Last month, I received the following email from Laura, a recent bride and reader of AshleysBrideGuide.com:
"I am American and have lived in London for 10 years however my family lives in Franklin, TN so why we came back to Nashville for the wedding. My husband is from Edinburgh Scotland so is it was a Scottish (his family) / British (our friends) invasion for the wedding! The kilts were a big hit and my husband's nephew was too cute for words!
Would you be interested in featuring our wedding on our site as a 'real nashville wedding'?"
After seeing Laura's wedding photos, captured beautifully by Nyk + Cali Wedding Photographers, my response was a resounding YES! You simply have to share a wedding that offers great photos, creativity and an infusion of culture as theirs did.
Laura and Roddy
Wedding Date ~ October 11, 2012
Ceremony & Reception Venue ~ Governor's Club
Guests ~ 80
Budget Range ~ $10-20k
Planner | Me(!) & on the day Shea Freeman from Freeman's Flowers
Photographer | Nyk & Cali Wedding Photographers
Gown | David Fielden - Teokath of London
Bride's Accessories | Jenny Packham (headpiece & bracelet); Shoes - Nine West
Men's Attire | mix match of kilts and suits!
Bridesmaids | French Connection
Make-up | Amy Lynn Larwig
Stationary | stamps with handmade save the date & invitations by us
Caterers | Governor's Club
Cake | Publix
Flowers | Freeman's Flowers
Music & Lighting | Peter Vaque, Springtree Media Group
Officiant | Ralph Griggs
How would you describe your style as a couple?
Fun loving and easy going. We love hanging out with our friends and our family is very important to us.
How did you incorporate that style into your wedding?
We did all the planning from abroad (we live in London but my folks live in Franklin) so we put our energy into the things that meant the most to us which was having an intimate day that we could enjoy with our family and friends. We focused on the details that we knew our guests would enjoy the most and didn't sweat the small stuff.
What was the favorite aspect of your wedding?
We had very diverse guests who came from all over the US, London, Edinburgh and Australia so our favourite aspect of the day was to have everyone that we love and mean the most to us in one place! We also loved the fact that our guests had as much fun as we did! The venue and gorgeous setting of the Governor's Club was also a big hit and gave our guests an experience of the South!
Where did you splurge or save?
Out splurges were probably on the gifts we gave one another. Roddy surprised me with diamond earrings which he designed to match my engagement ring and I got him an Omega watch. Also although Roddy didn't wear a suit on the day he did treat himself to a Paul Smith suit for the rehearsal dinner. Savings - DIY - We designed the stamps we used for our save the dates and wedding invitations. For the save the dates, we bought Nashville postcards and stamped them ourselves which was a lot of fun! Our guests also thought the postcards were fun and really enjoyed getting them! For the invitations we did a similar thing by designing a stamp and doing the invitations ourselves.
Now that the wedding day is over, is there anything about your planning process you feel you could have done differently?
Before we got engaged I would have never believed that I could spend 11 to 12 months planning for 1 day. It is unreal that one day can consume so much of your life...if you let it. I found real perspective in a book a friend gave me called A Practical Wedding by Meg Keene. It helped me realise that it was perfectly ok to have the day we wanted to have because traditions are only important if they are important to you! The hardest part of the planning for us was agreeing the guest list which I think if you have a small or big wedding this is the hardest part....agree it early and don't turn back!!
In one sentence, what words of advice do you have for couples in the midst of their planning?
Someone told me that people don't remember the details of your wedding day but how felt on the day so focus your planning energy on the things that will make you and your guests connect and really feel the day.
Street Tuxedo recently added the Allure Men by Jean Yves, tuxedos that you may have seen in the Allure Bridals magazine ads. Like the Allure bridal gown line, the Allure Men tuxedos are high fashion, high quality materials. The garments are extrememly well made and embody high fashion.
The tuxedos have limited availabilty and can only be rented via tuxedo specialists like Street Tuxedo.
I asked Dick of Street Tuxedo why these tuxedos are so popular with today's grooms and he informed me that not only are tuxes well made but they are very modern and have are designed with details that most fashion forward grooms will appreciate, including beaded satin lapel, trim fit, plain front pants.
Currently, the Allure tuxedo is available in 4 colors - tan, black, steel gray and heather gray and matching vests are available. A slate blue will be available this winter.
To see them in person, find your nearest Street Tuxedo. There are 4 Nashville-area locations.
