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I’m sure I’m not the only one who loved getting to know Catherine and Will Marks through their wedding feature a few months ago–these two are such a sweet, fun couple! I could hardly say “yes” quickly enough when Catherine emailed me about featuring their home on Southern Newlywed. True to their personalities, their bright, colorful apartment outside of Washington, D.C. is equal parts cozy and designed for hospitality (hello, fabulous bar cart and super stylish guest room!). I’m sure so many of you can relate to being in the apartment rental stage of life, and I hope Catherine and Will serve as a big dose of inspiration to fill your home with things that make you happy, no matter how long you’ll be living there.

Thank you so much to Abby Grace Photography for these lovely photos!

The couple: Catherine Marks (28) and Will (29) Marks
Years married: 1
Where they live: Arlington, VA
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. We are Christians, lawyers, dog lovers, and best friends. Will grew up racing go-carts in North Carolina, and I’m a farmer’s daughter from Southeast Missouri. He went to Georgetown, fell in love with DC, and taught music with Teach for America for two years in rural Arkansas. I went to Wash U in St. Louis, had a post-grad fall adventure in Paris, and worked in theater for two years in New York. Our stories collided in law school in Nashville, and the rest is history! We think DC really satisfies our mutual love for both cities and authentic, unhurried community.

Tell us your love story in one sentence. We met at a New Year’s Eve party in law school, went on our first date the next night, were engaged at sunrise overlooking Nashville a little over a year later, got married in the snow, and have been loving life together ever since.
What is your favorite part of being married? We love being a team in every area of our lives. It’s so fun always having your best friend there to share the ups and downs, the chores and budget, the fun adventures out and the movie nights at home, the big decisions and the small celebrations. All of the stresses of life are easier now that we’re together.
What has been the most surprising thing about marriage? I think it was surprising that we thought we knew each other so well when we got engaged, but looking back on our wedding day, we couldn’t believe how much closer we were. Now that we’ve been married a year, we are shocked again at how much richer and deeper our relationship is than it was when we got married. It makes us excited for the future!

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 rent our little apartment in the city, and we absolutely love it for this phase of our lives. Instead of feeling like it wasn’t worth going through the trouble to make our place our own since it’s a rental, I decided to just make it ours all at once! I was a woman on a nesting mission when we moved in. (Will didn’t believe me when I told him he was done with décor honey-dos, but I think time has convinced him.) We love all of the windows and light in our place, and our little balcony where we can have dinner or a glass of wine under our twinkle lights, just like we had at our wedding reception. We live in a sweet, quiet neighborhood between two busier Arlington areas. We have a park for our dog to play with her friends in across the street and a Starbucks in our building! Of course, we would like to buy a house someday soon, but for now, what more could we need?
Tell us about the process of moving in together. Do you have any tips for blending your two styles? How much time do you have? We had a somewhat complicated marriage and moving process. I was still in Nashville finishing law school, and Will was clerking for a judge in Columbus, Ohio. We got married over my spring break and were still long distance until my graduation. When I moved out of my place, I put all my things in a Nashville storage unit and took the bare minimum to Ohio for the summer, stopping to be a bridesmaid in a wedding along the way! When it came time to move to Arlington three months later, we loaded up the biggest U-Haul we could get in Columbus and went on an epic, four-day quest to gather our belongings. The first stop was my parents’ house in Missouri, where all the wedding gifts had been living, then to Nashville for my furniture, then on to ride off into the DC sunset at 50 mph, towing our car. When it comes to blending our two styles, I’m fortunate that Will seems to really like the things I pick out, because most of the “blending” on his side was that he had some great frying pans and kitchen knives!

Which room in your home is your favorite, and why? Well, most of our apartment is one room, so that makes this a pretty easy answer! Honestly, we love having our kitchen, dining, and living room all open, while still having distinct areas for each, though. We love the dining room because having friends over for dinner is one of our absolute favorite things to do, but we were thrilled with how our navy bedroom walls make it so cozy in there at night too.
Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? What are some of your favorite sources for home things? We splurged on items that we thought would work well in any house and be with us for a long time, like our buffet. For things that we know just need to work for this small space, Ikea was our friend! I also love One Kings Lane. But most of our things are wedding gifts from our generous friends and family.

