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Advice & Planning

Should You Hire One Company for Videography and Photography?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

At our bridal bootcamp earlier this year, a Nashville bride asked our advice on whether she should hire a videographer and photographer, separately, or a company that does both.  We recommended that she hire them separately: hire a photographer, whose work you love and with whom you connect.  Then, find a videographer in the same manner.  This will hopefully ensure that you have two great products at the end: a great video and great wedding photos.

We went a step further and chatted with Matt Currier of Audio Video Art to get his expertise.  As a videography veteran, he’s had several brides approach him to do photography in addition to his services as a videographer. Instead, he always recommends a Nashville photographer for the job.


The video above was captured at Aryika and Riley's wedding at the Gaylord Hotel.  The couple fell in love with Audio Video Art and Matt recommended the couple hire Roland’s Photography, a pro photographer, to capture their photos, which are included below.

“In my opinion and experience, videography and photography are much like trying to master two different languages,” Matt said. “Both video and photography require effort, countless hours of practice and patience to be proficient and comfortable.”

And even though we aren’t video experts like Matt, we know that your video and photos are the two ways to enjoy your wedding memories forever.  No other wedding purchase will give you joy long after your big day.  You will want to invest in the best pros you can find to capture your memories.  

african american wedding nashville, african american photographer nashville, roland photography, gaylord wedding

african american wedding nashville, african american photographer nashville, roland photography, gaylord wedding

Ayrika and Riley's Professional Photography by Roland's Photography 

Posted by Newlywed Leah | Filed under: Advice & Planning, Photography, Videography, 0 comments »

Signature Cakes by Vicki Shares Latest (100) Health Score & New Cake Designs

Monday, July 14, 2014

Those bright, yellow signs at restaurants always catch my eye because I want to make sure that I dine at restaurants committed to the proper handling of what they serve me.The health code signs are required to be posted for the public and include all of the things that a restaurant has done correctly or incorrectly to ensure your food is safe to eat.

What you may not know is that when you hire your cake artist and wedding caterer, you should also be asking for their health code score. After all, you are hiring them to feed 200 of your closest friends and family and it's your job to keep them safe.  

Vicki of Signature Cakes by Vicki is a Nashville cake artist that has maintained a perfect,100 health code score dating back to 2012! This is not an easy feat, but it does show that Vicki and her staff not only make great looking and tasting cakes but they are also made in a way to minimize health issues for your guests.  

We reached out to Vicki, who is an authority on the subject, to learn more about her health score and also discuss what you, as a bride or groom, might want to consider as you hire a cake/catering professional.

ombre wedding cake, signature cakes by vicki, purple

Ombré purple

What does it mean to get a score of 100 from the Tennessee Department of Health?

A score of 100 is very hard to receive and maintain. I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “you have to have all your “I’s” dotted and your “T’s” crossed.” Besides having to be immaculately clean (you know, eat off the floor clean) you have to know and perform every rule of law according to the Tennessee Department of Health. And believe me, there are a plethora of rules! Here’s an example of the kind of attention to detail that the health inspectors are notorious for.

The first time I was inspected in my new bakery before we opened, the health inspector asked me, “Do you wash your pans and utensils from left to right or right to left.” I looked at the triple sink and thought to myself, obviously there’s a right answer here. In all my years of working in commercial kitchens, that was a new one on me. I replied, “I know that there is a correct way, would you please instruct me.” She replied, “Since your hand washing sink is on the left next to the triple sink, you must wash from left to right. That will put your dirty utensils on the left. That means that if you have any splash and contamination from washing your hands, it will splash on to dirty equipment, not clean utensils. The clean utensils will be all the way to the right side sink board.”

There are rules for storage. There are rules for materials that cabinets and counters are made from and coated with. There are rules for temperature for the refrigerators and temperature of the water. There are even rules about what type of light bulbs you are allowed to put in the fixtures. That very first inspection I received a 99 instead of a 100 because my broom’s bristles were touching the floor and the rule of law is that the broom must be upside down, bristles up. Since then, our score has been 100 for inspections running the last two years.

fondant wedding cake, signature cakes by vicki, purple

Cake has a customized designed vase in fondant with sugar paste flowers


decadent wedding cake, signature cakes by vicki, ivory, chocolate

Richly decadent


How many cake professionals are typically this highly regarded?

