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A New Chapter

by in In The Office on

Friends,

Southern Weddings is deeply important to us and has been an integral part of our lives—and yours—for many years.

It is with bittersweet expectation that we share that the tenth-anniversary issue of Southern Weddings is the final issue for our team. Before we share our story of why, we want you to know that the Southern Weddings site will soon transition to a robust archive, giving you and future brides access to the timeless content we’ve worked so hard to create over the last decade together.

While we are confident that this is the right choice for us, it is one we have wrestled with for over a year. To close a chapter on something that has meant so much to so many people (and most poignantly, to our team) isn’t easy.

Although we feel that we have completed the work that we have been given to do with Southern Weddings, our hearts for cultivating relationships and for living meaningful lives is as strong as it ever was.

We feel we’re better able to do that through our sister brand, Cultivate What Matters. Some of you may already be familiar with CWM; for others of you, it may be a whole new world to explore. You can read more about why we made this decision and what’s ahead for us on my blog. You can also read a few FAQs about our transition here.

We are so grateful for the work we’ve done with Southern Weddings. It has been one of the greatest joys of our lives to come alongside you all, delighting in your engagements, helping you find meaning in your weddings, and encouraging you in your marriages. We have been able to champion and work alongside some of the most incredible, big-hearted vendors you could ever imagine. We have learned and grown SO much, as individuals, and as a team. We have loved it all.

Though we are turning a page in the Southern Weddings story, we believe our greatest impact is before us. We’re not done encouraging meaningful relationships. We’re not done living with intention. We’re not done cheering you on and celebrating alongside you. We’re not done with each other, either (the team’s all still here!). In all of these things, we are just getting started.

We will always be grateful for this opportunity of a lifetime. For many of us, working on this magazine was a dream come true and the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. Thank you for supporting us, inspiring us, and caring about the things we care so very much about.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

Lara, Kristin, Emily, Marissa, Jess, Kaylee, and Casey

Photo by Ryan Ray with styling by Stefanie Miles

lara Written with love by Lara Casey
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    You’ve probably heard us say this before, and we’ll repeat it till the cows come home, because gracious, it can save you so much stress: don’t book any of your vendors till you’ve signed on the dotted line for a venue!

    I will be the first to raise my hand when I say this may be easier said than done, though. When I was wedding planning, my now-husband and I had an immediate bead on our officiant and photographer, and were eager to confirm the dates with them. But, our venue search took MUCH longer than we ever suspected! (And ended — long story short — with John scrolling Google Maps satellite view to find a patch of coastal land where we could pitch a tent!) I can’t imagine the headache it could’ve caused if we had put down deposits on other vendors before securing the place where our “I dos” would take place (and, of course, the official date!).

    Along with setting your date in stone, your venue will likely have more of an influence on your wedding than any other decision–it will determine the style and aesthetic, your guest count, and even the timeline of the day. Below are a few tips for making this important decision!

    Start with Google. While venues that market themselves to weddings generally have a lot of information online, unusual or “off the beaten path” options may be harder to find through a simple search. Try searching for phrases like “North Carolina barn wedding” or “Atlanta ballroom wedding”–those terms are likely to bring up posts on wedding blogs (oh hi! :)) and photographers’ blogs, which can be a great way to both find new venues and see how others have used the spaces.

    Compare apples to apples. When you’re booking a venue, you’re often booking more than just the space–you may also be booking their in-house staffing, rentals, catering etc. All venues calculate their prices differently, so as you research, try to organize the information in a way that’s easy for you to understand and compare. For example, one venue may seem exorbitantly more expensive than another at first, but when you learn that the first price includes a month-of coordinator, valet parking, and use of their extensive rental inventory, while the second is just use of the space, the first may actually be the more affordable option.

    Visit your venue one year in advance. If you can, try to visit venues as close to a year in advance of your wedding date as possible–it will give you the best insight as to what you can expect in terms of landscaping and scenery.

    Get it in writing. Especially if you are asking for particular allowances, such as hanging a certain type of decor or arranging the space in a unique way, be sure to get the venue’s agreement in writing. That way, even if there’s staff turnover during your engagement, your provisions should be safe.

    Here are a few important questions to ask venues you’re interested in–pin the graphic below so you don’t forget! (P.S. If you have our Joyful Wedding Planner, you’ll also find this list in there to bring to your appointments.)

    I’d love to know–what made you say “yes” to your wedding venue?

    emily Written with love by Emily
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      Belles, we have a treat for you today!!

      Early last year, our friends at Southern-staple Lauren James told us a VERY exciting secret: they were working on a one-stop bridesmaid shop for their signature LJ dresses!

      We pretty much started jumping up and down, as nothing could make more sense: Lauren’s dresses are PERFECT for Southern gals, and they’re already being used in weddings around the world! Now, the geniuses at LJ have simply streamlined the shopping and ordering process for your entire bridal party, making it easier to deck your belles in bows on your wedding day. Here’s how:

      Head to the “Made for You” section of the Lauren James site to create an account and set up your own bridal suite. This will be your custom landing page, where you’ll enter information about your wedding and each bridal party member.

      Choose from a wide range of options to assign each bridesmaid a color, fabric (100% cotton or seersucker), and dress style choice. You can give each gal several styles to choose from, or assign one option to everyone. Bridesmaids can order a dress with added length too!

      Once you’ve made all of your selections, the system will send an email to each bridal party member welcoming her to the bridal suite and showing her the style options you’ve chosen with links to shop on the website. From there, each gal can order her outfit of choice directly from Lauren James.

      As the bride, you’ll be able to see who has ordered what, and when, eliminating so many headaches and the hassle of chasing down your girls! Hallelujah!!

      All dresses are made to order in the United States and take up to ten weeks for delivery.

      Genius, right?! You already know Lauren James dresses are the epitome of “wear it again after the wedding,” and now, they’ve made the whole process simple and fun for everyone involved. We could not be more excited to see more LJ bows show up in our real wedding features from here on out!

      To check out the Bridal Suite for yourself and scope out the dresses featured in these photos (the Morgan, Emerson, and Livingston), head to the Lauren James site!

      Photography: Bamber Photography | Venue: Leslie-Alford-Mims House | Hair and makeup: Teighla Norris | Flowers: Amanda Day Rose | Cake: Ashley Cakes

      This post is sponsored by Lauren James. Thanks for your support of the brands who make Southern Weddings possible!

      emily Written with love by Emily
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