Black/onyx tuxedo by Allure
Steel gray tuxedo by Allure
Tan tuxedo by Allure
Heather gray tuxedo by Allure
Slate gray tuxedo by Allure
Photos: eskay bridal, Allure website, Allure Bridal Facebook fan page. Yes. All of the photos contain models. Don't feel pressured to attempt their looks at home:).
I can't believe we are moving through this year so fast. It's already May! The wedding season is underway and I always like to what's popular, unusual or being loved in Nashvile wedding.
I decided to start with wedding cakes so I reached out to Signature Cakes by Vicki to see what lovely designs she has created for Nashville weddings this year.
All of the cakes below are by Signature Cakes and were created for real Nashville brides for their weddings this year. I cant believe this many great weddings have already taken place! If you like what you see, you can always call Vicki and she can customize anything based on your wedding style, colors or modifications.
The cake on right is a red white and silver cake that's classic and elegant. It has a punch of color, sugar flowers and moldings.
All about lace! More wedding gowns are made of lace and as a bride, you might want a cake that complements your dress. Here are two 2013 lace wedding cakes by Vicki. Notice how different they can be even though they share the lace theme? The cake on the left has sugar flowers and molding.
Succulents and mushrooms. The bride is a graduate of the Art Institute in Culinary. She wanted something earthy for her Cheekwood wedding. Succulents are becoming huge this year. The bride also fell in love with mushrooms and succulents (which are very popular this year.) Vicki loves challenges and looked forward to creating this cake as it required out of the box thinking to create molds for items like mushrooms, that arent common. This cake has a lot of handwork!
The all white petals cake is all the rave with 2013 / 2014 brides. The textured stripes on the right are extrememly loved too. The cake is very textural with hand laid stripes of fondant all over the cake. Fresh flowers were added on top for this Mint Springs Farm wedding.
A 7-tier cakes with cameos, lace, texture, painting, sashes and white sugar flowers. Very VINTAGE for a wedding at the Hermitage Hotel.
i met Courtney Gleaves, Sales and Marketing Manager for Hard Rock Cafe Nashville, over lunch where she gave me a tour of the restaurant and its event spaces. I haven't been to a Hard Rock Cafe since I visited the Washington DC location in 1997. Before she contacted me, I had no idea that it was even rentable for weddings and events.
Courtney was a great host, showing me all around, treating me to lunch and giving me an overview of the company's history and mission. She was especially proud the the company's commitment to stellar service and charity, donating millions to end hunger. I asked what steps the company takes to cultivate customer service focused employees and she shared with me their unique training program that requires all levels of management to walk in the shoes of other employees - including wait staff, cooks, etc.
I liked that concept and philanthropic nature but was curious as to whether their mission was theory or was actually being embodied by the staff. It sounded all rainbows and fairy dust. Although I was happy with my interactions throughout the day - from the valet guy to my server - I was curious as to how well the team lived up to their mission when a "bridal blogger" wasn't around:). Anyone can treat one person well, when they think that person matters. But what's most important to me is that my brides, their families and guests are treated well. That's a tall order!
On New Year's Eve, I decided to attend a party at Hard Rock with my then beau. (We've since broken up but luckily for Hard Rock, it had nothing to do with their NYE party. I don't think!:))
The party was fantastic! The service was top notch. Every Hard Rock employee that we encountered that night was happy, which makes a difference. It was like Disney for adults. They weren't just pleasant but were helpful. As you can imagine, the bar was super busy but the bartenders were attentive and courteous and even made recommendations. The were unflappable, even with the hectic nature of the night. They served entrees all night long and the food was inventive and well presented.
We had a blast and even bumped into other wedding pros like Scoobie and Lisa of Scoobie Photographic Images and Sarah of Music City Events.
And the view - awesome! We were able to enjoy all of the activities taking place on Broadway via their oversized balcony but were also able to retreat inside to the private space that was equipped with a private entrance, stage, and full bar.
What does my experience on NYE have to do with your wedding? If you are seeking a perfectly placed downtown location that is all about food and service that just happens to have a great view and great spaces, you definitely want to add Hard Rock to your short list of venues to consider. The spaces are more than you would expect and the team at Hard Rock is dedicated to ensuring you have a wonderful event - from rehearsal dinners, bachelor parties to wedding receptions. Plus, Hard Rock is all about music and love and which are great themes for a Nashville destination weddings.
The view from their balcony!
The restaurant. I love their slogan/sign.