Which items from your wedding registry do you use the most often? Our Vitamix! We make smoothies most mornings, but have also made everything in there from cauliflower rice to soup to hummus. I also love all the Beatriz Ball pieces I got and use them for everything I can.
Who cooks dinner? We both do! Will is a great cook, especially when it comes to whipping something delicious up with what we already have, while I’m a recipe-follower. We like to take turns cooking and cleaning up.
What is your go-to weeknight meal? Weekend meal? We eat fajitas all the time! I could never get tired of Mexican food, so we usually have everything we need to make them in the fridge already. On Sunday mornings, I usually convince Will to make me chocolate chip pancakes with lots of powdered sugar.
What’s your favorite place to find recipes? Lately, we’ve been doing the Fresh 20, which really does all the meal planning for us, and it has made life so much easier. But my mom also put together all her favorite recipes that I grew up with in a big binder for us, so we turn to that a lot! If I know what I want to make but just need a recipe, I usually just google it and see what looks yummiest and easiest.

What’s your best tip for balancing your relationship and other life priorities (work, personal time, extended family, etc.)? We try to come home around the same time every day to make dinner together when we don’t have our small group or something else going on. That helps create boundaries on work hours, even if we have to finish up work after dinner. We also make lots of plans with friends and try to get away for a day or weekend as often as possible, because having things on the schedule holds us accountable for having fun! We love that we can be at wineries in Charlottesville, mountains in West Virginia, ski slopes in Pennsylvania, beaches in Maryland, or the theater in New York all in a couple of hours.
Do you have a favorite date night idea to share? We just like to pick a neighborhood and then scour the internet to find out what the fun things to do around there are! We are definitely still exploring and getting to know our area.

What most makes your house feel like home? Just being there together every night! I’m also a huge believer in lots of photos. I get that from my mom. We have a gallery wall of some of our favorite memories from our relationship so far that we think kind of tells our love story, and we look forward to adding to it!
What is your favorite memory from your wedding? Walking back up the aisle and out of the church as husband and wife!
How do you remember your wedding in your home? So many ways! My mom had our whole invitation suite framed together, and it hangs over our bar cart. We also have glitter “M”s from the bars at our reception sprinkled around, our toasting flutes from our cake table, our guest book, the sketch Heidi Elnora made of my dress, and, of course, tons of photos.

What is one small way you love or serve your spouse? We both appreciate acts of service around the house when one of us is stressed, tired, or not feeling well. We both just take up the slack during those times with cooking, cleaning, laundry, Pippa duty, etc. We also just try to make time to focus on one another without phones or distractions to talk about our days each night. We also try to have a “meeting” on Sunday evenings about what’s coming up the next week, how we can pray for each other, how we can help each other, and how we felt loved the past week.
Do you have children? What are your hopes and plans for the future in this area? We don’t yet, but hope to someday, Lord willing!
Before getting married, I wish someone had told me… that my husband and I would find each other in God’s timing and that it would all work out. Actually, a lot of people told me that, and I didn’t listen, but it’s true!
This year, our family is most excited about… settling in to life in DC and growing our friendships here so it feels more and more like home.

Catherine and Will, thank you so much for sharing your hearts and home with us! Follow along with them on Catherine’s blog and Instagram.

P.S. Just as a reminder: we’d love to hear from you, too! If you’re interested, take a peek at our Southern Newlywed submission page and shoot us an email!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Sarah Chancey reply

    Absolutely loving the cobalt blue and pips of metal!

  2. avatar Dana reply

    this apartment is like a dream for me!

