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Our Instagram family continues to grow and grow–over 236,000 friends have spent time with us over the last year. Y’all have swooned over sweet moments and lovely wedding details and laughed along with the behind-the-scenes peeks into life in our office. We don’t use the word family lightly, as we love being able to interact with y’all through the power of social sharing. It’s always fun to see what y’all like the most and which details or moments lead to the most conversation. Here are ten of our most-liked Instagram posts from 2016!

The stunning tented reception space at Emily and Jim’s wedding

Hope and Michael’s darling newlywed home tour with some impressive before-and-after renovation peeks

A breathtaking setting for Erica and John’s wedding ceremony.

Maggie’s magnificent and perfectly pink bouquet

Amanda’s stylish Hayley Paige gown and classic up-do

Brent and Graham’s elegant (and cozy) wedding portrait

This sweet bride’s stunning veil

It is quite possible that this is one of my favorite looks of any #SouthernWeddings editorial. A bold statement, I know. But I’m a classic Southern bride through and through, so when you combine my very favorite style elements (big Southern hair, bows, and pearls!) I’m all in a tizzy! Plus, being married to a born and raised Montgomery boy, I can’t help but love our Montgomery bride just a little extra. Link in profile to see the all our beautiful South city styles. Photo by #BlueRibbonVendor @KatelynJames, hair by @AshandCoBridalHair, makeup by @BellelinaStudio, dress by @MiraZwillinger, bouquet by @StephanieGibbsEvents, jewelry by @Croghans, at @KSHGEvents. – @MarissaKloess P.S. Insta has a zoom now, so you can see how gorgeous this gown is! ? /2016/12/13/favorite-wedding-dresses-southern-brides/

A photo posted by Southern Weddings Magazine (@southernweddings) on

Our Montgomery bride and her perfect bow-backed gown

Peyton and her maids (and their magical winter wedding day style)

kristin Written with love by Kristin

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Today’s couple has been on our radar for awhile–Mandy is a longtime Southern Weddings reader and a Making Things Happen alum, so she’s an old friend to us! We were delighted when she offered to share her and her husband Conner’s favorite date night ideas with us–especially considering that they’ve recently made a truly inspiring lifestyle change, leading to their collective loss of 177 pounds in the past year! From living a healthy lifestyle to cultivating their marriage, Mandy and Conner are so committed in every aspect of their lives, and we love their creative ideas for spending quality time together. Our Blue Ribbon Vendor, Gracie Blue, caught up with this cute couple at the Blue Rooster Cafe in Lawrenceville, Georgia to capture one of their favorite breakfast dates!

Names: Mandy and Conner Volpe
Years married: We will celebrate three years on August 13!
By day: Conner is a Client Technical Specialist (he is the brains of the family). I am the Marketing Manager for Unique Venues, which helps planners and brides find non-traditional venues for their events or weddings.

How they met: Conner and I met one summer when I was an intern at Georgia Tech, where Conner went to school. He pursued me all summer before I realized (with some nudging from friends and family) that this boy was crazy about me and I would be a fool not to give it a shot.

Their wedding: Since we met at Georgia Tech, we wanted to have our wedding in the city. The whole wedding was blue and yellow (a nod to GT, as well as our favorite colors) and it was steeped in tradition. As my something old, I carried a handkerchief from my parents’ wedding, which was embroidered with the married monograms of both my parents, plus our new married monogram, to signify the joining of families. It will continue to be passed on to my brother and sisters, as well as the grandchildren someday. Conner carried a handkerchief and photo from his grandfather, who had passed away when he was little. My mom made our AMAZING seven-tier wedding cake, and Conner’s mom and grandmother did a beautiful job making all of the floral arrangements.

Mandy and Conner’s top five favorite date ideas:

1. Post-travel breakfast: Conner travels a lot, so we made it a priority to set aside “post-travel breakfast dates.” Sometimes this falls early on a Friday morning before the work day starts, and sometimes it’s even a Wednesday night breakfast supper if Conner is between two flights. We find it important to start new-to-us family traditions that focus on our marriage and quality time.
2. Active dates: A year ago, we set out to have a healthier lifestyle. Newlywed life had brought about expanding waistlines as I attempted to develop my non-existent skills in the kitchen. An active date for us is heading over to the local pool to swim some laps, and then capping off the night with a trip to the frozen yogurt shop!
3. “Best of the Best”: As part of our healthy lifestyle, we try to only eat sweets on special occasions. We seek out the best sweets we can find, rather than having a nightly cookie before bed. For our anniversary, we both went into the bakery separately and picked out desserts for one another. We didn’t open the surprise desserts until we had reached the local park, where we ate and watched the sunset. We’re excited to try a local Southern cafe that has the most sinful-looking desserts. Conner has already reached his goal weight and I am seven pounds away from mine. As soon as I reach my goal, we plan to splurge on a dessert date there!
4. Themed envelope date: This one was a huge surprise for Conner. I gave him two envelopes, and he was only allowed to open one in the morning. Inside was a date card that gave him vague details about what to wear, what time to be ready for dinner, and anything special he needed to know. It kept him in suspense all day and made a movie and dinner date a little more fun!
5. DIY date: We just purchased our home a year ago, so there are a lot of projects to do around the house. We enjoy planning the projects, sourcing the materials, and then completing them together. Conner is very handy, so this is also a great way for him to teach me his hammer and power tool skills!

Gracie Blue is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
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  1. avatar SIMPLICITY: Mandy Volpe | Emily Ley reply

    […] we have is what we call our “Post travel breakfasts”. (Southern Weddings actually featured a photo shoot from one of our breakfasts a few months ago). My husband travels alot so it gives us time to go get […]

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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We love our Blue Ribbon Vendors to the moon and back, and we hope y’all use our Directory to find like-minded professionals that are a perfect fit for your big days! We’re always adding new friends, so be sure to check back often. Here, a few of our recent favorite additions…

A. Caldwell Events is based in Charleston and specializes in saving their clients time, money, and stress!

Astrid Photography captures “dreamy and whimsical” images that reflect who you are as a couple. She is based in Virginia.

Having met Christina of Christina Leigh Events in person, I can attest that she is a sweetheart, and it does not surprise me that she “loves calling her brides her friends.” Christina works out of Tulsa, Oklahoma and Houston, Texas.

I love that Gracie of Gracie Blue Photography considers her work not a job, but a gift — a chance to capture moments that are personal, emotional, and real. She is based in Georgia but happy to travel.

I love how consistent Jessica Lorren’s work is — soft, filled with light, and capturing the smallest, most beautiful moments. She is based in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Julia Rohde Designs is also based in Florida (Miami), and her floral work is colorful, textural, and filled with unique blooms.

Katelyn James’ photography is warm, colorful, and full of life. She is based in Richmond, Virginia.

Kimberly Chau shoots natural, quiet, and lovely images from her homebase of Houston, Texas. She also travels widely for weddings!

Alabama brides are lucky to have Leslie Hollingsworth, whose timeless, photojournalistic images are destined to become heirlooms.

Last but certainly not least, Milky Way Farm is an extensive venue in middle Tennessee that houses gorgeous barns, a manor house, and a magnolia plantation!

Still on the hunt for your perfect Southern vendors? Check out our whole crop here! Vendors, if you’re interested in applying, please fill out this form and we’ll be in touch!

emily Written with love by Emily

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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