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The Smart Bride: Know Your Wedding Values, Vision + Priorities

Monday, January 10, 2011

Last Tuesday, hosted our first annual wedding planning workshop, The Smart Bride.  All would agree that it was very informative and a must-have session for every Nashville bride.  Designed as a vehicle for couples/families to get smart before they started making costly wedding planning mistakes, it also helped couples develop a solid foundation based on a list of their unique values.


event photos courtesy of jHenderson Studios


nashville engaged couple

"The Smart Bride sessions have really opened our eyes to the wedding planning process.  As a whole, Kevin and I have learned that fabulous weddings on a budget are possible.  And, on a larger scale, these sessions have encouraged us to pay closer attention to our personal budgets and truly learn how to live without our means."  Engaged Nashville couple, Leah + Kevin

You really need to attend the workshop if you are located in Nashville.  But, for those unable to attend (like our blog readers from NY to FL), here are some of the night's highlights:

How does pre-marriage education help couples keep their sanity, develop values and a vision?

Marie - Nashville Marriage Studio

  • You can become overloaded with tons of wedding info.  Counseling grounds the couple, helps them communicate through the entire process.
  • Jot down 2-3 things that distress both of you - i.e. spa visits, pedicures, reading a book.  When you get overwhelmed, refer to that list. Make sure you take care of you (one another) during the process.
  • A great business book to read that can apply to wedding planning is "Start with the Why"
  • 3 questions we need to be asking:

1.  Why? (Values)

2.  How? (Vision)

3.   What? What do you picture on your wedding day?  What are the actual steps to take to achieve that picture?

  • Couple Values - Reflect on why you are getting married?  Why are you have a ceremony?  Why are you having a reception?  Why are we doing this and what is important to us?
  • It is always good to write out the values and come back to visit them early and often!
  • Vision - how does your vision come to life? If you close your eyes, what picture do you see, who is there?


Marie + Sarah (left), Ashley (right)

What did/do you value and how did those value impact their wedding/wedding plans. 

Natasha - Newlywed, blogger at Big Spoon, Little Spoon

  • Begin looking at wedding priorities - what are the main values throughout the wedding?           
  • Mine was financial peace, we bargain shopped together and made sure to gather as much info as early as possible.

Krista - Newlywed, blogger at Becoming Mrs. Dial

  • Values: personal stamp was our biggest focus.  We were able to figure that out talking about the core values that were important early on in the planning process.  We attended a session with Ashley, Marie at The Unabridged Bride last year and it really helped us focus.

Hillary - Brocade Design + 2011 bride

  • Hillary shared her story of why talking about the values early is important in the planning process.  She and her fiancé were three months into the planning process when they sat down and evaluated what truly mattered.  They realized what they truly wanted was a stress free relaxing day, so they are now getting married in Hawaii in June!

nashville brides

Natosha + Krista (front), Hillary (back)

How do you translate vision/style into your wedding?

Sarah G. - Regalo Design

  • Style - look at the seasons, weather, colors, etc.
  • What makes you feel good naturally?  Start there.
  • Look at what décor/ style is in your home. Those are clues into your style.
  • Real Story: Clients Mallory & Mike had a DIY wedding in Dickson, where they were able to incorporate much of their own home décor into their wedding.  We used their home decor elements to decorate each table, reception.  It was 100% them.  Decor spend was only $400 as a result.
  • For inspiration, go to places non-wedding related.  Places you and your fiancé enjoy being (building architecture, restaurants for table settings, clothing stores, etc

Ashley adds: A great book to help you put your vision into action is Style Your Dream Wedding

wedding workshop nashville

Hillary - Brocade Design: Values

  • Always include priorities and rate them by their importance level
  • How much does this or that truly mean to you?
  • Remember that values are based on needs, not wants
  • Ask: What three words do you want to describe your wedding?
  • Think: What do you want guests to say about your wedding?
  • Imagine: Your wedding is a painting, what’s the landscape for it?

Hillary - Brocade Design: Narrow Down What Your Want

  • Have core list and vision in head
  • Have a reason.  I need this because…
  • Create a design anchor and stick with it
  • Make a few elements key, rather than everything key.  Too many wow factors can become overwhelming and like a circus.
  • Have one or two primary colors and then a compliment color
  • Think of key elements
  • Always use the K.I.S.S method: Keep it Simple Stupid
  • Use repetition and reiteration!

Now that you have your vision, values, style - how do you know what to spend where?

Ashley - Don't start with budget/dollars.  Start with ranking what's most important to you.  We'll get into budget next week but you first need to know what you want before you start dividing the financial pie. 

Sarah W. of Music City Events - I advise couples to start with a list of what's important to them.  We'll allocate their actual budget after they know what's important.  Rank these wedding elements, with 1 being your most important.  Have your fiancé + family rank them too.  See how your lists compare.

List of Wedding Priorities

Help throughout wedding & marriage planning journey

____ Planner/assistance

____ Counseling / Coaching

Dream style, décor and details

____ Florals

____ Décor / styling / lighting

____ Stationery – std, invitations, programs

Amazing experience for us/guests

____ Ceremony venue

____ Reception venue

____ Food

____ Bar/Alcohol

____ Cake

____ Music

____ Transportation

____ Gifts for bridal party / parents

____ Guest gifts / favors

____ Entertainment (i.e. photo booth)

____ Wait staff – valet, servers, etc

Lasting memories

____ Photography

____ Videography

Meaningful to us

____ Bridal Gown

____ Groom’s Attire

____ Ring – His

____ Ring - Hers

____ Honeymoon

____ Unique touches such as ______________________

wedding planner nashville

Sarah W. of Music City Events

Register for next camps - Tues, Jan 11, 18, 25

If you missed last week, there are three more sessions that I strongly recommend that you attend.  This Tuesday (Jan 11), we will focus on ways to manage and maximize your wedding budget – from where to find affordable quality vendors (no matter your budget) to how to smart DIY.  On Jan 18 and 25, we will give you the info you need to hire wedding specialists – from what to ask to what to know.  If there is snow the day of the event, we will postpone to the next Tuesday and alert attendees.

Thank you!

Special thanks to Events@1418 (where we were lucky to have our workshop, but it's also a wedding venue!), A Catered Affair (for the lovely food + Sangria!), Nashville Event Lighting (for providing the mics and sound),  McNeal Wedding Films + jHenderson Studios (for chronicling our event), Music City Events (for taking care of ALL of the behind the scene event details + of course our ask-us-anything panel.

wedding class nashville

About the Author:

Ashley King's avatar
Ashley King

Hey - I'm Ashley! I started to give Nashville brides, or folks planning a Nashville wedding, a local resource for inspiration and resources. Hope to see you at a bridal show soon! Until then, Find me on

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send Posted on January 10, 2011 | Filed under:

2 Responses to This Post
Isabel DreamWeddingItaly says...

Really great article! I’m sure it may help many brides! Thanks for posting!

Posted on January 10, 2011 @ 5:46am

Krista says...

Ashley, this was SO much fun and was chock full of valuable information. Thanks for creating a way to bring Nashville brides together with local wedding pros. I’m really looking forward to next week’s panel!

Posted on January 12, 2011 @ 9:59am

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