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We are feeling particularly festive today after a magical evening at the V7 Launch Party (THANK YOU to all those who came to celebrate with us!), so we can’t think of a better day to kick off our first annual Southern Newlywed holiday series! Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing special traditions, festive decor, tasty treats, and more from some of our favorite newlyweds. Since we, along with many of y’all, are working on coordinating our plans for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve, we thought we’d ask some friends to share what they’ll be doing this year. Whether your families live across the street or across the country, holiday planning can take some creativity and grace, and there’s no one right solution for every couple. If you’re a newlywed navigating this situation for the first time, we hope these ideas will get your wheels turning for a plan your whole family will be happy with!

Jacin (of Lovely Little Details) and Pat, by Jessica Burke

What are your holiday plans this year?

Jacin: This year, we are driving up to New Jersey to spend Thanksgiving with Pat’s family. His aunt makes the yummiest Thanksgiving dinner, and we love being close enough to enjoy this holiday with them after living so far away for so long! For Christmas, my family is flying down to stay with us for a week, and I cannot wait!!
Caitlin: This year, we are excited to stay at home and celebrate with my family, who lives near us. We also hope to host a holiday party or two!
Megan: For the first time since getting married almost five years ago, we will be spending Christmas at home. I have never taken decorating too seriously because we have never been present for the holidays, but this year, I plan to spend time preparing.
Juliet: We are looking forward to going back to my home state of North Carolina this year for Christmas. It will be our first married Christmas in North Carolina, so we are both so excited to spend some time with my side of the family.
Alex: We are still figuring out our Christmas plans for this year–there are so many logistics to figure out when you are dealing with several families spread out over a few different states! We feel blessed that both of our families are very understanding and super flexible! We are doing a combined Thanksgiving meal at my parents’ house for the second year in a row–it’s so much fun having everyone under one roof.

Caitlin (of Kruse and Vieira Events and Glitter Guide) and Austin, by Abby Jiu

How do you and your husband coordinate where/how to spend the holidays? What have you tried in the past? What are you doing this year?

Jacin: Until we were married, we still did separate holidays! Since we lived so far away from our families for so long, we typically would do Thanksgiving with his family and Christmas with mine–both of our families are content with this arrangement, and we are too. It takes a bit of planning each year to decide where we’re going to be, but it works out well!
Caitlin: This is always a tricky situation! We typically do Thanksgiving with my husband’s family and Christmas with my family, and then celebrate Christmas with his a week before the actual holiday. It’s a lot of travel, but it works for us and we love every second we get to spend with family.
Megan: Mike and I’s families live on opposites sides of the country; his is in Texas and mine is in Michigan. Since getting engaged, we worked it out with our families that we would trade off holidays equally unless, for some reason, there was a major reason we needed to change it. This way, we were not traveling right in the middle of it all and complicating the whole thing. It has worked well, and this year, we even offered to spend Christmas with both of our families in Raleigh, but it didn’t work out–one day, it will happen! This year, we are glad to be spending Thanksgiving at our new home with my family and Christmas with his family.
Juliet: Since both of our families live in different states from us and each other, it makes it very hard to see both families for one holiday. We visited David’s family in Michigan last year, so this year, we are spending the holidays with my family in North Carolina. We try our best to alternate Thanksgiving and Christmas each year with both sets of families. As of now, this works for us. :)

Megan and Mike (of The Fresh Exchange), by Brett & Jessica

Have you and your husband started any new holiday traditions together?

