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With her mantra of “grace not perfection,” it’s hard to think of anyone better to kick off the “At Home” portion of our Southern Newlywed column than Emily Ley. Many of y’all may know her as a great friend to Southern Weddings (she and Lara are BFFs through their work with Making Things Happen) or because you own one of her lovely and intentional products like the Simplified Planner.

Emily exemplifies what we’re hoping to communicate with these home tour/interviews – it’s not about having the “perfect” abode or having everything “done” before you can share it, it’s about finding joy and inspiration in what you have, where you live, and who you share it with. Though Emily shares often and openly about life with her family on instagram, we are so excited to share this first look into her happy Tampa home, courtesy of Shay Cochrane

Names: Emily and Bryan Ley
Years married: 6
Childrens’ names and ages: Brady, 3

Your love story in one sentence: A 16-year-old gal falls madly in love with the cute frat boy with the red jeep and dreams of how cute her married name would be…
Do you rent or own? We own our home in Tampa, Florida. Bryan lived here before we got married. We dream of one day building what we call our “forever home.” One of our favorite things to do is plan this space and mentally draw diagrams of rooms and closets and jack-and-jill bathrooms.

Tell us about the process of moving in together. Do you have any tips for blending your two styles? Ha ha! We have two different answers on this. My answer is that we moved in together and my crisp, white, airy, slightly country taste meshed perfectly with Bryan’s masculine, rich leather, hardwood style. Bryan’s answer is that I moved in, filled 19 bags with “donations,” and let him keep his airplane propeller and our vintage ’74 Bronco. (Okay, it might have happened a little like that… but we both adore our space now! He has been very sweet letting me have the reigns on our interior decorating).
Which room in your home is your favorite, and why? We live in our kitchen and family room. They’re very open to each other and you can find all three of us here at any given time. This space is very welcoming, full of natural light, and has been organized in a way that really works for our lifestyle. We remodeled this space a few years ago and made all the decisions (big and small) together. It was really fun to incorporate both our styles into one big room that truly feels like us and is still kid-friendly.

Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? What are some of your favorite sources for home things? Early in our marriage, our house felt very empty because we hadn’t accumulated many mementos and souvenirs (or even photos!) from adventures together. I made the mistake of filling the “white space” with random things (vases, fake flowers, knick-knacks) that had no meaning to us – they simply filled a void (if that isn’t a great metaphor for life, I don’t know what is!). As the years have gone by, we’ve slowly replaced the meaningless stuff with really special things that have specific memories or people associated with them. This is probably my favorite part about our home. Most of our decor pieces come from One Kings Lane, HomeGoods, or Target. We decided early to splurge on furniture that is great quality and may even be passed down to our children.

Who cooks dinner? Well, neither of us love to cook, but we get it done. I’m typically a very healthy eater. Bryan loves pizza and chicken wings and mashed potatoes. We blend our tastes together. On the weekends, Bryan grills a lot – I bought him a Big Green Egg smoker for his first Father’s Day and he’s a champ on it! He makes the best chicken and pulled pork ever.
What is your go-to weeknight meal? Weekend meal? I love soups and stews for the week. They’re filling and can be made really healthy (the boys don’t even have to know it!) without tasting like they’re missing something. On the weekend, we eat out on Saturdays and have a big family dinner on Sundays (much like my own mama does back home!).

Which items from your wedding registry do you use the most often? Definitely the staple kitchen supplies – nice non-stick pots and pans.
What different decisions, if any, would you make for your registry if you knew then what you knew now? I would have registered for great everyday dishes instead of our fancy china. We only use it once a year when we host Thanksgiving dinner!

What’s your best tip for balancing your relationship and other priorities in life (work, personal time, extended family, etc.)? Date night. We try to have an adults only, screen-free date night at least once a month. No cell phones allowed. We typically go to our favorite local spot, Catch 23, and have some wine (we love trying new wines together) and a long dinner. It’s so nice to reconnect and talk over a good meal.

How does your family handle finances? Do you use a set budget? When we got married, Bryan and I decided to put our individual strengths to work financially. We decided that Bryan would be “CEO” and I would be the “Office Manager.” I handle the day-to-day needs (i.e. paying bills that come in the mail) and Bryan manages our long-term, big picture financial plan (i.e. investments, insurance, retirement, etc.). I take an active role in these things by understanding the terms, meeting with our financial advisor with Bryan, and helping to make important decisions, but ultimately, Bryan leads us in this. He’s great with our finances, so I feel really fortunate to have him by my side with these things.

Do you have children? What are your hopes and plans for the future in this area? We do! Brady Ley is our sweet little boy. He’s three years old. He’s fantastic. Being his Mom and Dad is the greatest thing on Earth. We’ve dealt with infertility for a long time and continue to struggle with Baby Ley #2, but our faith and our commitment to each other make room for lots of hope and gratitude.

In 2014, our family is most excited about… growing together more. Brady is learning new things each and every day. We are in a unique situation (purposely) in that I work part-time running a full-time business and am able to be home with Brady in the afternoons and on Fridays. The name of the game in 2014 is to soak up these precious moments as a family of three. Hopefully, that will be changing soon, so we’re relishing every second that we’re able to spend with just Brady. We have much to be grateful for.

What is one small way you love or serve your spouse? I am a big believer in love languages. Over the past few years, I’ve been trying hard to learn Bryan’s love language. When we were first married, I would leave little love notes for him around our house or a surprise bag of M&Ms (his favorite) in the driver’s seat of his car. Acts of kindness and surprises are definitely my love language, so surely, that would be his too, right? But it wasn’t! And it hit me, recently actually, that his love language is in our finances. Sounds super strange, I know. Bear with me and get to know my husband here: Bryan takes his role as “Ley Family CEO” and co-provider for our family very seriously. In the past (and gracious, I’m still not perfect at it), I’ve been careless sometimes with excessive random Target trips for things we don’t need or too many trips to Banana Republic (my weakness). These excessive expenditures made Bryan feel frustrated. When I stepped back and realized that my respect for our finances was what made him feel the most respected and loved, it hit me like a ton of bricks! So, I serve my husband by respecting our finances more.