(Photos above - Scoobie Photographic Images)
The upstairs private event space.
Museum quality memorabilia is everywhere!
Another view of the balcony from the inside.
The fully functional stage with concert worthy sound capabilities.
A Hard Rock Cafe guitar can be signed by your wedding guest and taken home and framed. (Photo above - Scoobie Photographic Images)
All photos are from my tour unless otherwise noted.
Nashville Party Authority is known the city over for DJing weddings, parties and celebrity bashes and have received many "best DJ awards", from City Search to The Knot. They offer a medley of services beyond DJing, such as lighting, photo booths and karaoke, which would be such a fun addition to a grooms lounge or rehearsal dinner.
Get to know more about them via my interview with owner, Blair Saldana. They could be a great fit for your wedding entertainment.
Tell me about your service offering.
We are a full time Wedding Entertainment Group specializing in DJ Entertainment, Karaoke, Lighting, Photo Booths & Destination Weddings.
How many years have you been in business?
We are celebrating our 25th year collectively as the Nashville Party Authority.
How did you get started in weddings?
Weddings are our #1 source of revenue and always have been. Early on we realized that weddings best showcased our backgrounds in Radio, Performance Arts and Public Speaking so we made a conscientious effort to professionally meet the increasing demand for our wedding services. To put it simply:Weddings chose us, we didn't choose weddings, and we are very pleased that it worked out that way.
What do you like most about weddings?
A wedding is a very positive event. Wedding entertainers have a wonderful opportunity to entertain two people (and their guests) who are embarking on the most spectacular adventure of their lives. It doesn't get any better than that.
What's your favorite wedding pic/video and why? Why?
We entertained at a wedding that was professionally videographed where the Bride & Groom--huge Predator fans-- made their Formal Entrance & Introduction to AC/DC's 'Thunderstruck'. The couple wanted a very professional but slightly "campy" sports announcers voice. I've done a lot of voice over work and have state-of-the-art sound equipment, so no problem. That was great in and of itself but then, 'Gnash', the Predators mascot, made a surprise entrance and that just put it over the top. The crowd loved it! I loved it because it was so different and it had aura of spectacle (in a good way.)
What is your service philosophy?
In a few words--"The Bride Is Always Right" (even when we disagree with her.)
The Nashville Party Authority believes it is our mandate to bring the bride's vision of music and entertainment to life to the very best of our ability. We certainly offer suggestions based on our expertise; communication is a key ingredient to our success and
We are always honest with the client--we don't say we can move mountains when we obviously can't--but in the end the client is boss. If we can't comply with the couple's vision and requests, I don't sign the contract.
What are your strengths compared to others in your category?
Experience and industry recognition. In our 25 years in business The Nashville Party Authority has performed at literally hundreds of weddings. We have entertained at virtually every venue and with a slew of wedding professionals in Nashville and the surrounding area. It's no coincidence that we've worked with and are sought after by the who's who of wedding industry insiders and professionals.
What attracts brides to your service/company?
What would previous couples say was the main reason they selected your company?
First of all we say the right things. Again, communication is critical and we are able to convey our style, procedures and philosophy to our clients. More importantly, we have the testimonials from satisfied clients that back up the things we say and that gives our clients the confidence to ensure the entertainment protion of "their most special day" to us. Then we back up what we say and what others say about us with award-winning action.
Describe the bride/couple that is most attracted to your service/company?
I believe it is the bride that has dreamed about her wedding for a long time, one that has a confident vision of her day but who is open to suggestions from industry professionals that is the most attracted to the Nashville Party Authority.
What is the most innovative aspect of your industry that brides and grooms might appreciate?
There have been huge innovations in lighting recently that have impacted the wedding scene. Two major trends are uplighting and customized monogram lighting. Either one, or both, of these lighting packages can enhance the venue and upgrade the ambiance. Also there is a trend toward more elaborate, club style lighting at receptions and some couples have opted to go old school with a mirror ball package where an announcement and a featured Funk/Disco request signals the "lighting" of the mirror ball. It's a real crowd pleaser.
How should brides and grooms contact to learn about your venue and wedding services?
Main contact: Blair Saldana
Visit our website: nashvillepartyauthority.com
Call us: 615-391-2322
Follow us on Twitter: @NashvilleDJ
Conect with us on Facebook: @NashvillePartyAuthority
Photos provided by Nashville Party Authority. Where noted, photos by Joe Hendricks Photography and Gray Photography.
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