Jacin: Yes! We both love the holidays so much. We have two favorite traditions. The first is an ornament exchange “game” we play during our Friendsgiving dinner (a big supper party we host two weeks before Thanksgiving with our local friends–this will be our seventh year, and we even have friends flying in from California to enjoy the festivities!). Everyone brings a wrapped ornament and we set a timer for a certain amount of time and take turns rolling dice. Every time someone rolls a 7, 11, or doubles, they get to take an ornament from anyone at the table. The game continues until time runs out, and it’s really fun to see everyone vying for the favorite ornament! Our other tradition involves one of our favorite things: champagne! During the tree trimming every year, we pop open a nice bottle of bubbles and put Charlie Brown Christmas on in the background. We save the muselet (cage), write the year underneath, and hang it on the tree! It’s always fun to find the cages in the ornament boxes to remind us of all our past tree trimmings (and bottles of champagne!).
Caitlin: We are eager to start new traditions this year, as it is our first Christmas as husband and wife! We got engaged last December right after we got our Christmas tree, so this will always be a very special time for us! We are hoping to cut down our tree this year and go out for lunch at our favorite Irish pub afterwards.
Megan: Getting married meant we were open to accepting the traditions both of our families have. I remember the first year I spent Christmas with his family in Texas–as a northern Michigan girl who never knew Christmas could happen without snow, it was a little difficult. Since then, I have come to enjoy that instead of making warm cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate, we instead mix up fresh guacamole and margaritas. It is different, but for both of us, we know those are things that formed us into who we are and who we each fell in love with. I figure when we begin a family, we will begin to form more of our own traditions, but for now, our holidays are about experiencing each other’s traditions from growing up.
Juliet: We both have our own family traditions that we would love to continue in our marriage. Aside from those, every Christmas, we find one special memento or ornament to represent that year’s Christmas. Last year, it was a snow globe with the year carved on the bottom. It is something we will treasure for years to come, since it was the year we were married.
Alex: We started collecting colorful glass food ornaments for our tree. Trevor is a chef, and we both love to garden (and eat!), so it’s fun to have some of our favorite things on the tree. We even have a hamburger ornament!

Juliet (of Juliet Grace Design) and Dave (Dave Lapham Photography)

What do you eat for Christmas breakfast?

Jacin: My mom makes chocolate chip waffles and omelets or biscuits and gravy!
Caitlin: Oh boy! Usually a ton of coffee and some sort of breakfast casserole my parents have made. We usually spend the night at their house, even though we live 20 minutes away. There’s nothing like waking up with your family on Christmas morning!
Megan: Both of our families serve a big, warm breakfast. Mike’s family makes breakfast casserole and cinnamon rolls, and my dad always makes french toast or pancakes with bacon. Oh, and of course, plenty of great coffee!
Juliet: We love to have an assortment of food to choose from–donuts, bagels, miniature egg frittatas…the list goes on and on. We have no limits when it comes to Christmas morning breakfast!
Alex: On Christmas morning, we usually eat a breakfast casserole. Christmas pajamas are a must!

Alex and Trevor, featured in V7, by Clark Brewer

Real or fake Christmas tree?

Jacin: Real! But we might snag an artificial tree to put in the front hallway this year–the first time we walked through our house, I was already plotting where to put the tree(s)! :)
Caitlin: Always real! I deal with cleaning up pine needles and wrestling with the stand for that wonderful scent!
Megan: I grew up with both. Mike always had a fake one, but I have such fond memories of living in Michigan, bundling up, going to the tree farm, and picking out our tree. My dad would even pull us in a wooden sled. Sure, real trees are a total mess, but the process of getting a tree feels so special. Now, living in North Carolina, I am trying to find a place to go and purchase our first tree in our new home so we can have this experience, and share it with our kids one day as well.
Juliet: It’s got to be real! We love hunting for the perfect tree together!
Alex: We definitely have a real tree! I put real greenery anywhere I can around the holidays!

