Big thanks to The Everygirl for sharing the Southern Weddings story and more from Nicole and me today.  I thought I’d give y’all a closer look at our day-to-day and let you hear more about our office from all the Southern Weddings ladies!

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So, welcome to our office, friends!  Little-known fact: I have worked from home since day one!  The whole second floor of our house is Southern Weddings HQ.

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We all love it so much!  It’s cozy and so peaceful up here.  The natural light is beautiful and we can walk right down to the kitchen to have lunch or grab fresh biscuits out of the oven.  All photos by Faith Teasley unless otherwise noted.

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Working from home has it’s challenges too, though.  I have to make sure my kitchen is always clean and my fridge has enough room for four other lunches every day : )  When Grace is having a rough day, it’s hard to separate business from life.  You can hear her cry through the house, which pulls on my heart strings when I’m on a call or in a meeting.  I have to resist going to see her too much (i.e. 20 times a day) to avoid lots of separation-anxiety meltdowns. I’ve had to learn to make my visits with her consistently timed so she doesn’t have to say “bye bye” to me multiple times a day.  But, getting to see her during my work day is truly the biggest gift or working from home. I am SO grateful and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

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OK, on to the tour! Because we have had eight trillion people ask, I will get our most frequently asked FAQ out of the way!  Our monogrammed office chairs were my own creation using this chair + vinyl decals from Dixieland Monogram.  We love them!  Now, onto Nicole’s corner of the office.

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It’s my favorite corner of the office – happy and bright, just like Ms. Yang!  Our Oh Happy Day and Let’s DO This prints can be found here.

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Can you tell what Nicole’s favorite color is?

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And her favorite snack?  I actually bought her five boxes of these when she renewed her contract with us.  I even wrote “Gobstoppers” and “ability to add goats to any Southern Weddings editorial” into her contract!  True story.

A little more about Nicole!

How long I’ve been at SW: Three and a half years-ish. Looking back on the past three years is crazy — so much has changed and time has really flown by.
How I got my job: In college, I went to hear Lara speak at a campus group event and was convinced that I needed to intern with her. I applied and got the position and they stayed with SW for another year as we continued to grow like kudzu. After graduation, I was finally offered the position I’ve always dreamed of!
What I do: I create most of the visuals associated with Southern Weddings, including blog graphics, shop and brand collateral, magazine layout (which Lara and I do together) and marketing materials. I act as the visual brand ambassador, helping boost our value and recognition.

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What I love most about working at Southern Weddings: There’s a little bit of everything involved. One day, you could be doing manual labor, the next day you could be picking which dress you want to wear to the launch party. Though we have many of the same tasks day in and day out, we’re always trying something new and because we’re a small office, every part of the Southern Weddings machine is tended to by us. We package the magazines ourselves, we craft our own props for photo shoots, we call our hosting provider if the site goes down. Some of these things aren’t remotely glamorous or fun, but they give us a pride and ownership in what we do.
How we work together as a team: We are truly a team effort and the best part is that we all like, respect and enjoy working with each other! We all have responsibilities that we’re solely in charge of, but we don’t make big decisions without consulting each other, which gives us all a great well-rounded view of the processes behind SW. While we can have our hands in many different projects, I think we’re all very good at playing up each other’s strengths. I always let Emily and Lisa write the text for graphics or collateral I’m working on, even if I could do it myself, because they’re amazing with words. And Emily and Lara, although they know the Adobe Creative Suite, always leave big graphic tasks to me.

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What I love about our office: There’s inspiration everywhere! We all have big bulletin boards that we hang our favorite paper pieces and photos on, our favorite images from all volumes of the magazine are on our wall, there’s a whole closet of cute prints from the SW and LC shop and we’re constantly getting mail from amazing and creative vendors. I love that we’ve taken the time to find comfy office chairs, to paint the walls, and to make our individual spaces our own.

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Something you might not know: Even though we’re all six feet away from each other, we send each other dozens of emails a day. It’s not because we don’t want to talk to each other, but because sometimes it’s more efficient. If it’s not urgent, it allows the other person to get to the task on their time so we’re not interrupting each other’s work flow and it keeps everything in one place if the task has different components or files.

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We have unofficial “pairs” here in the office.  Kristin and Marissa are our remote gals and handle the advertising together.  They also share a deep love for the South and if something stops moving, they monogram it.  Photograph below by Landon Jacob.  How beautiful are these ladies!?  Their hearts are solid gold.

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Emily and Lisa (wo)man the blog, all written editorial and one of them cries at least once a day (mainly Lisa) over a beautiful love story or wedding video.  What can I say?  We love love!

