Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Guest Contributor: Marie McKinney Oates, MMFT, is the owner of Nashville Marriage Studio. She and her husband are marriage coaches that help couples get ready for marriage by teaching them communication skills that are key to keeping the love alive.
A few months ago, research was released that said a couple's movie date night could double as therapy. The study found that watching a movie and then talking about the issues it raised was just as good as intensive therapy sessions in helping couples talk about their own problems.
As a marriage coach I loved this. I loved that there was a way to have honest and important conversations from the privacy of your own home and the comfort of your own couch.
I used this research as I created Marriage Prep School, a 6-course program that gives couples guidance on the important conversations to have before getting married, and skills for listening and communicating better. Each course has assignments, essays, science experiments, and movie date nights for the couple to work through. It's an affordable, efficient, and fun way to get ready for marriage.
Use Your Next Netflix Binge To Get You Ready for Married Life
Marriage Prep School includes 6 movie date nights that will help you discuss topics such as communication, conflict resolution, family issues, personality differences, and finances. The movies aren't even necessarily "chick flicks," so your groom does not have to worry about being bored to death by a Steel Magnolias marathon. Also, all of the movies you'll watch for Marriage Prep School are available via streaming on Netflix so you don't even have to leave the house. And, honestly, what stressed out bride couldn't use a movie date cuddled up with her sweetheart?
Get a sneak peek of Marriage Prep School or go ahead and get your copy today! Click here.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
The Bride Room invites you to the Cordelle for an evening of fun & fashion. Today is the last day to RSVP. Check your calendar and see if you are available this Thursday. If so, join us! It promises to be a great night and The Bride Room puts on a wonderful fashion show full of exquisite designer gowns.
There are two other bridal events this week:
Our Bridal Gowns and Glam workshop featuring gown shoppping advice from Geny's Bridal, hair trends and looks from J. Bangs Salon and makeup dos and donts Amy Lynn Larwig.
White Lace and Promises bridal show in Spring Hill, Tennessee.
Monday, September 15, 2014
Jim and Idle are a husband and wife photography team that you cannot unmeet. Full of personality, they are serious about taking killer photos and having fun. Ask our blogger/editor, Laurie, who hired them for her wedding. She raves about this force and will gladly tell you all about her photos and her experience with the duo. Some years after her wedding, she and her hubby still hang out with the Jim and idle, having dinner dates and s'mores.
That's Jim and Idle. They only shoot the weddings of couples they enjoy and can create a real relationship with. For them, that's how the magic happens - a real connection between couples who genuinely like one another and will allow this photography duo into their intimate moments. When the day quickly goes from laughs to tears, from stress to joy, you will want someone with you who is more than just a "vendor."
If you're a boring couple or one that just wants to hire a photographer, I'll tell you, don't even contact SheHeWe. There are literally thousands of others to consider. But, if you want really cool photos, created by a team that is excited about your day, willing to go above and beyond, take a few minutes to get to know SheHeWe via my interview below.
Company Name: SheHeWe Photography
Main Contact: Jim and Ilde Cook
Phone Number: (615) 967-8709
Email Address: we at shehewe dot com
Facebook fan page: facebook.com/shehewe
Interview with SheHeWe!
How many years have you been in business?
7 years - that's like 49 in dog years
Ain't that the truth! How did you get started in weddings?
I (ilde) always said I would never shoot weddings. "It's sooo stressful," I said. A family I was photographing at the time asked me to document their wedding and after the third bite of cake and tearing up during the first dance- I was hooked. I asked Jim, not long after, to second shoot a wedding with me and he quickly realized he wanted to do this permanently also as a team. It was really good cake.
Hahaha! I bet it was. Wonder who the cake artist was! What do you like most about weddings?
