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Yep, Bess and Ben’s home is beeee-autiful. (But then again, I would expect nothing less from the director of a curated online shop!) At work, Bess’ mantra is to “live with things you love;” at home, it’s clear the number one priority is “live with whom you love.” These two love each other a lot and have plenty of wisdom to share from their 1.5 years of married life. Friends, please enjoy this peek inside Bess and Ben’s Charleston home!

Big hugs to Olivia Rae James for these photos!

The couple: Bess (31) and Ben (30)
Years married: 1.5
Where they live: Charleston, SC
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. We met 5 years ago in London, England, while Bess was researching her master’s thesis at Sotheby’s and Ben was living and working. We were married 1.5 years ago in Nantucket, MA, and recently moved to Charleston where we’re loving settling into life in the low country.

Tell us your love story in one sentence. It was a typical rainy summer night in London where only a local pub would suffice; the vacant seat within lead to a remarkable journey to Charleston, the other side of the world (or as we now call it, home).
What is your favorite part of being married? Living with your best friend.
Do you rent or own? We recently completed a five month renovation of our first home. We love living in an older house which has been updated to our specifications. We purchased our home because we adore the area and think that it has potential for us to grow into it. The schools are wonderful and we love our neighbors and the historic community here.

Tell us about the process of moving in together. Ben: Without a doubt Bess’ career experience with renovation and interior design guided most of our decisions for the house. Luckily, we both like to mix styles. It’s fun to throw her a curve ball that breaks convention and see how she fits it all in!
What most makes your house feel like home? Having items which have been passed down to us from both sides of the family. We’re big antique people and love living with a mix of old and new pieces together.
Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? Bess has been collecting furniture and design pieces throughout her career. We splurge in our kitchen and master bedroom, but save on items found at estate sales or at one of our favorite home stores, Ikea…

What’s your best tip for balancing your relationship and other life priorities? Try to give each other what you need. Most weekdays we reconnect by taking our dog, George, for a walk in the evening and discussing our day together. We both need time to unwind and we make sure to try and spend as much time by the water as possible. It’s a great stress reliever.
Do you have a favorite date night idea to share? Date night for us is different every time and we find the most memorable ones tend to reflect the time preceding it. If we’ve been traveling for work, then nothing can beat an intimate dinner at home with a simple meal and the dog at our feet. A picnic at the beach around sunset is pretty idyllic, too… Simple evenings are best and we try to avoid routine and crowds.

What different decisions, if any, would you make for your registry if you knew then what you know now? We would have focused more on what we use for entertaining friends. We love having friends over for cocktails and food and I wish there were more registries focused on these types of items. Our great friends recently opened a wedding registry site focused on fabulous items for entertaining. I wish they had been around when we were registering!

Which room in your home is your favorite, and why? Our kitchen – it’s where we spend most of our time – we both love to cook and entertain.

Which items from your wedding registry do you use the most often? Our kitchen items are what we use most often – a beautiful cutting board, everyday cutlery, and cocktail glasses.
Who cooks dinner? Mostly Bess, however we shop together and enjoy joining forces when we host. We tend to throw ourselves into the deep end in the kitchen and like to experiment. This usually allows for Ben’s scientific approach to clash with Bess’ creative flair!

What is your go-to weeknight meal? Weekend meal? Weeknights are quick and easy. We like our local Trader Joe’s or the fish market for fresh meat/veggies and seafood. On the weekends we splurge by grilling out with friends or trying a new restaurant downtown.
What’s your favorite place to find recipes? We love traditional cookbooks – old classics like Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking and new icons like Gwenyth’s It’s All Good. I also love great food blogs like Food 52 and Feed Me Phoebe.

What is your favorite memory from your wedding? There are so many wonderful memories, but recapping the night when it was just the two of us after the reception was so special. We stayed up late drinking champagne and laughing, never wanting it to end!
How do you remember your wedding in your home? We treasure our wedding photos which are framed throughout our home. We also love watching our wedding video on special occasions!
What is one small way you love or serve your spouse? Ben: I wash her car for her on the weekends – the pollen during spring in Charleston is brutal, and I know she loves a clean car. Bess: I keep his favorite breakfast and dessert foods on hand at all times, and I make sure he always has clean socks.

What has been the most surprising thing about marriage? How fast time flies. I feel like I’ve known Ben my whole life, yet our wedding day still feels like yesterday!
Please finish the sentence: Before getting married, I wish someone had told me… Ben: …how exciting being married would be. Routine and process was an urban myth. Never have I been busier and achieved so much.
This year, our family is most excited about… planting roots in our new home and discovering new things about our (fairly) new city and community.

We’re so grateful to Bess and Ben for sharing their hearts and home with us! Be sure to check out Bess’ beautiful online shop, Lola & Bess.

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 Jehnel Oboza-Davison reply

    Holy smokes! This home is gorgeous! Welcome to Charleston, Bess and Ben! I hope your stay has been the bee’s knees so far. ^_^

  2. avatar Alexandra Bee Blog reply

    Ooooh, I really like their dining room and that bathroom looks divine!

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Since we cook dinner in my house almost every night, my husband and I are on a constant search for new recipes to try. And though we have our favorite indulgences, we try to make most of them on the healthier side! To help you in your own quest for lighter newlywed recipes, the Southern Weddings gals have rounded up a few favorites to share today, all tested and approved in our own kitchens. Whether you’re paleo, vegetarian, vegan, or just trying to eat a little better, we hope you’ll find something here to love!

