(Helpful tip - now is a good time to log into your Pinterest account and prepare to pin goodies from Cressie's unbelieveably creative, yellow and grey wedding at the Nashville Zoo.)
Some gals were born to design. I'm not one of them, so I blog about all of the wonderful things I WISH I could design.
Cressie is one of those girls, born to design beautiful things. Attorney by day and designer by nature, her DIY skills are irrefutable; as soon as I saw the photos, I simply had to learn more about her wedding details. And that's when she reminds me that we featured her Murder Mystery Engagement party last year. AHHH - another one of my favorites! And that's when I knew for sure that this girl is in a class of her own.
Peruse her engagement photos and then marvel at her wedding at the Nashville Zoo. Cressie shares all of her DIY details below - from how she basically did EVERYTHING but design her own wedding gown. Yes - that includes making her bridesmaid dresses, designing the paper goods and treat bars, to sewing seat cushions for her family, creating a travel map for her guest sign-in and yes - designing her own photobooth.
Her wedding will certainly inspire you. But, I'll caution you - her wedding will give you DIY envy. If you love one of her venue/vendors, at least you can hire them to help you. If you love one of her DIY projects...you are on your own. Don't fret. Be realistic and gauge whether your skills are up to par. If they are, make it work! I feel like such a slacker....
Cressie and Chris
Wedding Date ~ June 2, 2012
Ceremony Venue ~ Historic Croft Home at the Nashville Zoo
Reception Venue ~ Jungle Terrace Pavilion at the Nashville Zoo
Guests ~ 200
The couple's private first look before the ceremony.
My Wedding Team:
Planner: Bride planned; day-of assistance from Todd of Sharp Garden Center in New Johnsonville, TN Photographer:Krista Lee Photography Videographer: Cliff Fulton of Shannon Fulton Photography Gown & accessories: Justin Alexander gown and Benjamin Adams shoes from Something Blue Shoppe in Hartselle, AL Men's attire: Men’s Wearhouse Bridesmaids attire: Designed and sewn by the bride Hair and Makeup: Dana Bell Wyatt (who was a Bridesmaid herself!) Stationery: All created and designed by the bride; wedding hanky invitations and reception table runners produced by Spoonflower. Ceremony music: Mockingbird Musicians Reception music: Justin Caldwell and the Downtown Band Transportation: White 1961 Cadillac Deville from At Your Service - Nashville Wedding Cars Caterer: Taste of the Wild Catering by the Nashville Zoo and Jimmy Ashby BBQ from Camden, TN Cake Artist: Petit Fours by Peggy Ann Bakery of Huntsville, AL Floral Designer: Sharp Garden Center in New Johnsonville, TN
My Wedding Details
How would you describe your style as a couple?
Chris loves to travel and take pictures of native wildlife. In fact, we got engaged in New Zealand after visiting a Kiwi bird and Penguin sanctuary. On the other hand, I have a hobby of creating 1800’s period gowns for reenactments, antebellum home tours and events such as the Southern Belle School in Columbia, TN. I knew we had to find a venue to incorporate Chris’s love of exotic animals and my love of historical southern homes. Thus, the historic Croft House within the Nashville Zoo was the PERFECT choice.
How did you incorporate that style into your wedding?
Guest experience before style was first on our list. When we were looking at the many event locations inside the Nashville Zoo, we knew we had to incorporate the Wild Animal Carousel into our cocktail hour. Everyone -young and old- enjoyed riding the carousel and we got some fabulous pictures and video thanks to Krista Lee and Cliff Fulton.
Chris had several ideas to personalize our event such as a ceremony refreshment cart with lemonade to serve our guests as they arrive and a “Guess the Honeymoon” map. Guests were asked to pick their favorite travel spots since Chris kept the Honeymoon secret from everyone (including me, the Bride) until we arrived at the airport.
I also created fan programs and canvas flags for guests to wave after “the kiss” to encourage audience participation.
What was the favorite aspect of your wedding?
I really have too many favorites to list, but the sweet and unexpected speech that my Dad gave during the reception is at the top.
