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Advice & Planning

A Recap of The Bloguettes Workshop in Nashville, TN

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Back in May, I had the privilege of attending The Bloguettes Workshop! What is Bloguettes exactly? It's an online resource for bloggers to unite and learn how to succeed in their blogging business. But it's actually not just for bloggers, all of the tips and tricks that they teach regarding SEO, branding, social media, photo editing and more can apply to any business! Sakura + Lorena - co-owners of Bloguettes have found success with their own blogs and have now teamed together to teach others how to do it. 

But the COOL part about The Bloguettes Workshop is that so many wedding professionals stepped up to help sponsor the event!  The workshop took place for 3 days at Nashville's White Avenue Studio - one of my new favorite modern venues - and featured a scene that seemed like it was straight out of a Pinterest board! From the decor, to the food, to the swag bags, each and every details was so well thought out! Here's a look at the amazing vendors who put this on!

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Bloguettes Workshop

White Avenue Studio

May 5-7

 

Vendor Sponsors: 

Coffee | Killebrew Coffee

Pastries | Pastry Girl Lisa

Lunch + Drinks | Beyond Details

Venue | White Avenue Studio

Flowers | Greenfinch Floral Design

Decor | Vintage Sparkle

Tables + Chairs | Southern Social

Planner | Modern Vintage Events

Signage | White Ink Calligraphy

My friend and fellow blogger Courtney of My Tapestry Heart attended together and learned some hands-on tips and tricks to help catapult our blogs to the next level. Want to know some of my takeaways from the event? Keep reading below!

1) New tools! I'm all about finding the next new app or system to help me streamline my blogging process and The Bloguettes were not short on giving us their full list of what they use in their business. I've been a huge fan of Planoly to help me organize my Instagram grid for a while now, but since we learned all about the ins and outs of the app at the workshop, I opted to upgrade to the paid version. And let me tell you - it's so worth it! I don't feel limited in what I do anymore and I can play around with my image grid as much as I want to. The list went on from the Google suite of tools, to Facebook ads manager, to affiliate links - my mind was blown!

2) Branding Basics - what's my number one takeaway from the branding portion of the workshop? Branding is more than your logo. It's the way you talk/write, the imaging you share, your fonts, your colors - and keeping it consistent is key! It's something I already knew, but hearing it again in this capacity really hit home with me as to how important this is. And catering to everyone is not the best for your brand. The more you can niche down, the more you can succeed!

3) Proper Editing - Ok, so I am no Photoshop wiz - I'll leave that to all of you amazing wedding photographers + invitation designers! But learning some of the basics on how to edit photos and what each fuction will actually do to your photo was super helfpul! Bloguettes suggested using the Vsco and Lightroom apps for editing. My final takeaway on this - cohesive coloring is key!

So what's a wedding blogger to do after an information-packed workshop such as this? Start from scratch? Heck no! Build upon what's already there. For a while now I've been making a list of functions I'd love to have on my site to make navigation easier, to keep my brand more consistent and to create an overall beautiful experience for brides and vendors visiting my site. 

And this is where the exciting news comes in... drumroll please... Nashville Bride Guide will be getting yet another website makeover. I can't share all the details with you yet, but let me tell you, it is going to look SO pretty! Stay tuned for more updates coming this fall!

All photos via The Bloguettes Blog

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Posted by Alyssa | Filed under: Advice & Planning, Bridal Shows & Events, 0 comments »

How to Curate the Best Wedding Registry Featuring Zola.com

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Hello hello! Today I will be sharing some tips on how to curate the best wedding registry! As a bride, you may have squirrel syndrom like I did (Up anyone?) - you like towels from local shop Hester & Cook, flatware from Anthropologie, and you'd absolutely love those custom napkin rings from Etsy. When I got married in 2011, online registries where you could curate your own customized list were almost unheard of. But since I had to be different (and that squirrel syndrom really kicked in), I opted for one of these lists and let me tell you, the features and functionality were not so user-friendly at the time. I only wish I had a resource that was easy to use and also offered other features to help me in the planning process. And today, this option is out there! It's called Zola. What is Zola? It's a website that helps you curate your own personalized wedding registry. They have their own selection of hand-picked items you can choose from or you can opt to add anything from the internet to the list as well! But what should you add to your registry? Here's a list of dos and don'ts for your wedding registry:

Do think about quantities: When you start your wedding registry, think about your place settings in particular. How many people would you likely have over for dinner? Will you be hosting lots of holiday parties for your family and extended family? Once you determine the average number of people you would like a place setting for, then this will determine the quantity of china, flatware, and glassware pieces you should register for. 

Do think about storage and necessity: Do you have cabinets upon cabinets in your kitchen? Lots of pantry storage space? If not, you might want to think twice about registering for that large wine cooler... The best advice is to envision your home with the items you're registering for - especially in your kitchen. Where will you store these items and how often will you use them? This will help you think twice before adding 3 types of vacuums to your list. ;)

Do think outside the box: Let me tell you, Zola has already thought outside the box for you! Want to register for money towards your honeymoon? Check. What about cash to use however you please? Check. Want to give back to a charity with your wedding registry? Zola has that too - check! Getting creative with gifting is all the rage (and it's not going anywhere!)

