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Today’s Southern Newlywed post felt a lot like getting together with a friend to catch up over coffee…and for good reason! Y’all may remember Meredith from the wedding planning series she guest posted for us while she was working as Lara’s nanny a few years ago, or from her and Beau’s gorgeous Florida wedding. Well, shortly after said wedding, these two moved a short drive away from their venue and settled into newlywed life in beautiful Rosemary Beach. It was so much fun to hear from them now that they’re two years into marriage, and to get a peek at their cozy, beachy home!

Thank you so much to Dear Wesleyann for capturing these photos!

The couple Meredith (25) and Beau (25)
Years married: Two years as of 7/11–yay!
Where you live We live in between Destin and Panama City Beach, Florida on a little 18-mile strip along the Gulf called Highway 30A.
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. Beau and I are originally from Norman, Oklahoma. We grew up there, but after we got married, we moved to Florida two years ago this past 4th of July. When people ask us how or why we came this way, it’s hard for me to explain. It just all sort of happened, and that’s kind of how our life goes! We take big leaps of faith prior to having a place to land, and the Lord is always faithful. We currently own and run three growing businesses: Beau has his hands in real estate, and I have my hands full-time in our vacation rental company, Benchmark30A, and work part-time growing a business with Rodan + Fields. These things definitely keep our plate full, but it is exciting to see the fruits of our labor come to fruition over time. We have been blessed with an amazing community of friends down here on 30A, which has been such a sweet gift, since both of our families still live in Oklahoma. We have lived in our new home on 30A for almost eight months, and it has been such a joy to make it feel like a home. We hope you enjoy a peek inside!
Tell us your love story in one sentence. High school sweethearts fall deeply in love senior year, choose long distance for three years, separate for one year, come back together spring of senior year of college, get engaged six months later, married six months after that, and move to the beach! (Find the unabridged version here.)

Do you rent or own? What are your hopes and plans for the future in this area? Tell us a little bit about where you live. We own a sweet little triplex (like a duplex, but three) unit in north “Prominence” on 30A. It’s about four miles west of where we said “I do!” in a town called Rosemary Beach, and is walking distance from “The Hub,” a new development that has some fun restaurants, shops, and live music almost every night. It also has a mega-screen, so in the fall, it’s the best place to watch football with our friends! Trying to pinpoint our plans and dreams is slightly comical to think about, because I don’t think either of us could have ever guessed we would be where we are today: running three businesses of our own (none of which relate to our education), and living at the beach almost 1000 miles from where we had always called home. But God knew, and that’s all that matters! But, if I were to take a moment to dream, I would hope to start a family here, build a home on some sort of water, and continue to grow in community. Our area is filled with some of the most peaceful waterfront areas (Gulf, Dune Lakes, Bay), so it seems silly to not take advantage of the beauty!
Tell us about the process of moving in together. Do you have any tips for blending your two styles? Moving in together was a lot of fun. When we first got married, we were knee-deep in the process of flipping a condo. When we moved in, we didn’t have any countertops, a sink, or finished tiling, and definitely were without furnishings. But, it was a fun process, and we did it together. During that process, we quickly learned three things: I tend to lean towards a lighter style, Beau tends to lean towards a darker style, and we both wanted something nice and home-y. When combining our styles, we picked darker wood floors and wood accents to contrast with my lighter choices of furniture, but ultimately, Beau knew that making a house a home was something that brought me a lot of joy, and he wanted me to have fun with the process–it was sweet.

