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Advice & Planning

Advice for the Newly Engaged: 90% of Nashville Brides Regret That They Didn’t Hire a Wedding Planner

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Ninety percent of the Nashville brides that I have interviewed who didn't hire planners (hired one late in planning or hired one for limited services) said they regretted that decision. They gave me three reasons for not hiring a planner and I'm sure you've entertained these same thoughts...

3 Reasons Why Brides Don't Hire a Wedding Planner:

1) Money - a planner was just not in the budget. The brides felt that the amount they would have to pay was better spent on other aspects.

2) They just didn't think a planner was worth the investment - some girls felt that what a planner could do, her friends or family members could also do for free.

3) How hard could a wedding be? It's a party isn't it? After all the planning was squared away with every detail confirmed, brides felt they had it all under control and there just wasn't anything left to worry about. What could possibly go wrong?  

In hindsight, they realized that a planner's help would have helped them significantly, and that a wedding isn't "just a party."


I'd like to encourage you to take their advice and hire a reputable Nashville wedding planner ASAP! You deserve to enjoy your entire engagement. You deserve to not "work" on your wedding day and to allow your family not to work on your day so everyone can savor every minute, dance, morsel.  

3 Reasons Why a Bride Should Hire a Full-Service Wedding Planner:

1) They offer professional help finding quality resources + making sound decisions.
Planning can get really overwhelming with contracts and negotiation, not to mention arrangements you have to make for your guests and yourself. It can start to be too much. Wedding planners and professionals exist so you don't have to give yourself a headache trying to figure it all out on your own.

2) They have years of experience orchestrating wedding days
You have enough to worry about that day, why add on the stress of having to worry where all your vendors are at any given moment? 

3) They create plans and back-up plans to handle unexpected challenges (from family discord to floods)!
Things can go wrong. This isn't to say they WILL go wrong but that if there's a bit of a mix up, do you really want to know and do you really want to be the person on the phone that day trying to deal with it? On that note, do you want your mom or aunt or best friend to be that person? Not ideally. This is where your planner comes in. Sharon Campbell brings home the point:


No matter what your budget, I suggest it is a wise investment to have someone who is experienced and is not a family member or friend be the go-to person that can handle some of the mishaps and also help keep your day on track. As a photographer, we have a schedule, but we are there to capture your day and while we help in any way we can, we would not be able to answer questions or make decisions that could in any way alter your day. Do not expect your other vendors (not even the venue manager) to coordinate the day for you.

Make sure you have people that are excited about your wedding, trust them to do the job you hired them to do and then relax on the day your start your family!"

This is key - that you, your groom, your parents, siblings, and friends have fun. You invested in all these professionals, make it worth your while. 

If you missed yesterday's advice post for recently engaged couples, click here.

Posted by Ashley King | Filed under: Advice & Planning, Engagements & Proposals, 0 comments »

You’re Engaged!! Now What? Prioritize, Research and Trust Your Gut

Monday, December 29, 2014

planning a nashville wedding

For the newly engaged, the beginning of your wedding planning is such an exciting time. You probably don't know this, but more Nashville brides will get engaged between Christmas and Valentine's Day than any other time of the year. What does this mean? The wedding planning season has officially started and you'll be bombarded with commercials, wedding shows on TV, bridal shows, magazines, etc. That's awesome and a little overwhelming at the same time.

But, it doesn't have to be overwhelming if you love with your heart and plan with your head. How? 

1) Slow down!

There is absolutely no need to rush. Not to set a date. Not to share the news with others. Not to commit to anything. Savor every moment and don't feel pressured to do or decide anything. Pause the Pretty.

2) Have a game plan BEFORE you start any wedding planning - know your priorities and values.

What will you value most: family, fun, spending time one on one with family, a big lively party, stress-free planning that allows you to enjoy every moment? What are your priority items? His? Do you love flowers? Does he want a vintage car? Rank all wedding expenses and their importance. Know "must haves" versus "nice to have."

3) Use your priorities and values to help you create a realistic budget and stick to it.