Where did you splurge? Where did you save/DIY?
I splurged on music and I am so glad that I picked the right musicians for our wedding. I really wanted a variety of live music and Nashville is the BEST city in the world to find talented wedding musicians. Many of our guests were visiting Nashville for the first time and we HAD to showcase the city’s talent.
Mockingbird Musicians were a delight to work with and they customized a special playlist incorporating our love for Star Wars, Lord the the Rings, Jurassic Park, and Gone with the Wind into our ceremony music. We encouraged everyone to “guess” the movie theme song as they were waiting on our ceremony to begin.
Our reception and cocktail hour band, The Downtown Band, oozes talent with their John Mayer and Sting cover songs but also ROCKED the tent with dance favorites all night long. Our guests are still commenting on the music from the evening.
I saved money in several areas but most required extensive DIY. Instead of renting linens, I purchased table covers at a deep discount online and donated them to a local school district after the wedding. To dress up the plain table linens, I designed and cut table runners in the shape of a “double wedding ring quilt” and had them printed at Spoonflower.com. I also sewed 174 ceremony chair covers, each with ribbons flowing down the back for the ceremony.
Since I clearly love textiles, I wanted to incorporate heirloom sewing and quilting into our wedding. The lovely ladies at the Quilting Bee in Camden, TN helped me order large quantities of fabric for various quilts and for round personalized seat pillows that I made for immediate family members to reserve their seat for the ceremony. I also made mini quilts for menus and directional signage using garden flag stands to hold the quilts around the Zoo. My guestbook was, you guested it, quilt fabric squares.
My ribbon aisle runner was created with flowers from Sharp Garden Center, 6ft wooden dowels, ribbon, paint cans covered with fabric and quick setting cement to hold the dowels. Yes, I am proud to say that I learned how to mix cement for my wedding decor!
Instead of renting a photobooth, I made one with my Dad over the course of 4 months. I provided the software and the technical equipment (recycled from my old college computer) and my Dad engineered a wooden case that was durable, functional and able to travel. It was a great father/daughter pre-wedding activity. My Matron of Honor, Dana Bell Wyatt, painted the vintage-looking photo backdrop and my sister-in-law helped run the booth during the wedding.
Photo Booth created and designed by bride.
However, with all of these DIY wedding projects, I had to say no to the biggest wedding project: Sewing my own wedding dress. As a hobby seamstress and quilt teacher, I knew I was up to the challenge but my parents and groom urged me not to tackle this project due to the potential stress associated with this task. Thankfully, I found a wedding dress that I fell in love with and I knew in my heart that I could never replicate the tiny embroidered details of the dress without a team of dedicated seamstresses.
As a consolation prize, I designed and created my Bridesmaid dresses. I used tulle and satin to create an illusion neckline and embroidered Beatles' lyrics along the hem: All You Need Is Love and Love Is All You Need. The dresses also included my favorite addition: POCKETS!
Bridesmaid dresses designed and sewn by bride!
We also saved money on alcohol costs for the evening. Chris’s brother is an award-winning brewmaster and graciously donated all of our wedding beer complete with custom labels. The types of beer were based on our favorite brews from our worldly travels. This was truly the best wedding gift and we got to share it with the people we love! Thanks so much Drew!
Now that the wedding day is over, is there anything about your planning process you feel you could have done differently?
Nothing. Everything came together beautifully thanks to the Nashville Zoo Events Team and my florists, Todd and Terry, of Sharp Garden. They were ROCKSTARS. The amount of hauling, unpacking, and setup involved was staggering and both teams finished all wedding setup in only 3 hours! They made everything run smoothly so I could focus on my groom and family. I cannot thank them enough!
What words of advice do you have for couples in the midst of their planning?
As Fleetwood Mac would say “Go Your Own Way”! Don’t be persuaded to have a typical cookie-cutter wedding. Add your own personal flair and enjoy every minute with no regrets!