It is very difficult to receive a 100 and even more difficult to maintain it - there are few who do. I suggest that brides and grooms ask to see the current inspection report that should be posted in every bakery. If they do not see it, they can log on to the Tennessee Department of Health website ( and put in the name of the bakery/restaurant to see the history of their scores. If you cannot find the bakery in question, ask the bakery what name is on their license/permit.

health score nashville wedding cake


A lot of brides consider family friends or casual bakers versus professionals to do their wedding cake. But, these folks do not have a health score. What does this impact?  Why does it matter that a bride hire a cake artist with a health score?

Health scores are provided by the Tennessee Department of Health to protect and inform the public.  Could your family, friends or cake amateur do a good job?  Possibly, but the standards set by the health department are in place to protect the public from bacteria, germs and disease.  For instance, we are provided with a disclaimer issued by the health department that each staff member must sign.  It requires each worker to STAY HOME if they are sick.  They make the commitment to do that and the owner of the company expects them to abide by it.  That is just one example of providing a safe environment for the production of your wedding cake.

Do pros usually have some sort of liability insurance when it comes to food poisoning or other things that might impact the health of their guests?

Yes, they should and usually do.  We do.  It is not required by the State but is required by certain professional organizations like TWESA.  

gold wedding cake, signature cakes by vicki, ivory

lace, edible sugar flowers wedding cake, signature cakes by vicki

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in 2012.  The photos have been updated with Vicki's most recent Nashville wedding cakes.  The health score has also been updated with the latest score.

Posted by Ashley King | Filed under: Advice & Planning, Cakes & Desserts, 0 comments »

Our Ultimate List: 21 Nashville Activities for Your Out-of-Town Wedding Guests

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

If you’re a Nashville native, you probably already know that our great city has lots to see and do. But, if you’re one of the many destination brides who choose to have their wedding in Nashville, or if your guests will be traveling to Tennessee for the first time, it’s a great idea to provide a suggestion of Nashville-centric hot spots for your guests to experience. 

nashville welcome bag wedding guests

Source: Danielle's Nashville wedding; Photo: Amelia J. Moore Photography

Welcome out-of-town guests in style!

Welcome bags are a great way to provide some of Nashville’s finest goodies to your out-of-town guests. These bags can be handed out when your guests check in to their hotel, or can be delivered to attendees at the rehearsal. Olive & Sinclair chocolate, Whoopie Pies, Jack Daniels whiskey and Loveless Cafe jams are always a hit with lots of Tennessee flavor! is a great local resource.  Be sure to include that in your welcome bag.

If you’re getting married on the outskirts of Nashville or in the country, it’s also a good idea to provide your guests with maps of the area and clear driving directions to your wedding location - and be sure to let them know about any events going on during the wedding weekend, like marathons or festivals, or whether construction projects may impact their drive. When I got married in December, Christmas festival and parade locations crossed through the major roads between our guests’ hotel and our wedding location. This resulted in incorrect GPS and online directions that many guests were planning to use. We made a fun printed map to hand out at our rehearsal dinner showing everyone which areas to avoid, so most of them made it to the church on time! The beautiful rolling Tennessee countryside means that some locations are only accessed by one main road or intersection, and unfamiliar alternate routes can take much longer than anticipated, so be sure to help your guests out!

For my Nashville wedding, every single family member on my side and my husband’s was traveling from out of state - my family and friends even came from Canada and Bermuda! It was great to let them in on some of our favorite places to go, in addition to the typical Music City tourist destinations. With so much going on in Nashville, this list is just a fraction of the fun things to explore, but here are a few of the places I shared with my family and friends when they visited Nashville for the first time!


Direct them to the best of Nashville!