Don't overspend - It causes unnecessary stress and strain on you, your fiancé, and your families.

4) Determine two to three splurge items in advance, based on your values and priorities.

I recommend splurging on a great wedding planner (a must), an amazing photographer, and a top-notch videographer. A great planner will make your life easier. She will help you brainstorm, create a solid plan, find and negotiate with vendors, and keep you inspired and focused - 90% of the brides I interview wish they'd hired a planner.

5) Shop smart - Don't shop or visit a bridal show or read another blog until you have a clear budget.

Know exactly what you plan to spend on all items (even splurge items) so you don't run out of money before you've made important purchases. It will keep you from buying what you don't need or what doesn't fit your style.

6) Reduce long-term stress and mishaps by researching EVERY vendor before you hire anyone or pay for anything. 

Hire vendors with integrity and a good reputation.

- Check the Better Business Bureau. When I got married, I hired a videographer who had a great booth at a bridal show. I watched a video highlight of a wedding and was sold. No one was blogging back then and there wasn't a public forum. But there was BBB. I failed to check it and ended up screwed. He failed to capture key moments and I was devastated. When I mentioned it to him, he was defensive. It didn't go well. Moral - be sure to research every vendor you hire. At least check the Better Business Bureau for negative reports.

- Read blogs, ask brides. Brides are usually brutally honest. If they like someone, they will say. If they don't, they will say! This is a great way to find vendors they love and hate and exactly what happened.

- Read between the lines. Most vendors will not tell you if a fellow vendor sucks. Why? Because they/we have to work with these vendors for years to come and we can be sued. BUT we will often redirect you to another, more competent vendor. Vendors do this all the time but often brides and moms disregard the advice and move full steam ahead ignoring the subtle hints or recommendations.

For instance, a bride asked me about a photographer. I hesitated and asked her questions about her experience, then I rattled off a few other photographers that were qualified. She didn't get it, but mom got it. Another time, a bride asked me about a cake baker. I recommended others based on what she needed. She ignored my recommendation and called me a week before her wedding, frantic with a major emergency. By that time, it was too late and there wasn't much I could do.

- Hire vendors who specialize in what you need. Not every vendor can do everything. In this economy, some vendors are tempted to extend their services to make more money. Very few people can do everything. Whatever they promise they can do should be supported by a stunning portfolio of quality, consistent work. Ask them for referrals - if they refuse, that's a huge red flag.

- Ask questions like you're interviewing someone for a job. As a previous recruiter, I can share a few behavioral questions that might work for weddings. For instance - "Tell me about your most difficult bride (family dynamic, vendor, etc), what happened and how did you handle it? What did you learn?" Or, "Tell me about a day-of emergency and how you resolved it." One really good question is, "Tell me about a bride who simply could not be pleased, perhaps a real bridezilla who was dissatisfied. How did you handle the situation?"

- Don’t be teased by teasers. Ask to see the entire video or photo album. Ask to see more than one invitation or sculpted cake if that’s what you are hiring them to do. They should not be hesitant to share their work so you can look for quality and consistency.

- Make sure your caterer/cake baker is “legal” i.e. their kitchens are up to health codes so that what they prepare is safe for your guests. You don’t want anyone to get sick! They should be willing to show you their health score just like restaurants post.

- Trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s probably not. If you find yourself debating, asking others for advice - you probably know something is wrong. Don’t stick around waiting for resolution that won’t come, just move on. Things usually get worse after you pay, not better. There are many more vendors and venues vying for your business so do not settle. Bridal salons and venues are the worst offenders. Expect good customer service and do not accept poor service.  As Beth and Elizabeth at Faccio Bridal said, “This is the most expensive dress you will ever buy. You should expect good service.”  I agree!

7) Protect yourself

- Get everything in writing. If a vendor makes a promise, make sure it’s documented.

- Pay with credit cards when possible. Most credit card companies will protect you from fraud, loss, service issues. If you have decided to use cash instead, consider using a credit card and immediately paying off the charge with cash.