Don't be afraid to add big ticket items: Have you had your eye on that gorgeous couch from West Elm? What about that new kitchen table from Restoration Hardware? Add it to the list! Your friends and family may be looking to pool their money and go in on a big gift for the two of you, so giving them some options to do so is great! And even if the items are left over on your checklist after the fact, you get a 10% discount once you complete your Zola registry (score!)

Don't fall for current trends: Okay, remember when juicers were having a moment a few years back? Everyone had to have one! The only thing is that it was big and bulky and time consuming... where is your juicer now? On Craigslist or sitting in the very back of your cabinet, right? And think about it - have you always been into juices or were you falling for the trend? Think about registering for items you will love for years to come. I still have my classic ivory dishware and stainless steel basic flatware from Pottery Barn 6 years later - and I still love it! 

Don't register for multiples of the same item: Are you completely torn between two colors of KitchenAid mixers and cannot decide which one you like best, so you add both to your list? Well, here's my advice to you - only add one. You don't want to receive both mixers and have to return one of them after your wedding... choosing your items carefully will help you avoid multiple trips to the store or the post office to make returns. 

Now that you have some tips for choosing your registry items - go ahead and start your regsitry on Zola! Yes, it will all be in one place - it's super convenient! Plus, if you've been procrastinating on creating your wedding website and are looking for other tools that will help you manage your wedding tasks, Zola is the place to be! Happy planning!

Posted by Alyssa | Filed under: Advice & Planning, Guests, Gifts & Favors, Wedding Resources, 0 comments »

How to Set the Table at Your Wedding: A How To By The Wedding Plate

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Photos by Eden Ingle

When you're discussing your wedding table designs, there are a few things you need to know about setting your table! And after working in the wedding rental industry myself, I was surprised by the amount of brides who asked how to properly set a table. Well, luckily Lisa of The Wedding Plate has started a blog series on how to set the tables at your Nashville wedding. She's broken it down into different categories - bread and drinks, flatware and napkins. Plus, she has a great one-sheet on how to make sure you don't miss anything in your table settings. Check out her advice below!

Photos by Jenna Henderson

Bread & Drinks:

In a basic place setting, you won't have a bread plate, but if you want your wedding to be a bit more formal, the bread plate goes to the left corner of your place setting. And what about the water and wine? Water glasses should be placed directly above the dinner knife on the right followed by the wine glasses - cascading down smaller and smaller. Here are some more tips from Lisa on bread & drinks!

Flatware:

This is the area where people are most likely to question themselves! Which side does the fork go on? What about the knife? Well, here is how you do it! The dinner fork goes to the left of the dinner plate followed by the salad fork. Next, the dinner knife goes to the right of the dinner plate followed by the coffee spoon. Easy peasy! Check out more of Lisa's tips on formal vs. informal settings here!

Photo by Eden Ingle

Napkins:

For a formal setting, the napkin should be folded and placed under the soup bowl which is placed on top of the dinner plate. The napkin can also go under the fork or on the plate if you're looking for an informal plate setting - keeping it casual! Read more of Lisa's tips here.

 

And if you're a visual person like me, here's Lisa's handy cheat sheet for how to set a wedding table:

Thank you so much for sharing your expertise with us, Lisa! You can check out more of The Wedding Plate's tips + beautiful vintage china inventory here on their website. And be sure to give them a follow on Instagram!

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Posted by Alyssa | Filed under: Advice & Planning, Florals, Details & Design , Rentals, Wedding Style - Vintage, 0 comments »

Questions to Ask Your Venue Manager from The Barn at Sycamore Farms {Pt. 2}

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

I caught up with Marissa at The Barn at Sycamore Farms to give us all the scoop on questions you need to ask your venue manager. And if you've been following along, you've seen part 1 of her advice here that includes a list of questions to ask your venue manager. And today we have even more helpful insight into roles and responsibilities your venue manager has. It's different in most cases, but today Marissa will outline how it works at The Barn at Sycamore Farms and what to expect from all of your vendors on your big day! Check it all out below...

Photo by Jenna Henderson

There are surely things that come up during the wedding planning process that brides did not think of at the beginning. What are some of these situations that can ease the process if talked about at the beginning?

Marissa: Hire a Wedding Coordinator! The best way to ensure your event will go off without a hitch is to hire someone designated to do so.

-Start now! The sooner you plan, they less stress you have. Keep a notebook and think of questions, concerns, ideas as they come. Designate a time for these items to be addressed, or set a meeting with your coordinator etc. It can be overwhelming to have "wedding brain" all the time, but designating weekly tasks will help you stay on the ball. Make a list of priorities and knock them down week by week. Don't try to plan your wedding in a day, MANY things most likely will change from that point to the wedding day so don't worry about small things until the basics are confirmed like the location, dress, vendors, timeline. Once those are in the works.. décor, color scheme, guest count, table numbers, seating chart, signage, etc. will follow.

-Make sure you completely understand the role and responsibilities of the venue, and venue staff. Never assume! (Same goes with all vendors, understanding each party's roll leading up to and on the day of the event will illuminate countless stresses).