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And then there’s Nicole and me.  We do the layout for the magazine together, design new shop products, gush over farm animals and I steal her Gobstoppers.  We make a great team!

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Next, onto my little corner…

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So, I have my own office downstairs and I stopped using it last year.  Can you believe Grace was ever this little!? Photo below by Nancy Ray.

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While we were making V5 (Volume 5 of Southern Weddings), I would come upstairs constantly and never wanted to leave.  So, I stayed and set up camp in the little desk by the door.  It’s plenty of space for me and we are transitioning my old office into a guest room!

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On my bulletin board right now (it gets changed out a lot) are desk card prints from my shop, scripture cards, a photo of Grace and I and a little piece of paper that says, “Nothing measured, nothing managed.”

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This has been my reminder all year to stay diligent about managing finances wisely and, even when it’s hard, to stay focused on improving our weaknesses.  This has proven so fruitful.

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A great desk must have a great stapler (a gift from my sister-in-law) and great reading material.  The Farm Anatomy book is amazing!

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A verse that encourages me to seek what matters most sits next to me every day.  Today is Awesome and Make It Happen notepads from my shop.

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I also have this (from our financial coach, Will Ray) taped to the wall right in front of me to stay focused on managing the resources God has given us for good things.

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Perhaps the most gratifying part of writing this post is sharing the next two images with you.  This is our core mission statement that is taped in about five places in this little space to remind us of WHY we do what we do.

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This is also taped on the wall right as you walk out of the office: our 2013 Goals.  I’m so grateful to say that we are in the process of completing all of these as I type this!  Our new site launches next week and we’ve had a truly blessed year.  Always being reminded of our WHY and our goals has been so valuable.

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Having our office mascot, Henrietta, present at all times has also been valuable : )  Henrietta was a Christmas present to me from the SW ladies last year.  We all love her!

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Now, let’s step into Emily Thomas‘ corner of SW HQ.  I say that Nicole is the Yang to my yin (hehe), and Emily is definitely the yin to my yang.  She does far more than she described in there allotted “few sentences” below.  She is one of the reasons I know God is good.  He brought EAT (by the way, if you haven’t noticed, we all go by our monograms around here!) to North Carolina 4.5 years ago!

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How long I’ve been at SW: I have been at SW for 4.5 years.

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How I got my job: Lara and I connected over a lovely journal through my personal blog.  I then wore her down until she hired me post-graduation :)  You can read the whole story here.

We use the #PowerSheets here in the office to make projects happen.  Emily’s Tending List is peeking out below.

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What I love about our office: I love the color of the walls and the angles in the ceiling — it feels cozy but also airy, kind of like a manicured tree house.

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What I do: I conceptualize, plan, and execute editorials for our print edition.  I also field all submissions and determine the content and schedule for the blog and print editions.  I also am lucky enough to work on many of SW’s special projects.

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What I love most about working at Southern Weddings: I love that I love what I do!  I feel so much ownership in our company and our mission, and it’s exciting to see the fruits of our work in the hearts of our readers and partners every day.

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How we work together as a team: Though we all work very independently (setting our own schedules, priorities, etc.) we are in constant communication about projects and decisions.  Our responsibilities are also very elastic, and they overlap — on any given week, I am almost surely working on a different project with each of the other ladies.
Something you might not know: I famously eat lunch around 3pm every day.  I tend to eat dinner around 9pm, so it works for me! :)

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Lisa is the newest member of our team and we are so happy to have her!  Her heart is as big as her home state of Texas!  She also happens to be my neighbor and literally walks a block and a half to work every day.

How long I’ve been at SW:  Four months.
How I got my job:   I knew I wanted to work at Southern Weddings for most of college, so in 2010, I started my own wedding blog as a portfolio of my wedding knowledge and writing ability. At the beginning of my last semester of college, I reached out to Emily to tell her more about myself and ask her what else I could do that would make me the best possible candidate for SW, should an opportunity arise. Less than a month later, a position opened up that they thought I could be a great fit for. I interviewed for a few months, was offered the job three days after graduation, and moved to Chapel Hill from Texas a month later!

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What I do:  My time is split between working as an editor and the shop manager. As an editor, I write and edit for both the blog and magazine, help coordinate and execute editorial shoots, and communicate with PR companies. As shop manager, I process orders from the Southern Weddings and Lara Casey shops, communicate with customers, and monitor how the products perform.

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A peek at some of our shop goodies, our chicken collection (which has grown quite a bit since this photo was taken!) and our growing jam collection above!  

What I love most about working at Southern Weddings:   I love the opportunity to serve our sweet readers through sharing meaningful inspiration and encouraging them to focus on what matters in their wedding planning. I also love being part of such an amazing team, helping to make editorial magic happen, and getting to write every day.