- If you have an unresolvable issue, contact the BBB for help mediating. If you can’t remedy the problem, at least you have a paper trail from your credit card company and an experience that will help other brides who might consider hiring this vendor.

8) Lastly, spend less time planning your wedding and more time building a strong foundation for your marriage.

Your marriage should always be the focal point.  I know it is easy to get excited and sidetracked by all the to-dos and the pretty wedding things, but remember the whole point is the marriage, not the wedding.

- Invest time and money in premarital education/counseling. Don’t just do the required, really invest time and resources in people who can help you build a great foundation from the start.

- Have date nights where no wedding talk is allowed. Avoid what I call “drive-by wedding planning” where your fiancé walks in the door and you start discussing wedding plans. Carve out a specific time/day to discuss the wedding and only discuss your wedding during that time, unless there is an emergency or you have to make the decision right then. This will allow him to enjoy your time together versus feeling like all you do is discuss the wedding. This applies to your friendships too - you don’t want to run them off.

- Focus on your values - don’t sweat the small stuff. And have fun!


This article originally appeared in December 2012 but we wanted to reshare it with our newly engaged girls!

Posted by Ashley King | Filed under: Advice & Planning, Engagements & Proposals, 0 comments »

Dare to Be Different - Music City Events Shares 7 Ways to Express Your Wedding Personality, Part 3

Monday, December 1, 2014

Sarah, owner and lead planner of Music City Events, is our guest contributor today.  This is part 3 of her series, Dare to Be Different.  Click here for Part 1, Part 2.


mini tacos fun wedding food nashville

(Chef's Market)

6) Menu

- Family style is one of my current favorite menu for events. Less formal than plated but warmer than buffets, family style brings your tables together, truly sharing their meal.
- While it's good to keep general tastes in mind, don't shy away from a little exploration via pairings. Tapas and tastings is a great way to broaden guests horizons while still providing a great menu.  Some ideas:

Mini Sliders with Short Beer
Bite Size Taco with mini Margerita
Sushi with a Sip of Sake

sushi wedding nashville chefs market

(Chef's Market)

family style catering nashville

Mrs. J's Baking and Catering

7) Music

More and more clients are choosing to merge their band and dj into one amazing sensory experience for guests. Starting with a traditional band for cocktails and dinner can create high energy and fun interaction for guests. However, after the cake, why not dim the lights and throw on some fantastic House music or spin Top 40 with a high energy dj who knows exactly how to get guests on the dance floor?

Whatever you choose to do, just be you.

wedding music band dj

(Blue Tone Music)



Posted by A Music City Event | Filed under: Advice & Planning, Bands, DJs, Music, Food/Catering, 0 comments »

Dare to Be Different - Music City Events Shares Ways to Express Your Wedding Personality, Part 2

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Our 3-part, Dare to Be Different Series was created by Music City Events. Sarah, owner and lead planner, has worked with Nashville brides for years and loves couples who are willing to show their personality and create a great guest experience.

If you missed Part 1 of the series, start here


caricature at wedding

Photo: Rustic Wedding Chic

4) Interaction

Photobooths. Guest Books. Slideshows. All fun. All kind of expected at this point! Interaction for your guests is something that can elevate your wedding.

- Bring in a caricature artist and let guests take home these fun drawings - what a great favor!

- What about a few card magicians for cocktail hour? So much fun to try and find the right card!

- Give guests a Scavenger Hunt to play during cocktails and the reception. List fun items you have spent countless hours pulling together (swizzle straws, menus, custom lighting, or perhaps the first dance even!) for them to snap and load on Instagram - plus, insta-fun for everyone the next day! Just search for your custom hashtag.

wedding ideas nashville


- How fun would it be to see guests Instagram or tweet about the wedding and showcase the feed in the cocktail area or via an Instagram station

wedding ideas nashville

Photo: Etsy


wedding ideas nashville


- What about fun dance lessons after the first dances? Hire professionals to teach a short dance and then have them dance with guests for the next hour!

