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Friends! I don’t know about you, but I’m in a bit of a withdrawal now that Lisa’s wedding planning series has drawn to a close. There’s just something about following a gal through the process, as she makes decisions in real time, that’s exciting, reassuring, and just plain fun! Happily for all of us, we’ve got a new engaged Southern Weddings lady in the pipeline for your reading pleasure. The darling Jessica Clinch interned for us a few years ago, and we’ve loved following along with her adventures via her blog ever since! When we heard she was engaged, we immediately reached out to her to about being our newest blogging bride. Happily she said yes! She’ll be joining us once a month until her wedding next year. I’m thrilled to introduce Jessica to you today! — Emily

Ian Riley Photography

Hey y’all! Some of you might remember me as the Southern Weddings intern from a couple years ago. It is hard to believe that it has been that long since I have been working with these lovely ladies! It is even crazier that I am here today blogging about my wedding planning process and sharing the story of how I met and fell in love with Zack! It all still seems like a fairytale to me, but it is by far my favorite story to tell.

All my life, I’ve gone back and forth about whether I believe in fate and soul mates. I always thought it was a cute idea, but one that only existed in novels and romantic movies. But I have to say, I now believe in soul mates whole-heartedly. I know without the shadow of a doubt that Zack is the only man for me, and the person I will spend my entire life with!

Zipporah Photography

So, how did we meet and why do I consider it fate? Grab a glass of your favorite sweet thing to drink, because our story is long but fun to read! It all starts one Friday evening last May. I was getting ready for a fun night out with my girlfriends, and as I was picking out my dress for the evening, I jokingly turned to my roommate and swore we were going to meet our boyfriends that night. She laughed, and we carried on getting ready.

Later that evening as we were about to head home, we stopped by one of our favorite places and I was happy to see my friend Sierra (a former SW employee!) who I hadn’t seen in months. I was even happier when I noticed that she was with a new group of friends, including a dapper boy wearing a sport coat. Something immediately drew me to him (he claims it was his sport coat!). So, I walked right up to him and introduced myself!

We talked and laughed for what felt like hours. He told me he had just come from working a wedding (Zack and his brother co-owned the videography company, Nicholas & Keaton) and that he was going to stay in Chattanooga that night, but his friends convinced him to come back to Nashville. You can imagine I was glad to hear that! We made plans to meet up the next night, and after another fun evening, planned our first date for that upcoming week. I knew that there was something extra special about him when he showed up at my doorstep with a single red rose!

Fast-forward eight months full of fun trips, holidays spent with families, and more thoughtful and sweet date nights to January 24, 2015. Zack and I were both really excited about that day, but for different reasons. I was excited because Zack, his brother, and his sister-in-law gifted me a promo video for my business as a Christmas gift, and this was the big day that it was supposed to take place. Little did I know, it was the day Zack was going to propose!!

In November, while we were at my parents’ house for Thanksgiving, Zack had the opportunity to ask my dad for his blessing. After he received a warm welcome into the family, Zack began scheming. He told his brother and sister-in-law about his plans for the fake promo video, and asked both my family and my two best friends from college to book flights to Nashville for the 24th.

The big morning came, and I got all dolled up for my “promo video.” Zack knew this was the perfect decoy, because I would be wearing a cute outfit, I would have my nails painted, my friends would be with me the whole day, and he would catch everything on both video and camera. After a morning full of girly activities with my friends, we quickly grabbed lunch as Zack, Casey and Kristin went back to my house to set up for my “interview.”

As I walked into my house, I saw Zack standing in the hallway leading to my office. He wore the same sport coat that he was wearing when we first met. I hadn’t caught on to what was happening yet – I was still so focused on what I would be saying during my interview! After a moment, Zack led me into my office where he had a couple of collages set up displaying our favorite pictures together. On my desk, I saw a note that had my name on it sitting atop the journal that we keep together. As instructed by the note, I flipped to the bookmarked page of our journal, which said, “On December 17th, I bought an engagement ring.”

At that moment, I was in SUCH shock! I remember standing frozen with the goofiest smile on my face and not knowing what to do! So, Zack led me to the middle of the room, took my hands, and said the sweetest things I have ever heard in my entire life – words that I had been so excited to hear since we first met!

Once I heard the words “will you marry me?” I immediately screamed “of course!!” and hugged Zack, without even taking a glance at my ring! After we started to settle down from the excitement, he told me that he promised my mom that she would be the first person we would call. The tears that started to well up upon hearing my mom’s voice turned into screams of joy as she walked around the corner and into my room!! My entire family, Zack’s mom, and my friends all followed her into the room, and I felt so surrounded by love. It was the perfect ending to the most wonderful surprise!

Jessica’s talented future brother- and sister-in-law Casey & Kristin are responsible for all of the proposal photos and the darling video below!

