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Friends, I am tickled pink to be able to introduce our newest team member to you today – Catherine Marks!

If you recognize that smiling face, then major bonus points to you (and it probably means you’ve been reading for a long time!). We first met Catherine when we featured her sparkling winter wedding to Will in 2015. (And it is a stunner – go take a peek!) She wowed us then with her thoughtful interview and meaningful wedding day details, and has only continued to delight us since she joined our team in May.

That’s right, May! :) Catherine joined our team at the same time as Kaylee (whom some of you may have met if you’ve emailed us with a customer service question!), but since she went on to have a sweet baby in July, we decided to formally introduce her to y’all once she was back from leave.

Well, she’s here, and we couldn’t be more excited for you to meet her! Though we joked throughout this process that we weren’t just hiring a new team member, we were hiring a new friend, it’s true! One of the greatest joys of the work we do is doing it alongside each other. A company culture that fosters this kind of team unity has become one of the biggest blessings of my life, and it makes our hiring decisions really, really important!

Just as our team dynamic is so incredibly important to us, it’s equally important that we have someone caring for our readers who understands and lives our mission. Catherine has quickly become one of the most enthusiastic members of our team, pitching in any and everywhere across both Southern Weddings and Cultivate What Matters. You can expect to find her doing the same from here on out, both behind the scenes and here on the blog!

What a gem this lady is to our team! Now, without further ado, meet the lovely Catherine Marks!

Tell us how you joined the team in a few sentences: I’m a long-time Southern Weddings fan (I know I’m not the only one still loyally reading years after my wedding day!), PowerSheets user, and Making Things Happen Conference alum. I have always had so much love and respect for this team from afar; I even told my husband at one point that if I could just work with the SW and CWM gals I would have my dream job. As luck would have it, I was in a transitional period in my life, knowing I was to be a new mama soon, when they posted that they were searching for a new team member. I never dreamed I would actually get the job, but God had other plans, and here I am!

What have you been doing since May? I have been loving my job! Can you believe that my very first “assignment” was to get my hair and makeup done for our team photo shoot at Fearrington Village? Granted, not every day is that glamorous, but most days are that fun! Starting out with the Cultivate Team Summit was like getting three months of information and team bonding done in three days! Since then, I’ve been editing and drafting blog posts, managing the beautiful Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory, helping out with V10 and our weekly newsletter, and gearing up for the 2018 PowerSheets release on October 25th! On a personal note, I also gave birth to my baby girl, Victoria.

What else will you be doing in the coming months? I am so excited to be able to write and share more from a personal perspective now that you know who I am! I have such a passion for both sides of our business — for encouraging women to cultivate what matters, right where they are, whether they’re brides, business owners, or new moms. I’m also coming back from leave at a great time, as both Kristin and Marissa are due to give birth soon and I’ll be taking on some of their responsibilities for the next few months!

Hometown and where you live now: I’m from Southeast Missouri (Charleston and Cape Girardeau, MO) and live in Arlington, VA now.

Birthday: September 28

Something others might not know about me: I am a proud (fourth generation) farmer’s daughter!

Favorite part about being on team: Since “everything” is a boring answer, I’ll narrow it down to two very broad things: the work I do and the people I do it with. It is such a joy to do work that I believe so strongly in and love so much. It’s cliche, but it truly never feels like a job! And then, of course, to work with these eight incredible women who are so much more than coworkers is a daily blessing I hope I never take for granted!

Friends, please help us give Catherine a big SW welcome in the comments below! She’s been such a delight to our team, and we know you are going to love her just as much as we do! You can also say hi and get to know her on Instagram.