What has been the most surprising thing about marriage? The most surprising thing about being married is that marriage takes work and effort. My parents are incredible role models for us after having been married 37 years. The amount of respect they have for each other is remarkable and inspires us to always take a step back and remember what really matters most when things aren’t easy. Bryan and I have grown so much over the past six years, facing infertility and a high risk pregnancy together, living eight hours from our hometown and my family, and raising a son, all while pursuing our own careers. We’ve become pretty good about telling each other when we need a hug, when we need some time to ourselves, or when we just need a good glass of wine, Netflix reruns, and a hand to hold on the couch.

What is your favorite part of being married? Living with my best friend. No one makes me laugh like Bryan does. And on that same note, no one can make me laugh at myself like Bryan does. He encourages me to not take life so seriously and to truly soak up the joy in our journey. His lightheartedness is what won me over when we were just kids working at a restaurant together. Well, that and his handsome, crooked smile. :)

Huge hugs to Emily for giving us this glimpse into her family’s life! Be sure to pay a visit to her site, blog, and instagram.

A little reminder before you go: We have great things in the works for this column, but we’d love your help! 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!

emily Written with love by Emily
15 Comments
  1. avatar Kat reply

    Oh, y’all!! I LOVE this new series!!! What a great way to talk about Newlyweds in the South!! Emily’s home is so beautiful… I can’t wait to see what other women you feature!!! xo!!

  2. avatar Friday Favorites: 4.25.14 | Elizabeth Robertson Williams reply

    […] a website called Southern Weddings?  I guess that shouldn’t surprise me.  I loved this glimpse into wife, mom, designer, and blogger Emily Ley’s home.  It seems so welcoming, simple, and […]

  3. avatar Bonnie reply

    What a sweet feature! I just love Emily and this new little spot on SW for newlyweds has my heart singing! It is so great to read about other young couples and discover what unique ways they pursue each other in their marriage. Emily’s home has me so inspired to find special ways to incorporate both my husband and my personalities more into our little home!

  4. avatar Lara reply

    Yay! So happy to have you on SW, Em!

  5. avatar Maureen reply

    So glad you featured Emily Ley! I’ve loved her for years!

  6. avatar Nicole reply

    Love!! And Love Emily’s insight into love languages.

  7. avatar Emily reply

    I have to agree with Miss Emily on the best part of being married! Living with your best friend is the best :)

  8. avatar Wanda reply

    I loved this interview and glimps into Emily Ley’s family. I feel very related with her when she spoke about honoring and showing that she loved her husband. My husband feels more love when I take care of our finances too. It does sounds weird, but it’s just the way they are. Thanks for sharing the Ley’s family, I enjoyed it a lot.

  9. avatar Kaya reply

    I love Emily Ley!!! And her home! Her office is inspiring me to update mine.

  10. avatar Lisa reply

    Love this so much! I’m definitely taking heed of her words about not accumulating stuff to “fill the void” in my own mostly-bare apartment–other than picture frames filled with amazing memories, the rest can come with time!

  11. avatar Home Tour, Part II + a giveaway from Kenroy Home! | Emily Ley reply

    […] week, Southern Weddings featured my little family and home as part of their new (awesome!) Southern Newlywed series! (Shay Cochrane took some amazing photos […]

  12. avatar Denise reply

    What a great idea to feature newlyweds! So much build up with the wedding that many forget the marriage!

  13. avatar Southern Newlywed: Date Night with Marissa and Brandon – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] gotten into the kitchen with Kristin and taken a tour of Emily Ley’s home, and now, we’re tickled pink to introduce y’all to another Southern Newlywed topic: […]

  14. avatar Allison reply

    Oh, I just love this! I can’t wait to read more!

  15. avatar Kitchen counter tops… – Best Home Decorating Ideas reply

    […] Source: southernweddings.com […]

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When we announced our V5 Photo Contest, we had no idea just how stinkin’ cute our readers are! Now we do, and let me tell you, y’all are cuter than a little red wagon full of speckled pups! Let’s recap: super cute kiddos, a sweet nana (who appears on page 54 of this issue!), a loving hubby and adorable pups? Check! Our big ol’ Southern Weddings V5 photo contest finalists are some kind of adorable. So adorable, in fact, that we need your help choosing a winner!

A little more background, just for fun: Peyton (the blond) gifted her recently-engaged best friend Melissa with her own copy of SW. You may recognize Marissa as a model from two of our past photo shoots (she’s showing off more of her posing skills above). That adorable golden puppy was involved in the proposal for Amanda, Julianne’s friend (with a copy of SW being the next logical step). Stephanie said, and I quote, “hubby literally took it off my lap.” Love that!

Help us find a winner! Vote by leaving a comment below with your favorite’s name! The winner will receive an adorable Emily Ley iPhone case!

Voting will end on Friday, February 1, so get your votes in quick! One vote per person, please!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
183 Comments
  1. avatar Peyton Dismukes reply

    EEEK! I vote for Peyton!

  2. avatar Candice Robinson reply

    I vote for Peyton! You have turned into a beautiful southern bell!

  3. avatar Kayla Cook reply

    Peyton and Melissa are my vote!!

  4. avatar katie reply

    Peyton

  5. avatar Dee Shore reply

    Darn these are all so adorable! But I do have to admit “Lucy O” melts my heart. Such sweetness!

  6. avatar Marilu reply

    Peyton!

  7. avatar Stephanie Baker reply

    Peyton!

  8. avatar Karen Dismukes reply

    Peyton

  9. avatar Krista reply

    Peyton!!!!!!!

  10. avatar Kat reply

    I’m a sucker for the puppy! Julianne has my vote!!

  11. avatar Karen Dismukes reply

    My vote goes to Peyton!