  3. avatar Our First Anniversary – Classic Catherine reply

    […] When Southern Weddings asked me what the most surprising thing about marriage was, I didn’t know what to say. I think it’s hard to remember what I thought marriage would be like before, but if I’m being honest, not much has surprised me. We’ve grown SO much closer, and we love being a team in every aspect of our lives. If something is stressful for Will, it’s stressful for me. If something makes him happy (that I wouldn’t normally care about), gosh darn it I’m happy too. That’s not surprising, but it’s really fun. […]

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  6. avatar Will & Catherine | DC Anniversary Session | Modern International Wedding Photographer reply

    […] after the ladies of Southern Weddings reached out to me to photograph these two for SW’s Southern Newlywed At Home series! And after just a couple of minute with the pair, they put me completely at ease. […]

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  8. avatar Big News, Big Praise, and Big Gratitude: I've Joined the Southern Weddings and Cultivate What Matters Team! – Classic Catherine reply

    […] In the spring of 2016 I attended the incredible Making Things Happen conference, and I don’t throw this phrase around a lot, but it changed my life. Lara finally gave me a way to harness all those competing priorities and passions, focus them, and start channeling my time toward them in a much less overwhelming way. (Come join us in March!) I started using the primary weapon for doing this in real life, Powersheets, and I felt so much more assured that I was spending my life working toward the things I will care about when I’m 80.* Around this time I also decorated our newlywed apartment feverishly in the hope of being featured on the Southern Newlywed column, and yes, that dream also came true. […]

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At the same time as I emailed Blue Ribbon Vendor Anna Routh to ask if she’d take the photos for my Southern Newlywed home tour, I asked if she’d be willing to be featured in our series, too! I had never stepped foot in her home or even seen photos, but I just knew it would be colorful and interesting, and I was correct. I found myself nodding along with so many things in her interview, too. Can’t wait for you to read this one, friends – enjoy!

Big hugs to our friend and Blue Ribbon Vendor Graham Terhune for these photos!

The couple: Anna (30) and Amir (30)
Years married: 4
Where you live: Chapel Hill, NC
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. Anna is a wedding and portrait photographer based in Chapel Hill, but available worldwide! Amir is a Family Medicine Physician at UNC Hospitals. We’re both Southerners (Anna grew up in North Carolina, and Amir in Texas) and Tar Heels (go Heels!). We have a dog named June who is our daily obsession. We may love her too much!

Tell us your love story in one sentence. We met in college at UNC and instantly knew we needed to be together.
Tell us a little bit about where you live. We own our house in downtown Chapel Hill, very near UNC’s campus. Amir works at the hospital and keeps odd hours as a physician, so we felt proximity to the hospital was key. Lucky for us, close to the hospital means close to the university, which makes our home a very good investment. We live near a lot of students, which can be interesting at times (but is mostly just fun!), and we are hoping that our home will be a long-term investment. Eventually, we’ll add children to our family and will need a bigger space, but for now, we love our little 1920’s home and hope we will be able to enjoy it for years to come.

Tell us about the process of moving in together. Amir and I did things a little differently. After college, we moved to Texas, where Amir was going to be spending many years earning his medical degree. We moved in together almost immediately after college so that we could really be there for each other as we were both going through so many life changes–moving across the country, starting medical school, entering the work force, etc. It was a big change! It worked for us, but I certainly think it’s not for everyone. We learned a lot about each other–daily habits, funny quirks, and mostly, how the other functions and the things that we both needed in order to be successful partners. Regarding the merging of the things and styles… I will say it took us a long time to really figure out what our style was. I think it’s an ever-evolving process, too. We filled our home with lots of hand-me-downs at first and have slowly been replacing them with our own pieces over the years. There were some items that I was much happier to see go than Amir was! We just try to make decisions together about what goes in the home, and I’ve learned that compromise is definitely important when it comes to your shared spaces.

What is your favorite part of being married? Doing everything together–especially the mundane stuff. Merging your lives and just existing together is a really beautiful thing. One of our favorite things to do is run errands together–so silly, right? We save items that need to be done so we can run around town doing them together and crossing things off our list.
Which room in your home is your favorite, and why? Anna: The dining room, hands down. It never gets dirty because we rarely use it, so it’s always clean, which I love! Amir: The living room–it’s where we relax and unwind.
What most makes your house feel like home? We love to collect items from our travels or from our families and life experiences. I can look around our house and see several things that carry wonderful memories, and that’s a very special thing!