1. 5-Ingredient Easy White Chicken Chili | I have been making this literally every other week since I discovered the recipe–it’s perfect on chilly nights, and it couldn’t be easier to throw into the crockpot in the morning! Be sure to use a good salsa verde (Frontera Tomatillo salsa is my favorite), and don’t skimp on toppings–I add cilantro, green onion, avocado, a dollop of Greek yogurt, and a sprinkle of cheese. – Lisa
2. Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts | I am a pretty big Gina fan and her recipes never disappoint (I got her fabulous new cookbook for Christmas). This one is healthy and easy–we’ve made it for ourselves, when we’ve had friends over, and even made extra and eaten leftovers for a few days! – Kristin
3. BLT Chopped Salad with Corn, Feta, and Avocado | This is my current favorite salad recipe–the combination of ingredients is so delicious! I love it for weekend lunches or light dinners. To make it even lighter, substitute pistachios for the bacon! – Lisa
4. Sweet Potato Burritos with Avocado Salsa Verde | This is one of the few meals where I don’t miss the meat AT ALL. I can serve this to anyone and they will love it! – Emily
5. Blueberry Oat Squares | My blueberry plants are usually late bloomers but when they finally yield some juicy berries, these granola bars are the berries’ first destination! – Morgan
6. Gluten Free Pizza Crust Mix | Kind of a recipe, and kind of an easy-peasy date night! This pizza dough is one of our absolute favorites: it’s quick, healthy, and rises like regular pizza crust. Add your favorite toppings, and you’re good to go! – Marissa
7. Paleo Meatloaf | Being married to an athlete, we have been hardcore Paleo, semi-Paleo, and everything in-between. During our “hardcore” time, we loved this meatloaf. Paired with green beans, it is our go-to healthy comfort food! – Marissa
8. Summer Macaroni Salad with Tomatoes and Zucchini | I always make a big bowl of this light and fresh macaroni salad before my family and I leave for our annual summer vacation. Chilled in a cooler, it makes the perfect beach day lunch! – Morgan
9. Broccolini Fried Rice | This recipe is almost painfully healthy, but it also happens to be pretty yummy, and easy to make. Good when you feel like you need a cleanse! – Emily
10. Blueberry & Raspberry Baked Oatmeal | Eating a warm (healthy) breakfast on a cold morning is a great way to start our day–my favorite part of this recipe is the fact that you can make ahead (on the weekend) and reheat individual servings each morning! – Kristin

What are your go-to healthy recipes, friends? Feel free to sound off or leave links in the comments – we’ll be checking back!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Heather reply

    These all sounds delicious! I was just looking for some healthy recipes to make this weekend (we’re trying to eat extra healthy before our wedding this summer!) and am going to try that chicken chili tonight!

  2. avatar Jenn reply

    This look so tasty!

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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As much as we love our wedding features around these parts, we have a special space in our hearts for our Southern Newlywed At Home column. From adorable spaces to insightful interviews, it’s been such a joy to get a peek into the hearts and homes of some of our favorite couples this year! We were inspired by each and every one of the 16 newlywed nests we featured this year, and thought we’d take a walk down memory lane before kicking off 2015 with a whole new group of married friends!

Best mix of feminine + masculine: Emily and Bryan’s Florida home (photo by Shay Cochrane)

Best use of color: Katelyn James’ Virginia home (photo by Katelyn!)

Best use of neutrals: Landon and Jordan’s South Carolina home (photo by Landon Jacob)

Best apartment living: Caroline and Aaron’s 600 sq. ft. Texas home (photo by Michelle Boyd)

Best porch: Erin and Ben’s Mississippi home (photo by Jean Allsopp)

Coziest home: Erin and Todd’s South Carolina home (photo by Courtney Dox)

Most adorable small space living: Meg and Josh’s Texas home (photo by Amanda Marie)

Best city living: Mattye and Woody’s Alabama home (photo by Jacob Blount)

Best dining room: Clark and Caroline’s Tennessee home (photo by Clark)

Best bunk room: Jessica and Jeremy’s North Carolina home (photo by Jessica)

Best wallpaper: Emily and Colby’s Texas home (photo by Apryl Ann)

Best home office: Amanda and Tyler’s Texas home (photo by Heather Rowland)

Best pattern play: Kelly and Andrew’s Alabama home (photo by Jean Allsopp)

Best bedroom: Natalie and Huey’s Maryland home (photo by Natalie)

Best use of wedding china: Abby and Alex’s Alabama home (photo by A Bryan Photo) (also, best chicken names)

Best re-use of wedding decor in a home: Christina and Blair’s Texas home (photo by Jen Dillender)

You can see all of our Southern Newlywed features right here. And stay tuned to the blog the week after Christmas, when we’ll be sharing our Most Memorable moments from a year of weddings!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Yours Truly Wedding Albums reply

    Beautiful homes! Love the 2 huge white dogs!

  2. avatar Lisa reply

    What an amazing round-up! Love the wisdom and inspiration every single one of these couples shared!

  3. avatar Liz reply

    This series is my new favorite part of SW!

  4. avatar Kirsti reply

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this new series in SW! It’s so fun to read the different things that make each home and marriage work because there truly is no cookie cutter for your relationship!

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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