1) If your guests are interested in being a true tourist and experiencing the famous, Nash-vegas vibe, send them to Lower Broadway for a day (or night) full of things to do and see. In addition to the many honky-tonks, eateries and cowboy boots, there are tons of places to wander into.

2) Hatch Show Print ( creates beautiful letterpress prints for many artists who perform at the Ryman. They also have posters for sale with iconic Nashville images, which make great souvenirs to frame at home.

things to do in nashville for wedding guests, hatch show print


3) The Ryman Auditorium (, called the Mother Church of Country Music, is a beautiful venue where  the Grand Ole Opry shot to popularity. While they are usually hosting concerts in the many evenings, there are guided tours offered during the day with lots of photos and country music history. 

things to do in nashville for wedding guests, ryman

Photo: Ryman's Facebook page

4 & 5) The Country Music Hall of Fame ( is easy to spot, with its piano-shaped architectural front. Filled with memorabilia, stage costumes and personal effects from some of country music’s greatest artists, this place is a tour through country music history. If you happen to be a Bank of America cardholder, admission to the museum is free on the first weekend of every month, as well as at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts (, located a few blocks away on Broadway.

things to do in nashville for wedding guests, country music hall of fame



6) Finish your tour of Lower Broadway with a stop at the Wild Horse Saloon ( to dance the night away, including free line dancing lessons!


7) The Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge provides a perfect view of the iconic Nashville skyline and is a great location for photos. Connecting Lower Broadway to LP Field across the Cumberland River, this standout bridge is especially dramatic at night when it is lit, and is even listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

8 & 9) Centennial Park is a great location to wander through, have a picnic at, and maybe even hear some music! With one mile of walking trails, gardens, a bandshell and beach volleyball courts, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Located in the center of the park, The Parthenon stands as a re-creation of ancient Greece, and is a popular place to take fun photos. There is even an art museum located inside! Centennial Park hosts free music throughout the year, with Musicians Corner on Saturdays in the spring and fall, nights with the Nashville Symphony, movies, dance lessons, and several arts festivals.


things to do in nashville for wedding guests, parthenon, centennial



10) Yazoo Brewery ( offers tours of their facility and tap room samples of their handcrafted beer. We served Yazoo at our wedding, and having several six-packs on hand to send home with our friends who helped us tear down our DIY wedding was a great way to thank them.

things to do in nashville for wedding guests, country music hall of fame

Photo: company's website


11) Grimey’s Record Store ( is the perfect place for the indie music lovers in your party - especially if country music isn’t their thing. Located on 8th Avenue, this place is packed with CD’s, vinyl, and often has free live music in the afternoons. If you’re looking for music from a local singer-songwriter or band, or wanting to cruise through their large vinyl collection, you’ll be in heaven here! They’ve also got a book store next door called Grimey’s Too, and an outpost of a local favorite coffee shop, the Frothy Monkey.

12) Athens Family Restaurant ( is a nationally featured restaurant that has been seen by many on the Food Network’s popular show “Diners, Drive Ins & Dives”. It’s known to Melrose locals as a great place to grab a late night bite, with delicious Greek food options. With a kitchen that stays open 24 hours on the weekends, and serves breakfast all day, it’s no wonder that they have been voted Nashville’s best breakfast restaurant!

13 & 14) If your guests are traveling with kids, places like the Nashville Zoo ( and the Adventure Science Center ( provide lots of activities to explore and enjoy.

things to do in nashville for wedding guests, hatch show print



15) Las Paletas is great for cool, summer treats, with its amazing flavor combinations of popsicles (including mini kid-size pops!). Located across from Sevier Park, this tasty spot is a perfect place for families with little ones to run around and cool off!

things to do in nashville for wedding guests, hatch show print


16-18) Radnor Lake State Park, Edwin and Percy Warner Parks have great trails exploring the lush Tennessee foliage. Heading for a walk, hike, run or bike ride is perfect for spring and fall days for guests who love to explore the outdoors.

