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Bridal Beauty Pro: Nashville’s Katie Russo Talks Trends, Tips, & Wedding Style

Monday, September 21, 2015

You’ve heard of Katie Russo Beauty, right?  Great!  We’re excited to help you learn a bit more about Katie Russo’s favorite styles when it comes to beauty and maybe give you an idea for your events!  For those of you who haven’t heard, Katie Russo Beauty is the go-to service for brides (and other wonderful customers)!  They provide bridal makeup and hair, plus numerous other beauty services.

Katie Russo Beauty is top notch when it comes to all the styling needs you have.  They will leave you feeling confident with flawless hair and makeup.  With years of experience in weddings, we wanted to pick owner Katie’s brain about some of her favorite aspects of weddings, and help you figure out the right stylist for you!

What do you love most about brides and weddings?
Of course we LOVE making our clients feel beautiful - which, by the way, they already are.  We love meeting our brides.  We get to meet such interesting, powerful women.  We love hearing their stories, not only about how they met the love of their lives but also about their own story, their lives, and how they got to where they are.  We love that connection.  By the time the wedding's over, we feel like they aren’t just our clients, but our friends.

What do you love for weddings right now?
We have lots of obsessions, and they change constantly!  One of the things we’re loving right now is henna for weddings.  We love a little Boho style.  For beauty, we love brushed up brows, as opposed to the harsh, sharp brows that have been on trend lately.  Brushed up and softer is the new way.  We also love beautiful skin (of course), freckles and matte red lips.  They are something you can add to a really casual look and instantly look cool.

What services do you offer?
We offer hair styling, makeup (airbrush and regular), and we sell great makeup products and organic airbrush tanning.  We can bring everything to the client or at our office in Houston Station.

What advice can you give a future bride? 
The best advice I can give to a bride looking for hair and makeup is to make sure your style goes with the person for whom you're working.  Call them, talk to them, and make sure you click.  These will be people that will be there on your big day, so you want to make sure that you and the artist/stylist gel.

Check out Katie Russo Beauty at Houston Station or give them a call to build your wedding day beauty team!

All photos provided by and feature work by Katie Russo Beauty

Posted by Taylor | Filed under: Advice & Planning, Makeup, Hair, Health, Beauty , 0 comments »

Nashville’s paperKuts Studio Shares Best Budget Tips for Wedding Stationery

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

One of the most difficult decisions a couple has to make for a wedding is about their budget.  It is a difficult task to decide how much money should be spent on certain aspects of the wedding.  Kim, owner of Nashville paper and gift boutique, paperKuts studio, understands this and works with each couple's budget.  She took some time to share her best suggestions and money saving tips on stationery for a wedding.

Wedding invitations are often the first glimpse of your wedding that guests receive, and it is important to know the best way to save money while still sticking to your vision. 

How much do you recommend couples should spend on wedding stationery?
That is the top question from brides as they begin their search for wedding invitations and it is the hardest to answer!!  The statistics show that the average wedding costs around $30,000, and your budget should be 2-3%.  That’s $600-900 and yes, that’s a lot of money, but most often, not enough.  Realistically, you should budget 4-8% or more and that’s $1,500 -1,800 based on the average wedding cost.

What are the must-have stationery pieces for a wedding?
The must-haves for your wedding suite only contain two items: your invitation and RSVP.  It totally depends on your vision.  Most brides will send save-the-dates about a year in advance, especially if they are planning a destination wedding or expect a lot of out of town guests.  From there, you can add a reception card, accommodations card, directions card, website card, etc.  Along with your invitation and RSVP, the next must-have is your thank you cards.  Order early and have them available as you receive gifts.  This will lighten the load!

How can couples save money on their wedding stationery?
As always, your invitation sets the tone for your wedding.  Couples can save money by setting a realistic budget and assessing their needs.  They should do things like ensuring their guest list is accurate and confirming that the information for the invitation is correct (location, time, names).  The worst thing is to re-order paper because of an error like that, understanding that all of those bells and whistles have a price tag associated with them.  If they are a DIY’er, they should totally go for it! 

What is your best money saving tip for couples searching for wedding stationery?
The best money saving tip is to stick with your budget.  I am the classic “Bologna budget, Caviar taste!"  Invitations are like everything else, you get what you pay for.  Let your stationer know what your budget is, the number of invitations that you need, and what message you want to convey.  Nothing hurts my heart more than when a bride loves the caviar selection, but it isn’t within her budget.  Don’t even look at those types of selections because nothing else will compare and you will never be fully satisfied. 

Any other tips/comments you may have?
Be open to ‘tweaking’ the invitation you originally found on Etsy or Pinterest!  The majority of those invites are custom and custom costs.  Most of all, relax, savor the moments, and enjoy!

All stationery shown is available at paperKuts studio.

Kim is our go-to girl for all paper related to weddings and soirées in Nashville.  She can be reached via or (615) 885-0231or in-person.  To know Kim is to love her, so if you need ANY paper for your big day, or even gifts for your bridal party, stop by her super cute space in East Nashville at 3922 Gallatin Pike, Nashville, TN 37216.

