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Advice & Planning

Swanky Fine Art Photography’s Wedding Wednesday Vendor Interviews

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

New to Nashville photographer Sheri of Swanky Fine Art Photography started a very unique project - Wedding Wednesdays on her Youtube page! Each Wednesday, Sheri interviews a wedding professional about what they do, how they got started, and asks advice for brides. Last Wednesday, I had the privilege of participating in Sheri's Wedding Wednesday post! From ABG's beginnings to getting your wedding published on ABG, Sheri and I cover lots of topics in our interview. Check it out here:


You can find more of Sheri's Wedding Wednesday posts on her Youtube channel.

And please be sure to check out Swanky Fine Art Weddings - she is one talented gal and we're proud to have her here in Nashville!

Posted by Alyssa | Filed under: Helpful Vendor Interviews!, Advice & Planning, 0 comments »

Advice on Wedding Styled Shoots: A Guest Post by Kristin Sweeting Photography

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Styled shoots - we see them all the time. On blogs (yes, even here on ABG!), on Pinterest, Instagram, you name it! Inspiration for your wedding can be found all over the internet. Sometimes it's great to generate ideas for your wedding, but sometimes it's dangerous to your wedding budget and expectations for the overall feel of your wedding. Believe me - styled shoots are fun! I've had the privilege of styling multiple shoots and taking what's in your head and making it come to life is such a thrill for a creative! However, the distinction between real weddings and styled shoots is something that needs to be talked about more in our wedding world.

Today I have the lovely and experienced Nashville (and beyond!) wedding photographer Kristin Sweeting here to dive into this topic of styled shoots - the good, the bad and the ugly (wait, nothing is ugly in a styled shoot!)...

Styled Shoots: What They Are and What They Are Not

By Kristin Sweeting

The wedding world is buzzing with talk about styled shoots these days. Love ‘em? Hate ‘em? Have no idea what I’m even talking about?

Let’s clear the air and get down to business with a quick rundown on styled shoots, both for photographers and their brides.

What is it?

Styled Shoot n (stīld sho͞ot): A photo shoot involving a team of wedding vendors who come together to stage a fake wedding or bridal shoot.

Styled shoots give vendors the opportunity to pool their resources to create something beautiful and inspiring that represents their personal style as a wedding professional. It’s a chance for photographers and wedding creatives to stretch their creative muscles and truly shape the results.

For photographers: why participate in a styled shoot?

When I do styled shoots, it’s often because I have a vision in my head of something I have dreamed of photographing for a long time. I invest my time, money, and resources into making that vision come to life, so that the final results are exactly what I intended. Like an artist beginning a new painting, I have control of how the scene looks, the location, the feel, the outfits, the subject matter… it’s all about my own creative expression, which fuels my artistic spirit! It’s also a chance to shoot in new locations. Maybe I’m traveling to a new/beautiful/exotic city, or want to explore a new space in my own hometown. I use styled shoots as an opportunity for growth and a chance to inspire clients who are getting married in that city!

Networking is another great reason for wedding creatives to get involved in styled shoots. A new florist may contribute her services to a style shoot to meet local photographers and wedding planners. A local venue may need new images for their website or social media outlets. Styled shoots are a great way to generate content for blog posts or social media!

What it is not!

Brides searching the web for the perfect vendors for their big day should be aware that a styled shoot is NOT an accurate representation of what your wedding day will be like.

Wedding days are full of movement, candid moments, hugs, kisses, and moving pieces. Styled shoots are in a controlled environment and will often focus on portraits and details instead of storytelling and celebrating. Wedding days are also full of things that are beyond your vendors’ control. They can’t be easily rescheduled for rain, and you can’t stop the ceremony for a second try at a perfect first kiss.

During a styled shoot, photographers and vendors have hours to get the perfect set of portraits and detail shots. On your wedding day, they might only have 15-30 minutes for each. While it’s tempting to get caught up in making your wedding “Pinterest Perfect,” it’s most helpful for you to use styled shoots, and Pinterest in general, as a source of inspiration for your unique day. I encourage my clients to keep their focus on enjoying their day with their loved ones.

Tips for Brides:

The best thing you can do is hire smart. Look for:

·      Vendors who know how to work quickly and efficiently and will be a joy to be around.

·      A photographer who you know is comfortable with fast-paced environments, multiple weather conditions, and is calm under pressure.

·      Vendors you trust and can release to do their jobs well!

Hire well and keep your expectations and priorities in line and you will be able to relax and enjoy your day and celebrate your marriage and family which is the most important part!