  12. avatar Amber reply

    PEYTON!!! She is beautiful on the inside and out, and a woman I am proud to call my friend! I cannot wait to be there for her special day.

  13. avatar Melissa reply

    I vote PEYTON… because I’m the Melissa in the picture! :) We had no idea this was for a contest!! So thankful I have such a sweet friend to be a part of my engagement AND give me the Southern Weddings magazine for my first bridal magazine!

  14. avatar Cameron reply

    I love Julianne’s photo!

  15. avatar Aubrie Moates reply

    PEYTON is adorable!!

  16. avatar leg reply

    pup+bow tie+southernweddings = katey

  17. avatar Melissa Borden reply

    I love “Lucy O”!!

  18. avatar Ashleigh reply

    I vote Julianne! Puppy + ring + SW5? Yes, please!

  19. avatar Sara Perks reply

    I vote for Lucy O!!!

  20. avatar EBNicholson reply

    Lucy O!

  21. avatar KC Fisher reply

    Lucy O!!!

  22. avatar Stuart Goetke reply

    I vote for Kristin Shyla! She took pictures at my church, Integrity, a few weeks ago! So glad she’s one of the top picks!

  23. avatar Ali W reply

    LUCY O + her little Edith!

  24. avatar esther reply

    Lucy O

  25. avatar Rachel reply

    Can’t beat the cuteness of Lucy O and her little girl, Edith! Precious!

  26. avatar Elizabeth reply

    Lucy O!

  27. avatar Maggie reply

    Lucy O!

  28. avatar Julia reply

    Lucy O

  29. avatar MB Miller reply

    Lucy O

  30. avatar paula rowan-page reply

    without a doubt… Lucy O

  31. avatar Lora reply

    Love Lucy O baby!!!! So cute!

  32. avatar paula rowan-page reply

    Absolutely Lucy O!

  33. avatar Crystal reply

    Gabrielle

  34. avatar Jenny reply

    I love Lucy O!

  35. avatar Evey reply

    Peyton!!!

  36. avatar Jessica reply

    Gabrielle :)

  37. avatar Cassie Wicks reply

    I vote for Gabrielle! She’s a sweetie! :)

  38. avatar Ashley Flippin reply

    All very cute but Julianne has got to be the sweetest thing ever!!

  39. avatar Edward B reply

    Lucy O baby ftw!

  40. avatar Jill Powers reply

    Lucy O! …cutest baby ever!!

  41. avatar Mary reply

    Lucy O!!

  42. avatar Kelsey reply

    Gabrielle!

  43. avatar Madelynne Moulton reply

    Nina is JUST PRECIOUS. She has my vote!

  44. avatar Kelsey reply

    I vote for Lucy O!

  45. avatar Rachel L. reply

    Lucy O

  46. avatar Suzie reply

    Lucy O gets my vote!

  47. avatar ADokun reply

    Lucy O. has my vote. Love the baby!!!

  48. avatar Molly reply

    Lucy O!!

  49. avatar Rebekah Hoyt reply

    LUCY O!!!

  50. avatar Tiffany Caddell reply

    My vote is for Peyton!!

  51. avatar Kathleen Beede reply

    Lucy O

  52. avatar Angela reply

    They say train up a child-I guess Lucy O is preparing for wedding rehearsals even before walking down hallways.

  53. avatar Rebekah reply

    Peyton!!

  54. avatar Cameron reply

    Goodness me, of course lucy o!!!

  55. avatar Sarah reply

    Marissa!!

  56. avatar Emily reply

    Marissa obviously! Gorgeous!!

  57. avatar Henry reply

    Team Marissa!!

  58. avatar Sydney reply

    Peyton!!! For sure. So beautiful!

  59. avatar Allison reply

    Lucy O!

  60. avatar sarah der! reply

    LUCY O!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  61. avatar Nina reply

    Haha! Awesome! I put a vote in for “Nina”, but truly the vote goes to my twins that are in the pic! :) They LOVE talking about brides and grooms and getting married. :)

  62. avatar Jen O. reply

    Nina! Her twins are so cute!

  63. avatar Erin Pivonka reply

    Nina!

  64. avatar Steph reply

    Definitely Nina! Those are two adorable kiddos.

  65. avatar Lisa Marie Anderson reply

    Nina and her twins!

  66. avatar Jane reply

    Lucy O!

  67. avatar Amanda reply

    Nina

  68. avatar Lisa C reply

    I vote for Marissa!! She’s the best!!

  69. avatar Mallory reply

    Oh, that Lucy O! My vote goes to her and her sweet babe Edith! xo

  70. avatar Palma T reply

    Marissa is great at everything she does!

  71. avatar Carolyn reply

    Peyton is my vote !

  72. avatar Lauren | Lauren Nicole Photography reply

    My vote is for Gabrielle! She’s the sweetest thing ever and totally deserves to win! Love you guys!

  73. avatar Maureen reply

    Lucy O! Edith is sooo cute!!!

  74. avatar Abby Grace reply

    Ahhh Lucy O’s little one is the CUTEST! Get ’em hooked at an early age :)

  75. avatar ASM reply

    Peyton!

  76. avatar Lisa J reply

    Nina!

  77. avatar Jen reply

    Nina!

  78. avatar Emily Rhyne reply

    Peyton fo sho!!!!!!!!!

  79. avatar Lauren reply

    Peyton!

  80. avatar marissa reply

    What a great photo.

  81. avatar Amanda reply

    Nina is adorable!

  82. avatar Hannah Freeman reply

    Peyton!!!! (Of course;my beautiful future sister in law!!!

  83. avatar Keith reply

    Peyton,definitely!

  84. avatar Marissa reply

    Great photo – I took it!!!!

  85. avatar Linda reply

    You Go girl – Marissa!!!

  86. avatar Faith reply

    Gabrielle! :)

  87. avatar Daniel White reply

    Lucy O takes this one.