19) Located 20 miles south, downtown Franklin, TN best known for its shops and festivals located along its Main Street. Franklin boasts the title of ‘Best Small Town’; with cute shops, quaint antiques and numerous eateries, there are lots of things to explore. Downtown Franklin also features several festivals throughout the year, including the Main Street Festival, Brewfest, Pumpkin Fest and Dickens of a Christmas. As if that weren't enough, it also hosts art crawls on Friday evenings throughout the year. What a city!


things to do in nashville for wedding guests, franklin tn



20) Arrington Vineyards ( is a great location for a picnic the day before (or after!) the wedding. This vineyard features live music on the weekends from April to December.  There’s also an added bonus for country fans, as the vineyard is owned by Kix Brooks, who’s been known to be on site. If your guests can’t make the drive to this location 30 miles south of Nashville, you could always add a bottle of their finest in guest welcome bags.

21) If you’re looking for Southern charm, Loveless Cafe ( is a must! Their biscuits are legendary, and many of my out-of-town guests went to taste the famous biscuits and Southern cooking for themselves the morning after my wedding! They also have biscuit mix and their delicious jams for sale, which would be a perfect addition to welcome bags or guest favors.


We hope you and your guests enjoy exploring our city! Did we miss any of your favorites? If so, leave a comment below to let us know!

Posted by Jenn Dobbins | Filed under: Destination Nashville Weddings!, Advice & Planning, Real Nashville Brides, 0 comments »

10 Things Nashville Brides Want You To Know, Their Wedding Day Advice & Regrets

Thursday, June 26, 2014

We recently received an email from a favorite, Nashville wedding planner that read:


Hey Ashley!

Have you ever done a post on brides' biggest regrets? -- Just a thought! xo

Have a great day!  Sara Fried | Owner & Designer | 615.482.4555 |


What a great idea, Sarah!  Over the last seven years, we have interviewed more than 350 brides, asking question after question about their Nashville weddings.  We have loads of data on what brides in Nashville like, don't like, regret and recommend.  The advice was fairly consistent.  

After reviewing all of our interviews with Nashville brides, here's what we found...

regrets and advice from real nashville brides


The only recommendation I would add is - PRINT THIS invaluable advice from fellow Nashville brides.  They were recently in your shoes and are spot on.  Put a copy in your planning binder or save the image to your phone.  Refer to this list as often as needed.  And, on the day of your wedding, reread the list all over again.


We summarized their advice in the cheat sheet above, but for all of you who want the full details, here's what Nashville brides had to say:

- Don’t stress!  No one knows how things were “supposed” to be, so if there are any unplanned changes, no worries!

- Wedding planning is stressful, but be sure to stop, breathe, and take it all in every once in a while because before you know it the wedding day is here and gone. Really try your best to catch the details of all of your hard work on your wedding day because it will be one of your favorite days, but it goes by so, so fast.

- ENJOY IT - the day goes by SO fast that every couple should not only enjoy celebrating when the big day comes but also all the steps/time/effort put into making  and planning the day you'll never forget.

- Don't stress over things you can't control because at the end of the day you will still be married and that is all that matters.

- When things felt stressful or overwhelming during the planning process, we tried to remember that the only thing that mattered was us.  This put everything into perspective.  We strived to have a wedding day that felt natural and totally us, something that would give our guests an experience full of memories and NOT feel like just an event.

- Stay calm – remember it’s all about the love you share and your lifetime of happiness; no wedding day hiccup should ever be able to ruin that.

- Try not to stress out about the little things and work towards planning a marriage that is more beautiful than your wedding, because when it's all said and done, that is all that truly matters. ☺


- Do not sweat the small stuff -  people probably won't remember what your table numbers looked like and what kind of chairs they sat on, but they will remember the smiles, laughs and how they felt celebrating the happy couple.

- Remember that the event is about the two of you. Don’t lose sight of what is really important about that day!

- There are two ways to make sure you are relaxed and love your wedding day: make a detailed checklist and timeline for the day of but more importantly remember that no matter what happens, at the end of the day you will be married to the man/woman you love.

