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We’ve 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: date nights! Making time for each other and continuing to “date” your spouse is something we believe in fiercely, but we know it’s often easier said than done. Enter our own lovely Marissa and her baseball-playing beau, Brandon. Due to BDK’s profession, these two are on the road constantly, and especially now that they’ve welcomed their first little belle to the family, we’re so inspired by the way they cherish their time together and make dating each other a priority!

Jennifer Pharr

Names: Branch (Brandon) and Marissa Kloess
Years married: 5.6 years!
Children’s names and ages: Emerson Katherine, almost four months old
By day: Brandon is a semipro golfer, facial hair aficionado, Alabama born and raised professional baseball player for the San Diego Padres and Marissa is a professional car packer, monogramaholic, Florabama-raised Director of Advertising for Southern Weddings.
How they met: We met in our Multimedia Practicum class in college. Our desks faced each other, and it was love at first sight (especially when BDK brought the baby squirrel he rescued to class!).

A throwback to the class where M + B met! Awww!

Their wedding: We were married in the sweet little town of Mount Dora, Florida. Our incredible day started at a beautiful church downtown with stained glass windows, and continued with a horse-drawn carriage ride down the cobblestone streets past the park (decked out in Christmas lights!) to the historic Lakeside Inn for our reception. We ended the day dancing and celebrating with our family and closest friends. P.S. The Lakeside Inn even has lemonade and rocking chairs on their adorable wraparound porch!

Michelle March

Marissa and Brandon’s top five favorite date night ideas:

1. Movies in the park: One of my very favorite dates BDK and I have ever had (and his personal favorite) was when he surprised me and we drove three hours to watch the classic Marilyn Monroe movie Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (one of my all-time favorites!) on a big projector screen in the park. He even packed us a fried chicken picnic for dinner!
2. Be a kid again: While in college, BDK and I were lucky enough to live pretty close to Orlando, Florida. One of our most fun dates (and my personal favorite) was when we went to Universal Studios for the day. No adult roller coasters (we’re both scaredy cats!)–just plain ol’ kid fun. We ditched our cell phones and laughed until our bellies ached, all while surrounded by characters from our childhoods.
3. Singalong: BDK should really be in the music business–he knows all the best bands before they hit iTunes. We love going to small concert venues and seeing bands no one has ever heard of, all while singing our hearts out to songs barely anyone knows! Most small shows are inexpensive (except for the time our car got towed!), and you never know who the opening act will be–we’ve seen now-big-name bands back when they were selling their own t-shirts!
4. Explore the outdoors: While we all know I’m way more of an indoor kind of gal (no tents, and please pass the blowdryer!), one of the last dates we had before our baby girl arrived was a pitstop we made at the Grand Canyon while on the way back from a baseball road trip. It was so much fun to explore the sites and see such an iconic part of our great country.
5. Stay inside: One of our very favorite dates is more of an un-date! Budget-conscious, pajama-friendly, and makeup-free, we LOVE a complete day at home ordering takeout and watching movies. We’ve been known to binge-watch Netflix (House of Cards, anyone?) for hours. Since we travel so much, BDK and I are homebodies, and really enjoy spending time just relaxing and hanging out. These nights (or days) in are sometimes the best way to recharge our batteries and reconnect when everything is a bit hectic.

A little reminder 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!

Jennifer Pharr and Michelle March are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa

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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Friends! We are so excited to introduce to you the newest member of the Southern Weddings team — Emerson Katherine Kloess!

She joins Grace as baby number two in the SW clan, and we couldn’t be happier. Emmy Kate, as she is known around these parts, made her debut on her own timetable — about five weeks before her due date! While she took all of us by surprise (Marissa and Brandon most of all!) and had a little bit of extra growing to do before she could come home from the hospital, everyone is now doing well. We’re so proud of Marissa, and were not surprised at all when she sent us a photo of Emerson with a gigantic hair bow on her head a few weeks ago… even though it wasn’t technically in line with NICU policies.

Today is actually our dear Marissa’s birthday, so we wanted to take a minute to recognize her as well as her precious daughter. She is a crucial and beloved member of our team, and while we are so happy she’s having a chance to soak up time with her sweet girl, we’re looking forward to having her back with us in March!

We know those first few weeks with a baby can be isolating, so we would LOVE for y’all to leave Marissa and her little gal some Southern Weddings sugar! Prayers, of course, are also appreciated as EKK continues to grow healthy and strong!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Kelly Scarborough Watson reply

    So beautiful, Marissa! Happy sweet birthdays to the both of you! Welcome little Emerson!

  2. avatar Lindsay {Everistta} reply

    She’s gorgeous! Congratulations Marissa!

  3. avatar madelynne moulton reply

    CONGRATULATIONS pretty mama! she is just a beautiful little baby and I love her name! sending prayers your way and so glad she is healthy!

  4. avatar Kyla F reply

    Congratulations to Marissa and Brandon on the birth of your little miracle! :)

  5. avatar Melissa W. reply

    Happy Birthday, Marissa!! Congratulations on Emmy Kate :) I was really praying for y’all while baby was in NICU. So happy she’s home. I’ll keep praying :) God’s blessings!

  6. avatar Emily reply

    Congratulations, Marissa and Brandon!

  7. avatar A Day in the Life of the Southern Weddings' Marketing Director – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] new advertisers to our Southern Weddings family! As we wrap up, I beg for the chance to say hi to EKK, Marissa’s darling baby […]

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 experienced our fair share of April showers and pollen season, but last month was surely a beautiful one for the Southern Weddings ladies. Aside from many #SouthernDoin‘s, we prepped for our first V6 shoots and did plenty of celebrating. Here’s what we’ve been up to in and out of the office.

1. Marissa’s sock bun got fancy! Yes, she #putabowonit!

2. My little strawberry plant is doing well and sprouting out teeny berries!

3. Emily adored this punny mailing all the way from Owlabama.

4. Lara spent her April writing her first book proposal!

5. “It SNOWED! In April. IN the South,” said Kristin. “I made the most of it and put on my boots and put out a bowl to catch snow to make snow cream”

6. April was Southern Weddings’ birthday month. My desk was filled with all five volumes and lots of math while we calculated stats for our birthday graphics (here and here).

7. NC exploded into bloom in April, and we didn’t have to go farther than our office front door to find pretty flowers! This snap was taken on Emily’s midday walk.

8. Lara is changing her name! Deciding on her middle name has proven to be one of the hardest decisions.

9. Marissa about died when she received her monogram bracelet from Stacy Brown Designs! It’s monogram heaven!

10. For Emily, much of April was taken up by her honeymoon to Nevis — one of her favorite snaps!

11. Marissa sent many handwritten notes this month with her adorable new notecards! (Lettered by our own Emily Thomas!)

12. Kristin celebrated a very big birthday with sweet friends and a delicious cookie cake (her favorite).

13. Kristin indulged in a midnight snack in the form of a yummy Krispy Kreme doughnut!

14. Emily and John planted their balcony veggie/herb garden.

15. Lara and Ari told the story of their marriage and how love never fails during the Amazing Life Together webinar.

16. Lara and Grace took a trip down the road to visit some farm friends!

17. I hosted friends at my house for a weekend and played hostess by whipping up brunch!

18. Marissa officially became a Lululemon convert. She especially loves their manifesto on what’s most important.

What did y’all do in April? What were the highlights of your month?

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
  1. avatar Emily reply

    I’m obsessed with that bow on the bun!! So 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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