  88. avatar Andy Flowers reply

    Peyton

  89. avatar Carolyn reply

    I vote for Peyton!!!!

  90. avatar Robin reply

    Love the adorable puppy proposal by Julianne! Great magazine with awesome inspiration..

  91. avatar adam barnes reply

    lucy o! :)

  92. avatar Megan Martin reply

    JuliAnne for the win! Xo– Megan : )

  93. avatar Carolyn reply

    I vote for PEYTON!!!!!!

  94. avatar Portia Phillips reply

    I vote for Gabrielle!!

  95. avatar John Phillips reply

    I vote for Gabrielle.

  96. avatar Libby reply

    How could anyone say no to JuliAnne’s precious puppy!!!

  97. avatar Stephen von Heyking reply

    I vote for Gabrielle because she is my cutie pie wife!

  98. avatar Amber Garvey reply

    Julianne!!!!

  99. avatar Ia Williams reply

    Nina and her beautiful twins.

  100. avatar lauren reply

    Juilianne

  101. avatar Emily Steffen reply

    DEF Ms. Edith (Lucy O!) She is an adorable fan!!!! :)

  102. avatar Sally Kelley reply

    Julianne is awesome!! The perfect combination of love and beauty with her design !!

  103. avatar catherine reply

    LUCY O!!!

  104. avatar Debbie golub reply

    My favorite is Marissa! What a beauty!
    She’s a winner from head to toe!

  105. avatar Katie K reply

    Lucy O!!!!! She is fabulous and her daughter is adorable. Love little Miss E!!!

  106. avatar Erin reply

    Lucy O!!!!

  107. avatar Keith reply

    Hands down – Lucy O. The fact that it is my baby doesn’t sway my judgement at all!

  108. avatar Tammy reply

    My vote is for Peyton!!

  109. avatar Ashley reply

    Julianne’s is more than adorable its perfect!!! (Soft spot in my heart for Goldens)

  110. avatar Teri reply

    Who could resist a proposal that employs such an adorable puppy? My vote us for JuliAnne!!

  111. avatar Sara reply

    Lucy O!!

  112. avatar Carla reply

    LUCY O

  113. avatar Evan G Cooper reply

    I vote PEYTON!!

  114. avatar kayla zimmerman reply

    Peyton Dismukes

  115. avatar Ashlee reply

    JULIANNE!!!

  116. avatar Linda Stowell reply

    Love JuliAnne’s pup!

  117. avatar Vicki reply

    Marissa is a beautiful model with a great personality!

  118. avatar Emma reply

    Marissa!!! She is the best!!

  119. avatar kathe reply

    definitely Lucy O!!!

  120. avatar Carly Totten reply

    Lucy O! I remember your post of her on Instagram. Too cute. : )

  121. avatar ayelet jonisch reply

    marisa – awesome photo!

  122. avatar Jackie reply

    I vote for Julianne!!! What a great photo!

  123. avatar JuliAnne reply

    I am in desperate need of a new iphone case and would love to win this! After all who doesn’t love puppies, proposals & planning with SWmag…JuliAnne is my vote :)

  124. avatar Brittany reply

    Marissa!!!

  125. avatar Nicole Masi reply

    I vote for the beautiful Marissa!

  126. avatar Jeanna reply

    Marissa’s photo

  127. avatar Chris reply

    Marissa!!!!

  128. avatar Edie reply

    My vote is for Peyton….too cute!!!!

  129. avatar Kristyn M reply

    Julianne for sure!!

  130. avatar taylor lord reply

    NINA ALL THE WAY! :) :)

  131. avatar Ruthie reply

    YAY Kristin Shyla!

  132. avatar Victoria Derrick reply

    Love them all, but my favorite would have to be Kristin Shyla! The tongue sticking out is just perfect.

  133. avatar liz reply

    Go Marissa!!!!

  134. avatar Carolyn reply

    Peyton!! So adorable. I gifted my best friend V5 right after she got engaged as well.

  135. avatar Darby reply

    Peyton!

  136. avatar Victoria reply

    Lucy O!!!

  137. avatar Olivia reply

    JULIANNE!!!

  138. avatar Liz reply

    Julianne has my vote!

  139. avatar Erin Dudley reply

    Julianne

  140. avatar Amanda reply

    i LOVE Lucy O’s!! there is just something about babies!!

  141. avatar Stefania reply

    Peyton!!!

  142. avatar Sonya McCarley reply

    Peyton

  143. avatar Dani reply

    congratulations, Love Peyton’s picture. She is adorable!

  144. avatar Alice reply

    Peyton I love you

  145. avatar Mildred Tanner Wynne reply

    PEYTON!

  146. avatar Diane reply

    Marissa – great going!!

  147. avatar Emily Wertman reply

    Marissa

  148. avatar Lisa reply

    I vote for the beautiful Gabrielle!!!

  149. avatar Ermanno reply

    I vote for Marissa. Love the photo.

  150. avatar Elizabeth Losi reply

    Looking good, Marissa!

  151. avatar Andrew reply

    Marissa!

  152. avatar Francesca reply

    I vote Gabrielle!

  153. avatar lacy reply

    I vote Julianne

  154. avatar Stephanie D reply

    Voting for Gabrielle!!

  155. avatar Jamie K! reply

    Gabrielle!!

  156. avatar Kelly reply

    Gabrielle

  157. avatar Mandy Caudill reply

    Gabrielle :)

  158. avatar Tori Watson reply

    Lucy O!!!

  159. avatar Chelsea T. reply

    Gabrielle!!

  160. avatar Linda reply

    A vote for Gabrielle

  161. avatar missy reply

    Gabrielle Von Heyking

  162. avatar mandy reply

    I vote for Gabrielle!

  163. avatar tara reply

    Gabrielle!

  164. avatar Paige reply

    Gabrielle!!

  165. avatar Brenda Eley reply

    Gabrielle von Heyking is my vote!

  166. avatar rachelle reply

    I vote for GABRIELLE!!!!