-Timeline is very important in planning your day, that is most important when planning. Remember closer to the event, all information has been communicated to multiple parties/vendors. For instance, if the timeline has changed, it is imperative ALL vendors are aware. Remember, catering is the most important for timeline details to ensure your guests are not being served unprepared or cold food.

-Vendor communication: Make sure your venue is aware of who all will be attending the event, and any special processes or responsibilities each vendor may have while onsite.

How will a bride know the tasks that their venue manager can plan vs. their wedding planner? What is this dynamic like at Sycamore Farms?

Marissa: We always highly suggest a wedding coordinator, as we do not assist with any type of detail or coordination of the event. Sycamore Farms will always have a venue representative onsite all day to ensure the venue is clean and to answer any client, vendor or guest questions or concerns. Our staff members have all been in the wedding business and can answer any questions a client may have, but a coordinator should be hired to facilitate the event start to finish, including set up and clean up.

Can you provide a brief outline of what point in the planning process brides need to make certain decisions with their venue manager? How far out do you need a guest count, vendor bookings, etc.?

Marissa: Many venues are all-inclusive or require this information upon booking, however, guest count and vendors do not affect our venue, Sycamore Farms, directly until very close to the event. These details will be confirmed with your caterer and coordinator before they will be with us, so we would received that information from that vendor and plan accordingly. We will need a confirmed guest count to ensure the amount of chairs for ceremony and reception upon arrival. I would suggest making sure we have all vendor information at least 2 months in advance to ensure to have time to eliminate and issues that may arise. Guest count will be confirmed 1 month out, this may change until that last minute but always plan for more than expected to ensure seats for up RSVP'd guests.

Can you explain what all-inclusive vs. a la carte means for wedding venues? Which option does Sycamore Farms provide?

Marissa: We are easy! We are simply a 12 hour venue rental. We have a preferred vendor list of amazing vendors to choose from, but we do not offer any additional services onsite. All-inclusive would be a venue with one price inclusive of all or some of the vendor cost. We feel it is easier to plan a wedding and budget in an a la carte way by choosing your own vendors.

Thank you so much for sharing such great insight with us, Marissa! Remember, you can check out more on The Barn at Sycamore Farms here on their website and follow them on Instagram for the latest + greatest!

All photos except the second one are by Meredith Teasley

Posted by Alyssa | Filed under: Advice & Planning, Luxury Nashville Wedding Finds, Wedding Style - Rustic, Farm , 0 comments »

Questions to Ask Your Venue Manager from The Barn at Sycamore Farms {Pt. 1}

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Photo by Meredith Teasley

You're engaged - congrats! One of the first decisions you'll be making is where you're getting married. And like we said last week, there are so many great wedding venue options in Nashville. One of my favorites is The Barn at Sycamore Farms! The luxury indoor/outdoor venue in Arrington, TN is picturesque and beautiful inside and out! I spoke with Marissa from Sycamore Farms about booking your wedding venue - what are the best questions to ask a venue manager? How do you know the right information to know that the venue is exactly what you're looking for? In the words of Marissa, she says, "Ask away! There is no such thing as stupid questions!" To make sure there are no surprises down the line, keep reading to see The Barn at Sycamore Farms' take on the questions you should ask your venue manager below. And stay tuned tomorrow for part 2 of their advice!

The Most Common Questions Couples Ask a Venue Manager:

What is the guest count of the ceremony location(s)?

Where are the ceremony location options?

What is the guest count of reception space(s)?

Where are the reception location options?

How many parking spaces are available?

Where is the nearest hotel for guest accommodations?

Should I get a wedding coordinator?

What does the price include?

Are tables and chairs for the ceremony and reception included?

When can we arrive at the venue?

How late can we stay at the venue?

How early can we get on site, and have to be off property?

Are we required to use your vendors?

Can we bring our own food and/or alcohol?

 

Questions You Should Ask Your Venue Manager:

What are the responsibilities of the venue and staff?

What are my responsibilities as the client?

What are the responsibilities of the vendors, according to the venue staff?

What information do I need to provide the venue, when?

Other things to note:

Make sure to get a list of items that are included in the price quoted. This lets you know a hard cost and reference of how to budget all other details moving forward, and ensures you know exactly what you are getting. Always try to get things in writing, its easy to answer a question over the phone, but also easy to forget it a year later when the event takes place. Always send emails of specifics, especially financial questions, to reference later.

Make sure you completely understand the following: total cost, what is included in the venue cost, all rules and regulations of the venue (ex: county codes: must be off property no later than midnight)

Thank you so much for sharing such valuable insight with us, Marissa! And while you're venue shopping, be sure to check out The Barn at Sycamore Farms - with a gorgeous custom built-in chandelier, lake & island along with a beautiful bridge and state of the art barn, it's seriously such an incredible choice if you're looking for an upscale wedding venue in the Tennessee countryside. Check out more here on their website and also be sure to follow them on Instagram here!

The second photo on are all by Jenna Henderson Photography.

Posted by Alyssa | Filed under: Advice & Planning, Wedding Venues and Locations, Wedding Style - Rustic, Farm , 0 comments »