The drama. No I mean it, but I'm not talking about in the "diva" way. So much emotion is happening on a wedding day. There's the bridal party ready to celebrate, the parents conflicted by sadness and joy, the groom walks a fine line of nerves and anticipation, the bride has the jitters all the way to her toes but inside her heart is warm and excited and all of these mix together to make the day electric and beautiful. We love being a part of that magical storm and especially grateful to be in friendship with the two people who are responsible for all of it. We are kind of mushy like that.
What’s your favorite wedding pic/video and why?
This is like asking someone what their favorite song is or if you were stranded on a deserted island and could only bring one kind of food what would it be. The pictures change often but I recall one most recently. We shot a wedding and a bride had a first look with her adoptive father. As he turned, she embraced him in the most tender hug and as she did so, one solitary tear traced down the side of her face in sheer joy and gratitude for her dad. Jim snapped the moment and it is a stunning example of what is important about a wedding day.
Ok, what is your service philosophy?
Relationship first. No boring brides, second.
What are your strengths compared to others in your category?
I hope this doesn't come across as arrogant but we don't compare ourselves to other photographers. Our hope is that people will come to our website, see our work, learn a little bit about us and either run away screaming or throw their hands in the air and do a little dance because they found their people. The couples who hire us typically "get us" and we, them. I believe that is why we have so many deep relationships with our couples and why we can make such unique and beautiful photography with them.
Who are your five favorite Nashville wedding vendors?
Only five? My goodness that is difficult. We have worked with some amazing talent over the years.
Our favorites: Sweetface Cakes, Chefworks Catering, The Cupcake Collection, The Southern (can you tell we like food?) Also Rebel Hill Florist, Band 24/7, Amy Lynn Larwig hair and makeup, Avenue and War Memorial. I think we are past our limit (ha ha). Nashville is an amazing place to get married largely due to the fact that we have so many gifted artists here.
All very good ones! And yes, you obviously love food.
Friday, September 12, 2014
For Jennifer & Trey, their wedding at Noah Liff Opera Center was not just about coming together as a couple, but coming together as a new family of three. Not only did they include their son in their vow ceremony but they also wanted him to be involved in the reception as well, in a very sentimental and memorable way. Instead of a traditional groom’s cake, they asked him to choose a special cake design that was uniquely his – a bright blue warthog! Definitely a special, unforgettable touch!
The couple also chose lush, deep blue velvet linens to adorn the tables throughout the reception space, gorgeous flower-filled candelabra centerpieces, and unique wall-projected lighting elements that complemented their eclectic, yet classy style.
Be sure to read on for details from Jennifer about this beautiful and sentimental celebration.
Jennifer & Trey
Wedding Date: May 24, 2013
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Noah Liff
Guests (#): 125
Budget: $10,000 - $20,000
Venue | Noah Liff Opera Center
Photographer | Matt Andrews Photography
Gown | The Bride Room, Monique Lhuillier
Bride’s Accessories| Veil from etsy.com
Men’s Attire | Nordstrom’s, Hugo Boss
Hair | Abby Tedder, Kiva
Makeup | Amy Lynn Larwig
Stationery | Etsy.com
Caterer | Chef Penelope's Catering
Cake Artist | The Sweetest Day
Floral Designer | English Garden
Ceremony Musicians | Shane Baker (family friend)
Reception Musicians | Nashville Party Patrol
Rentals | Music City Tents & Events
Lighting | Nashville Audio Visual
Transportation | Grand Avenue
Guest Accommodations | Loews Vanderbilt
Bartenders | Hamilton Bartending
My Wedding Details
How would you describe your style as a couple?
Classy with an eclectic edge. We don’t always follow the “norm”, but we appreciate and honor traditions that have meaning to us.
How did you incorporate that style into your wedding?
We broke tradition in a couple areas, like by not having a bridal party or having my dad walk me down the aisle. However, we did include our families and friends in other ways like asking them to make the toasts and father/daughter and mother/son dances.
We also took a lot of time to think through the actual ceremony and the words and music chosen. We wrote our own vows, which provided an opportunity to really speak to each other during the ceremony.