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How we work together as a team:  We work together in a very collaborative way–a typical real wedding blog post may consist of Emily placing images, me editing the interview, Marissa writing the introduction and comments, and Nicole putting together the gallery. Because we work together closely on so many aspects of our work, we all really respect one another’s strengths and talents, and look for opportunities to help each other do our best work.

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Something you might not know:  We are hardly ever all in the same place–in the four months I’ve been here, I have only seen Marissa in person once! Also, Emily rarely eats lunch before 3 p.m., and when Nicole and I are the only ones in the office, we play the “Country Barbecue” Pandora station all day. :)

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What I love about our office: I love our monogrammed office chairs. They’re comfy and cute, of course, but since they roll, they also allow us to rearrange our chairs easily, in order to squeeze in front of the desktop for our weekly Google Hangout meetings or work together on different projects. It’s funny how something as basic as office chairs contributes to the collaborative environment at SW, but it absolutely does!

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While she is currently working from Florida, we never quite know what state Marissa will be in next! Marissa has always held a special place in my heart and has encouraged me to do what matters and focus on God’s goodness so so so many times.  I am so grateful for you, MAK!  A little more from our traveling Southern belle…

How long I’ve been at SW: 3 years and 8 months
How I got my job: After reading a very inspiring blog post by Lara in 2009, I took a big leap and emailed her a very raw and personal email to her expressing my desire to work for Southern Weddings as the cover letter of my resume. After interviewing in the office, I was offered a very part time position working for Lara Casey Reps. Over the years, my position has transitioned and been refined to what I do now. 
What it’s like to work remotely with SW: While I’d love to be able to work in our beautiful office with my lovely coworkers, it’s such a blessing for me to be able to work remotely. Even though, Kristin and I are not there physically, we Google Hangout during our staff meetings, and many other times throughout the week creating “face-to-face” time for creative brainstorming. For me it’s just like being in Chapel Hill, I work regular business hours, just from a different place (and without biscuits breaks!). Most importantly we make it a priority to keep a strong connection with the team in the office to ensure we all stay focuses on the same mission and goals. 

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More from Marissa!

What I do: I work with local and nationals brands to help grow their businesses by creating custom marketing plans that connect them with their target audience, the darling Southern Weddings readers. I am also delighted to work editorially by writing Real Wedding intros and other fun features on the blog and in print that focus on our core mission. 
What I love most about working at Southern Weddings: Besides the amazing group of women I get to work with everyday, I love working for a company that values what matters most; family, love and marriage. 
Something you might not know: We LOVE Google Docs! It’s true, as a team we must have over 50 docs! it’s such a great way for us to all connect on big projects and keep everything organized and in one place.

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Last, but not least in any fashion, I introduce Kristin Winchester to you.  She is a treasure — and a really great baker, as you will read below!

How long I’ve been at SW: 1 year, 3 months, 26 days (or ~ sixteen sweet months)
What it’s like to work remotely with SW:  I am very grateful for technology and the ability to virtually ‘hangout’ with the SW gals whenever needed.  I am also lucky enough to get into the office every couple of months to re-charge my SW batteries.  While I can get envious of Friday Tea Service — I have learned that it is best to join in the fun so I pull put my tea (sweet or hot) on Friday afternoons and play along from the comfort of my home office!!

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How I got my job: It started with a bold proclamation to Lara, upon a happenstance meeting at an SW event in December of 2011, that I thought we should work together some day.  I had previously applied for an open SW position in the spring of 2011.  Another position opened up in 2012 and after applying, I followed up with a promise to make the office my world-famous chocolate chip cookies or Tar Heel pie.  I guess I won everyone over with the promise of sweet treats and my savvy excel skills.
What I do:  I get the joy of overseeing the Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory — helping to cultivate and maintain a list of the best & brightest vendors below the the Mason Dixon.  This means I get the chance to interact with and fall in love with some of the sweetest people in the South. I also tab a stab at blogging on the occasion along with helping Marissa out with the overall SW advertising goals and objectives.

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How we work together as a team: Three cheers for DropBox, Google Docs and Google Hangout.  We work really hard to use technology to our advantage to keep us connected, to stay on the same page and to produce the highest-quality work.  Our mission statement is the foundation of everything that we do which produces an incredibly cohesive  working environment.
What I love most about working at Southern Weddings: Is the food an acceptable answer :) ? The food is definitely a highlight but the thing I love most is the fact that I get to work with ladies that share a similar heart for marriage, a passion for what matters most and a drive to help brides cultivate a life (and wedding celebration) of love and joy.  Not kidding y’all — I work with the most talented ladies this side of the Mississippi.  Photo below by Landon Jacob on one of the few occasions we’ve all been in the same place this year!