Photos by Ally and Bobby and Olivia Suriano of Nancy Ray Photography.

emily Written with love by Emily
2 Comments
  1. avatar Big News, Big Praise, and Big Gratitude: I've Joined the Southern Weddings and Cultivate What Matters Team! – Classic Catherine reply

    […] launch coming soon! There’s more about what I’ve been doing on the blogs today, here and […]

  2. avatar Megan reply

    Welcome Catherine! As a fellow Southeast Missouri girl (I grew up in Perryville!) who went to college in St. Louis, I’ve been such a fan of your beautiful wedding for a long time. :)

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Every summer, we love doing a behind the scenes series to help y’all get to know us a little bit better. In honor of this year’s Summer Love theme, which is all about revisiting childhood adventures and sharing them with our beaus, we’re giving y’all a peek at what inspired the series to begin with–our own childhoods! Each week, you’ll hear from another SW gal about her best summer memories, favorite traditions, and early thoughts on weddings.

With my sisters! I’m in the middle.

Where did you grow up? Southeastern Connecticut–not in the South!
What were your childhood hobbies/favorite activities? Reading voraciously. Playing outside on our playground or in the woods behind our house (usually orphans!). Designing homes for my ponies and Beanie Babies. Riding bikes, playing with my American Girl doll (Felicity!), and drawing (almost always horses) rounded out the list.
What did you want to be when you grew up? My aunt owns a horse farm and gives riding lessons, and I 100% wanted to be her when I grew up. My sisters and I went riding there every chance we could get.
Tell us about a favorite summer vacation. Did your family go somewhere every year in the summer? Yes! My parents met while spending summers at their family cottages on a tiny island in Maine, so we stay there for at least a week (splitting time between the houses!) every July or August. There are no cars and no TVs, but there are rocks and tide pools and fields to explore. It is my favorite place in the world.

I’m in the foreground!

Did your family have any summer traditions? There was an amazing ice cream place about a half an hour from our house, and every summer they grew acres and acres of sunflowers, then sold them for charity. We’d always make a trip during their 1-2 week bloom, and it was always spectacular!
What food or meal most reminds you of your childhood? So many! Overall, Kraft macaroni and cheese is a strong contender, but if we’re specifically talking about summer options, I have to go with a good old hot dog grilled on our back deck. I don’t think I ate a hamburger until I was in college!
Did you ever get to be in a wedding when you were younger? When I was about 13 I got to pass out programs at my uncle’s wedding. While that was exciting, I always had a deep-seated desire to be a flower girl, and was a bit jealous of each of my friends who checked that box.
What did you think about weddings when you were younger? I can’t quite put my finger on why I loved them so much, but my enthrallment with weddings from a young age is well documented. My Mom and I used to sneak into our church’s balcony on Saturday afternoons to watch wedding ceremonies when I was as young as four! Needless to say, few people were surprised when I announced my job working at Southern Weddings :)

In case you missed a post…
Lisa’s childhood summers
Marissa’s childhood summers
Nicole’s childhood summers

emily Written with love by Emily
3 Comments
  1. avatar Jadzia reply

    Horses and hot dogs…yet more examples of how alike you and Lisa are!

  2. avatar Lauren McKinzie reply

    I loved playing with my American Girl doll too haha! I also do not grow up in the south, but feel southern at heart.

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Friends, we are signing off for the next few days to love on our friends and family and eat lots of delicious fixins! Don’t forget about our post-Thanksgiving shop sale, starting on Friday and running through Monday – 20% off all prints and free shipping on EVERYTHING! Yes, planners included! We hope you have a cozy and relaxing holiday, and we’ll see you back here on Friday to share our wintery couple’s to do list!