What is your favorite part of being married? Morning coffee time, hands down. It was the thing I looked forward to most before we got married, and it is the thing we still cherish most each day. We were long distance for the majority of our relationship, so we never got to experience the simple joys of dating in person. Getting to wake up with Beau, grab some coffee, and set aside some time to pray and talk together each morning is the best.
What has been the most surprising thing about marriage? There are so many surprises–ha! You think you know your spouse after dating for five years, but then you live together, and it opens up a whole new can of worms! For instance, I had no idea that Beau was slightly obsessive about his teeth…brushing, whitening, mouth wash, etc.?! But, in all seriousness, I think I had this slight fear of the unknown with marriage. I knew what I hoped for, but the world often tells you of all the hardships, breaks, and struggles, and that you need to prepare, or else! But marriage has been such a blessing. It refines you, restores you, and brings so much joy. Beau is my best friend. Every day is different and just plain fun :)

Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? What are some of your favorite sources for home things? Since we live in a vacation area, a lot of people sell homes fully furnished. So, when we left our first condo, we left everything and had to start over from scratch–yikes! Because of that, the furnishing process was a little harder than usual. We wanted to fill all the rooms, but we also wanted to stay within budget. To help with this, we waited for big holiday sales, had two items that were gifted from both of our parents (such a huge help and very generous), and would search furniture sites that made items that looked like the fancy stuff, but at a much better price tag. Some of my favorites are Birch Lane, Wayfair, Overstock, Joss & Main, and Home Decorators!

Which items from your wedding registry do you use the most often? We registered for some great Juliska dishes from a local boutique back home that we use daily. I love all my dishes, but specifically, the “pasta bowls” are something that I definitely want more of…they’re a great depth and width (like a plate with sides) so you can use them for more than just pasta! I also love our Le Cadeaux plastic glasses and our Cuisinart blender–they’re all used daily!
What is your go-to weeknight meal? Weekend meal? We rotate through some easy ones pretty frequently. The crockpot is my best friend, so we do taco bowls with crockpot chicken fajita meat often! We also love an easy meat and veggie combo: steaks, pork chops, and bun-less burgers with brussels sprouts or green beans are other go-tos!
What’s your favorite place to find recipes? I don’t really have a particular blog or cookbook that I go to regularly. We try (keyword, try!) to eat a paleo diet as much as possible, so when I search, it will often be “paleo (fill-in-the-blank).” I follow PaleOMG and Lexi’s Clean Kitchen on Instagram, does that count?!

What’s your best tip for balancing your relationship and other life priorities? Oh, dear. This is something we are still working on, and something that has taken some definite trial and error. Our businesses are so intertwined, so it has taken intentional effort to try and separate marriage from work, and even life from work. In the process, we have come to realize which (work-related) conversations will work best with me stepping out of them, and which are best discussed between just the two of us as a husband listening to a wife, or vice versa. Although this is something we are still working on (tips welcomed!), it is really sweet to work with your best friend who understands your job through and through, can celebrate the progress with you, and pray with you in the times of uncertainty. But at the end of the day, he is my husband first, and I am his wife, and that is our main priority–the rest pales in comparison.
How does your family handle finances? Do you use a set budget? When it comes to budgeting, neither of us is naturally skilled with finances, and we recognize that. I am the more detail-oriented person between the two of us, so it was quickly decided that I would manage the finances. To help with this, we have taken a financial class as a couple through our church, sought counsel from people who have similar professions, looked into some books that could help us, and often have to reach out to our amazing accountant with any questions we may have. The thing we struggled with most in the beginning is that neither of our incomes is a set amount. They are constantly changing, and in a town run on tourism, our spring/summer far outweighs the rest of the year. So, we make sure to save accordingly, never suppress a generous thought, and always, without question, give 10 percent of our increase back to God.

What most makes your house feel like home? Definitely pictures of family and friends and wall decor. When we first moved in and all the walls were blank, it just felt empty and a little bit cold, lacking life. But, once we hung items, it really made a difference!
What is your favorite memory from your wedding? To be honest, that day was slightly a blur! All the pretty details and things were displayed, and when I look back at pictures, I can picture seeing some of those things around…but honestly, the best part was the experience of both of our worlds colliding for a night. We were long distance, so my friends had never met his friends, and vice versa, and it was a sweet experience to spend a weekend celebrating with all of our favorite people!
How do you remember your wedding in your home? (Pictures, mementos, etc.) I’m sure it’s a combination of the fact that we are newlyweds and that our wedding day was such a sweet day for us, but I have items everywhere! Pictures, paintings, guest signings, and even our wedding invitation framed on display (I loved it so much)!

