Welcome to the new year, friends! The Southern Weddings gals are already feeling a bit dazzled by all the potential 2016 holds, but before we jump into the real weddings, advice, and inspiration that it promises, we wanted to take one more walk down memory lane. We love inviting you into our office, whether it’s through daily peeks on SnapChat or Instagram or the #MakingSouthernWeddings hashtag; what we do wouldn’t be nearly as much fun without y’all alongside, offering feedback and encouragement! So here’s a look back at a few of our favorite moment from 2015, including a few we weren’t able to share with you along the way!
We started 2015 with a visit from a contractor, as our growing team needed a bit more space to stretch its wings. Holes in walls followed shortly, which made kicking off our V8 shoot plans with editorial partners a bit more challenging – but we persevered! We also had a mini flower arranging lesson from our friend Kelly Perry, and began interviewing candidates for a Southern Weddings Marketing position. Little did we know, the latter is a pursuit that would continue until the very last month of the year!!
V8 editorial planning continued in February! Lisa jetted off to New York City for a few days to shoot a campaign with Zales – you can see the completed videos here, here, here, and here! We were all so proud of her! We also were so excited to launch a fresh new design in our sister storefront, the Lara Casey Shop. The office renovation continued :)
In March, it was my turn to leave the still-being-renovated office to fly to New York, this time to speak at our friend Holly Chapple’s workshop on creating editorials and magazine submissions. I missed out on a visit to our office from Lysa TerKeurst and the Proverbs 31 team, but got to hear the enthusiastic reviews from the other gals. Those talented ladies helped us implement some new ways of doing things, and we are still so grateful! Later in the month, Lisa and I flew to Texas for our first two V8 shoots (yeehaw!) — one in Houston and one in Austin — and two reader meet-ups, making it back just in time for the spring Making Things Happen conference. The SW gals always help host, and we hope to see some of you at the 2016 version – tickets are on sale for half price for a few more weeks!
Just a day after the MTH Conference concluded, we headed to the wilds of North Carolina for our third V8 shoot – Love Preserved! There was lots of pig snuggle time to be had (behind the scenes photos and video here!). We also moved into our new office space (take a tour here – yippee!!), did more interviews for our marketing position, and set aside some time for our annual team retreat and team photos with Katelyn James. Our retreat even included a surprise bridal shower for Lisa, who was getting married in just a few days!!
After two years with our team, we said goodbye to our Assistant Art Director Morgan in May, but not before celebrating Lisa and Dave’s wedding!!! It was an amazing celebration that really brought to life everything we believe about weddings and marriage. I headed to Charlottesville solo for our Equestrian Elegance editorial while Lisa was on her honeymoon, and then the two of us reunited for our Fore the Love editorial and reader meet-up in Charleston later in the month! Nicole attended Alt Summit for the first time and also began looking into moving our shop fulfillment out of our small office. Oh yes, we also interviewed some more people :)
In June we wrapped up our final two big photo shoots for V8: the Southern belle shoot and Our Kentucky Home! (Marking the first trip to Kentucky for Lisa and me!) Nicole began laying out our new issue’s pages, and met with another potential fulfillment house for the Southern Weddings Shop.
Even in the hustle of getting V8 ready for print, there was lots of community happening in July! The NC Southern Weddings gals continued our yearly tradition of blueberry picking while the Florida division hosted the first ever reader meet-up in that state as part of our “Summer Love” theme. We also gathered with our beaus for our annual team summer BBQ! Finally, we had an extensive meeting with a production company for a possible Southern Weddings TV show (!), but ultimately decided it was not the right opportunity for us.
The most exciting thing that happened in August was that Lara had a baby!! Our gang of girls was more than happy to welcome Joshua to the office. We shot a few last photos for V8 on the back porch of our office, Lisa spearheaded the V8 cake shoot, and she and I worked hard on a proposal for a super-secret project! And, after another round of lovely but not-quite-right marketing interviews, we opened up another application with slightly different criteria. Whew!
In September, we hit a fun milestone: 100,000 Instagram followers! Crazy to think we’re already up to 158,000 as I type this, all thanks to you lovely readers and the way you generously share us with your friends. Thank you, thank you!! Also in September we styled and shot the surcees feature for V8 all by ourselves, which was a big milestone for us! We also said goodbye to Elizabeth, our summer intern, and hello to Jill, our fall intern!
October was a total whirlwind, and kicked our tail in a lot of ways! There was tons of action on the V8 front, from final layout adjustments to copyediting to color proofing at our printer in Wisconsin. Lisa and Kristin traveled to Bridal Market for three days (posts here and here), and Lisa and I traveled to Charleston to speak at Bliss & Bespoke for three days. We also moved our shop product out of our office into our fulfillment house, we got to see the first copies of the magazine, and we did a ton more interviews for our marketing position!
We didn’t really slow down in November, however: the first two weeks included the fall Making Things Happen Conference, V8’s newsstand launch day, a mini baby shower for me (so nice!!), and the V8 launch party (our biggest ever, at our beloved Carolina Inn!). We rounded the month out by sharing all of our V8 editorials with you, and more marketing interviews!
Finally, in December, we were able to pause and reflect on our year, together. We had a mini team retreat at the beginning of the month to work through our PowerSheets as a company and begin to set goals for 2016. Lara spoke at the Rising Tide Society Summit, which was awesome! We had our annual team celebration dinner, and celebrated with readers at the fifth annual Gingerbread Barns event. And finally, finally, in the final week of 2015, we offered positions to two new ladies (one more for the Southern Weddings side, and one more for the Lara Casey/Making Things Happen side)… and they accepted. We can’t wait to introduce you to them in the new year!
Dear readers, thank you doesn’t really begin to cover all that we feel. We couldn’t do any of this without you, and we are so grateful for the ways you encourage us in and inspire our mission. Here’s to a really beautiful, meaningful 2016 for all of us!!