Monday, September 16, 2013
As a friend with a background in weddings, I try to offer help to my engaged friends only when they ask. They know that my website is available 24/7, and when they find something they like, I can provide insight. Otherwise, I remain in friend mode versus "bride guide" mode.
When it came to my dear friend Melba, an award-winning filmmaker who cherishes memories, my only unsolicited advice was: consider engagement photos. I mentioned it once, made my case and left it there.
Months later, I receive a text message with a link to her and her fiance David's engagement photos, shot by CJ Wells Photography. I was elated! Her photos were so happy and so her. I felt like I was watching Melba and David at play. The photojournalistic style suited them perfectly!
Last month, I co-hosted Melba's bridal shower and gave a framed photo from their engagement session as gifts to her shower attendees. Everyone loved them! I am thankful that Melba took my advice and had an engagement session. What changed her mind? I reached out to her to find out; maybe her experience will help you see things differently.
Ashley: When did you take your engagement pics?
Melba: In March and it was freezing cold!
Ashley: You certainly didn't look cold, well, except in the photo where you were were sitting on the ground. I got married in the month of March and it was freezing too. I always advise against March weddings in Nashville. There could be snow! Crazy month.
Ashley: Which locations served as the backdrop for your e-pics?
Melba: We went to three locations - near The Bridge Building, on bridge and inside the downtown, public library. The session took under two hours and we had one change of clothes.
Ashley: You were apprehensive when I mentioned engagement photos. What changed your mind?
Melba: When we spoke, you said, "you want to document this time in your relationship." That struck a nerve because it was more than just having photos for the sake of having them. And, we really didn't have any nice photos of ourselves. When friends take photos of us, the quality isn't great; the photos aren't focused and they never really turn out well. It was nice to document this moment and our happiness at this stage. The photos will be great for our kids to look back on.
I love our photos. It was fun working with CJ. It gave us an opportunity to get to know him better and for him to get to know us better.
Ashley: How did you choose your photographer? Why was he right for your engagement and wedding photography?
Melba: We met CJ at a bridal show. I was drawn to his work because he's very creative. I'm a filmmaker so his documentary style obviously stood out. He's comfortable catching the moment versus organizing poses. We were not aware of many of the moments he captured.
For our wedding, we want our day to be intimate, and I like a photographer who is looking for candid moments.
It takes a lot of confidence as a photographer to pull it off. He has to believe in what he's doing to be comfortable going that route. Many feel more comfortable staging photos. CJ offers a combination and has that flexibility, I trust him in that way.
For our engagement photos, we were just talking and playing and it was just comfortable.
Ashley: Your engagement photos were the perfect bridal shower gift, at least in my mind. :) How have/will you use your engagement photos?
Melba: We've already used them for our wedding website and on our save the date. We will use them for our custom guest sign-in books that will also include candids from our relationships and family photos.
I love that you gave them as favors to my shower guests. The photos allowed everyone to join us in documenting this stage of our relationship. Everyone now has a photo of us in their home. It was good to see them printed and given out to our guests. Yes, they had seen them online but printing them gives them more value since we don't print photos as much.
This is my favorite photo of Melba and David. I have this photo in my living room. Everyone thinks it's a stock photo.
My dear friend Melba is getting married this Saturday! I am elated for her and her fiance, David. They are such a great complement to one another. Their union continues to inspire me.
Friday, September 13, 2013
Shopping for a wedding venue is a lot like shopping for a home. You should immediately fall in love with the space and just know it's right for your wedding. That's exactly what happened when Erica and Brent toured Front Porch Farms, located just outside of Nashville. The venue's natural beauty is mesmerizing and a wonderful backdrop for a Tennessee wedding.
I love what Erica brought to the venue. Her sophisticated, Southern style, harmonious color palette and her pops of fun make for a wonderful wedding and magazine-worthy photos. Luckily, the team at Matt Andrews Photography were there to capture every single detail.
Erica & Brent
Wedding Date ~ May 31, 2013
Ceremony & Reception Location ~ Front Porch Farms
Budget ~ $30,000 - 40,000
Guests ~ 125
My Wedding Details
How would you describe your style as a couple?
We love a mix of classic natural beauty and uniqueness. Brent loves simple, while I love to bring a little color and bling to our style as a couple.
How did you incorporate that style into your wedding?
The first big decision we made after the wedding date was picking the venue. We toured Front Porch Farms very early on in our planning process and fell in love with it. We knew that being outdoors and having the beauty of nature to be our backdrop was a direct reflection of our love for being outdoors. We knew that we wanted to play off of the natural beauty of Front Porch Farms and just enhance it by adding in the tiffany/aqua blue and coral colors. The natural flowers in mason jars, burlap and lace, and farm tables added to the country chic’ theme we were going for.
What was your favorite aspect of your wedding?
We loved having our most favorite people in the world surrounding us on the day of our wedding. We wanted our wedding to bring our friends and family closer to each other and closer to God, and we have no doubt that both of those were accomplished.
Our guests couldn’t get over the view of the Tennessee countryside that they got while attending the wedding. Many of the guests described it as the most beautiful wedding venue they had ever been to.
Brent’s one request for the wedding was that we have multiple cakes, as he has the biggest sweet tooth I know. We had everything from cheesecake to red velvet to strawberry and more. They were amazing, and the guests loved the variety.