Before getting married, I wish someone had told me… Beau: Marriage will refine you and bring forth any and all selfish tendencies you may have had as a single person prior to marriage. Before, every decision you made was based on your own thoughts or opinions. When you get married, it’s no longer about me or the decisions I will make, but us and the decisions we will make. Seek God to help you to be selfless in all your actions and words. Meredith: It’s okay to not be prepared or perfect prior to marriage. I was so concerned with the fact that we were long distance, and that maybe we weren’t getting adequate education or preparation for what was ahead. Is preparation great–yes! But will you ever be perfectly prepared for what lies ahead–no. And that’s completely okay. Seek God, give grace, and choose love.
This year, our family is most excited about… Beau: Seeing the fruit of our hard work over the past years come to fruition in our businesses has been really exciting–we look forward to what’s to come! Meredith: A vacation :) Somewhere all-inclusive with lots of chips and guac!

Thank you so much for sharing your hearts and home with us, Meredith and Beau! We miss y’all!

A little reminder: we’d love to hear from you! Our hope is to feature REAL couples in the South – not just folks who write blogs (though we love them, too!), but also your inspiring friend, super talented cousin, or neighbor with the cutest house – the kind of person everyone would love to “e-meet.” If that sounds like you or someone you know, take a peek at our Southern Newlywed submission page and shoot us an email!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Vicky reply

    This is seriously the cutest place! We have a similar color scheme and style in our home. It just gave me some great ideas and some inspiration. :) Thanks for sharing!

  2. avatar Elizabeth reply

    LOVE Meredith and Beau’s decorating style! Their home is gorgeous. <3

  3. avatar Calligraphy vows prints in our master bedroom – Em for Marvelous – reply

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Arielle says she has known all her life that she would someday be married on the beach. When it came time to decide where she and Chris would tie the knot, Seaside, Florida was the perfect choice–this Austin-dwelling couple has visited Seaside every year since their first year of dating! While I’m quite the fan of their location choice, I think their vow selection has my heart (be sure to read their favorite lines). They pieced together phrases that fit their relationship perfectly, saying that “every day brings something new, and the best part is walking through it with your best friend!” That’s the sweet stuff right there, y’all!

We’re so delighted Blue Ribbon Vendor, Dear Wesleyann was there to capture their lovely day!

I went to visit my family in Cincinnati and we went to the Reading Bridal District. I have a very boho style and have known all my life that I would get married on a beach, so it was a given that I had to find something wispy and light. We went into Yours Truly Kelly for our first stop, and there it was: a light tulle gown with little petals flowing down the train. It was too big, so my mom convinced me to try another shop, but I couldn’t get the dress off my mind! The next day, I went back and purchased the dress, and worked with a seamstress here in Austin to tailor it to my body, which required redesigning the bodice. We also added a belt made out of a hand-beaded fabric from a local shop in Austin.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We worked with the pastor from our church in Houston, Ecclesia, to piece together our vows. In my vows, I especially loved a phrase that said “I take you, Chris, to be my constant friend and faithful partner…I promise to love you unconditionally and support your goals from this day forward.” Chris loved this part of his vows: “I eagerly anticipate the chance to grow together, getting to know the woman you will become, and falling in love a little more every day. I promise to love and cherish you through whatever life may bring us.” These phrases fit us so perfectly because we have really grown up together. Every day brings something new, and the best part is walking through it with your best friend!

Chris walked my grandma down the aisle to “Edelweiss,” which is her favorite song. My dad and I walked down the aisle to “What a Wonderful World,” because he and I always listened to Eva Cassidy growing up, and we both love that song. Our friend played songs by Zac Brown Band on a ukulele while we did our knot-tying ceremony, which brought us back to our time in Nashville! Our first dance was to “Wagon Wheel,” because it was kind of our song when we first started dating, after lots of fun nights dancing and singing to it together at the bars with friends!