Who cooks dinner? Anna: Amir! He’s a wonderful chef, and it’s something he really loves to do. Amir: It’s a relaxing pastime for me, and Anna doesn’t mind at all sitting back and reaping the benefits of that! She likes to bake, so it’s a bit of a trade-off.
What is your go-to weeknight meal? Weekend meal? We subscribe to a weekly meal delivery service, Blue Apron. We get ingredients dropped off for three meals a week, so we generally cook those and then enjoy the leftovers throughout the week. It’s super convenient for us, as Amir’s hours are crazy, and I’ve found myself busier and busier during the week these days. The ingredients come ready to be chopped and prepared. The recipes are generally quite quick, and we love it because we find we have less waste from unused ingredients. On the weekends, we love to get out around town and enjoy the amazing restaurants that are just a few blocks from us in downtown Chapel Hill (another plus to the location of our home!). On Sundays, we eat Asian food… always. We found ourselves always craving it at the end of a long weekend, so we’ve made it a regular thing!
What’s your favorite place to find recipes? Before we subscribed to Blue Apron, we cooked from the cookbook Pretty Delicious almost exclusively. Candace Kumai’s recipes are DELICIOUS, and healthy… what?! Crazy! She even has a recipe for healthy chicken and waffles and mac and cheese. It’s bananas! Additionally, we love Persian food, and we miss Amir’s mom’s cooking sorely, so we try to make some of our favorite Persian dishes from time to time.

Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? Anna: I am a big bargain hunter. My happy place is spending hours in an antique mall, searching for that one amazing find. I’m all about finding things that you love and making them your own, whether that’s with a coat of paint, new hardware, etc. Having said that, I think some things that are worth splurging on are bedding, textiles and rugs, and solid wood furniture. We’re slowly adding special pieces to our home, but it’s still a work in progress! The next thing I’d love to invest in is custom drapes. One day! One of my favorite spots to shop is Furbish Studio (online and at their flagship store in Raleigh). They always have a unique collection of home decor–custom pieces, original art, and fun items to fill your spaces with. It’s my favorite!
What is your favorite memory from your wedding? Dancing! Amir and I love to dance. Our wedding was on a HOT day in June on the coast, and we were drenched with sweat by the end of the reception from all the dancing, but we didn’t care!

How do you remember your wedding in your home? We have several framed photos from our wedding in our home. Additionally, as the collector and scavenger, I salvaged a few items from our wedding that we still have in the house–they’re a beautiful daily reminder of that day!
Which items from your wedding registry do you use the most often? Our bedding! Again, this is something I felt the need to splurge on, so we were lucky to receive our beautiful linen bedding from Restoration Hardware as a gift. I could never sleep in anything else now!
How does your family handle finances? Picking a financial system that works best for us is something we’re constantly playing around with. Instead of a set budget, one major thing we do is ALWAYS discuss big purchases together before we make them–anything from a new pair of shoes to bigger things, like items for our home. It’s good to have an open line of communication regarding finances. We also had to learn the things that were important to each other in regards to how we spend our money. We both enjoy different things and had to understand why those things were important for the other to spend money on!

What’s your best tip for balancing your relationship and other life priorities? We have made it a point to spend a lot of time together doing things we love–for us, that’s running errands, eating out, traveling, etc. Our schedules are both busy and difficult to manage at times, so when we’re home, we really make a point to be 100% at home and devoted to spending time together. Amir will stay at work an extra thirty minutes to finish his notes on patients if that means he doesn’t have to bring it home with him and finish it here. Additionally, eating time is important for us, so we always step away from what we’re doing to sit together and eat. As someone who works from home, it’s often hard for me to step away from work when I feel like it’s always there and nagging me. Meal times are our time together, so no matter what, we do that with no distractions. I think finding the things you love and really taking the time to do that together is so important. This could be as simple as walking to get ice cream once a week–if that’s what matters to you, then do it!

What is one small way you love or serve your spouse? Anna: Amir hates to drive. I don’t know why, but he hates it. So, I always drive, no matter where we’re going, no questions asked! Amir: Anna is not a morning person, so I will always be the one up letting the dog out or anything else that needs to happen in the early hours. It’s better for all of us when she gets her beauty sleep!