Where did you splurge? Where did you save/DIY?
We splurged on our wedding venue and getting a wedding videographer, which were both such great decisions. We saved on flowers and décor by going very simple and making some “Pinterest” inspired décor.
Now that the wedding day is over, is there anything about your planning process you feel you could have done differently?
I wouldn’t do anything different. I loved the whole planning process, and having Kathy for the day of coordinating took all of the stress away so we could fully enjoy our wedding day.
In one sentence, what words of advice do you have for couples in the midst of their planning?
A lot of time and work goes into planning your wedding day, but when it turns out perfect, and you planned it together as a couple, it will be well worth it.
My Wedding Team
Venue | Front Porch Farms
Planner | Bride and Kathy Best (owner of Front Porch Farms) for day of coordinating
Photographer | Matt Andrews Photography
Videographer | Al Hammond with Awaken Films
Gown | Mori Lee from Black Tie White Satin in Fremont, Nebraska
Bride’s Accessories | Belt - Olia Zavozina (Nashville), Veil - Black Tie White Satin, Earrings - borrowed, Shoes - TOMS wedges (ivory glitter), Turquoise/cream cowboy boots for reception - Corral West, Bracelet - MEG jewelry, Necklace - custom necklace from groom for wedding day gift (included great grandmother’s diamond)
Men’s Attire | Men’s Wearhouse
Bridesmaids’ Attire | Lula Kate from Bella Bridesmaid
Hair | William Edge Salon
Makeup | Bobbi Brown Cosmetics
Stationery | Custom design by close friend of the couple, printed at: AMP (Advocate Marketing and Printing)
Caterer | Beyond Details
Cake Artist | Patty Cakes in Gallatin, TN
Floral Designer | Jane Sloan
Ceremony Musicians | Friends
Reception Musicians | Nick Carver Band
Rentals | Southern Events Party Rentals
Lighting | included with venue
Transportation | Grand Avenue (limo), Anchor Tours (shuttle service)
Guest Accommodations | Hyatt Place Hotel-Opryland
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Carlie of 2Travel Anywhere specializes in honeymoon travel for Nashville brides and grooms. Her website is one of the few that I try not to visit often because it makes me jealous. I want to go!!!
Here are a few of Carlie's recent picks for honeymoon ideas. You can click through to learn more about the resorts and her recommendations. Or, you can view her honeymoon ideas section and find locations.
If you see one you like, don't try to coordinate the plans yourself. Focus on planning your wedding and let Carlie, a pro, plan your honeymoon, at no cost to you. Contact Carlie at (615) 512-7764
Antigua Honeymoon Idea
Sandals Grande Antigua
Seychelles Honeymoon Idea
Banyan Tree Seychelles
Hawaii Honeymoon Idea
Hawaii. The St. Regis Princeville Resort
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
If the forecast calls for rain, on any part of your wedding day, you’re bound to be a little frazzled. (See our rainy day feature with Myrick Studios here.) When it comes to your wedding dress, Rhonda, owner of Oakwood Cleaners, has gown care advice that will save you stress.
Mentally prepare. Know that your dress will get dirty, rain or shine. Keep perspective. You are marrying the man of your dreams. Not much else matters beyond that.
Physically prepare. Cover your walkway to minimize contact with mud and grass.
muddy wedding dress before cleaning
wedding dress after being cleaned by Oakwood Cleaners
After your wedding, DO NOT DO ANYTHING to your dress.
I know your first instinct will be to wipe off the mud or even worse, grab soap to try to clean the stains. Those are the worse things you can do. Often, when you rub fabric, it can cause stains to go deeper into the fibers.
Instead, go on your honeymoon and enjoy it! When you return, take your dress to Oakwood, Nashville’s gown care expert. You have some time, but don't wait too long. Oakwood recommends that you bring in your dress weeks after your wedding, but not months. The sooner you get your dress to the pros at Oakwood, the better the results.
Be realistic. Oakwood has made brides cry tears of joy with their results, but it is a process and results will vary. They cannot perform miracles, but their before and after results speak for themselves.
Oakwood Cleaners' Locations:
4833 Lebanon Pike in Hermitage, Hermitage, TN, (615) 885-1281
73 White Bridge Road, Paddock Place Shopping Center, Nashville, TN (615) 620-6095
2000 Mallory Lane, Suite 170, Cool Springs Market Shopping Plaza, Franklin, TN, (615) 764-0222
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
I hear it all the time, "Weddings are SO expensive."
And indeed they are. But, my advice is simple: Reduce your wedding guest list.
It's the easiest way to cut costs so that you can have the wedding that YOU really want, versus sacraficing what you want in order to have a larger guest list.
One of the more common wedding regrets that I hear centers around wedding guests. Brides typically regret all of the agonizing over wedding guests they feel obligated to invite - colleagues, mom's friends, etc. If you envision your wedding as costing $50 or $100 or even $150 per guests, it makes it a bit easier to reduce that list. Do you want to spend $150 for your dentist to come to your wedding? Probably not.
Reduce that guest list and have the wedding of your dreams. The fewer people, the more splurges on what you and your fiance truly value - perhaps a better honeymoon. Wherever you spend the savings, just make sure it's what you want versus accommodating people you may never see again or worse, people you've never met!
Need help reducing that list? I found this funny but very helpful tool that I love, which I've included below.
Source: Invitations by Dawn