Zack and I could not be happier, and we are beyond excited to share our wedding planning adventure with y’all! We have some ideas about what we would like to share, but we would also love to hear from you! What topics are you hoping to hear about, or what questions do you have? We are getting married in exactly one year on May 14, 2016 (yay!!), so we will have 11 more blog posts to share with y’all! Thank you so much for sharing in our journey with us!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Kirsti reply

    This is such a sweet story! I just found Jessica’s Etsy shop and fell in love (and ordered way too many things for my own good) but I had no idea that she was a former SW intern!! Congrats on your engagement, con’t wait to follow along!

  2. avatar Carly reply

    Jessica, this is epic. I am so, so excited for you! I absolutely loved watching your video, and I can’t wait to read along as you plan your wedding.

  3. avatar Stephanie Creekmur reply

    Oh my gosh this is wonderful! I’m in tears reading y’all’s story and watching the video! I’m so happy for you, Jessica and can’t wait to follow along with your planning! :)

  4. avatar Mary reply

    Well. This is just the most precious thing I’ve ever seen! Jessica is a doll and I’m so glad we get to see her journey down the aisle! Congratulations!

  5. avatar Kelly reply

    Oh man, your mom walking out, Jessica, that got me. So sweet!!! So happy for you two!

  6. avatar Happy Weekend: 5 Links I Love reply

    […] Jessica’s Southern Wedding: The Proposal (Southern Weddings) I teared up watching their proposal video! Super sweet and the most wonderful surprise.  […]

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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Remember wayyyy back when we first issued a call for all Southern bride bloggers? Oh yes, here :) Well, we finally got our rears in gear and set up the page, which you can find here!

I know we have tons of new readers since we first posted about this, so if you’d like to be listed, just leave a comment below with your blog address! Make sure you include a valid email in your comment so we can send over your badge. We only ask that you are a bride currently planning a wedding in the Southeastern United States, and that you blog at least once a week! We’re also open to hearing from Southern gals planning weddings outside the South.

P.S. Love this sort of stuff? Then we think you’ll love these links:
Our Southern Brides of the Month
The planning journey of SW’s own Southern-ish bride, moi!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Caitlin reply

    I love Southern Weddings and have been following you guys for over a year, your website is truly inspirational for all brides out there. I would be proud to place your badge on my blog, my fiance and I are getting married in Old Town Alexandria, VA on June 9th!

  2. avatar Courtney reply

    I would love a button! I’m planning our June wedding and have just recently began posting about some of the stuff I don’t care that other people know, it’s so much fun to hear from other brides who are going through the same process!

  3. avatar Megan reply

    So fun! I started blogging before I got engaged and once I got engaged I started doing “Wedding Wednesday’s!” Would love to put your button on my blog, Fried Green Pickles! :) We’re from and getting married in Charleston, SC on March 30, 2013.

  4. avatar Kelsey reply

    I would love a button for my blog, Southern in Love! I’ve been blogging since we got engaged in November of 2010 and can’t believe the wedding is getting so close! June 30th will be here before I know it! I love to discuss our wedding and how it’s progressing as well as other fun (and Southern) things.

  5. avatar Meagan reply

    Just missed it as I’m now a Southern Newlywed! I was recently married in the South and blogged throughout my entire planning process on Southern Weddings was a huge influence and great inspiration. Thanks SW!

  6. avatar Kendall reply

    I would love a button for my blog, argyle & paisley! I have been blogging since before my fiance (Jamison) proposed in October 2011, but since then I have almost only blogged about wedding things. Jamison and I are both from Charlotte, NC and that is where we are getting married on September 29, 2012. I have been looking at Southern Weddings blog since before we got engaged as well, and have every issue of the magazine!

  7. avatar Liz reply

    We are having a garden wedding this September in Virginia. I took most of my inspiration from the blog and magazine. Love you guys!

  8. avatar Taryn reply

    Hi! I love SW!! I started The Sweet Iced Tea Soiree blog when I first started planning my wedding, I’ve realized how much I love it, and I’m currently in the middle of event and wedding planning school now!! I must say, most of my inspiration for my October 6th 2012 wedding at The Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, has come from Southern Weddings magazine!