Tips for Vendors:

Considering a styled shoot as a way to grow your wedding business? A few things to keep in mind:

·      Styled shoots are not complete branding shoots for your website. They can be a great ways to create up-to-date content but can end up being very disjointed looking if you’re pulling together shoots from multiple photographers. Consider investing in your business and hiring a photographer to help you with your branding photography. They can help you streamline your look, communicate your vision, and attract your ideal clients.

·      Styled shoots are also not a sure-fire way to get published. For some in the wedding industry, getting published is the Holy Grail of success. At the same time, blogs and magazines are becoming way more selective in what styled shoots they are publishing, and are more interested in publishing real weddings. Don’t go in to a collaboration expecting it to be in a magazine. Instead, look at it as a way to build genuine relationships, communicate your style, inspire brides who are planning their weddings, and feed your creative soul!

Thank you, Kristin for sharing your insight and knowledge on such an important topic not only for brides, but for wedding professionals as well!

Stay tuned because we have another beautiful local styled shoot to share with you tomorrow. :)

Check out more of Kristin Sweeting's work and travels on her website, blog and Instagram page.

All photos by Kristin Sweeting.

Posted by Alyssa | Filed under: Nashville-Style, Advice & Planning, Inspiration & Trends, 0 comments »

Everything You Need To Know About Tennessee Marriage Licenses

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

When it comes down to your wedding day, most brides tend to get caught up in the dècor, the venue, the dress... but there's something we need to focus on - the marriage! And getting legally married (at least here in Tennessee) means you have to obtain a marriage license. It's a once in a lifetime task and it may seem like a daunting one to most brides. But you're in luck because we have Chiara Sulprizio, lead wedding officiant of Ivy and June Custom Ceremonies, to explain it all! Chiara has graciously shared step by step instructions on how to obtain a marriage license in Tennessee. I feel like she's unlocked this vault of knowledge on the topic so many of us worry about when it comes down to the wedding day. I'll let Chiara take it from here!

Chiara: As an ordained wedding officiant, I get a lot of questions about the ins and outs of getting a marriage license in Tennessee from my clients. Like every other state, Tennessee has some unique rules and regulations that are not very well-publicized and that can be a little unclear, even to those of us who are familiar with them! Of course, the last thing brides and grooms need is the unnecessary stress of finding themselves in a pinch at the last minute, as they try to sort through all the information and comply with the rules. For this reason -- and because I know you want your wedding to be the start of your marriage and not just a big fancy party -- I came up with this handy list of six things you need to know about marriage licenses in Tennessee:

Photo by Silver Nitrite Photography

1. You have thirty days from when you obtain your marriage license to actually have the ceremony performed and get married. There is no “waiting period” or blood test required.

2. To get your marriage license, both parties must go to the county clerk’s office together and show some form of identification that a) includes your social security number and b) proves you are over eighteen (a birth certificate works well). Also, you do not have to be a Tennessee resident to get married here -- if you live in another state, your marriage will be recognized there too.

3. Once your ceremony has been completed, you have three business days to return the certificate, which must be signed by your officiant, to the county clerk’s office in the same county where you got it, either by mail or in person (note: many officiants will do this for you!).

4. It is perfectly OK to to obtain your license in one Tennessee county and get married in another (as long as you return it to the county where you originally got it – see #3!).

5. In Tennessee, you don’t need any witnesses to be present in order to get married, though there is a space on the paperwork for one witness to sign if you want them to.

6. Tennessee is one of only a handful of states where, if you complete a four-hour premarital preparation course and submit this notarized form confirming its completion, you can get a discount of $60.00 on the price of your license (currently $99.50). Bonus!

Photo by Silver Nitrite Photography

I always recommend that if you have any questions, you check with the local county clerk’s office well before the big day arrives. Your officiant should also be able to help you clarify any issues related to your license. I hope this info helps you easily cross this less-than-glamorous task off your list of things to do, and I wish you the best of luck with all your wedding preparations!

Best wishes,
Chiara Sulprizio
Ivy & June Custom Ceremonies

Thank you so much to Chiara for sharing her insight on the topic of marriage licenses! 

Be sure to check out the Ivy and June website and also follow her on Instagram here.

