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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.

Where did you grow up? Mobile, Alabama
What were your childhood hobbies or favorite activities? Chasing diving sticks in the pool, riding bikes everywhere by day, and playing Sardines and Manhunt by night. Reading Nancy Drew, Bobbsey Twins, and the original American Girl books (#TeamKristen). Pretending to be the Boxcar Children, exploring Spanish Fort, boogie boarding, and playing on the dunes on Dauphin Island.
What did you want to be when you grew up? A neonatal intensive care nurse. While I obviously took a different career path, I’m so very thankful for NICU nurses!
What is one of your favorite memories from summer as a child? One of my Godsisters had a mama/daughter slumber party birthday at her beach house on Dauphin Island. It was the first time I stayed up all night as a kid! We literally played all day on the beach, ate BBQ burgers and hotdogs, had watermelon seed spitting contents, and then played Spoons until we were way too tired. My sister actually fell asleep mid-bite eating a sandwich the next day!
What food or meal most reminds you of your childhood? Firecracker popsicles or ice cream with those little wooden spoons

Tell us about a favorite summer vacation. We did not have a specific vacation we did every year, but any trip to Gulf Shores was perfect in my book! Now, BDK and I head to Rosemary Beach any chance we get, and hope to make a tradition with EK!
When you were younger, what age did you think you would get married? 21!
Did you ever get to be in a wedding when you were younger? Sadly, no.
What were your general impressions of weddings when you were younger? I remember going to a wedding when I was about five, and the couple had monogram matchbooks and cocktail napkins. I knew right then that I LOVED weddings! With everything from the big puffy white dress and gents in tails to the sweet ceremony, I knew I would someday have my own Southern wedding, and everything would be monogrammed.

Stay tuned to hear from the rest of the SW gals in the coming weeks! And we’d love to know, what are some of your favorite childhood summer memories?

In case you missed a past post…
Lisa’s Childhood Summers

emily Written with love by Emily
4 Comments
  1. avatar Lisa reply

    Original American Girl books, yes!! Except I’m #TeamSamantha ;)

  2. avatar Patti reply

    Auten

    • avatar Patti reply

      I meant to say the picture of Marissa dancing the tango with her four year old main squeeze is at an air show where the Blue Angels were flying overhead! A totally southern tradition!

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A few years ago, Kristin wrote an amazing series here on Southern Weddings called Hints for a Happy Marriage. One of those hints was to keep dating, so while we already knew that regular date nights and quality time together are a huge priority for the Winchesters, we thought it was high time we all tagged along on one of their adventures here on Southern Newlywed. We also picked their brains for some of their favorite date ideas, and I’m positive y’all will be as inspired as I am!

Thank you so much to our Blue Ribbon Vendor Jordan Weiland for capturing K+K’s date for us!

Names: Kyle Preston and Kristin Eileen
By day: Kyle loves sports and manages corporate partnerships for UCF (Go Knights, charge on!). Kristin loves love and marriage and handles client relations for Southern Weddings.
Where they live: Sunny Orlando, Florida

Their love story: All the magic started in the fall of 2004. We met in a college class and exchanged some good-natured banter until early October, when KPW asked me out on an official date. Our first date was supposed to be to the North Carolina State Fair, but I woke up with a terrible case of strep throat. Instead, he showed up to check on me that night with diet coke, gummy worms, and cotton candy (from the fair–I know, I couldn’t believe it either!) in hand. The rest is history (a long, juicy, marvelous history. You can read more here, or invite me to coffee and I’ll tell you all about it).
Their wedding: Our day included our favorite meal (two words: Thanksgiving dinner), many of our favorite people, and our most favorite place in the world: Chapel Hill. It all took place on and around the same campus (Go Heels!!) where we had exchanged our first hellos many years before. In addition to a heart-filled ceremony with lots of laughter and quite a few happy tears, there was a whole lot of dancing, celebrating, AND the most incredible chocolate chip cookies! In short, it was magical, and I wish we could get married every year.

Kristin and Kyle’s top five favorite date ideas:

