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I’M ENGAGED!!!! We can all agree that finally being able to share these words with the world is THE BEST! Right? Whether you’ve dated your fella for a few months or a few years (or more than a few) years, officially declaring your newly minted fiancé status to your loved ones and best friends is one of the best feelings in the word!

Since we’re smack in the middle of engagement season (it’s a real thing that happens every year from Thanksgiving through Valentine’s Day—we promise), we’re declaring the next five days Engagement Celebration Week. Grab your best gals, your mama, and even your new fiancé (and the confetti) because we’ve got some cheers-ing to do!! We’ve planned fun celebrations all week long, giveaways every day (!!!) and we’re officially re-releasing our recently updated and extra-marvelous Joyful Wedding Planner.

To kick off our weeklong celebration, we want to hear from you! We want to hear the stories of your proposals (and see pictures) so get to posting and use the hashtag #JoyfullyEngaged so we can follow along. I’ve got my confetti and heart emojis-sending fingers ready, and I know the other Southern Weddings gals do, too.

As for the Planner, you might notice that in addition to some updates on the inside (pretty gold D-rings, updated info in every section, new downloads!), we’ve given our gal a fresh new name. There are a few reasons for this:

First, we wanted our Planner to more clearly communicate how we want you to FEEL while planning your wedding. I’ll be the first to admit that wedding planning can have its stressful moments (ahem, budgeting and guest list anyone?), but we believe it IS possible to have a joyful wedding planning experience, and that our Planner can help you have just that — by equipping you with both the practical and the pretty and reminding why we’re all doing this in the first place.

Second, while we will always be the Southern Weddings team and we have the biggest heart for our sweet Southern brides, we think the advice and encouragement in our Planner transcends geography, and we’d hate for a bride who’s hoping for a meaningful and joyful wedding to miss out on our info just because she doesn’t hail from beneath the Mason-Dixon Line!

Our whole team agrees that the Joyful Wedding Planner might be the best thing to ever come out of the Southern Weddings office. We have a burning passion for sharing really, truly GOOD information with y’all – the exact pieces of advice and same resources we’d give our sisters and best friends – and our Planner is the best way we know how to do that.

Whatever stage of engagement you’re in, celebrate as if you said ‘yes’ yesterday during this coming week! For the next five days, be all in!! Reminisce on the feelings you felt right after he asked, and soak up this fun week just for you. It’s time to celebrate!

xoxo,
Kristin and the Southern Weddings team

kristin Written with love by Kristin
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    Of all the things that go into creating a wedding day–the guest list, the invitations, the sparklers for a celebratory send-off–the vows are the only things that actually make a marriage. Your vows are your chance to declare to your world the things that you will honor in your marriage, and the things that you will abide by for the rest of your life. What an amazing opportunity, y’all!

    If you’ve decided to write personal wedding vows, we’d love to share our step-by-step process with you today. And BONUS! Sign up for our newsletter here to be sent nine of our favorite romantic and meaningful vow examples–a perfect jumping off point as you’re looking for inspiration!

    P.S. Does this advice resonate with you? You’ll LOVE the Southern Weddings Planner!

    Our Vows Booklet Set: the perfect place to record your vows for posterity, and read from during your ceremony!

    Get inspired. As early as you’d like, start a repository of inspiration for your vows–virtual (like Google Docs) or physical (like a notebook). And remember, inspiration can be everywhere: weddings you attend; wedding magazines, blogs, or films; books you read; songs you hear; lines of scripture. If a sentiment, line, or phrase resonates with you, jot it down–don’t worry about editing at this point.

    Mine your past. If you are lucky enough to have love letters (or emails or texts–this is the twenty-first century!) you’ve written each other over the years, break them out! They can be a great source of inspiration, and a wonderful way to include parts of your past in your future.

    Set parameters. Decide whether you’ll jointly write one set of vows that you’ll both recite, or if you’ll each write individual vows. If you’re writing individual vows, consider setting up basic guidelines so they aren’t wildly different: perhaps they’ll both last 30 seconds or a minute, or they’ll both take the form of promises, or they’ll both include an anecdote from your past.

    Start early. These are lifelong promises, not something to be jotted down the night before the wedding (or, God forbid, the morning of). About a month before the big day is a good time to sort your inspiration and begin a draft. Your groom might need a little prodding to get going–be gentle.

    Write a draft. Block out a space of time when you don’t have other commitments or things weighing on your mind, and begin sifting through your inspiration. Pull out the best pieces, and begin forming them into a coherent whole. Add and subtract, write and rewrite until you’re happy with what you have.

    Revisit your draft. Set your draft aside for a few days, then come back to it with fresh eyes. Make sure your words sound like YOU, not like what you think vows should sound like.

    Try it out loud. Make sure the words and sentences flow well and that there aren’t any tongue twisters. Adjust awkward lines. Be sure to time yourself to make sure you’re not running too long. And when in doubt, cut it out: short and sweet is almost always preferable to directionless rambling. Pick the most important points and make them well.

    Take it seriously. Personal vows can be funny and sweet and touching and, well, personal. But they’re also made up of the things you are vowing to abide by for the rest of your marriage. That is no small thing, and it deserves your time, attention, and seriousness.

    Ensure a smooth delivery. Whether or not you plan to memorize your vows, make sure you write out at least two copies for your big day. Put one in our vows booklet set for posterity and for reading from during your ceremony, and give a back-up copy on an index card to your officiant or maid of honor.

    Don’t forget to download our library of vow inspiration by signing up here!

    emily Written with love by Emily
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      When my boyfriend moved to a different state last year for his job, I insisted on buying him a guest book for his new apartment. He indulged me, and now there are pages full of notes from friends and family members (and me, of course!) recounting the memories made in his new city! When I mentioned that on a whim in a team meeting a few months ago, the team started sharing stories about guest books, and our newest product evolved from there.

      You see, we don’t create products for the sake of creating products. In everything that we do–the content we create, the products we design, the conversations we have with our readers–our hope is to provide couples with purposeful information and inspiration to celebrate their story through dating, engagement, wedding, and their marriage!

      With that, and from my own story, I’m tickled pink to introduce our Welcome Home Guest Book!

      The Welcome Home Guestbooks come in coral, blue, and natural linen, and each is foil-stamped with hand lettering from Hand Lettered Designs. There are 100 lined pages to fill with guest names, dates, and happy memories! The biggest question now? Which color to choose!

      Our guestbook is the perfect vessel to hold all of your memories with the loved ones who will fill your home over the coming years. Like Nicole, my favorite part of this guestbook is that it’s something you can start together, whether you’re dating or have been married for years. It also makes the perfect gift for your loved ones!

      We can’t wait to see how you fill each line! Grab your Welcome Home Guest Book to start recording the memories of the days and years to come today!!

      P.S. Head to the Southern Weddings Shop to grab the Welcome Home Guest Book in Linen as part of the Ultimate Southern Bride Bundle during our Holiday Sale for only $99!

      Written with love by Jess Metcalf
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        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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