Leah + Stuart’s New Year’s Eve Wedding Extravaganza at The Lodge
Friday, December 30, 2016
2016 is coming to an end, and since we've already rounded up the best in this year's weddings and styled shoots, let's party like it's 2017 with a real Nashville New Year's Eve wedding! Bride Leah opened up about her experiences planning her wedding here in Nashville - the highs and lows - which is super helpful for all of you newly engaged brides! With a gold and black color scheme (my favorite for New Year's!), Leah thought of every fun and creative detail to go with her party extravaganza! And besides celebrating your commitment to your mate, the main goal of your reception is to have an awesome party with your friends and family. That's exactly what Leah did! See all of her photos and read her exceprts below!
Leah + Stuart
NYE | 12.31.15
Their proposal story from Leah: Stuart and I met at Tennessee State University in 2006. He asked me to braid his hair and the rest is history. We got engaged May 10, 2015. He popped the question at Cabana. It was a surprise engagement of my birthday weekend. He rented out the back area of Cabana, bought a new fancy suit, brought in my family from Chicago, and ordered all of my favorite foods. Then when it was time for dessert, the waitress presented a dessert menu that said at the top, ”Leah, will you marry me?”
About the venue from Leah: We got married at The Lodge off of Smith Springs Road. I was AMAZED! It was a gorgeous space, with bride and groom suites large enough for our bridal parties. At the time, we could use any caterer we chose and we could bring in our own liquor (with a licensed bartender of course). The space came with beautiful tables and chairs, a sound system, a projector for our countdown, a huge space that called allowed the wedding to run smoothly from start to finish. We were able to have the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception all in separate spaces. Not only that, but there was no upcharge for it being NYE and they were flexible on the time we were able to end the reception. It was a no brainer that we needed to make that switch.
Leah on the NYE theme: Our goal was to have a great time and incorporate some of our favorite things, so we definitely wanted this to turn into a huge NYE celebration. We wanted it to feel as though our guests left our ceremony and stepped into a fancy black tie NYE extravaganza. We had an open bar along with a midnight champagne toast and countdown. Our colors were gold, cream, and black; which ended up having kind of a Great Gatsby feel. We incorporated gold sequin table clothes, with gold spray painted DIY champagne bottles, huge ornaments and pomander balls.
Photographer | Monty Ksycki
Portrait Photos | Motelewa Smith
Venue | The Lodge
Planning + Design + Rentals | K-List Events & Decor
Dress | ElleNelle Bridal (Handmade by Bride)
Bridesmaid Dresses | Paige Ashley (Handmade)
Rings | Shane Co.
Makeup | Erica Brice + Quis Guthrie
Groom's Suit | Macy's
Invitations | Che Che Stationary
Catering | Chef Jeff
Cake | Cakes By Contessa
Cupcakes | Chloe's Cupcakes
Officiant | Pastor Vincent Johnson
Leah on her vendors: Another one of goals was to keep the cost way down. We wanted a $10k wedding, but I think that’s impossible with nearly 200 guests, we kept it between $15-$20k though. We found a caterer (Chef Jeff out of Murfreesboro) who provided everything! He provided us with a buffet, bartending service, plates and utensils, cocktail tables, servers, and tablecloths all at a reasonable cost. I made my own dress (ElleNelle Bridal). We bought Stuart’s blazer from Macy’s. House Of Paige Ashley custom made all of my bridesmaids dresses at a very reasonable price. My very good friend and sorority sister Karla Anderson who launched an event planning company this year (K-List Events & Décor) planned the wedding. Some décor was hand made by friends and myself or rented from K-List. My cousin Monty Ksycki who owns a professional photography business in Chicago did our photography. I also had two great friends that tag teamed on the dessert table. Cakes by Contessa made the wedding cake and Chloe’s Cupcakes provided the assorted cupcakes. We also had Garrett’s Popcorn, since I’m a Chicago native and it’s Stuart’s favorite thing in the world. Overall, we were able to keep the cost low by skipping out on vendors with high holiday premiums and by getting a lot of help from family and friends.
Leah's special moments: There were many special moments that night! My mother presenting me with my something old, something new, … was a beautiful moment we shared as she gave me a handkerchief that belonged to my Grammy who’s no longer with us. Also, the Daddy daughter dance was a special moment as I wept like a big baby. My husband and my first dance was precious, as we danced to Etta James' “At Last”. I told him about 2-3 years into our relationship that I was going to marry him to that song. He had no idea at that time that we would be getting married, but I did! The dance between the two people that caught the bouquet and garter belt was HILARIOUS and will go down in history. (Not to mention that the bouquet catcher actually got proposed to and married 4 months after our wedding.) Also, the partying during the reception was definitely a highlight and everyone still tells me how much fun they had. Since Stuart is from Dallas and I’m from Chicago, we both had some of our hometown classics played. I also have roots in Sierra Leone so we played some of our native music as well. Another moment we enjoyed was when I was serenaded by my sorority sisters (Delta Sigma Theta) and Stuart enjoyed hopping with his frat (Omega Psi Phi).
Wedding planning advice from Leah: Don’t try to plan your wedding if you have a lot on your plate like I did. I don’t know what I was thinking attempting to plan my own wedding and make my gown all while working full time. Luckily Karla (K-List) stepped in. Whatever your budget is, add $5000. Look for venues that are flexible, and have something to offer besides the venue itself (i.e tables and chairs). Be flexible yourself, know that something will come up and just roll with the punches. You may stress up to the day of the wedding, but the day of the wedding RELAX and enjoy. Take in every second as much as you can because it will be over before you know it. Be mindful of how much you make your bridal party spend, with traveling expenses, bachelor/bachelorette parties, wedding attire, etc.; it adds up. Also, I wish we would have taken photos before the wedding instead of between the ceremony and reception. Our photos were so rushed, especially with it being NYE we were on a tight schedule trying to make sure we had enough time to bring in the new year. As a result, we decided to have a separate photo shoot in our wedding gear a week following the wedding. Lastly, if you have a lot of family and friends traveling in town like we did, consider holding off on the honeymoon. We lined up a weekend of events and spent time with our loved ones and went on our honeymoon 2 weeks later.
We truly appreciate all of Leah's advice and commentary on her wedding! Here's to hoping it will help all of you in your planning process! Cheers to 2017 - we're excited for what's to come!