  167. avatar Amanda reply

    Gabrielle!

  168. avatar Lyndsey reply

    Gabrielle!

  169. avatar Ashley Victoria Photography reply

    I vote for Gabrielle :)

  170. avatar Lucille Cappello reply

    My vote goes to Marissa’s photo.

  171. avatar gradchica reply

    Lucy O!!

  172. avatar Sarah reply

    Lucy O

  173. avatar Manisha reply

    Lucy O photo for the WIN!!!

  174. avatar Katie K reply

    Lucy O and Baby E are my fav!!!!!

  175. avatar Katie K reply

    Lucy o photo and Baby E are my favorites!!

  176. avatar Edwina reply

    I vote for Peyton

  177. avatar Wendy reply

    lucy O

  178. avatar Carmen reply

    I vote for Lucy O!

  179. avatar Phillip reply

    Lucy O by far!

  180. avatar Ashley Crute reply

    Lucy O all the way!

  181. avatar Maria Norcia Santillanes reply

    I chose MARISSA … she’s beautiful!

  182. avatar Hillary Fitch reply

    Julianne for sure!!! So cute!

  183. avatar Maggie Shealy reply

    The puppy is too cute, my vote goes to JuliAnne!!

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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When I received my Emily Ley Simplified Planner in the mail not too long after my sister got engaged this summer, I fell in love with the gold corners and the luxurious linen cover and then promptly scheduled a time after work to organize it — dating the pages and deciding what to label the dividers. (Which is, in all seriousness, my idea of fun.) Then I realized, my sister would really appreciate this planner. Maybe even (dare I say?) more than I would. It is, after all, one of the most challenging organizational efforts to plan a wedding, work a full time job and in her case, act as mommy to a pug and schedule time to see her fiance who currently lives in another state. I selflessly surrendered the planner to her as my first act of maid of honor.

Of course, as she tends to do, Emily Ley read the minds of me, my sister and the multiple others who had been waiting for the Simplified Planner for months and created a Simplified Planner dedicated to women who are now happily engaged (and balancing work, friends and family).

It’s full of everything you could want in a planner, but it’s also an important wedding planning tool, full of the documents you need to get the logistics on paper and out of your brainspace. With monthly calendar pages, dividers, sheet protectors for inspiration gathering, contact pages for guests and vendors, a wedding checklist, a budget tracker, a vows worksheet and a seating arrangement worksheet, the Simplified Planner practically plans your wedding for you!

To Enter: There are three ways!
1. Leave a comment below telling us which part of wedding planning you’re most looking forward to.
2. Tweet “I just entered the @EmilyLey Simplified Wedding Planner giveaway on @iloveswmag!” Then, come back here and leave a SEPARATE comment telling us you did so.
3. Like Emily Ley and Southern Weddings on Facebook. Then leave a SEPARATE comment below telling us you did!

Win: The Emily Ley Simplified Wedding Planner!

This giveaway ends December 5 at midnight. Good Luck!!

P.S. The 12 Days of Southern Wedding Christmas is BACK, y’all! Keep an eye out for the giveaway goodness in December!

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
135 Comments
  1. avatar Anna reply

    Love the planner! i am looking forward to finalizing the ceremony!

  2. avatar Ashley reply

    Liked Emily Ley and Southern Weddings on Facebook!

  3. avatar Cameron reply

    So cute!! Who new organization could be so sweet :)
    I’m excited about finalizing the flowers and the decor….those special touches can create the perfect atmosphere for celebration!

  4. avatar Brittany reply

    I am so excited just to begin planning (I just got engaged!) and this would be the perfect helper! I can’t wait to spend time with my mom and grandmothers getting all of the pretty little details figured out!

  5. avatar Amy reply

    Looking forward to every part of planning to make my vision become reality!

  6. avatar Amy reply

    Liked Emily Ley and Southern Weddings on Facebook!

  7. avatar Larissa reply

    I’m looking forward to it all being over honestly. Then I’ll be married!

  8. avatar Megan reply

    It’s beautiful! I’m most looking forward to planning out the ceremony and getting all of my thoughts down on paper! :)

  9. avatar Sarah Lindsay reply

    The part of my wedding that I am most looking forward to is “the first look!” My fiance and I will be doing a “first look” separate from me walking down the aisle, simple because we will be signing a Ketubah. I am excited to see his face when he sees me for the first time in my dress and knowing that today we will soon be husband and wife.

  10. avatar Sarah Lindsay reply

    I tweeted! https://twitter.com/SarahPeara/status/273487150505414656

    #sarahpeara

  11. avatar Sarah Lindsay reply

    I liked Emily Ley & Southern Weddings on Facebook!!

    & I follow on Pinterest FYI :)

    Facebook = Sarah Margaret

  12. avatar Sarah Horton reply

    My favorite part of wedding planning has to be a tie between choosing the menu and choosing the invitations. Menu planning is so fun because you get to show your guests your personalities through the food! The invitations are the first thing toset the tone for the wedding so it’s so important that they look amazing!

  13. avatar Paige reply

    Oh my! This lovely item would make all this planning so much easier…beautiful and helpful. I just adore great organization tools…not to mention all the Emily Ley awesomeness!

  14. avatar Sarah Horton reply

    https://twitter.com/SEHorton6/status/273489754492903424

  15. avatar Sarah Horton reply

    Liked both the pages on facebook!

  16. avatar Whitney Evans reply

    I’m most looking forward to planning the decor and theme of our wedding – a gold Christmas! I would love to win this planner because right now I’m working with just a manila folder. I’m planning all of it myself, I work a full-time job at the SC State Museum, and I teach horseback riding lessons on the side, so I clearly need to get my act together! This would be such a welcome gift. Thank you for the opportunity. I love your blog and magazine!

  17. avatar Whitney Evans reply

    I tweeted – @whitneyev

  18. avatar Courtney reply

    I’d love to give this to one of my brides! Obviously my favorite part of wedding planning is the table design!