  9. avatar Sheila Humphrey reply

    I actually started my blog to document my crafting projects as I started learning to quilt last August and began making quilts for friends. After I got engaged in February I decided that planning my wedding would be the new focus of the project blog for a while, so I’m keeping family and friends who are out-of-town updated with the details through the blog. My fiance and I are getting married on October 27 in charming downtown Ocean Springs, Mississippi! I would love to add your button and hopefully bring more Mississippi brides your way. :)

  10. avatar Lauren Margaret reply

    I’m originally from New York, but I came to Virginia for middle school – just in time to fall in love with this gorgeous commonwealth AND meet my Georgia-born love! Fast forward through our friendship in high school, losing touch in college, and moving back to Virginia at the same time, and now we’re engaged! We’re getting married on June 1, 2013, in Virginia and I couldn’t be happier! My blog is at and I’d love to be listed as a Southern bride blogger :)

  11. avatar Whitney reply

    I’m a southern girl living in cold & snowy Maine!
    My fiance (a true Mainer and lobsterfisherman) are getting married on September 1st, 2012 in an old barn in Buxton, Maine.
    I started a blog to share my journey to ‘I DO!’ I love DIY projects and LOVE every aspect about planning my wedding! I am Southern Wedding OBSESSED! You gals are amazing!

  12. avatar Angela@ The Southern Fried Bride reply

    I launched my blog as a bride-to-be and this SBB program was discontinued during that time. As a newlywed, I have become a bridal blogger. I dearly want to be a part of this program.

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Angela! So sorry to disappoint you, but we don’t have any plans to list regular wedding blogs (i.e. not brides currently planning) at this time! If we do that in the future, we’d love to have you! :)

  13. avatar Emily reply

    Hi ladies! I think I’ve emailed you all — we’re happy to have you! :)

  14. avatar amanda reply

    This is so exciting! I’ve already blogged about you guys and my fabulous photographer Meredith Perdue! And I’m getting married right here in Raleigh, NC!

  15. avatar Danielle reply

    I’d love to be a part of this! I’m from Florida but planning my wedding in New England this October!

  16. avatar Theresa reply

    I LOVE Southern Weddings and read your posts everyday! I would love to place your badge on my blog, which I recently started just for fun. Please include me as a Southern Bride blogger.

  17. avatar Brandy Helmer reply

    I just started my wedding planning blog but would love to be included.

  18. avatar Taylor reply

    Hey ladies! I sure would love to put your badge on my blog. I’m just getting it kicked off – I plan to have lots of recipes, decorating ideas, and of course wedding planning posts to keep everything updated! I’ve definitely been inspired by the Emily plans a Wedding posts. Thanks y’all!

  19. avatar Briana reply

    Hey y’all! My cousin Melinda and I are both engaged and share the blog to document our various wedding plans, along with our favorite recipes and homemaking ideas. She is from North Carolina and her wedding is in Virginia, while I am from Florida and my wedding is in my hometown :) We would love to be part of the fun!

  20. avatar Ashlee reply

    I’d LOVE LOVE LOVE to be featured in your Southern Brides Bloggers :) I live in KY and am having a Southern Charm filled wedding on June 2nd of this year! I’ve been blogging each week since my engagement in my “Wedding Wednesday” section! I’m having a HUGE wedding, but doing it on a budget! The whole premise of my blog in the first place was ways to live a champagne lifestyle when you’re a poor teacher! Thanks for providing this so we can connect with other brides!!

  21. avatar Sarah Schneider reply

    I was so excited to hear about this opportunity since I have been reading your blog for years, even though I just got engaged last month. I write the lifestyle blog, Simply Sarah Style, highlighting fashion, decor, party planning and recipes. I would love to display your Southern Weddings bride button!

    My fiance, Ben, and I are planning a wedding for spring of 2013, hopefully April.

  22. avatar Mindy reply

    I’d love to be a part of this!! I am currently planning our June 16 wedding in North Carolina, and I try to do a “Wedding Wednesday” post each week!!! I love reading your blog every day for new ideas!! :)

  23. avatar tina reply

    Hello, I am a southern bride to be planning a wedding and would love to be part of your bridal blogging community. Thanks so much!! ~tina

  24. avatar Stephanie Marie reply

    I would be so honored to be included in this round-up of fabulous bloggers– my fiance (from South Florida) and myself are so excited to be planning our September 2012 wedding in Charlottesville, Virginia– and I LOVE following all the Southern Wedding gals for inspiration :) My blog, Fête, is a place for me to blog wedding (and lifestyle– there’s life after the big day!) inspiration!

  25. avatar Kelsey reply

    Is it too late to say I would love to be included in this? I am in Chapel Hill, planning for my wedding in August, which will be in my hometown of Charlotte, NC! My fiance is living in Raleigh and is from Asheville. I blog about a variety of things and am keeping my friends and family updated on my wedding plans! :)

  26. avatar Emily reply

    Hi ladies! I think I got you all! If you haven’t gotten an email from me or Nicole, feel free to shoot me an email! emily at

  27. avatar Sarah @ Simply Sarah Style reply

    Hello from Kentucky! have been following the Southern Weddings blog for many years even though I just got engaged last month. I would be honored to include your Southern Bride button on my blog, Simply Sarah Style (, and look forward to using your magazine for inspiration to prepare for my big day.

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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