- Take your time; remember why you are having this wedding and what’s important and that is the TWO of you spending the rest of your lives together.
I would have had a checklist for the actual day of — my mind was not thinking clearly in the midst of wedding day activities. The checklist would have included Nathan’s ring, marriage license, a reminder to eat something, drink water, use the bathroom before you put your amazing dress on and know where your clothes/purse/bag are before you leave on your getaway exit.  Without my amazing wedding planner, wonderful mother and fabulous bridesmaids, none of those things would have occurred.

- Check the forecast!! But seriously, get a wedding planner!!

- Don't let the wedding get in the way of the marriage, and get a wedding planner; Sarah made the day!

- Remember that it's not about the decorations or the flowers or the cake or any part of the wedding itself, it's about a marriage between two people who love each other and that's the only thing that really matters.

- Be sure to remember WHY you are having this wedding, and let your love, respect and friendship as a couple shine above all other things on this day.

- Relax, and have fun; you only get married once, so make it joyful and pleasant. I also recommend the book I Am My Beloved’s: Christian Devotionals for the Bride to Be by Amy Hayes. This really puts wedding planning in the right perspective for the Bride. I benefitted greatly from this devotional.

- We regret stressing the little things at times but I guess that's human nature!

- Stay closer to guests. We had so many great people in one place that we wanted to spend as much time with them as possible. 

- I could have stressed less!! I slowly began to realize that I would never be able to please everyone (no matter how hard I tried). Instead of worrying about everyone else, I realized that I needed to focus on my upcoming marriage and concern myself with how I could make my wedding the most accurate reflection of our relationship. Realizing this allowed me to plan the wedding of my dreams, in the end. Though looking back, I wish that I had been more conscious of it from the very beginning so that I could take the time to enjoy every step of the planning process. It really does fly by so fast!

- People had so many opinions they wanted to share with me on the subject of the wedding! I think I did an ok job navigating that but certainly got better as time went on. Nodding, smiling and saying, “I’ll think about that, thank you!” in a genuine way was a valuable skill.  I am trying to repay that to friends getting married now by not offering unsolicited advice and simply responding positively to any details they share with me.

- Stay true to yourselves and your style, don’t feel you have to do something because it’s tradition or what you’re “supposed” to do.

- Take it all in and just try to enjoy it!

- Have fun together while you’re planning, let people help you, and embrace every moment of your wedding day because it goes by so quickly.
Plan and focus on your life together not just the one day!

Stay focused on enjoying the process!
 Get a wedding planner!

Enjoy more advice from real Nashville brides by checking out hundreds of real Nashville weddings.

Posted by Ashley King | Filed under: Advice & Planning, Real Nashville Brides, 0 comments »

Nashville Couple Turns To 2Travel Anywhere For Peaceful, Stress-free Honeymoon

Monday, June 23, 2014

While in the midst of planning your wedding, it's sometimes hard to see beyond the wedding date. You spend months of prepping, saving and stressing, and are looking forward to heading out on your honeymoon to enjoy the bliss of being married.  The last thing you want to worry about is all the additional time and effort necessary to book the trip. 

Luckily, Carlie at 2Travel Anywhere, Nashville's honeymoon travel expert, can help you plan your trip to paradise. Specializing in Caribbean resorts, Carlie has personally travelled to all of the resorts she recommends.

Trusting a pro to take care of all your travel details certainly has its perks!

Local couple Laura and Michael wanted a relaxing honeymoon in the sun following their January wedding. They were glad they let 2 Travel Anywhere provide exactly what they were looking for at the all-inclusive Sandals Royal Caribbean in Jamaica. 

Check out the interview below to learn about their relaxing honeymoon and their travel recommendations.

nashville couple's sandals honeymoon vacation, beach resort, travel agent jamaica,

nashville couple's sandals honeymoon vacation, beach resort, travel agent jamaica,

nashville couple's sandals honeymoon vacation, beach resort, travel agent jamaica,


Planning your honeymoon

Was the honeymoon a surprise, did one of you plan it or did you plan it together?