  19. avatar Whitney Evans reply

    of course I already liked Southern Weddings, but I liked Emily Ley too!

  20. avatar Ashley reply

    The part of wedding planning I am mostly looking forward to is going through each step with my fiancé. I thought he wouldn’t want anything to do with the wedding planning process, but he really enjoys it. With both of us working over 60 hours a week, it is nice to do this together. I love getting his opinions on things and knowing our wedding will be just that… OUR wedding. Happy wedding planning to all the amazing brides out there! :)

  21. avatar Ashley reply

    I just tweeted, ““I just entered the @EmilyLey Simplified Wedding Planner giveaway on @iloveswmag!”

  22. avatar Ashley reply

    I just Liked Emily Ley and Southern Weddings on Facebook.

  23. avatar Blair Thomas reply

    I love love love this planner, so classic! The part of the wedding planning that I am most excited about is pulling all the southern traditions together for celebrating our love for each other! Southern traditions including wearing my mother’s veil, the charms for the cake pull and using the lace off of my grandmother’s dress from 60 years ago for my bouquet wrap! There’s many more, but those are my favorites that I am looking forward to having to plan for our day! O, and of course the cake tastings : )

  24. avatar Ashley reply

    Oh my twitter name is aliebert63!!

  25. avatar Sara Gwinn reply

    This planner would be a lifesaver for me! As a designer myself, I can’t wait to find unique incorporate our own “wedding brand” and tiny details to every aspect of our wedding day–from our invitations to our reception decor! Liked both pages on facebook too!!

  26. avatar Blair Thomas reply

    Just tweeted to EmilyLey and iloveswmag!

  27. avatar Blair Thomas reply

    Already like both on Facebook : )

  28. avatar Lauren @ Chocolate, Cheese and Wine reply

    So cute! I love everything from Emily Ley! I am looking forward to finalizing the menu.

  29. avatar Emily Nycum reply

    Wooo! I can’t wait to work on all those little DIY details I’ve been storing up in my mind! Y’all and Pinterest just make my head explode with so many fun ideas! And while it’s not really related to the wedding, I’m most excited about/enjoying getting ready for marriage and looking forward to a life spent with the man I love!

  30. avatar Emily Nycum reply

    Tweeted and you ladies and Emily!

  31. avatar Emily Nycum reply

    Facebook likes: check!

  32. avatar Dee Shore reply

    Cake tasting and menu sampling are my favorite parts of wedding planning ^_^ Hair Trials are always fun too!

  33. avatar Lauren @ Chocolate, Cheese and Wine reply

    I tweeted to EmilyLey and iloveswmag!

  34. avatar Lauren @ Chocolate, Cheese and Wine reply

    I also already like both pages on facebook!

  35. avatar Rebecca reply

    I can not WAIT to start planning where we are getting married! We just moved to London, use to live in DC, I’m excited to pick a country and after dating for 7+ years but our wedding to reality with my soon to be hubby!

  36. avatar Mary Mullen reply

    I am actually going to be a bridesmaid in my brothers wedding this summer! I would love to be able to give this to my future sister-in-law as an engagement present. She is 2nd grade teacher and is planner her wedding from out-of-state. This would be a major help to her and I would love to pass along a little somethin’ Southern Weddings and Emily Ley to her to kick off the wedding planning!

  37. avatar Mary Mullen reply

    Tweeted!

  38. avatar Mary Mullen reply

    Already had liked y’all on FB!

  39. avatar Katrina reply

    I like both Emily Ley and Southern Weddings on facebook y’all!

  40. avatar Angela reply

    The part I’m looking forward to the most about planning my wedding is the decor design. I have such big ideas and I can’t wait to bring them to life!

  41. avatar Kailey reply

    Tweeted ! (and retweeted by some bridesmaids :))

  42. avatar Meghan Peevely reply

    I am most looking forward to planning my wedding with my fiance! We were both hospitality majors in college, and so we both enjoy events and anything that goes into them. He wants to be involved, and has done a wonderful job so far! He’s also such a foodie at heart and his favorite part will most likely be booking our caterers and of course taste testing. I am also really looking forward to taking our engagement and wedding pictures to have beautiful moments of my fiance and I to share with everyone.

  43. avatar Danielle Goforth reply

    The best part of wedding planning is chandeliers and good ol’ southern hospitality!! :)

  44. avatar Christie Ray Harrison reply

    I’m a Maid of Honor so I’m most looking forward to planning bachelorette events and bridal showers!

  45. avatar Meghan Peevely reply

    I liked Emily Ley & Southern Weddings on Facebook!

  46. avatar Christie Ray Harrison reply

    I’ve liked both Southern Weddings and Emily Ley on Facebook!

  47. avatar Meghan Peevely reply

    I just tweeted “I just entered the @EmilyLey Simplified Wedding Planner giveaway on @iloveswmag!”

  48. avatar Ashleigh reply

    Liked Emily Ley and Southern Weddings on Facebook.
    I’m looking forward to going back home for my wedding. Im from Texas and I live in Michigan. I am planning a Southern Texas wedding. I can’t wait to go home to plan and then to get married in my home state.

  49. avatar Gabi reply

    i am looking forward to decorating and coordinating, the whole shebang!

  50. avatar Gabi reply

    tweeted!
    https://twitter.com/1throwdown1/status/273524417211006976

  51. avatar Gabi reply

    I liked both on fb!

  52. avatar Cierra reply

    I am really looking forward to cake tasting and tastings from the caterer when it comes to my wedding plans.

  53. avatar Cierra reply

    I liked Southern Weddings on Facebook

  54. avatar Carly reply

    I am excited to plan the reception! There are so many fun details that can make the day special!

  55. avatar Kelly @ From Charleston with Love reply

    I am most looking forward to putting together all of the ideas that I have had over the years to make one complete look for the big day!