We really wanted to incorporate our six-year old son, Miles, in a meaningful way. He was called up as part of the ceremony and Trey said “vows” to him as a new parent. Also, instead of a groom’s cake, we had a “Miles cake” and we gave him the freedom to pick out whatever he liked. He definitely took that liberty and selected a bright blue warthog. He ate the entire head by himself.
Noah Liff Opera Center offered us a venue “outside the norm” that was perfect as-is, but allowed us a canvas we could customize. We used a lot of lighting – some natural plus some up lighting and decorative GOBOs, which gave the space an intimate feel.
What was your (or your guests’) favorite aspect of your wedding?
Our wedding was like a family reunion for a lot of our guests. I think everyone really enjoyed being together to celebrate our marriage. We also got a lot of compliments on the food and Miles’ cake.
Where did you splurge? Where did you save/DIY?
We splurged on photography and our honeymoon to Costa Rica. We saved money in other areas by researching like crazy for the best deals while maintaining quality. We also included family and friends where possible, like our ceremony music, but we didn’t have a bridal party. Also, I purchased my dress off the rack, which saved about 50%.
Now that the wedding day is over, is there anything about your planning process you feel you could have done differently?
I wish we had hired a videographer. At the time, it seemed like a splurge but I’m sad we don’t have a video to commemorate our day. There were so many special moments I wish we could relive outside of them just being in our memories.
In one sentence, what words of advice do you have for couples in the midst of their planning?
Remember the meaning of the day. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the details and planning, but take a breath and don’t forget to enjoy each other along the way. Also, spend the money to get an amazing photographer. You won’t regret it.
Thursday, September 11, 2014
If you've ever tried to plan your own tropical vacation, you probably know that there are a LOT of choices out there. Unless you have a personal connection to a certain location or resort, it can be challenging to figure out whether a particular island or hotel will provide what you’re really looking for, or if you’ll really get your money’s worth.
Nashville travel agency 2Travel Anywhere is the trusted guide for Nashville's engaged couples. Owner, Carlie, has planned dozens of destination weddings and honeymoons in the tropics! She has visited and worked with Sandals/Beaches Resorts for more than seven years and shares her inside information on what makes Sandals so special.
Having personally visited every Sandals Resort, Carlie knows what she’s talking about, and is able to deliver a travel plan that will best suit your vacation needs. Check out my interview with Carlie below to see what options Sandals Resorts can offer.
What makes Sandals/Beaches so special?
Sandals Resorts have an incomparable showcase of quality, choice and welcoming hospitality. At the Sandals Resorts designed for two people in love, indulge in a variety of offering of quality inclusions and discover the standard by which every other all-inclusive resort is measured, anywhere in the world.
Sandals includes more options than any other all-inclusive on the planet. From endless water sports, including waterskiing (at certain locations) and the Caribbean's most comprehensive scuba diving program, to unlimited rounds of golf with complimentary greens fees, Sandals has a wide range of activities to choose from. Enjoy more dining choices with up to 15 restaurants included per resort, featuring culinary concepts and chefs from around the globe. Each resort includes a wide variety of entertainment options, with a variety of pool and beach parties, and upscale bars serving an endless supply of premium brand liquors and four exclusive varietals of Beringer Wines.
Luxurious accommodations provide up to 25 categories per resort, ensuring that you receive exactly what you’re looking for on your vacation. Each location also has signature "Love Nest Dreams Suites”, ranging from an exotic circular Rondoval, a beachfront bungalow, or a Millionaire Suite high atop an Oceanside bluff. Treat yourself to any top-tier suite and enjoy the discreetly attentive services of their personal butlers, all trained by the Guild of Professional English Butlers.
How does Sandals differentiate its resorts from other options?
More quality inclusions and extensive choices so that the couple can relax and devote more time to enjoying time with each other. The resorts are made for love, have a profound respect for nature, and provide you with beautiful places to stay and play.