Posted by Holly Nashville Newlywed | Filed under: Advice & Planning, 0 comments »

Bridesmaid Bridal Hair? Nashville Beauty Pro, Katie Russo Has Just The Right Advice

Thursday, July 23, 2015

You've chosen your bridal party and selected their bridesmaid gowns.  Now, how will you style their hair?  Will you choose?  Let them?  Before you decide, read Katie Russo's advice for brides on bridesmaids' hair via this link to her beauty blog.  We found it helpful and think you might, too. 


Katie Russo Beauty offers an on-location hair and makeup team to provide you with top-notch beauty services on your big day or event.  Katie Russo Beauty is located in the Houston Station Community at 434 Houston Street, Nashville, TN 37203.

Posted by Ashley King | Filed under: Advice & Planning, Makeup, Hair, Health, Beauty , 0 comments »

The Importance of Engagement + Bridal Portraits; Music City Events Shares Expertise

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

There are several bridal-related photography sessions to choose from - providing yet another decision to make for your big day.  When asked which sessions they highly recommend, planners Sarah and Mary Anna, of Music City Events, were extremely helpful and happy to answer our questions.  We hope their expertise helps you narrow down a few more wedding planning decisions.

1. Why are engagement and bridal portraits important?

“This is the first glimpse your guests will have at you and your fiancé in the new stage of life in which you are entering.  These photos should be personalized and show both the bride and groom's personalities as well as the couple's unique story.”

Engagement photos are a helpful addition, too!  They can be used for countless options like wedding décor or guestbook options - maybe even save the dates.

Bridal portraits are a whole different ball game. This photo shoot for brides is a great way to get ready for the big kahuna - the wedding day.  Scheduling a trial hair and makeup appointment for the same day as the bridal portraits gets you ready for anything that may go wrong or that you don’t like on your wedding day.  Bridal portraits are usually taken a month before the wedding, after the final dress fitting, and they embody everything about who the bride is as a person.

“Places that the wedding photography won't capture are perfect settings for the bridal portraits.  These photos will be cherished for years to come because they are timeless.  They allow a bride to feel like a goddess and set her up to feel confident on the wedding day.”

Photo: Amy Nicole Photography

2. What type of setting should clients look for with these types of portraits?

“Whatever setting is part of their story!  The best engagement photos showcase the couple's personality, both as individuals and a pair.”

Bridal portraits have a different feel to them.  Finding a place that the bride feels comfortable is key, whether it’s inside a studio or outside in nature.  This varies from person to person. So brides, when you’re trying to figure out what you want for a setting, think about what’s important to you.  Are you a porch-swing person?  Standing by a lake in springtime?  Or maybe you’re a car enthusiast?  Wherever your unique tastes make you who you are, let them show through in your portraits!

Photo: Nyk + Cali Wedding Photographers


3. Why choose to have these sessions done in addition to wedding day portraits?

“Circumstance.  Sometimes circumstances come up during the wedding day that don't allow the photographer to spend as much time capturing the bride by herself.  The bridal portraits ensure correct time is dedicated to capturing her beauty and personality.  Also, by taking them ahead of time there is already a relationship built on trust with the photographer.  The bride will feel more comfortable on the wedding day having done a bridal portrait session with her photographer.”

4. Are there any common issues clients have during this process?

“Most issues revolve around knowing the correct timing for scheduling bridal portraits, which is about two months before the wedding, or the month before is best.  Also, sometimes clients have difficulty in choosing the right photographer.  I recommend using the same photographer booked for the wedding.  Most photographers have an engagement session included in their packages, so it should be a no-brainer! Why stress about finding another photographer when you already have one chosen?”

Photo: Gregory Byerline Photographer


5. What advice would you give couples and brides looking at these portrait options?

“Bridal portraits aren't for everyone.  If you don't like having your picture taken solo, then I wouldn't schedule a bridal portrait session.  Whatever you feel most comfortable with.

Engagement photography sessions are a blast!  I strongly recommend doing them because it is a great way to capture the essence of a couple.  Additionally, having time with your photographer during an engagement session helps your wedding day in a few sneaky ways.  It allows the photographer to see how the two of you interact as a couple - what makes him smile?  What makes her roll her eyes and laugh? Your photographer better understands your relationship and how to capture it.  It also gives you the unique advantage to work together in front of a lens.  Not many couples have professional photographs taken prior to their wedding.  This allows you to become comfortable interacting with each other with a person standing 4 to 10 feet away with a camera in your face!”

Photo: SheHeWe Photography

We know this is an important decision, along with many of the others you need to make for your big day, so keep some of these tips in mind.  These sessions may not be for everyone, but having a trial run never hurt anyone!

If you’re curious of the origin, bridal portraits date back to the time of oil paintings in Europe by royal families, eventually landing in the USA and becoming a southern tradition.  “Knowing the origin helps understand the importance of the action,” according to Music City Events. They also had some parting advice for those considering all the different aspects of these sessions.

“Have fun with these photography sessions!  Style them in a way that showcases your hobbies, likes, interests, and passions.  Photos and portraits that capture those fundamental things about you are why I encourage engagement photo sessions and bridal portraits!”

You won’t regret it.

Photo: Roland's Photography


For more advice from expert Nashville planners, contact the Music City Events team:, 615.807.0813.

Posted by Taylor | Filed under: Advice & Planning, Wedding Planners & Coordinators, 0 comments »

How to Buy or Sell a Pre-Owned Wedding Dress Online, Advice from Nashville Gown Expert (Repost)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Rhonda of Oakwood Cleaners shared the following story with me that I hope serves as a warning for all of you buying/considering pre-owned wedding dresses:

"I just heard about a bride that bought a pre-owned dress that was 4 inches too big.  She went to a seamstress that agreed to take it in, but after it was finished, it did not fit to her satisfaction.  First of all, it was really dirty, and had been altered.  There's no telling how many times it had been worn (or altered).  The needle marks from the last alteration were still showing when the seamstress got it.  It appeared to have been washed in a washing machine (vs. dry cleaned), and the lining was a wrinkled mess.

Brides need to understand that not only is it quite difficult to take a dress down 4 inches and have it fit correctly, but if it has been washed or worn several times and altered more than once, the fabric will not react the same as if it were new.  It is up to the seamstress to tell the bride of the problems that can occur up front and have the bride sign an agreement stating they understand this."

bridal gown expert nashville restoration vintage gowns

Most of you who are considering a pre-owned dress are probably going the online route - from Craigslist and eBay, to sites like  These can be great ways to save, or they can turn into a huge nightmare, as Rhonda described above.  

So, what's a girl to do?  Here's what our pros at Oakwood Cleaners suggest, whether you are buying or selling your gown online.


Tips for Buying a Pre-Owned Wedding Dress Online

~ Start with an online retailer that offers a grace period.  This will give you time to receive the dress, see the actual size, assess the condition of the dress, and decide if you want to keep it.  You must see it, try it on, and touch the fabric.

- Shop for dresses as close to your size as possible.  It's not a good idea to jump sizes.  Determine your "wedding gown size," which is not the same as your street clothes size.  Once you know your bridal size, stay close to it as you shop for pre-owned gowns.  The bigger the difference between your size and the pre-owned size, the more costly the alterations and sometimes the changes could impact the actual dress's shape.

~ Ask the seller whether the dress has been cleaned.  Opt for a dress that has been cleaned already.  It will need to be cleaned to determine what stains will remain.  You don't want to buy a gown online that's dirty, then have to pay for the dress only to find out which stains will or won't come out.  If not clean, ask how dirty.  See if pictures of the stains can be provided.

~ Ask about alterations.  Has it been altered?  If fabric has been cut away, there may not be enough remaining to let back out.

~ Ask if it is damaged and what the extent of the damage is.

buying monique l dress online tips

Corset gown by designer Monique Lhuillier.  Source


Keep or return the dress?


Once the gown is in your hands (during the grace period)...

~ Take the dress and the seller's documentations to a true pro that specializes in bridal gowns, such as Oakwood Cleaners.  

~ Have them inspect the dress and tell you what it might cost to clean, fix, and alter the dress.  They won't be able to fully predict the actual cost of alterations, but they will give you direction.  If it needs cleaning, they will let you know.  They can't guarantee spots will come out, but they will tell you their expert opinion and give ballpark quote.  They can tell what custom changes will be needed.

~ Be realistic.  Some of the really popular styles have a corset and can't be taken in or let out, due to the boning (See Vera Wang gown below).  The two-piece Monique Lhuillier corset style tops aren't easy to alter.  Repeat wearing of the top can stretch it.  So, by the time the seller is ready to sell, it may not fit the purchaser with similar size/body as well as a brand new dress would.  Stretching will cause the dress to fit differently, even if it hasn't been altered.

Based on your Oakwood gown inspection, determine if you will love it or leave it.  It may seem like a good deal, but repairs, alterations, and cleaning might be expensive.  You need to be smart.  In the long run, a used dress could cost you more on the back-end than a new gown.


advice buying vera wang bridal gown online, nashville wedding dress alterations, cleaning

Oakwood says, "This type of dress would be exceptionally difficult to have altered due to the boning in the bodice.  Buyers should exercise caution with this type of gown."


Tips for Selling Your Wedding Dress Online

~ Be honest.  You will have better success and fewer returns from buyers.  This will save you money (from shipping costs), time, and stress.

~ Clean the dress before you list it.  This will give the purchaser a realistic idea of how wonderful the dress could be.

~ Highlight the positives and negatives.  Document what's been done to the dress.  Share photos of damage and stains to give an overall state of the dress.  Point out tears, pulled bustles, and areas of heavy stains.


Editor's note: This article originally appeared in April 2014, but we wanted to reshare it with our newly engaged or recently wedded girls!

Posted by Ashley King | Filed under: Alterations, Gown Preservation, Advice & Planning, Bridal Gowns, Wedding Dresses & Accessories, 0 comments »

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