    -kelly
    sweettea-lemonade.blogspot.com

  56. avatar Kelly @ From Charleston with Love reply

    Liked Emily Ley and SW on Facebook!

  57. avatar Cierra reply

    I liked on Facebook

  58. avatar Cierra reply

    I tweeted https://twitter.com/CierraCurtis3/status/273534886768439297

  59. avatar Taylor J reply

    EEK! I need this y’all! Trying to plan a wedding and trying to get my doctorate are much too much to handle sometimes! As much as the guest list has been hard to wrangle, I am looking forward to seating table charts!

  60. avatar Taylor J reply

    Woohoo!! I tweeted! @taykatelyn

  61. avatar ashley barnett reply

    I am really really looking forward to crafting all the DIY’s I have lined up! I can’t wait to see it all put together on the wedding day. I really think it will be one of my favorite parts of the day- opening up the big barn doors and seeing the room how I imagined it!

  62. avatar susie flores reply

    Excited to start dress shopping with my momma & my girls!!

  63. avatar susie flores reply

    I can’t wait to start dress doing with my momma & my girls!

  64. avatar Erika reply

    Im most looking forward to my center pieces and decor. :)

  65. avatar susie flores reply

    I just tweeted that I entered the @EmilyLey Simplified Wedding Planner giveaway!!! I can’t wait! I neeeeeeed it!! (:

  66. avatar susie flores reply

    I just ”liked” Southern Weddings & Emily Ley on facebook!!! (:

  67. avatar Lauren Solana reply

    I liked Southern Weddings and Emily Ley on Facebook. If only they had a LOVE button :).

  68. avatar jessica mccormick reply

    I am most looking forward to THE ENTIRE THING!! I just recently became a certified wedding planner in august and I was actually just looking for one of these gorgeous planners at Barnes ans Noble! Love love love it!

  69. avatar Kristen reply

    I’m very much looking forward to planning the wedding design. My fiancee and I are basing the overall design and them on “Pride and Prejudice” with a high tea. I can’t wait!

  70. avatar jessica mccormick reply

    I just tweeted about the giveaway!!

  71. avatar jessica mccormick reply

    I also liked Emily Ley on facebook and DUH I already “liked” Southern Weddings

  72. avatar Kristen reply

    Liked both Emily Ley and Southern Weddings on FB. :)

  73. avatar Monica reply

    I look forward to the reception! Great time to make fun memories! :)

  74. avatar Monica reply

    I shared on twitter!

    https://twitter.com/hockeyheaven7/status/273573775797284864

  75. avatar Monica reply

    I liked both pages on facebook! :)

  76. avatar Lori reply

    Getting together with my girls for craft nights and junk tv!

  77. avatar corinne reply

    Thanks for the ideas! Can’t wait to see more in my Facebook newsfeed! Liked you both.

  78. avatar Elizabeth @ HobbyLobbyist reply

    Tweeted it! https://twitter.com/LeHobbylobbyist/status/273620966796566528

  79. avatar Elizabeth @ HobbyLobbyist reply

    I liked y’all on FB– username Hobby Lobbyist

  80. avatar Elizabeth @ HobbyLobbyist reply

    I’m looking forward to catering tasting!

  81. avatar Kristy reply

    I’m looking forward to dress shopping with my mom and sister :)

  82. avatar Kristy reply

    I have liked both Emily Ley and Southern Weddings on FB!!!

  83. avatar Kristin Vaughan reply

    I’m most excited about marrying my man! But in the meantime, I am excited about every. single. detail! ; )

  84. avatar Kristin Vaughan reply

    … and I have “liked” you both!

  85. avatar Cathy Otto reply

    OH this is soo neat, Cant wait to help design wedding invitations and make the wedding decorations

  86. avatar Cathy Otto reply

    I liked and really enjoy Emily Ley and Southern Weddings, thank you for introducing them to me

  87. avatar Arielle reply

    Just tweeted that I entered the contest!
    I just entered the @EmilyLey Simplified Wedding Planner giveaway on @iloveswmag!

    Can’t wait to start planning our wedding – hopefully on this cute little planner!

  88. avatar Arielle reply

    Just liked @EmilyLey & @iloveswmag! on facebook!

  89. avatar Jen reply

    Love this planner!! I am mostly looking forward to choosing our menu for the reception…my fiance and I are big time foodies!!

  90. avatar Carly reply

    liked you on facebook!!

  91. avatar Carly reply

    liked you on facebook!

  92. avatar Jocelyn reply

    My favorite thing about planning my wedding is the decor!!

  93. avatar Jocelyn reply

    I just tweeted that I entered the wedding planner giveaway!

  94. avatar Brianna Tally reply

    I’m looking forward to planning the installation of glass and crystal chandeliers beneath a hundred something year old oak tree! The tree will sparkle in the front yard of the early 1900’s prairie-style mansion where we are getting married in south Mississippi!

  95. avatar Brianna Tally reply

    @briannatally just tweeted “I just entered the @EmilyLey Simplified Wedding Planner giveaway on @iloveswmag!”

  96. avatar Brianna Tally reply

    I just liked Emily Ley on facebook! I also have “liked” (more like “loved”) Southern Weddings on facebook too!

  97. avatar Wendy reply

    Love the website! I’m looking forward to help my best friend plan her wedding. She just got engaged last month. I would give her this planner if I won.

  98. avatar Wendy reply

    I liked Emily Ley & Southern Weddings on Facebook!

  99. avatar Wendy reply

    Just tweeted! @wnw829

  100. avatar Brooke reply

    I am not engaged myself but would love to gift this to my college roommate, who just got engaged! I’m looking forward to hearing all about her wedding plans as they unfold!

  101. avatar Brooke reply

    I tweeted! : )

  102. avatar Brooke reply

    I liked SW and Emily Ley on Facebook. Thanks, girls!

  103. avatar Shannon reply

    I am actually looking forward to seating arrangements! I’m envisioning long tables and am excited to mix my fiance’s friends with mine and our families together!