Why should a couple choose Sandals over another resort/chain/hotel?
Sandals has won every notable award in every category including World's Best. Sandals has excellent luxury, quality and exceptional service to every person who comes to their resorts.
Another reason I like Sandals is the dining. There's nothing more satisfying than discovering a new culture through a region's cuisine. Savory morsels infused with tantalizing spices. Internationally trained chefs authentic dishes that take you on a gastronomic expedition around the world without ever having to leave your resort. Nobody knows how to make delectable pastries better than a French chef classically trained in Paris, or risotto like an Italian Chef schooled in Tuscany. And no matter how hard you try, no one does prime rib and Yorkshire pudding quite like the Brits. Sandals searches the globe to find the finest of chefs from 32 countries.
What is included in a Sandals stay? If there are multiple levels of what's included, please provide a few examples from each price point - low/mid/high
While other resorts boast a variety of suites, what they really offer are a few standard suites with minor changes. Sandals Resorts offer the most extravagant and creatively designed suites in the islands, with 40 percent of the accommodation selection offering suite options. Millionaire bluff-top suites with 180 degree ocean views private pool and three- story sundeck, or an exotic Rondoval suite in-the-round, complete with private pool and outdoor shower- very similar to a bungalow. You could even stay in a Swim Up suite that allows you to float up to your private patio, or in any of the beachfront suites that are available. Regardless of which suite appeals to your sense of style, the interiors inside are as enticing as the views outside, offering something for everyone.
What can a couple expect from a stay at Sandals?
Anything and everything you ever dreamed. If you want to do everything on your bucket list or nothing but relax, they offer it all. At Sandals there are no schedules to follow or appointments to keep, just unscripted days and sultry nights for you to spend as you wish. Savor breakfast in bed. Evenings have beachfront fire pits to enjoy. Play in the ocean, stroll in the sand or laze in a secluded hammock.
How many Sandals resorts are there to choose from?
There are 15 different Sandals Resorts. I have personally been to each Sandals Resort, and each location provides different options and specialties.
Does Sandals offer different options based on what each couple wants? (i.e. romantic private getaway, family fun, lots of people around, secluded beaches)
Definitely! Sandals offers a variety of options, and truly has something for everyone. Family fun can be enjoyed at their special family-friendly Beaches resorts, and Sandals is adults only. Each resort specializes in making the most of your experience, and there are options to fit any taste.
As the leader in destination weddings and honeymoons, Sandals specializes in knowing exactly what honeymooners want. Since newlyweds spend nearly a third of their vacation in their honeymoon suite, Sandals designed sensuous suites that offer the utmost in privacy, and special added touches like specious bedrooms and plush beds, oversize spa tubs and separate showers built for two.
Are you able to take care of all booking for a couple's trip to a Sandals location?
Yes. 2 Travel Anywhere, LLC is a certified Sandals Specialist. We personally travel to Sandals a few times a year to share our experience with our clients to make sure they have the best trip that meets their expectation. Our prices are guaranteed to be the best rate for all Sandals Resorts.
How long have you been working with/visiting Sandals?
My husband and I have been traveling to all-inclusive resorts for the past 9 years, and experienced our first Sandals resort 7 years ago. We could immediately tell the difference between Sandals and other all-inclusive resorts we had visited. Once we feel in love with our first Sandals Resort in Antigua, we knew we had to go to every resort option! I have personally stayed at all the Sandals resorts and can provide any information a couple needs regarding their vacation desires.
To get one step closer to those clear blue beaches, be sure to contact Carlie to see how she can help you to plan your trip to paradise! She can be reached at 615-512-7764, by email at Carlie.Travel at gmail dot com. To see more fantastic photos, visit her website at 2travelanywhere.com.
We'd like to say Happy Birthday to Carlie!! Carlie is currently celebrating her 30th birthday while vacationing and exploring new places for honeymoons. What a dream life!