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It’s no secret that Christmas is one of my favorite holidays—my TV is perpetually set to the Hallmark channel, peppermint hot chocolate is my drink of choice, there have been attempts at making sugar cookies with royal icing, and the best of all, I get to spend time at my grandparents’ homes in Kentucky.

This year, we kicked off the holiday festivities with the seventh annual Southern Weddings Gingerbread Barn Building Competition at the magical Carolina Inn!

Builders worked quickly to make their creations come to life—each complete with a creative story that wowed each of the judges.

As you can see, the Carolina Inn at Christmas time is sure to spark your holiday spirit. What a joy it was to take in the holiday decor and toast with hot chocolate to a great year with many of our remote team members!

Guests brought out all the stops with elaborate construction—a Southern dream shown here complete with a gingerbread front porch designed with candy cane columns.

This year was extra special with the sweetest (and littlest) additions to the Southern Weddings family taking part in the fun.

Taking home the top award was “No Room at the Carolina Inn,” a mash-up of the nativity story and a holiday take on a favorite Carolina event, Fridays on the Front Porch!

Honorable mentions were awarded for gingerbread barns that were Most Structurally Sound, Most Festive, Most Architecturally Creative, and for the barn with the Most Creative Story—although the builders this year certainly made it hard to choose!

Thank you so much to all our friends who joined us at this year’s competition, and to The Carolina Inn for hosting the festivities! We cannot wait to see what creations you dream up next year!

Written with love by Kaylee Hobbs
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    A few weeks ago, the SW gals gathered for a favorite Southern Weddings’ tradition–our annual Gingerbread Barn Building Competition. This was the sixth year inviting our friends to join us for a night of barn-building and hot cocoa-drinking at the Carolina Inn!

    Big thanks to Ally and Bobby for spending the evening with us and capturing these wonderful images you see below!

    If you can’t tell from above, Christmas at the Carolina Inn is simply magical! So magical, in fact, that our very own Kristin couldn’t miss out on a second Gingerbread Barn Building event in a row! She surprised us with her lovely face and ooh and ahh at the Christmas decor alongside us!

    We are grateful for our dear friend and Blue Ribbon Vendor, Randi of Sugar Euphoria, for providing the icing everyone used on their barns! This stuff was barn building gold, and it made for some of the tallest and most structurally-sound barns we’ve seen yet (three story structures!)

    Each team dove right in when the competition began, and you could feel the excitement in the room as we strolled around to see plans, blueprints and designs begin to unfold! I must say, being a judge certainly takes some of the pressure off!

    I wouldn’t be a true UNC alum if I didn’t mention the lovely replica of the UNC bell tower. Between KNW and myself, we must’ve taken three dozen photos to send to our beaus who are fellow UNC grads. If you look closely enough, there was even a Ramses made out of marshmallows. Be still my heart!

    This group may have been some of the most creative builders we’ve seen yet! Herringbone pathways, pretzel chandeliers, and beautiful hand-letting covered in sprinkles–the ideas seem to get better each year!

    We loved hearing the story behind our Honorable Mention Best Story winner’s barn below! Each tiny home was created by a different member of their team, and had a matching story to go with it!

    Each creation we saw was not only beautifully executed, but had a darling story to match it! After much deliberation, we handed out the grand prize award to a sweet group of ladies who created the beautiful snow-covered creation you see below, complete with a sweater-wearing reindeer!

    We also passed our four Honorable Mentions–Most Festive, Most Architecturally Creative, Most Creative Story, and Most Structurally Sound–to other builders! Y’all certainly didn’t make deliberations easy this year!

    Thank you so much to all our friends who joined us at this year’s competition, and to The Carolina Inn for hosting us all–we can’t wait to see what y’all come up with next year! Happy holidays!

    Written with love by Jess Metcalf
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    1. avatar Bri A reply

      These are so beautiful! I think I need to up my gingerbread game. And the marshmallow Ramses — consider this UNC alum in love!

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    It’s the most wonderful time of the year!! Magazines are popping up (early) everywhere, we’re nailing down final V9 Launch Party details and we’re already looking forward to another one of our favorite annual holiday traditions: Gingerbread Barns. While I have a strict no Christmas music rule until after we’ve eaten Thanksgiving dinner, I’m absolutely delighted to announce that we’ll be back at the Carolina Inn for our sixth annual Gingerbread Barn Building Event on December 8!

    We’ll be pulling out our favorite holiday aprons and reindeer antlers for a night of gingerbread barn building fun at the lovely Carolina Inn. Please RSVP if you’re planning to join us, so we know how many graham crackers to purchase and how much frosting to secure! Everyone is invited, and most attendees choose to work in groups, so grab your best gals, your sweet mama, or your favorite fella! (Just make sure everyone in your group purchases a ticket individually!)

    Not familiar with this SW holiday tradition? Take a peek at a few past recaps for some barn building inspiration: 2013, 2014, 2015. For the last few years, many people have come armed with building plans and extra supply reinforcements–we love the enthusiasm!

    We hope to see you there on December 8 – can’t wait to squeeze some of our local friends!

    kristin Written with love by Kristin
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