  104. avatar Maia reply

    I am most looking forward to finalizing the decorations and flowers!

  105. avatar Maia reply

    I just tweeted-“I just entered the @EmilyLey Simplified Wedding Planner giveaway on @iloveswmag!” https://twitter.com/maiaz17

  106. avatar Maia reply

    I liked both Emily Ley and Southern Weddings on Facebook.

  107. avatar Abby reply

    The part of planning I’m looking forward to most, is trying to be ahead of schedule so the month leading up to the wedding is as simple as possible! I’m juggling full time job, grad school, dog mama duties & QT for the fiancee & I…oh wait & the wedding, too! Please oh please send this my way!

  108. avatar Abby reply

    I sure do LIKE Emily Ley & Southern Weddings on FB…I have a feeling quite a few of Emily’s goodies will be going on my wishlist!

  109. avatar Meagan reply

    I can’t wait to meet with my wonderful vendors again! I’m dying to finalize flower, paper and the other details with my planner!

  110. avatar Meagan reply

    tweeted!!!

  111. avatar Meagan reply

    Liked!!!

  112. avatar Ashleigh reply

    Well I’d be lying if I didn’t say the food + cake tasting are the parts I am most looking forward to about my wedding planning. I crave structure in the form of organization – so planners are my BEST FRIEND. I would love to win this so I can continue my planning and tuck some inspiration from V5 into those sheet protectors!

  113. avatar Ashleigh reply

    I tweeted I just entered the @EmilyLey Simplified Wedding Planner giveaway on @iloveswmag! check it out @ashleighnfarley! fingers are crossed!

  114. avatar Ashleigh reply

    AND I followed @emilyley on Twitter. Of course I was already following @iloveSWmag (pre-engagement!)… can’t believe I wasn’t following miss Emily! fingers + toes are crossed now!

  115. avatar Ashleigh reply

    Already “liking” both Emily Ley and Southern Weddings on Facebook. Huge fan of BOTH!

  116. avatar Ranney Wiesemann reply

    Definitely the dress! Dress dress dress!!

  117. avatar Jenny reply

    I am looking forward to just about everything! I can’t wait to design and put together our invitations.

  118. avatar christian r. reply

    I am 3 months away from my wedding day so I am in the midst of many plans. It’s fun planning the details and being engaged.

  119. avatar christian r. reply

    I tweeted that I just entered the @EmilyLey Simplified Wedding Planner giveaway on @iloveswmag

  120. avatar christian r. reply

    I liked SW and Emily Ley on facebook.

  121. avatar Lauren Stefanski reply

    I’ve been an intern for three wedding companies– totaling about 2.5 years now. I’m finally getting to plan my first wedding on my own and I think it would be a great gift to give to my first bride. PLUS I think it would help calm my nerves to have everything so perfectly organized for her!

    (I tweeted and “Liked” both pages!) Thanks girls!

    PS… I LOVE LOVE LOVE my V5- My boyfriend and I had been looking for it since the 13th. Literally every night after work we would drive to Publix, Walmart, Walgreens, Barnes and Noble, Harris Teeter, and Target. (Thank goodness they’re all within 10 minutes of each other!!) And for a whole week we had no luck. I just figured it wasn’t coming to my area so I was going to order online.

    I was having a horrible day at work and suddenly got a phone call from my boyfriend saying to come out to the parking lot… I knew he was going for a bike ride in the area so I figured he wanted to just say hi. He rode over a copy of V5 — he called Barnes and Noble (who didn’t have it yet) and then called Target. There was only one copy left there so he had the guy hold it for him… He was pretty embarrassed when he went to pick it up. I must say I had to put it in my car to resist myself from peeking at it during work!

    Long story short– it was well worth the wait and now Brandon is hooked on the mag too!

  122. avatar Luzdary Leest reply

    Our wedding day is in June 2013 in Aruba. I am originally from this island and most of our guests have never been here. This will also be the first event where my family and his family will meet. I look forward to planning not only the wedding but also all activities where both sides of the family and friends will have an amazing time!

  123. avatar Lauren Stefanski reply

    I’m most excited about planning my first wedding after being an intern with three different companies! I think it’d be a great gift to give my first bride to calm both our nerves! But I can’t wait to help pick her theme/ color pallette and stationary!

    Ps. Loving v5– my bf searched stores with me for a week before we could find it! He stopped by my work on his bike to deliver it to me in front of my all women office! He’s truely the best!

  124. avatar Annie Harris reply

    The part of wedding planning that I am most looking forward to is the final result! I cannot wait to see the results of all the hard work!

  125. avatar Annie Harris reply

    I just retweeted that I just entered the @EmilyLey Simplified Wedding Planner giveaway on @iloveswmag! on my twitter @anniebob16

  126. avatar Annie Harris reply

    I liked Southern Weddings and Emily on facebook!

  127. avatar Brittany James reply

    I am so excited to begin planning my wedding! I am recently engaged and am most excited about creating a rustic look for my wedding and reception. Many of my family and friends are excited to help and create things to dress up the reception with me as well. This planner would be so helpful to aid in this process!!

  128. avatar Brittany James reply

    Just liked both on facebook!! :)

  129. avatar Jillian Wist reply

    My boyfriend just proposed in front of Cinderella’s Castle! I can’t wait to start planning our fairytale! I’m most looking forward to incorporating details that represent both he and I.

  130. avatar Jillian Wist reply

    I just “LIKED” and mean “LOVED” both Emily Ley and Southern Weddings on facebook!

  131. avatar sarah reply

    I LIKED/LOVE EMILY LEY & Southern Weddings on facebook!

  132. avatar Laura reply

    I am looking forward to everything!! But most of all, getting to plan everything alongside my significant other…that quality time is by far the most precious.

  133. avatar Hanna reply

    The best part of wedding planning is getting everything organized in one place – that makes everything easier later!

  134. avatar susie flores reply

    I look forward to writing out vows!

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