Posted by Alyssa | Filed under: Helpful Vendor Interviews!, Advice & Planning, Wedding Resources, 0 comments »

Posh Occasions: Specializing in Nashville Wedding Planning, Day-of Coordination

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The number one tip I give brides is to hire a wedding planner! It's the best decision you will ever make - I did not have one and I really wish I did! Not all venue managers are necessarily wedding planners, so talk it out with your wedding team to make sure you know who is handling what. And if you're in the market for a planner, Ashley of Posh Occasions here in Nashville is a great choice for a wedding planner! She specializes in day-of coordination and will handle all of the details for your big day from the first load-in until the very last person leaves your wedding at the end of the night. Ashley is here to tell us all about her business and give us some insight into why having a planner or day-of coordinator is so important. 

Tell us about your company!

Ashley: Posh Occasions is an event planning company specializing in weddings and social events. We offer planning services from day-of coordination to full service planning.

How long have you been in business?

Ashley: I started Posh Occasions 3 years ago.

How did you get started in weddings?

Ashley: Since graduating from Belmont in 2005, I have had a passion for planning events. Before starting Posh Occasions, I worked with several different companies working weddings and events and knew that it was my calling to be in this field.

What's the philosophy behind your company?

Ashley: Posh Occasions guides couples through the planning process so that their special day reflects their style and personality. Our personalized service and attention to detail make the planning process enjoyable and your vision a reality. Our team is committed to making sure every detail is carefully thought out and fulfilled. When the big day comes, your only job is to savor and enjoy every moment. Our goal is to make sure that every wedding is perfectly POSH.

Tell us more about Day-of Coordination!

Ashley: A Day-of Coordinator is also considered the event manager. They take all of the hard work you have taken planning your special day and put the plan into action. They are typically hired a couple months out and start working with the couple 3-4 weeks before the wedding. Once hired, the day-of coordinator's responsibilities include:

- Offer advice & vendor recommendations
- Create a timeline
- Collect vendor contracts & contact information
- Coordinate rehearsal
- Arrive at the venue the day of the wedding to direct all vendors
- Set up all personal items
- Manage the timing & flow of the event
- Be the point of contact for questions or concerns
- Take care of personal items at the end of the evening

Why should brides hire a day-of coordinator?

Ashley: The main reason to hire a day-of coordinator is so you can simply relax and enjoy your wedding day! You have planned every little detail for your wedding day, you should be able to enjoy everything you have planned for and just take in this special moment. You shouldn't be running around "like a chicken with your head cut off"! You shouldn't have to worry about making sure things are set up correctly, whether a vendor has issues, trying to wrangle up people for pictures, making sure things are cleaned up at the end of the evening, etc. You should be able to cherish every moment of the day. Afterall, you are marrying the love of your life and you should celebrate this special time!

What's the difference between a Venue Coordinator and a Wedding Planner?

Ashley: A venue coordinator is strictly there for the venue. Their duties are to represent the property and to make sure that you are getting what you were promised in the contract. They are there to make sure that the venue is set up to specifications, food is out at the appropriate time, tear down is done properly, etc.. They have boundaries and while they are there to help your day run smoothly, they are not there solely for the bride and groom. There is a chance that the same person that you dealt with will not be the same person that is there on your wedding day.

A wedding planner will be there every step of the way and has the sole responsibility to make sure that the bride and groom's needs are met and that their wedding is everything that they have dreamed of. They will be the liaison to make sure that you are not only getting what the venue's contract states, but also what all of the vendors contracts state.

Your wedding planner will be with you all day, telling you when things will happen throughout the day and night such as pictures, cake cutting, bouquet toss, etc. As a wedding planner, I am there from when the first vendor loads in to when the last vendor loads out. They coordinate with all of the vendors to make sure that things run as seamlessly as possible.

What attracts brides to Posh Occasions?

Ashley: Every girl dreams of their special day and my goal is to make sure that their dreams become reality. My experience, expertise and passion have driven me to be the best and I strive for that with each wedding that I do.


Thanks for sharing all of your insight with us, Ashley! We appreciate all of the advice!

Find more on Posh Occasions on Instagram, Facebook and on her website here

Photographer: Divine Images
Ceremony Venue: Scarritt Bennett
Reception Venue: The University Club
Florist: Enchanted Florist
Cake: Signature Cakes by Vicki

Posted by Alyssa | Filed under: Helpful Vendor Interviews!, Advice & Planning, 0 comments »

Hannah + Dan’s Elegant, Laid-Back Houston Station Wedding

Friday, August 5, 2016

I love a Houston Station wedding! And it's so fun to see how each and every couple transforms the space to compliment their personalities and personal style. Hannah + Dan's wedding has a Nashville flair with an elegant twist - and Houston Station is the perfect venue for that! With cowboy boot coozies next to sheer draping, Hannah and Dan's personal style melded into one magnificent party! Hannah reveals more behind the scenes info about her Houston Station wedding below...

