An Anniversary at Ashford Castle

Fine MarriageLauren

Wow! 2016 was a monumental year for Virginia Grace Social. It’s hard to believe VGS officially launched over three months ago, and that 2017 is right around the corner. It’s a thrill to end this year by sharing a near and dear story, and our promised tips for celebrating the Holidays and New Year in your marriage.

A few short weeks ago, my husband and I were blessed with the once in a lifetime opportunity to enjoy a tranquil trip to Ireland in celebration of our anniversary. Tim and I were married three years ago on November 16th. We absolutely adore having our wedding anniversary in November. The crisp November air somehow feels warm and inviting, and reminds us of the time we first met- six years ago on November 16th. Tim travels extensively for his job, a sacrifice that separates us for 50% of the year, but that gives us the opportunity to travel the world. Since our anniversary falls just days before the Thanksgiving Holiday, we have made it an annual tradition to travel internationally over the Thanksgiving week in celebration of our anniversary. After roaming the city of Paris last year, we decided to experience the slower paced life in the Irish Countryside for this year’s adventure. It was a peaceful week that we were abundantly blessed to have shared! 

During our time in Ireland, we stayed at the magnificent Ashford Castle. Friends, the word “magnificent” does not give this magical place the justice it deserves. Every moment left us in pure awe. Tim and I had the pleasure of having our stay captured by the wonderfully kind Claire Brown of Studio Brown

We spent our week at Ashford Castle with intentional focus on being fully present together, reminiscing on our three years of a fine marriage, and sharing our thoughts and feelings on the New Year ahead. Our time in Ireland has inspired us to share our tips on celebrating the Holidays and New Year in your marriage. 

Establish Holiday Season Traditions

This year, we encourage you to establish annual Holiday Season Traditions. For us, we have made traveling internationally an annual Thanksgiving tradition. We also made a new tradition this year by sharing a nightly Advent devotional together, as a way to stay focused on the true meaning of Christmas in the midst of the seasonal hustle and bustle. Create holiday traditions that bring you closer together in your marriage, and allow you to celebrate the season uniquely with your spouse. 

Set Marriage Goals for 2017

Cultivating a fine marriage begins before your wedding, and continues each day of your marriage. Establishing and setting goals for the New Year will help you to grow in your marriage. For us, we have a goal of implementing a new meal-planning schedule. Anyone else with us?! Perhaps your goal is to save for a house, or to begin a new hobby together. Whatever your 2017 Marriage goals are, be intentional with your goal, and your approach to achieving your goals.

Plan for Intentional Time Together in the New Year

This past year, we uncovered a powerful and impactful discovery about the time we spent together. We realized that although we spent a significant amount of time together, our time wasn’t always intentional and focused on connecting with each other. So, we started making Sunday Coffee Dates. Each Sunday, we take an hour out of our day to visit a locally owned coffee shop. And do you know what we do? We sit and talk (with a yummy cup of coffee, of course). No phones, no computers, no distractions, simply intentional time together in meaningful conversation.

We encourage you to plan out intentional time together in 2017. Maybe create your own coffee dates, or perhaps spend your time over a weekly game night. However you spend your time, remove the distractions and simply be. 


We hope that enjoy a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones, and a very Happy New Year. We are thrilled for amazing new ventures for VGS in 2017, and hope that you join us for the excitement!

Warmly, Lauren and Tim


Photography: Studio Brown

Venue: Ashford Castle, located in Cong, Ireland 

Lady's Attire: Brooks Brothers, North FaceBarbour, Hunter

Gentleman's Attire: Barbour, North Face, Aran Sweater Market