Cressie's sweet note to the Nashville Zoo:
I cannot thank you enough! It was more wonderful than we ever imagined! You and your staff did such an amazing job and everything ran so smoothly. I cannot thank you enough for making our Wedding day so memorial and best of all FUN! I am extremely grateful for all of your hard work and assistance. I couldn't have pulled off my dream wedding without you and and your team! My hubby was also unbelievably impressed- he looked at me and said that was perfect and so "us" as we were leaving the zoo! My guests were also impressed with the zoo, the Croft house and the carousel but the thing I am asked about the most is the FOOD and if I could share any recipes. We were all blown away with the quality and presentation of the food. My guests are still raving about the pretzel bar! Although I wasn't present for set-up and break-down of the event, my parents were extremely impressed with your team and their assistance with everything. They have raved about their teamwork and helpfulness with the reception setup and the speed in which your team worked was almost super human!
All of my vendors (my wedding was their first zoo wedding for most of them) also praised you and your team for being one of the best venues in the area. My florist/coordinators were deeply impressed by the way you accommodated their needs and so quick to answer questions! The Nashville Zoo will always hold a special place in our hearts and I will never forget what you and your team did for us! Please send me the name/email of your superiors so I can brag about you and your team! Also I would be glad to be a reference for any potential zoo brides and will sing your praises from the rooftop!"
Regalo Design, a Nashville Wedding Planner, Florist and Event Decorator is having an end of the year inventory sale. If you are looking for high quality linen and event décor with low prices this is the where you need to find it!
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Noon - 8:00pm
7009 Lenox Village Drive Suite 103
Nashville, TN. 37211
In an ideal world, you could afford a quality photographer like Jenna, an album, and a disc. But if you have to choose, always choose a quality photographer first, then add a disc or an album. You can always add any products you couldn't afford later. Which do you purchase now? The disc or the album? Hopefully Jenna's advice will help you decide.
In addition to being a top-notch wedding photographer, Jenna of JHenderson Studios is also very insightful and always willing to share advice to help couples make better decisions for their wedding, such as deciding between a wedding album vs DVD.
Always feel free to contact Jenna for more help or visit her website www.jhendersonstudios.com to learn more about her and see her portfolio.
Jenna of JHenderson Studios:
A lot of my brides choose a disc over an album, even though they cost about the same (in my pricing at least, I can't speak for other photographers).
There are pros/cons to each. The disc offers the freedom to do whatever you'd like with photos, but many people don't do much more than post them to Facebook or make a handful of prints. Or, if they do make their own albums, it's not nearly the high-end quality that my professionally designed and bound albums would be. An album, however, only contains so many photos, and the disc has all the photos.
Personally, I prefer tangible, hold-in-your-hands photos, and quality over quantity. So, I would definitely select an album. I put our personal photos in albums all the time, because I want my kids and grandkids to be able to sit down and look through them. If I only posted them to Facebook, they would just float around in cyberspace for all eternity. I didn't look at my grandparents' photos on a computer!
Something else....a lot of people will not treat their disc with care. Couples should always make back-up copies, and store one in a fire-safe or safety deposit box for safe keeping. Also, technology changes so often, couples should be sure to modify their digital files as things change. Think about 25 years ago when everything was on VHS...you would have a hard time finding a VHS player today, so in 25 years, are we going to have a hard time finding a DVD reader? Just food for thought, I guess.
Quote from a JHenderson Studios bride who got only a disc:
"There are many brides out there like me who prefer the flexibility and convenience that comes from purchasing a disc. After all the chaos from the wedding, it took us a while to settle in, get organized, and wrap our minds around decorating. The disc gave us the freedom to print out unlimited photos for frames, order photo canvases and create memory books at our convenience, which was perfect for me since I was often indecisiveness as to what amazing photos to use! It also allowed us to digitally share photos with family and friends."