1. Rent swan boats (AKA, go on mini adventures): Going on mini adventures and exploring your surroundings can be great fun, and a wonderful way to spend a free afternoon or evening! Often, it takes you out of your respective comfort zones and leads to great stories to be told later. This is how we found the most adorable swan boats and hand-crafted popsicles just down the road from our new house. It’s also how we wound up hiking trails in Virginia and exploring new wineries on Saturday afternoons. And how we found ourselves blueberry picking and out to brunch one weekend morning. A tip: use your resources. Date night ideas can be just a “Google” away. We just moved to a brand spanking new state, so I love that we can search “date nights in Orlando” and come up with a ton of suggestions! Or, ask your friends and neighbors for their favorite ideas.
2. Make a reservation: It’s no secret that I love a reservation. While this isn’t the most “creative” idea, I feel it is very purposeful and practical! There is something a bit wonderful about the pre-planning and thought that goes into making the effort to make a reservation, and I love that it gives me something to look forward to at the end of a day or week! A reservation also offers the chance to try new places (both fancy and not-so-fancy), sometimes letting you take a peek at the menu in advance so you can start drooling over the homemade pimento cheese appetizer (big hugs, Cask & Larder) days before your dinner date. We are big Open Table fans–with the click of a few buttons, we can find new restaurants close by and snag a table for a fun date night on the town. Sitting at a table, enjoying delicious food, and chatting the night away with KPW? Sounds pretty good to me!
3. The next Food Network Stars: Our schedules are busy and weekdays can get crammed with commitments. While I love cooking and we eat at home most nights, we tend to go with standard, tried-and-true recipes that keep us (ahem, me) from spending all evening in the kitchen. However, it can be extra fun to plan to stay in and make an ordinary evening not-so-ordinary (all while wearing pajamas and no makeup). We love to open a bottle of wine, find a “fancier” (see: more time-consuming) recipe, and maybe even pull out the nice napkins. While prepping the meal together, we are known to be pretty silly–singing (me), rapping (KPW) and dancing (both) while chopping vegetables and making marinades. A good meal, and more importantly, quality and dedicated time together that isn’t rushed or hurried, is sometimes just what we need at the end of a long week.
4. Double date: As much as we love spending time together just the two of us, inviting others along on date night is always fun. Meet friends for dinner, dessert, or Saturday morning brunch! Go to an outdoor movie (splitting food and drink responsibilities). Go bowling or play mini golf. Some things, while fun with just the two of you, are even more fun with another couple or two!
5. Walk down memory lane: Coming up on our 11th dating anniversary makes this date night idea one of my favorites. Over the years we have have gone on some really fun dates and made some great memories. Sometimes, revisiting a place or recreating a favorite special date night brings back a flood of goodness from the past. We jump at the chance to stroll around the campus where we first met and grab a bite on Franklin Street when we’re in North Carolina. We also love going to the Carolina coast for a weekend when given the chance, because it’s where we got engaged! Going back to the restaurant where we ate right before KPW popped the question? It makes me feel like we’re magically back at that sweet December 31st evening. There’s nothing quite like recreating some magical moments to remind you why you fell in love in the first place.

Thanks so much for sharing, Kristin and Kyle! Find more date night ideas and inspiration in the Southern Newlywed archives.

lisa Written with love by Lisa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Jordan reply

    Yay! Thank you for asking me to be a part of this! Kristin + Kyle you are adorable and what great date ideas. :)

  2. avatar Nancy reply

    Who is sweeter than Kristin! Love this!

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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 (see our Dream Southern Summer Wedding series from 2013 and Behind the Scenes with Our Southern Gents from last year–so fun!). 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. We’re also including a few throwback pictures–y’all let us know if you think we look the same or totally different! :) I’m happy to be kicking things off by sharing some memories and pictures from my occasionally nontraditional, but completely wonderful, summers as a kid.

In my opinion, it doesn’t get much more nostalgic than this–a small-town Fourth of July parade, circa 1996! Highlights include my patriotic ensemble (that’s me in the middle–hello ruffles!), my little brother loving his popsicle from the wagon, and the random mom and daughter rocking matching sunflower dresses in the background :)

Where did you grow up? Warrenton, Virginia, Singapore, and Qatar
What were your childhood hobbies/favorite activities? Checking out the maximum number of books from the library, writing stories, playing make believe games with my sister (mermaids at the pool was our summer go-to!), and making up dances with my friends.
What did you want to be when you grew up? A writer! Of books, not wedding magazines, but close enough :)

From left to right: my sister Dana, friend Angela, me, and Angela’s sister Leah. This was in 1997 at the beach house our families rented on the Outer Banks. Almost two decades later, all of these gals were in my wedding!

Tell us about a favorite summer vacation. Did your family go somewhere every year in the summer? Since most of my childhood was spent abroad, my summer memories are of months spent living out of suitcases as we crisscrossed the US, visiting our family members and friends during our summer home leaves. It was always an adventure, and I cherish that time on the road with my family to this day! Our most frequent stops included Long Island, New York, Williamsburg, Virginia, and Delavan, Wisconsin.
Did your family have any summer traditions? As many years as we could manage, we took a beach trip with our close family friends. Our first one was to the Outer Banks in 1997, and most recently, we went to Tybee Island in 2013. In Tybee Island, we recreated a group photo from 1997 and it’s the funniest thing—my 6’2” brother doesn’t quite fit on my mom’s knee anymore!
What food or meal most reminds you of your childhood? This is not very Southern, but since we went to New York to visit family almost every year, I have fond memories of big slices of NY pizza as soon as we got off the plane, and bagels from a brown paper bag that my uncle would pick up the next morning. To this day, eating either of those foods in New York makes me feel like I’m eight years old and summer has just begun!

My sister Dana (left) and I (right) at our aunt and uncle’s house on the lake in Wisconsin, I believe in 1995. It must have been the Fourth of July…otherwise, I was just very patriotic with my face paint choice!

Did you ever get to be in a wedding when you were younger? I didn’t, and I am still a little bit sad about it! The first wedding I ever attended was my cousin’s wedding when I was 16.
What did you think about weddings when you were younger? I honestly don’t remember any specific thoughts about weddings I may have had, but I do remember loving twirly dresses, dancing, and princesses (still do, re. all of the above!), so a love for weddings wouldn’t have been a stretch!

Stay tuned to hear from the rest of the SW gals in the coming weeks! And we’d love to know, what are some of your favorite childhood summer memories?

lisa Written with love by Lisa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Jadzia reply

    Love this so much!

  2. avatar Dana reply

    I also think I’m a highlight in the first photo with my Don’t Mess With Texas shirt and overalls…come on now. I was thinking about summers at Busch Gardens the other day! My personal highlight!

  3. avatar Emily reply

    Love this post! I also LOL’d at the image of your brother on your Mom’s knee :) Unsurprisingly, we would have been great friends as children!

  4. avatar Stephanie Scholl reply

    I have a feeling I’m going to love this series!! I, too, always checked out the maximum number of books from the library. Summertime was my favorite as a child; I have countless fond memories during those months!

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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