Describe your wedding flowers. I cried the moment I saw my bouquet. Marja from Florals by the Sea did the most incredible job using coral peonies, white anemones, white roses, lamb’s ear, and bright green foliage. It was breathtaking and looked so beautiful against the ocean and the sand.

If there’s one thing we heard most while planning our destination wedding, it was “Why Seaside?” Simply put, when Chris and I are there, it feels like the rest of the world could not be further away, and we enjoy a simpler way of life, if only for a few days. We’ve visited Seaside every year since our first year of dating! We invited guests to take time during the wedding weekend to walk through the Seaside farmer’s market, have a beer on the porch of the Great Southern, walk through the Perspicasity market, and pick up a few Seaside t-shirts along the way. Ultimately, we wanted our friends and family to fall in love with Seaside for the same reasons we did. Because of that hope, this quiet little beach town was the perfect choice for our wedding.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The colors, the clothing, the bow ties (Vineyard Vines), the entire look and feel, the architecture of Seaside, Southern food (chicken and waffle skewers, shrimp and grits, and local brews), the music choices, and all of our Southern friends and family…I could go on and on!

The most memorable moment of our wedding day was the very end of the reception. As the night concluded, Chris and I walked up the stairs to the Bud & Alley’s bar, and I just remember looking down at our guests and seeing so much love. Everyone was beaming with joy. It was beautiful and I feel so blessed to have that memory to think back on every day.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met while attending Belmont University in Nashville. I was having a dinner party with some of our fraternity and sorority friends, and one of them brought Chris, who had just transferred to Belmont, along. We became very good friends in the following months, and began dating about a year later. We haven’t looked back since!
Tell us all about the proposal! We had moved to Houston, Texas for work. My family was planning to visit for Thanksgiving, so I had an inclination that Chris would possibly propose during their visit, but I suppose he couldn’t wait! It was a Thursday evening and we got in the car to go out for a late dinner. We had decided to go to Dolce Vita, our favorite spot in Montrose, but Chris started driving in the opposite direction towards Houston’s mall, The Galleria. I remember being so confused (and hungry!). He kept talking on and on (much more than usual) about our new church and our life in our new city. Eventually, he parked in the mall parking garage and told me he wanted to check out some sort of art display. This was very unusual, because he isn’t really the art type! I followed him and the next thing I knew, we were in an unlit park with a large cement wall, most commonly referred to as the Water Wall. Usually, the wall is lit up, but on this night in particular, they were doing some maintenance and there was a boom lift in the middle of it. I looked at Chris and said something along the lines of “Why are we at this dark park…it’s not even open, and there’s construction stuff everywhere!” I turned around to walk away when he stopped me and said, “Well, I was going to ask you to marry me!” I turned around in utter disbelief and laughed, asking if he was joking. After he assured me that he was serious, I, of course, said yes, and then we went to have a celebratory dinner at Dolce Vita!
When did y’all get married? May 17, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 75
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Probably the cake table, because it was so close to our hearts. The cake stand was handmade by Chris’ dad, and my grandparents’ cake topper from their wedding sat beside it. The hand-beaded starfish chandelier that my mom so lovingly made for us added to the beautiful display.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed my veil from my best friend Katie (we were in each other’s weddings, too!). My something old was a family locket with photos of my grandfather and my grandma (God rest her soul) inside, which I tied to my bouquet. My something blue was a handmade garter (seersucker, of course!) from my mother-in-law, Lori, and my earrings from BHLDN were new!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We did a full marriage course with our church. We highly recommend doing this. It helped us to work through tough questions that we will eventually face in the future and taught us to communicate openly and respectfully with one another. It has helped our relationship immensely and I’m forever grateful to our pastors, Paul Randall and Chris Seay.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Chris and I spent a lot of time talking about our wedding, but he always reminded me when we needed to maintain our real life. In the days leading up to the wedding, we spent time just enjoying the moment–we checked into a sweet little cottage and sat inside, drinking wine and listening to the rain. We enjoyed lots of rest and time with family and friends, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. All I can say is to just remember that your wedding is about the rest of your life together and that life goes beyond the wedding day. It’s where your story begins!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Right after the wedding, Chris and I made plans to move from Houston to Austin. We both took new jobs and made the official move in January 2015. We are now making plans to buy our first house. Hopefully, it will be a fixer-upper, because we both love a good project! Aside from that, we’re in the middle of planning our next Seaside reunion trip for Labor Day weekend with our best friends!