We’d love to hear, what are your holiday plans? Any advice for newlyweds?

lisa Written with love by Lisa
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Sometimes when I sit down to write these posts, I see so many wonderful details that I don’t even know where to start! Jillian + Marcus’s wedding was lovely, combining unique touches with the tried-and-true details that we never fail to love over and over again. Hay bale ceremony seating? We always love it. But a flower girl in plaid and lace carrying a galvanized steel bucket? Double brownie points! Scroll down and you’ll see more images by Dave Lapham to fawn over — include the bride’s and bridesmaids’ bouquets and the sweet notes J + M left at each place setting.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress: I found the one the week after I was engaged! Don’t be tricked by the tears. I cried with my second try-on, but the reality of it all was just settling in! When I tried on my dress, I was all smiles and twirls. I never wanted to take it off! That’s how I knew!
Did you decide to do a “first look”? We couldn’t wait to see each other but we wanted the thrill of the reveal.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. Walking down the aisle, walking back up the aisle, first dance? Oh, I agonized over picking the perfect songs that were unique but appropriate! I ended up just picking my absolute favorite songs and it turned out so perfectly. I don’t know why that didn’t dawn on me sooner. The groomsmen/groom processional was to “I’ll Be Seeing You” by Billie Holiday, the bridesmaid processional was to “C’est La Mort” by The Civil Wars, my processional was to “Till Kingdom Come” by Coldplay (the most beautiful song ever!), the recessional was to “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by The Beach Boys and our first dance was to “Forever and Ever, Amen” by Randy Travis. We were also VERY clear that “Footloose” by Kenny Loggins be played at least three times throughout the reception.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The most Southern characteristic was the pure atmosphere of celebration we wanted to create! We also had BBQ pork sandwiches with sweet potato fries served with homemade blackberry pie and sweet tea, a live band with string lights over the dance floor to encourage all night boogie-ing, and a ceremony with our friend and groomsman singing a hymn while our loved ones sat on hay bales.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Everything was so us. So many people at the wedding came up and just gushed about the fact that there was no denying that this wedding was ours! It had our name written all over it! From the wildflowers, the stripes and the glitter to the local and delicious buffet spread, kettle corn booth, and home-made pie, the day was definitely a celebration made for the people we love!
Describe your wedding flowers: They turned out SO beautifully, but boy was it a lot of work. Marcus and I picked up the boxes of uncut wildflowers from a wholesale florist on Thursday morning. By Thursday night, the middle of my apartment was converted into a full-fledged florist’s workshop with what felt like millions of flowers and mason jars to fill up! With friends, who are the hardest working angels in the whole world, we potted plants and arranged flowers ‘til the cows came home. We may or may not have danced a little, too.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert: We decided to go nontraditional in SO many areas of our wedding and this was one. Wedding cakes can be such a huge part of the budget and we didn’t feel strongly that we even wanted it! Also, the whole shoving-cake-in-your-new-spouse’s-mouth thing baffled us. We wanted something yummy, inexpensive, and simple to serve, but still wanted it to feel special. There is an Amish bakery in our hometown that we both grew up on that literally makes every flavor of pie in the whole world. We decided to order a bunch of those and call it a day. They were such a huge hit that we didn’t even get to taste it!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We had been friends for a few years before it dawned on us that we were madly in love with each other. It happened when I was in my best friend’s wedding and he was in the audience. We couldn’t stop looking at one another! We haven’t stopped since :)
Describe the proposal. I had been expecting it to happen soon, but then when Marcus actually asked me it was so unexpected! We were walking through some gardens on our way to the downtown farmer’s market, our Saturday morning ritual. Marcus led me down a different path, but I was impatient to get to my coffee! When I turned around, he was on his knee and I was speechless! It is the most beautiful ring in the world and from the best man I’ll ever know. Obviously, I said yes.
In what month did you get married? March
How many guests attended your wedding? 175
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? I am so bad with long term goals! We had a four and a half month engagement, but it felt like a lifetime to me! If it weren’t for our planner, Laura, I would have quit half-way through. By the end, there were multiple details that I simply deferred to Laura. Other than my short-sightedness, it was wonderful and smooth. I prayed a lot.
What range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000 – $50,000
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? I really don’t feel like we splurged on anything! Every single thing was under budget when it came down to it. I tried SO hard to be realistic with all of the budgeting! The only thing I thought we splurged on was a live band. So many people go with a DJ because of the lower price, but it was so worth it! Every single person was on the dance floor by the end of the night. They were like pied pipers!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? So many great moments! My mom and I crying together when my pastor was praying before the ceremony, giggle-crying my way through our vows, our Footloose dance-off, the car ride home with us exclaiming, “Whoa!” and “That was awesome!” We had the time of our lives.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? So many people say to enjoy it, but really some people just don’t like planning weddings. That’s ok! There were so many aspects I enjoyed, but I am so glad I never have to do it again! My best advice is to keep sight of the reason for all of the decisions and hard-work! You are about to marry your best friend, the best man you know, and the person that will always love you and point you to Christ. It is the most exciting thing in the world! If everything fell apart and nothing went right, at the end of the day, Marcus would be my husband and I would be his wife. That kept me going and kept me calm!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We are currently packing our apartment up and taking off to Australia for the next six months so that I can attend culinary school in Perth. We can’t wait to make adventures together!