But first, a little bit about what we’ll be doing while we’re away…

How we’ll be spending Thanksgiving:
Nicole: I’ll be heading to my sister’s in-laws, where both of our families (all the kids, grandkids and aunts and uncles) are gathering for the first time since the wedding a year ago. Bonus: all of the family dogs will be in one place!
Lisa: Dave and I are driving up north to Syracuse to spend Thanksgiving with his family–my first holiday with my future in-laws!
Morgan: I’m so excited to visit my mom’s side of the family in western North Carolina. Aunts, uncles, and cousins will all be meeting at my Nana’s house to enjoy a very Southern and very delicious Thanksgiving meal!
Marissa: BDK, EKK, and I will celebrate her very first Thanksgiving with his family. Since it will be just a few short days after my sister-in-law’s big wedding, we opted to have lunch at their family’s country club with BDK’s parents, grandparents, and a few aunts and uncles. LOTS of generations of Kloesses!
Lara: Ari, Grace and I are spending Thanksgiving with friends here at home. I will be cooking the turkey and all the fixings, and then we’re going to play board games!
Kristin: ​We will be gassing up the car, packing some snacks and criss-crossing North Carolina to spend Thanksgiving day with both our families before heading back to VA for our last football game of 2014 on Friday!
Emily: John and I will be spending our first ever Thanksgiving meal NOT with family – but with dear friends at their parents’ house, which is almost as good! Friday night we’re getting together with very extended family (fourth cousins!) for dinner.

Photo by Joey + Jessica Seawell from Blue Ribbon Bounty

A few things we are most thankful for currently:
Nicole: A fully stocked fridge, snuggles with Taylor, phones to keep in touch with my now spread-out family, and the amazing SW gals.
Lisa: I am so thankful for my loving family, the technology that keeps us all connected, and the blessing of seeing Dave every single day–no small gift after being long-distance!
Morgan: I’m most thankful for feeling settled after a transitional year of graduating college, moving back home, and starting my full time position at Southern Weddings; my sweet parents (and current roomies); my adoring boyfriend, Kevin; that my lab puppy learned fetch; and that my twin sister is coming home from grad school in Tennessee for Thanksgiving!
Marissa: I am most thankful for the blessing God gave us not too long ago, our adorable EKK! I am also so thankful for my darling husband, my sweet family, and the few cold days we’ve had in Alabama when I got to wear my boots and drink cider by the fire pit!
Lara: I am so thankful for my little family and that, for the first time in years, my husband doesn’t have to work on Thanksgiving Day. I’m really looking forward to this time together.
Kristin: My gratitude list is never short, but I am currently most thankful for the daily reminders of God’s grace and unending love; my adorable husband and the chance to spend this holiday with our families; for our community of friends and our church family–the sweet souls that support, encourage and show us love daily; for good health; and finally, for my grandma’s homemade pimento cheese (Thanksgiving breakfast of champions!!).
Emily: I am most thankful for my sweet husband, our families, and dear friends. Also, for the opportunity to decorate for Christmas in just a few days, for a warm house, and for our new king-size bed!!

Photo by Joey + Jessica Seawell from Blue Ribbon Bounty

Our favorite Thanksgiving foods:
Nicole: It changes every year! I love anything that comes in casserole form, like baked mac and cheese, sweet potatoes or green beans. Anything in a pie crust also tops the list!
Lisa: I can never resist a second helping of green bean casserole or my mom’s chocolate chip pecan pie.
Morgan: My absolute favorite has to be my Nana’s dressing – it’s particularly wonderful and she does not make it at any other holiday, which makes it an especially special treat.
Marissa: Hands down, pumpkin pie! Plop a scoop of Cool Whip on that baby, and I’m a happy girl!
Lara: My favorite is mashed turnips, a tradition in our family. They are better than mashed potatoes!
Kristin: While I love my mama’s mashed potatoes with my whole heart, my favorite Thanksgiving food is my grandma’s dressing. I know there are a million varieties of ‘stuffing/dressing’ but I think Eleanor’s wins top prize!
Emily: Since we served “Thanksgiving” at our wedding, I have to say that my favorite is really the combination of all those flavors together – put if I had to pick, then stuffing.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

emily Written with love by Emily
1 Comment
  1. avatar Kyla Fetzner reply

    Happy Thanksgiving ladies! I have an extra grateful heart this year after that wonderful trip to North Carolina with my mama a few weeks ago :)

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