Photographer: Dear Wesleyann / Videographer: Gilmore Pictures / Planner: Heather Archdeacon Williams of Defining Moments Weddings and Events / Ceremony Venue: Coleman Beach / Reception Venue and Catering: Bud & Alley’s Waterfront Restaurant / Florist: Florals by the Sea / Cake Baker: Publix / DJ: B Boy Productions / Paper Products: Simply Fetching Paper / Bride’s Gown: La Sposa / Bride’s Earrings: BHLDN / Bride’s Necklace: Liz James / Hair Stylist: Kallie Warner and Ilyssa Glover Goddin / Makeup Artist: Kallie Warner / Bride’s Shoes: “Buti” in Metallic by Castaner / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “778” in Capri by Bill Levkoff / Groom’s Pants: Bonobos / Groom’s Shirt: Façonnable / Groom’s Bow Tie: Brooks Brothers / Groomsmens’ Pants: “Chinos” in Navy by Dockers / Groomsmens’ Shirts and Bow Ties: Vineyard Vines / Nautical Rope Table Numbers: Karen’s Wedding Shop

marissa Written with love by Marissa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Irving Gil reply

    Arielle and Chris were such a pleasure to work with and their wedding was so beautiful. Seaside is one of my favorite cities and I was so happy to be a part of their special day!

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  3. avatar Candance reply

    This is amazing. Gorgeous. The details are absolutely flawless.

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Finding new wedding vendors to introduce you to via our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory is one of my favorite parts of my job! Here, a few of our recent additions:

Amalie Orrange is a photographer in Orlando, Florida. I love her vibrant colors and natural-feeling images.

Amy Lynne Originals is a talented florist in North Carolina who produces fresh and unique work. And, having met her at our last yard sale, I can vouch that she is lovely and warm in person, too!

I love Christine’s Couture’s tagline: “we know our brides by name and their dresses by heart.” Starkville, Mississippi is lucky to have this wedding and special occasion shop!

Dear Wesleyann might be a new name to you, but I’ll bet you’ve been seeing her photos for years. We love Wesleyann’s work as much as ever, and count Florida Panhandle brides lucky to have her in their neighborhood!

Likewise, Texas brides are lucky to have Ivy Weddings! The way this husband-and-wife team captures emotion is wonderful.

We love all the sweet girly goodness of Love Ophelia, especially after one of their robes was featured on the Bachelorette (we’re big fans in the office — or, at least Emily is!). Perfect for bridal party gifts, too!

Luke Wilson Special Events knows how to do sweet Southern charm right. He’s based in South Carolina!

Finding the perfect wedding deejay can be one of those wedding-tasks-to-end-all-wedding-tasks, which is why we’re happy to introduce you to MyDeejay. Maryland and local brides, be sure to check out their unique matching process! (Photo by Egomedia Photography)

Paige Winn Photo has a soft, romantic style that fits in perfectly with their Charleston, SC location.

Last but certainly not least, Spindle Photography is a studio located in Birmingham. I’ve loved getting to know Kelly’s sweet personality and images over the last few months!

To check out all of our Blue Ribbon Vendors, just click over to the full directory! You can search by category or state to find your perfect match.

Vendors, if you’re interested in getting involved, just fill out this form and Kristin will be in touch! There are so many great things that go along with being a Blue Ribbon Vendor, like access to our private Facebook group and tip blog, and being among the first to know about submission deadlines and print or image calls!

emily Written with love by Emily
2 Comments
  1. avatar Nicole reply

    Please correct “Starksville” to “Starkville” in the post that references Mississippi. Thank you!

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