Ashton Events is a fabulous member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
16 Comments
  1. avatar Madelynne Moulton reply

    I love that bouquet and the lavender!!! The striped ribbon is SO fab. I love her dress and I love the decor hanging from the trees. What a sweet and personal wedding! I can’t believe they planned it in such a short period of time! Very impressive!

  2. avatar C. Lapham reply

    Love the photos – Proud Dad

  3. avatar C. Lapham reply

    David – Great settings and original looks.

  4. avatar DC Wedding Photographer reply

    AMAZING! Truly inspiring images!

  5. avatar Kelly reply

    GORGEOUS. I love love love the pie tin signs, the striped ribbon, his gingham shirt… I could eat this wedding up!

  6. avatar naomi reply

    This wedding is just adorable. I love the programs, and the centerpieces are just perfect! Not one detail was overlooked. So lovely!

  7. avatar wedding wednesday : 6.13.12 | beka stays reply

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  8. avatar Nashville Wedding Invitation | Jam + Toast Wedding Inspiration reply

    […] Chic Barn Wedding, Nashville Welcome Bag, Chalkboard sign, Nashville Wedding Invitation by Jam + Toast, DIY Record […]

  9. avatar Featured on Southern Weddings: Jillian & Marcus reply

    […] just plain tickled to be able to share our news with you: Jillian & Marcus’ wedding is featured on Southern Weddings today! As much fun as we had styling their engagement shoot- their wedding was one of our all-time […]

  10. avatar Inspire. Palette #129: Lovely Dots | Anastasia Marie reply

    […] sweet on these floating flowers (image source unknown); this bouquet via Southern Weddings, photo by Dave Lapham; this sorbet via Country Living; these hanging frocks via Flickr: […]

  11. avatar Inspiration Board: Copper & Ostrich Egg reply

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  12. avatar Krystal reply

    This is BEAUTIFUL!!! I would love to get a hold of J&M Ranch (where the venue is, right?) but I can’t find any contact info! Do you have any? Planning a country wedding for next November :) Thanks!

    • avatar Lisa reply

      Hi Krystal! Congratulations on your engagement! :) I couldn’t find the venue’s contact information either, so I emailed Laura from Ashton Events to see if she has it. Hopefully, we’ll be able to find it soon and get back to you!

    • avatar Lisa reply

      Hi again! Laura just let me know that J&M Ranch is privately owned and no longer rents to the public. If you’re looking for some other great ranches in Central FL though, Laura said she’d be happy to recommend some! You can email her at [email protected] Hope this helps! :)

    • avatar Krystal reply

      Lisa: Thanks so much! I will E-mail her :)

  13. avatar Chic Barn By Ashton Events And Dave Lapham Wedding | Wedding Idea Spot reply

    […] Wedding Idea was found by: Anne415 Wedding Idea From: http://iloveswmag.com/2012/06/12/chic-barn-wedding-by-ashton-events-and-dave-lapham/ Photography: Dave […]

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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