Big hugs to Anna and Amir for sharing! Keep up with Anna on her blog and Instagram!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Katie reply

    I love all your green plants, Anna! I especially love the outdoor cactus in the pink pot :)

  2. avatar Kelly reply

    You know what I love most about this post? Knowing that there’s another woman out there who drives her husband around!!! I need to adopt Anna’s good attitude about this, as I tend to complain that my husband hates driving and fuss that I’m doing the “guys’s role.”

  3. avatar Lindy reply

    I LOVE these features! Love the colorful and personal details in this home!!! So fun!

  4. avatar Emily reply

    Asian every Sunday is DEFINITELY a tradition John would love to adopt. And I love that you do errands together – that’s one of our favorite things, too! It still makes me feel like a grown-up :)

  5. avatar Molly reply

    Yay/fist pump for downtown Chapel Hill living! Love your home Anna!!!

  6. avatar Ashton Dreyer reply

    This is my favorite segment on the blog! I love seeing each homes different vibe. This one is sunny and cheerful. I love it.

  7. avatar Graham reply

    It was SO much fun photographing this wonderful family and thank you ladies for sharing their beautiful home!

  8. avatar Erin Phillips reply

    I’m so in love with this home tour! I can’t get that little lion pillow out of my head, too stinkin’ cute.

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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Almost as soon as we accepted Jordan and Dave’s wedding for a feature, Lisa was clamoring for a home tour. Knowing Jordan was an interior designer and seeing the impeccable style she deployed at her nuptials, we had a hunch we were in for a treat! Happily, we were right. Her and Dave’s Tampa condo is a colorful and eclectic blending of “his and her” style, without losing the distinctiveness of either one. And, even with just two months of marriage under their collective belt, these two have lots of wisdom to share!

Big hugs to Brittney Forrister (Jordan’s sister!) for the interior styling and Baxter Miller for the photos!

Photo by Kristin Sweeting

The couple: Jordan Forrister Winston (30) and David Sinclair Winston (30)
Years married: Almost 2 months
Where they live: Tampa, Florida
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. I grew up in the mountains of North Carolina and Dave grew up on the water in Tampa, so while we had very different childhoods geographically, we both grew up with an appreciation for being on the water (fresh or salt). I went to an ACC school, UNC, and he went to an SEC school, Auburn, so we travel around the Southeast quite a bit when fall hits. I’m an interior designer and Dave is project manager for a construction company, so we talk in blueprints! We both have an appreciation for what the other one does 9 to 5, and that makes a big difference.
Tell us your love story in one sentence. “Why are you dancing up there, when you could be dancing down here with me?” – Dave, the night we met at a popular Nashville honky-tonk.

What is your favorite part of being married? Dave and I dated long distance for two and half years, and it wasn’t until after we were engaged that we lived in the same city. It’s wonderful to come home to him each night and speak to him in person. I’m still learning all these amazing things about him and his everyday life!
What has been the most surprising thing about marriage? The amount of laundry! Doing laundry for two people is quite different and I feel like I can barely keep up. It did help justify purchasing a very cute laundry hamper, though!
What is your favorite memory from your wedding? Our favorite memory of our wedding was the loud clapping as we walked back up the aisle. It was almost deafening. The sound was assurance that we have so much support behind our marriage.
Tell us a little bit about where you live. When we decided to move to Tampa for Dave’s job, we knew we wanted to purchase a home. We had both rented places in our respective cities, and knew that Tampa would be a place where we could settle down for a few years, if not always. We knew we wanted to purchase a place we could call our own without breaking the bank, so we bought a small condo in South Tampa that needed to be completely gutted and renovated. For three months, we spent nights and weekends tearing down/adding/painting walls, installing new tile, and installing a new kitchen, all while planning our wedding.