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Oh my stars, now can you see why I didn’t want to stay in my office alone, away from these ladies every day!?  I am so grateful for each of you!  We are just six ladies, but we have more passion than a hen has feathers.  We are passionate about our mission and truly believe that small is the new big.

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A final peek into our world: approximately 70,000 lbs of magazines go to news stands and 15,000+ lbs go to the “Shipping Department” aka my garage : )

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This was last Friday after we unloaded the truck into said garage. I’ve had a car in here for all of six days this year. Ah, the life of a small-but-bursting-at-the-seams business owner. The Southern Weddings Postal Service will be in full action starting next week.

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Good gravy, that’s a lot of magazines!  You can get your copy of V6 here.  I can’t believe it launches in a WEEK.  Ahhhh!!!  I hope you enjoyed this little peek into our world.  There is so much more to our office and our hearts, though, so I hope y’all can come see us next week at our Launch Party.  See y’all there!

Have a question about our office or for one of these sweet ladies? Have a favorite part of this post? We’d love to hear from you below!

21 Show Comments
  1. Mary

    I loved reading this as well as the Every Girl piece. My favorite part was Nicole talking about flipping your mission on its head and delivering the best of the south to the rest of the world. You ladies are so inspiring!

  2. Jessica Thornton

    Be still my heart. This filled my heart with so much joy! And hope!

  3. Catie Ronquillo Wood

    Oooh! I loved reading this and getting a peek into the SW office and getting to know the team! So fun. And yes, that is a TON of magazines! Can’t wait to see what you ladies do in V6 and in the coming years :)

  4. Emily

    Hooray!! Such a beautiful space and an inspiring team!!! Thanks for sharing, Lara!

  5. Ame

    I LOVE this post. SO MUCH. I am a huge fan of your magazine, and love the mission and yearly goals. If I was in the South, I’d be applying for my own monogrammedchair!

  6. KRISTINA

    Loved, loved, loved this post. Especially loved the garage shot! Such insight into what it REALLY means to be a small business owner! You ladies rock!

  7. Ashley Flores

    I absolutely loved this! It made me even more eager to get my new set of Power sheets because it is my goal to have my editing business up and running by the end of 2014. With my little princess set to make her debut in December, I am determined to be home as much as I can to be a key part in her life. I don’t want her growing up only seeing me for a few hours when I get off work right before she heads to bed. I am trusting God to open these doors for me and to bring supportive people around me.

    Plus…this inspired me to re-organize my office space when I get home. I de-cluttered when I first did my sheets, but a few random items have managed to make their way into my work space, lol.

    May God continue to bless your ministry. Yes, I said ministry…and never let anyone tell you that yall do is not benefitting the Kingdom! :-)

    xoxo

  8. erica

    lara, thank you sweet sweet woman for sharing your world with us!

  9. Linda Mendible

    Loved the core mission statement! God Bless!

    ♥ Linda Mendible

  10. Brittani Croft

    Wow this post was so inspiring! I love getting an inside look at how powerful, home-grown businesses operate behind closed doors, and knowing you guys do all of this out of your house is mind blowing! I loved all of the beautiful photos and getting to hear straight from each of the wonderful SW ladies :) Loving all of your blog posts lately!

  11. Leslie

    Lara, do you sell the print with the bible verses for lif concerns behind your desk? I didn’t see on your shop and have been looking for something like it.

    • Lara

      Hi! That is actually the press sample, so we have these slated for the shop this year. I’ll keep you posted! : )

  12. Lauren

    Love the monogrammed chairs and desk blocks so much. Where do the monogrammed striped blocks come from? I’d like to get one :)

    • Lara

      Hi! Here’s the link to the shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/SimplyJessicaMarie : )

  13. Yvette Ramos

    I love the crisp, freshness feel of the office and home. We are moving to a new home and I’m looking for a similar color to your office wall for some of our rooms. What are your favorite paint colors/brand?

    • Lara

      I hate to say I have no idea what the colors are, but they are Benjamin Moore : )

  14. Caterina

    The bulletin boards!! I love! I need one or maybe 2 for my office, my bedroom. For ideas inspiration – perhaps missed it in the article, but curious as to where you got them. They look rustically chic … Thanks!

    • Lara

      These are classic school bulletin boards (from Amazon) that we painted with house paint. : )

  15. Amber Motes

    Hello Lara!
    Do you mind sharing where you got Nicole’s desk from? Also, where did you ladies get the white chairs from? I love the look. So clean. Setting a goal to revamp my office this upcoming year!!

    -Amber

    • Lara

      Hi, Amber! The desks are from IKEA and the chairs are from Flash Furniture on Amazon : )