It wasn't a surprise exactly, but Michael basically said "I trust you" and weighed in very little during the planning process.

If one of you planned the honeymoon, who?

I actually planned the trip in conjunction with my father-in-law, who loves going to the beach.

What was your vision for your honeymoon? 

We both work high-stress, high-energy jobs, and planning the wedding was more stressful than I had expected, so my vision for our honeymoon was total R&R.

Did you always agree on your honeymoon vision and if not, who wanted what?  How did you come to an agreement?

We always agreed because he didn't offer an opinion. ;)

Smart man.  How did you choose/plan your honeymoon location, activities?

We knew we wanted an all-inclusive resort for a variety of reasons, so that narrowed things down a bit in the beginning.  We chose Jamaica based on the average temperatures - since our honeymoon was in January we wanted to be sure that we went somewhere that we could actually get in the water without freezing!

How did you learn about 2 Travel Anywhere?

Carlie at 2Travel Anywhere was recommended to me by my wedding planner and sorority sister, Kelly Dellinger of Kelly Dellinger Events.

We love Kelly! Did you consider planning your honeymoon without a travel service?  Why did you choose to work with Carlie? 

I definitely never considered planning the honeymoon without some type of assistance.  The last trip I planned (the trip where we got engaged, actually!) was a total disaster because of my inattention to detail; it cost me $500 just to correct the mistakes I made to our flight itinerary.. yikes!  Since I knew we wanted to leave the country for our honeymoon I knew I would need somebody behind the scenes taking care of all of those little details that clearly are not my expertise!  I chose to work with Carlie in particular because Kelly had worked with her not only on a professional level but also on a personal one and had taken several trips planned by Carlie.  Kelly assured me that Carlie would take care of all the details.  Once I spoke to Carlie over the phone for the first time, I was sold.  I knew she had me taken care of!

nashville couple's sandals honeymoon vacation, beach resort, travel agent jamaica,

nashville couple's sandals honeymoon vacation, beach resort, travel agent jamaica,


Your honeymoon

What were your honeymoon dates? Jan 5-13, 2014

I actually wish we had left one day later, leaving the morning after the wedding was really difficult, because our flights were so early - we ended up getting up at 3am to make it to the airport on time.  Tough to do after a long night of partying and celebration!

Where did you go?  Sandals Royal Caribbean in Montego Bay, Jamaica

What were some of your activities?

Honestly, we didn't participate in much!  We mainly spent our time at the pool and the beach.  We never left the resort property.  It was so beautiful and relaxing we didn't feel the need to seek out other adventures!

What was the best part about your honeymoon? 

We felt like absolute royalty! The level of service was unbelievably amazing and the food was phenomenal.


Would you recommend this island, city, location? 

Absolutely yes!  It's incredibly beautiful, and the weather is perfect.  Definitely a good place to go on a winter honeymoon because you will not worry about the pool or ocean being too cool to get in - it's perfect.

Would you recommend this resort?  

I would definitely recommend the Royal Caribbean.  The staff is attentive and kind.  The food is wonderful.  You don't have to leave the resort to have a good time.  Best of all, there is something for every type of couple.  We are the keep-to-ourselves, quiet type, and we were able to relax and chill out without feeling imposed upon or pushed into activities.  At the same time, I saw many more active couples taking part in all the entertainment and activities that were offered and having a ball.  I feel like the resort is able to meet the needs of any couple with any personality.  I don't think there is a person on earth that wouldn't enjoy everything they have to offer there!  This resort actually was not my first choice, but was the one that Carlie strongly recommended for us.  I am really glad that I trusted her judgement and took her advice!

nashville couple's sandals honeymoon vacation, beach resort, travel agent jamaica,

The pictures in this story are all real photos from the couple's relaxing beach honeymoon.

Posted by Jenn Dobbins | Filed under: Advice & Planning, Honeymoon and Post Wedding, Real Nashville Brides, 0 comments »

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