Tell us about the process of moving in together. Since we both lived independently for several years, we had each accumulated lots of furniture and art. It was important to us that the condo reflected each of our personalities, which began the process of deciding what to keep and what to donate. Our gallery wall is an excellent example of that motivation. It is a blending of our personal art collections above a vintage record player (it still works!) that Dave found while thrifting, and is a great reminder of our separate lives coming together. Also, a sailfish, which Dave caught, hangs above our living room couch. As a mountain girl, I loved getting to do something different and fully embrace the coastal aspect of our new town. While we have blended many of our things together, our nightstands remain his and hers. It’s just another way of claiming your side of the bed!

Which room in your home is your favorite, and why? Our favorite room in the house is the kitchen. It was the room we completely renovated, and we poured so much sweat equity into reconfiguring the space and installing new cabinets. All the hard work makes me appreciate it even more, and it is so rewarding to see the beautiful space finished. I especially love how our tiled floor-to-ceiling wall turned out.
Which items from your wedding registry do you use the most often? We use our new Keurig every day. I am most excited, however, about our custom pottery dishes by Handmade Studio in Nashville. They are so simply beautiful that it makes me want to entertain every night, just so we can use them.
What different decisions, if any, would you make for your registry if you knew then what you knew now? I wouldn’t register at so many places–I would keep it to a maximum of three. It was very hard to keep all of ours organized when it came to returns and duplicates.

What most makes your house feel like home? Our art–each piece contains meaning. We can both tell you which artist or friend painted each piece, or why we picked it up at the thrift store. A commissioned photograph by Andy Detwiler of Paradise Park, the honky-tonk in Nashville where we first met, hangs in our living room above a side table. Our art is a constant reminder of our journey before and after we met.
Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? I splurge on textiles–fabric and rugs and pillows! As a designer, I have access to amazing fine furniture brands, but you can’t beat a good thrift store find. I’m always searching for one-of-a-kind chairs to recover, wooden side tables, and even lamps. In fact, some of my favorite finds in our condo are the lamps–we have a pair of brass lamps on our nightstands and the lamp that rests on the campaign-style side table in our living room were found at local Tampa thrift stores (I have the most luck at Salvation Army). Unique pieces really bring a lot character and soul to our space.

Who cooks dinner? We usually both cook. Dave will grill and I’m usually in charge of the sides. Making dinner is our time together after work to catch up and hang out with one another.
What is your go-to weeknight meal? Weekend meal? During the week, we try our best to be healthy, with dishes like spinach salad with pecans, cranberries, goat cheese, and grilled chicken, dressed with a honey walnut vinaigrette. We have three adorable nieces and nephews that we enjoy being close to now that we live in Tampa, so our favorite weekend meal is spent at my in-laws’ house each Sunday evening. The meal is secondary to the company!
What’s your favorite place to find recipes? When I travel, I will often pick up a new cookbook to remind of us our trip. One of my favorites is the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook I bought a few years ago in Charleston. Food stains coat the pages, I use it so much!

How does your family handle finances? We are both frugal, so we never worry about who is spending what on what. We did set a limit on what we can purchase without having to consult the other one–if were going to make a purchase greater than $500, it would need to be a discussion.
What’s your best tip for balancing your relationship and other life priorities? Make your spouse your first priority. Consider your spouse in your plans, making him aware of what and when you are doing things. It’s always nice to be in the loop!

What is one small way you love or serve your spouse? I always fold his clothes and put them away.
Do you have children? We are enjoying being an aunt and uncle right now to our adorable nieces and nephew. I do tell them there are cousins coming, just not sure when!
Is there anything else about your home or family life that you think our readers would be interested in? “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:2-3

We’re so grateful to Jordan and Dave for sharing their hearts and home with us! Be sure to follow along with Jordan on her Instagram.

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!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Allyson reply

    I love those blue and green shams! Any chance we can find out where they’re from??

  2. avatar Jordan reply

    Hi there!

    The bedding is from Matouk. Hemingway Collection. Glad you liked it!

  3. avatar Rachel Nordgren reply

    There is absolutely nothing about this home tour that I don’t LOVE! Such a fun mix of color and texture that works together so well to tell their story!

  4. avatar julie reply

    jordan is a true talent and a wonderful girl! love seeing her fabulous home

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!

Reply to: