Thursday, January 9, 2014
If you're newly engaged, then you will definitely want to sign up for The Smart Bride Workshop, Nashville's wedding planning workshop series run by Ashley's Bride Guide (ABG).
This January and February, smart brides (& grooms!) will have the chance to learn exactly what planning a Nashville wedding takes - from hiring wedding vendors to maximizing your budget to getting the most out of bridal shows - all from wedding pros and recent brides.
Held on three different dates at three different local venues, these workshops will cover everything you need to know before you start planning your wedding:
Jan 21 - Workshop at Sambuca Nashville, 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. Setting your vision, values and priorities.
Jan 28 -Workshop at Nashville City Club, 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. Discovering your wedding style and setting your wedding budget.
Feb 8 - Workshop at The Peacock Ballroom in Lenox Village, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Hiring your wedding team and choosing your DIY projects.
I'm lucky enough to be an ABG bootcamp graduate, and attending the bootcamp was one of the best things I did while planning!
Back in early 2012, my now-husband Jermaine and I started seriously talking about marriage. Since he was living in Louisville at the time, and my family was (and still is) in Canada, I knew that when it came to planning our wedding I'd be mostly on my own. While there were certain things I had always dreamt about, I had no idea where to start when it came to actually pulling this huge event together. We were on a tight budget so a full-service planner, or even a month-of coordinator, wasn't in the cards for us, nor was a venue that would provide an onsite event manager for our wedding day.
I've always been a researcher by nature, as is Jermaine, so I hit the internet and started searching for DIY brides and their ideas and suggestions. Luckily, I came across Ashley's Bride Guide, and they were just about to start a Wedding Planning Bootcamp! I jumped at the chance to attend, going all three weeks that it ran, and I even got to bring Jermaine one week (He attended on his BIRTHDAY before we were even engaged. Yup, I'm a lucky lady!!!) and my mom another week while she was in town visiting. We took so much valuable information away from the sessions and really felt empowered to make the choices we wanted to make for our wedding day.
Here are some of the top reasons why I loved the bootcamp and why I think you should attend:
- Each session of The Smart Bride Bootcamp took place at a different wedding venue in Nashville. Not only was this a great way to learn about some of the amazing venues Nashville has to offer, but also a fantastic way to see the inside spaces available at these venues. It's also nice to see what the area around the venue is like, what parking situations may arise and how complicated providing directions to your guests may be.
- Information on how to prioritize when you're budgeting (Hint: It's not as complicated as you may think!!). This was our biggest takeaway from the event, as it allowed us to see how we were spending our money and helped us to make sure that the things we felt were most important were included in our special day.
- A newlywed panel answered questions on what aspects of their wedding day they loved the most, what they regretted and what they'd change. It was so helpful to hear what they picked to share and to hear from real couples about their big day.
- The chance to meet several vendors at one time, in one location. It wasn't as crowded or busy as a bridal show would be and having time to talk to each vendor was great. I also loved getting to see them set up at the wedding venues - photo booths were in action, caterers had trays of yummy treats out and florists had table settings on display.
- The opportunity to learn about upcoming wedding and local trends. We learned about what vendors were providing Nashville couples, as well as whether there were certain items or extras that would be booking quickly, like photo booths or certain decor items, which was really helpful.
Overall, attending the bootcamp allowed me to feel confident in knowing that this was OUR wedding day, so we were free to make the decisions that worked best for us as a couple. Brides hear so many different opinions about how things should be done, what should be included, who should say what, etc., but in the end, it is YOUR wedding day and ultimately, you and your fiance need to be comfortable with what's happening. After attending the bootcamp, I felt much more informed about what our wedding would include, and that allowed me to make the smartest choices while planning.
Follow this link, to register for The Smart Bride Workshop. Enter code: "ABBride" for free tickets. I'll be on this year's panel. Hope to see you there!
Photos: The Collection
Friday, January 3, 2014
I love bridal shows! As you can probably imagine, I've been to my fair share - some great, some not so great.
For that reason, I highly recommend that you go. But, there's a skill to attending bridal shows to ensure maximum benefit and effectiveness. Yes, you could just go. However, you want to make sure you see and find what you need to make the most of your time and dollars!
Here are seven bridal show tips for smart Nashville brides:
Set your overall budget before you start wedding shopping.
Wear comfy shoes and bring a bottle of water to drink.
Print 50 info labels that contain your first/last name, email address, phone number and mailing address - this will save you lots of time when you enter contests and/or give vendors your information.
Take a notepad and pen to write down your favorites.
Take a camera or clear space on your phone to photograph the ideas you like. Find a vendor you love? Take pics of their booth and their business card so you can remember what you loved and whose it was.
Plan ahead by bringing a shopping list of the vendors you need and your estimated budget for the category.
Go with only one person - mom, fiance or friend - so you can remain focused on your objectives - which vendors you need at which budget.
We'll have a booth at Nashville's Enchanted Brides and Perfect Wedding Guide wedding shows. Stop by and say hi! We love meeting our readers.
Below are a few other Nashville wedding pro favorites that will have a booth. If you see them at at one of the shows, be sure to check them out.
Signature Cakes by Vicki - Extravagant and elegant
Street Tuxedo - the ONLY place in Nashville to get your tuxedos. Locally owned and operator with great service.
Designs in Paper - custom wedding paper goods that wow every time!
Le Jardin de Julia - Amazing, couture bridal accessories
Dulce Desserts - There are simply no words for these wonderful desserts! You must try them for yourself.
All photos: Ace Photography.
Want more smart advice? Register for The Smart Bride Bootcamp, our annual wedding planning workshop, and get in-person help planning your entire Nashville wedding.
Thursday, January 2, 2014
Happy 2014 Nashville Brides!!
Our Smart Bride Bootcamp kicks off tonight with an online workshop for Nashville brides designed to help you prepare for your first bridal show. You'll learn all about bridal shows - what to expect, who to take, why you should go and how to make the most of each show.
When I was planning my 2012 wedding, I attended a few bridal shows in town and quickly learned that not all shows are created equal. From the size of each show to the number and type of wedding vendors manning booths, I was definitely able to take something away from each one I attended. However, I could have done a better job at gaining more from the experience.
If you plan to attend ANY of the upcoming bridal shows, you don't want to miss our online workshop. Ashley, founder of AshleysBrideGuide.com, will make sure that you're prepared to make the best wedding decisions, starting with bridal show do's and don'ts.
Tonight's webinar is free. It starts at 7 p.m. and is less than 30 minutes long. As an added bonus, Ashley will give away free tickets to the January 12 Perfect Wedding Guide Bridal Show to all of the Smart Brides who attend the webinar!
The info provided tonight during The Smart Bride Bootcamp will definitely be helpful. As a former Smart Bride grad, I can tell you first hand that every session of The Smart Bride Bootcamp is priceless. Make sure to register here!
Friday, December 27, 2013
Ladies and gentlemen, we are officially entering the wedding season! For the newly engaged, I know this time is equal parts exciting and terrifying - you’re happy to begin the process, yet unsure of where to start.
I remember when I got engaged three years ago, I was surprised at how overwhelming even the smallest details turned out to be. Though I was excited to attend my first bridal show, I was completely unprepared. There were wedding vendors everywhere, offering all sorts of deals, and so many things to see and taste. Wedding shows are a lot of fun but can be quite a bit to take in all at once.
If you’re worried like I was, let me put your mind at ease: Ashley’s Bride Guide is kicking off The Smart Bride, our annual workshop for brides. The workshops bring together wedding vendor experts and Nashville newlyweds, all sharing do's and dont's and how-to tips.
Register for The Smart Bride Workshop via this link. Enter code: "ABBride" for free tickets.
Workshop 1: Jan 21 - An in-person workshop at Sambuca Nashville, 6-9pm. This class will help you set your vision, values and priorities.
Workshop 2: Jan 28 - An in-person workshop at Nashville City Club, 6-9pm. This class will help you discover your wedding style and set your wedding budget.
Workshop 3: Feb 8 - An in-person workshop at The Peacock Ballroom in Lenox Village, 10a-2pm. This class will help you hire your wedding team and choose your DIY projects.
Monday, December 23, 2013
I'm Ashley, and I'd like for you to meet the blog team that will help you plan your Nashville wedding. While getting married is a joyous occasion, wedding planning is a whole different ballgame. You will experience highs, lows, laughs and cries. We've been there and are available, 24/7, to help guide you through your journey.
Come out and see us at Nashville's January bridal shows and our workshop, The Smart Bride bootcamp.
I am a Pittsburgh, PA native who proudly calls Nashville home. As a graduate of Belmont University’s music business program, I've had the distinct opportunity to tour the world with many of today’s most popular country music artists. When not traveling, I enjoy cheering on my favorite football teams with my new husband (Go Steelers! Go Vandy!), trying new restaurants and of course, all things wedding related! As a newlywed, I'm excited to talk about the latest wedding trends and share everything I have learned in planning my very own Nashville wedding with Ashley's Bride Guide's readers. (Psst: Don't stress...At the end of the day, you'll be married to your best friend!)
See all posts written by Heather
Two things I love about the wedding industry are seeing what’s next and sharing it with others! I've been working in the event industry for more than 15 years. I am continually impressed by the evolution and creative aspects of events I see year after year. Now, I want to bring these ideas to Nashville brides.
Just as the city of Nashville is growing, so is the wedding scene. There are new venues, vendors and suppliers popping up just about every week. Today, more than ever, you have lots choices in personalizing your wedding. As a new writer for Ashley's Bride Guide, I plan to scour the city so that I can present you with the most awesome, new trends, plus, advice on how to incorporate them into your special day.
Ashley’s Bride Guide is a trusted resource for information and vendor recommendations. After a colleague of mine started working with Ashley, I picked up on the habit of reading the ABG e-newsletters religiously. I was so impressed with the format and wealth of information. Even though I've been married for more than 15 years I still love wedding planning and look back on my time as a bride fondly. I am honored to join the ABG team. Keep an eye out for my future blog posts as I’m sure you will want to combine some of these new ideas into your event.
See all posts written by Rachal
For many women, their fascination with weddings fades after they say, “I do.” Not for me. Even though my wedding was two years ago, I still very much have a heart for weddings and helping brides focus on what’s important — building a day that reflects both the bride and the groom while focusing on the why of the wedding — the marriage. In addition to my job as a personal trainer and wellness coach, I also coordinate weddings part time, offering couples both perspective and a little elbow grease to make sure their wedding day is a success. I’m a huge advocate for life balance and I like to remind and encourage couples to keep their sanity, and a healthy relationship, in the midst of wedding planning. Check out my health and wellness blog at SanityOverSurface.com.
See all posts written by Leah
Ashley's Bride Guide (ABG) was one of my main go-to sites while planning my wedding. I love the rich textures that are highlighted on ABG, as well as the many different types of weddings, venues and ideas featured. I was bit by the wedding bug last year while planning my own wedding and fell in love with the bridal community here in Nashville. I've been documenting our wedding on my blog (officiallymrsdobbins.blogspot.com) this year and am happy to continue sharing my passion for weddings with other brides in the Nashville area.
I truly adore the love story that weddings tell. You have two separate people, two families, and occasionally, two completely different cultures or even nationalities, coming together. Each couple's wedding celebrates those two parts becoming one, all because of the couple's love for one another. Each wedding is different, and I love to see the many ways that brides and grooms are able to tell their story through the choices they make about this momentous day.
While planning our wedding last year, I did it all on my own but often not necessarily by choice because of circumstances. I learned to stand up for the traditions that we believed in and what we felt was important to have on our wedding day, and I want to encourage other brides to create a day that reflects who they are, individually and as a couple. I also found that the Nashville bridal community is a really special place, and the vendors who make up this community truly care about making each bride's wedding day an incredible celebration. There were so many people who went above and beyond to help me learn the ropes, and I am happy to give back and share some of what I learned along the way with other brides who are now traveling that road.
See all posts written by Jenn