Quote from a a JHenderson Studios bride who got both a disc and an album:
"I love my album. I was hesitant to buy one because of the cost, but I would grab it if there was a fire. I also have a disc, and I've saved the photos on my computer, but I haven't looked at them much. I prefer looking at photos in the album because I spend more time actually looking at each photo, rather than just scrolling through several hundred on my computer screen. I'm bad about making my own prints. We printed out a few for frames, but they weren't larger than a 4x6. "
Royal Icing offers custom cakes and they are gorgeous! I met Carolyn, bakery owner, many years ago. Her designs were stunning then and she keeps getting better. If you're not familiar with Royal Icing, visit their website to learn more or email StudioWed at firstname.lastname@example.org and they will set you up an appointment with Carolyn to discuss your special day!
Your wedding guests know you put a lot of time into planning your wedding; it's a lot of work. Many will appreciate your stunning venue, your shabby chic design accented with mason jars and chalk boards. But ALL guests - no matter the age or gender - want great food and great fun. Who can help in the area of fun? Your DJ. A quality, well picked DJ will set the tone and determine whether your guests get up and dance and mingle.
Who you hire really matters. Ask Melissa, an ABG bride who was married in July. She hired Brent of Cosmo Creations to DJ her wedding and after meeting Brent, she and her then fiance decided to hire Cosmo to DJ their reception, create a custom track for their first dance, and provide a photo booth. I chatted with Brent and Melissa to learn more.
What is a custom song or modified track?
Brent of Cosmo Creations: A bride and groom ask us to take a standard song that they like and do something different to it. Melissa and Patrick's song was slow, then we faded the song with a record scratch into an upbeat song.
Why would a couple want one?
Cosmo Creations: To add a signature wow factor. During their first dance, all attention is on the couple and they could be nervous. The first dance then cuts into something more fun. Sometimes couples have something choreographed; it loosens them and the bridal party joins. The hard stop of the song with a record scratch catches people off guard and changes the entire vibe.
Melissa and Patrick were super fun couple. Their song and dance was staged with bridal party but guests thought it was unplanned. Sometimes receptions can feel stuffy but this sort of surprise helps this helps people get loose and have fun faster. It's a great ice breaker. The unexpected twist catches people off guard and generates laughter, changes the mood.
The custom song could also be good for father and daughter dances. The bride and father could start with "My Girl" then scratch to something like "Call Me Maybe", if the bride's dad is willing to let go and have fun.
Why did you select Cosmo Creations for your wedding day?
Melissa, an ABG bride: We originally heard about Cosmo Creations through the ABG blog and after meeting Brent in person, we knew he was someone we wanted to work with. He provided such a quality product and was so professional that it made the decision easy. He provided both our DJ, photobooth, and custom track services.
The photobooth was another big hit at our wedding and we loved the fact that we were able to go home that night with a copy of the pictures in a nice scrapbook.
Why did you opt for a custom track for your first dance?
Melissa: Like I said above, we knew we wanted to have a choreographed first dance, but we wanted to start it out with a sweet slow song. The song we chose to start our dance out was “Marry Me” by Train, but we needed a fun way to transition into the surprise portion of our dance, which was “DJ Got Us Fallin’ in Love” by Usher.
Patrick and Melissa's custom dance track, created by Cosmo Creations, along with their custom dance.
Did you create a custom dance too?
Melissa: We did! I found a dance on YouTube to the same song, and we changed it up a little bit. It was so fun! And our Maid of Honor and Best Man were both such great sports. Especially, my Maid of Honor (who is also my sister) since she lives out of town and couldn’t actually learn the dance until 10:00 pm the Thursday night before the wedding!
How did your wedding guests respond when they heard Cosmo's custom track?
Melissa: Everyone seemed pretty surprised! There were lots of cheers in the crowd, and Patrick and I both agreed that the looks on everyone’s faces were priceless
Would you recommend a custom track to other brides?
Melissa: Absolutely! It was so easy. All we had to do was give Cosmo Creations the name of the two songs and where we wanted them to be spliced together. Brent took care of everything!
Above: Cosmo Creations team - DJ/Emcee + Photo Booth attendant
At Ashley’s Bride Guide, we’re always on the lookout for innovative and exciting wedding ideas.
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