- Don't forget to print a fun itinerary for guests to see all evening - if they know that a fun surprise awaits at 10p, they are more likely to stay and enjoy the evening!


5) Go Solo

In this day and age it's hard to imagine not snapping 30 photos in 30 seconds much less in a few hours. But, for a true Dare to Be Different moment, instead of asking guests to take pics, ask your guests to keep their camera and phones tucked away for the ceremony. Lay out the reasons in your programs and have your officiate make an announcement as well. You only do this once, after all, and they are in attendance because they are truly your nearest and dearest. Let them know you want them to fully participate in this momentous occasion - without the assistance of a screen. For at least 30 minutes.

no photos wedding guests

Photo: Etsy


For more creative ideas from Sarah of Nashville's Music City Events, view Dare to Be Different, Part 1 or return Monday for Part 3.

Posted by A Music City Event | Filed under: Advice & Planning, Inspiration & Trends, Wedding Planners & Coordinators, 0 comments »

Dare to Be Different - Music City Events Shares Ways to Express Your Wedding Personality, Part 1

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Dare to be different. It's a running thought for most of our brides. They don't want what their mothers had. Or their best friend. Or their favorite older cousin who got married recently. Sure Pinterest is fun, but … well, it is starting to look an awful lot alike in Pinterest World. What began as a way to expand brides' minds and show them amazing things that can be done has become just another place to become overwhelmed, be exposed to too much, or honestly to see what you see everywhere else.

Dare. To be. Different.

I get it. It's a once in a lifetime event. It's the biggest celebration you will likely ever have. Weddings are tremendously emotional and full of love. I always encourage my clients to express their individual personalities and their "couple style". Every one knows you can do that with colors, with menu items (hello favorite late night snack!), and of course with your attire. But, what are some other ways you can reclaim your wedding?

1) Celebrations

In some cultures it's traditional to have the ladies of the evening gather for a party and the men gather for a separate one. Dare to Be Different and throw something similar before the rehearsal dinner. Hand massages and mimosas for the ladies, while men get to watch the game, enjoy a cigar and flights of local beer! Be creative with how you celebrate with your guests. There are hardly any rules anymore.

grooms hanging out nashville ideas

grooms hanging out nashville ideas

grooms hanging out nashville ideas

Photography: Bombs Over Betty


2) Attire

Attire is the easiest way to express your style and personality. Fashion is an ever moving animal that allows you to really express yourself. It's a normal thing now, but several years ago when brides first began wearing brightly colored shows - oh my! Who says you have to wear white? Prior to Queen Victoria in the mid 1800s, white was not the go-to color. Wear your best color! White does not look good on me. I don't want to wear black either, but will likely go for blue or green! And don't forget to give yourself options. Perhaps a traditional dress and veil for the ceremony and a brightly colored shrug, belt, brooch or skirt for the reception!

unique wedding dresses nashville different

Photography: Wedlock Images

short wedding dresses nashville different

Photography: Jonathon Campbell

sash wedding dresses nashville different


3) Timing

I have always loved unusual timing for events. Why not have a brunch reception with your guests and a private early morning ceremony? Or, if you're a night owl, what about a midnight ceremony followed by late night snacks or, really, you could do the same brunch menu! Both options allow you spend your entire wedding day with your husband and really flexes that "Dare to Be Different' attitude.

brunch wedding

Photo: StyleMePretty

brunch wedding idea


Our 3-part, Dare to Be Different Series was created by Sarah, owner and lead planner of Music City Events.  With years of experience helping couples plan their wedding, she knows a thing or two about how to make your wedding a true expression of you, the couple.  Her engaged couples are confident, savvy and know who they are.  She partners with her clients to ensure their day is well planned and thoroughly enjoyed!  Return Wednesday for Part 2.

Posted by A Music City Event | Filed under: Advice & Planning, Bridal Gowns, Wedding Dresses & Accessories, Grooms, Groomsmen & Tuxedos , Inspiration & Trends, Unique Wedding Ideas, Wedding Planners & Coordinators, 0 comments »

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