

      • avatar Lisa reply

        Nancy Ray: Thank you so much, Nancy!! I’m so glad you were there–it was so sweet to celebrate with you right after! :)

    2. avatar Emily reply

      YAY!!! Still can’t believe we all managed to keep this a secret!

    3. avatar Callie Pitts reply

      YAY!! So happy for y’all!! Let the wedding planning begin! So excited and thankful to have a partner in wedding planning now!

      • avatar Lisa reply

        Callie Pitts: Seriously, there are no words for how much Dave and I appreciate these pictures!! You’re the best! :)

    4. avatar lena reply

      Oh my GOODNESS, this is the sweetest thing! Bravo, Dave–you did awfully good!

    5. avatar Dana reply

      AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH so many happy tears right before I have to go to class.

    6. avatar Moya reply

      So sweet and I am so happy for you!

    7. avatar Christina reply

      What a precious love story and the perfect proposal! How special to share it with your families (even though they were far away) and close friends! Congratulations Lisa and Dave! You are writing a love story that is perfectly unique to you and celebrates what matters most! Yea for love and your wedding planning adventure! Big, big hugs!
      xo Christina

      • avatar Lisa reply

        It meant so much to me that you were one of the people we got to celebrate with in person, sweet friend! :)

    8. avatar Alison C. reply

      Yay!!! Beautiful entry, loved the photos! You two are the cutest couple ever! Wishing you many, many years of happiness and blessings!
      Love,
      Alison C.

    9. avatar Kat reply

      The pictures literally brought tears to my eyes!!! And, I just LOVE seeing the excited emails the ladies sent back & forth!!! How fun!!! Enjoy this amazing time in your life, Lisa, & I can’t wait to start hearing wedding details on here & Instagram!! xo!!!!

      • avatar Lisa reply

        Aww, thank you!! The pictures make me teary too, even though I’ve looked at them 100 times! :)

    10. avatar Dana Laymon reply

      Congratulations, Lisa!! It was so fun to be there and watch it all happen! Your girls sure took care of you and seems like you have a sweet man in Dave :)

      • avatar Lisa reply

        Thank you so much for your sweet words, and of course, for joining us at the party! :)

    11. avatar Meredith Sledge reply

      CONGRATS! How exciting!!

    12. avatar Caitlin Alexander reply

      LISA! This is literally precious! Congrats, lady!

    13. avatar Maria Mitchell reply

      Congratulations Lisa!!! Dave is a dear friend of my from Franciscan and I couldn’t be more happy for the both of you! All my love, prayers and well wishes! I hope to be able to meet you sometime! God bless!!!

      • avatar Lisa reply

        Thank you so much, Maria! I am sure I will get to meet you sooner or later! We’re so grateful for your prayers! :)

    14. avatar Aimee Jones reply

      This is so beautiful! It doesn’t feel like that long ago you were making us our wedding inspiration boards and now you get to actually have the beautiful wedding you’ve always dreamed about. So happy for you, Lisa! P.S. The Bachelor is on soon – I’ll miss our Bachelor watching nights! :)

      • avatar Lisa reply

        Awww, Aimee! You are so sweet and I miss you!! :) P.S. We may have to group text during the Bachelor because it is not the same without roomies to watch it with!

    15. avatar Aelish reply

      Lisa, I loved reading this. Every time I hear something about the two of you I can’t stop smiling. It’s such a treat to have two people you love dearly be so in love. xoxo

      • avatar Lisa reply

        We still owe you an Edible Arrangement for all of that Wilmot plotting that got us together ;) Love you!

    16. avatar Southern Weddings Weekly Round-Up – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

      […] I was tickled pink to share the story (as well as some sneaky behind-the-scenes details from Emily) here. As you can see below, we are pretty excited. […]

    17. avatar Laura reply

      So sweet! “Wagon Wheel” is me and my fiance’s song, too :)

    18. avatar Sponsored Post: REEDS Jewelers – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

      […] Lisa’s exciting news still reverberating in our office, engagement rings have been on all of our minds! Even if […]

    19. avatar Southern Weddings V6 Launch Party Recap – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

      […] cheers for technology, as it allowed friends far and wide to witness our sweet Lisa Olson’s engagement festivities (confetti included). We were so excited to be able to share in her sweet moment with her brand […]

    20. avatar Engaged Reader Round-Up – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

      […] time I look at the pictures from when my fiancé proposed, it gives me butterflies all over again! Whether your proposal was photographed or you snapped a […]

    21. avatar ame reply

      Love is an understatement for how awesome this plan was, and how much I love that it went off so well. You two are adorable, and I got misty reading this post!

    22. avatar Anastasia Kristina reply

      Lisa! This post made me cry unabashedly – so so dang sweet and perfect, I’m so happy for you and your man!!

    23. avatar Lisa's Southern Wedding: The Main Characters – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

      […] you may have read a few weeks ago, I’m newly engaged! Despite what my job description might lead you to believe, I have definitely not been planning my […]

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    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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