Hannah + Dan
February 27, 2016
Houston Station
130 Guests
$20,000-$30,000 Budget

Wedding Team

Day of Coordinator | Events Nashville
Photographer | Lane Photography
Photobooth | Let's Booth It
Wedding Gown | Augusta Jones from Elegance by Roya
Bride’s Accessories | BHLDN
Hair/Makeup | Katie Russo Beauty
Save the Dates | Darby Cards
Invitations | Minted
Programs | Design by Bride
Caterer | Bacon & Caviar
Cake Artist | Dulce Desserts
Floral Designer | Abigail Curtis at Import Flowers
Ceremony/Cocktail Hours Musicians | Honeyboy and Boots
Reception Musicians | JD's Music
Rentals | Liberty Party Rental
Lighting + Draping | Southern Sky Event Lighting
Transportation | Shuttle Buses from Matchless Transportation
Guest Accommodations | Courtyard Nashville Downtown, Embassy Suites Nashville, and Hampton Inn Nashville/Vanderbilt
Rehearsal Dinner Location | Merchants on Broadway

How would you describe your style as a couple?

Hannah: We are both a laid back and fun couple. We enjoy grabbing drinks with friends or entertaining at our place. We are also content with staying in and cooking a meal while listening to some music.

Where did you get your wedding inspiration?

Hannah: I got a lot of my inspiration from all kinds of outlets, but mainly Pinterest and A Practical Wedding. Since we were having a winter wedding, I wanted things to feel warm. That's how I chose the color scheme of blush and champagne. We wanted to keep things pretty simple and make sure our budget was going to the right things. Having lavish decorations wasn't important to me, so we went with pretty simple centerpieces at the tables. I also love the idea of being able to reuse something. Our cake holders and the mason jars we used as decorations everywhere were from my grandmother. We also had our wedding party choose their outfits in hopes that they could wear them again.

How did you incorporate that style into your wedding?

Hannah: We really wanted our wedding to feel more like a big party than a wedding. It was the majority of our guests first time in Nashville (Dan's family is from the New Jersey/Connecticut area), so it was important to us to have that laid-back and fun feel you get with Nashville. Our main focus was making sure we had good food, plenty of drinks, and good music to dance to. We let the rest just fall into place. Decoration wise, you don't need much with a venue like Houston Station. I loved the rustic look that Houston Station gives with the exposed brick and wooden beams. It's proximity to downtown was also nice because it allowed guests to continue to celebrate downtown after the reception.

What was your (or your guests’) favorite aspect of your wedding?

Hannah: We got a ton of compliments on the food and to go along with our simple/laid back theme, we went with BBQ from Bacon and Caviar. We also did a buffet instead of a formal sit down. This allowed guests to go back for seconds if they wanted to.
We also got a lot of compliments on the party favors. As our party favors, I had coozies made in the shape of a boot. A lot of our guests had a mission to get boots during their visit to Nashville, so they loved the idea that now their drinks had boots too.

Tell us about your cakes!

Hannah: We had a two tier cake and then did 4 additional 8" cakes to make up a cake buffet. Juanita with Dulce Desserts presented the idea to us as a more economical option than a 3 tier (or more) cake. It ended up being much more fun because of the variable flavors and finish textures.

Where did you splurge?  Where did you save/DIY?

Hannah: While everything seemed like a splurge (this is definitely the most expensive party I've ever thrown), the two last minute things that we ended up going for that we hadn't planned on due to the extra costs were the bar back and Farmtable for the head table. For the bar, we were originally just going to do table and cloth, but last minute decided to splurge on the beautiful wood bar from Liberty.

We saved on flowers and alcohol. For our head table, we used the flowers from my Bridesmaid luncheon that my Aunt Lucy and Aunt Susan hosted for me. For the rest of the tables, we kept the flower arrangements simple with baby's-breath placed in Mason jars that we got from my grandmother. We also used some of the Bridesmaid's bouquets throughout to help with the decorations during the reception.

I loved that you could bring your own alcohol in Houston Station. It allowed us to shop around for the best prices on the different types of alcohol. We got the liquor from Frugal's, the wine from Colonial, and the beer, believe it or not, from Wal-Mart. Frugal's and Colonial would buy back whatever wasn't opened which was nice.

Who were your favorite vendors and what made them exceptional?

Hannah: All of the vendors were fantastic to work with. Everyone was so pleasant and nice that it made the process so easy. The two vendors that just stood out the most were the folks at Houston Station and Lane Photography.

Elizabeth, Sam, and Sarah are a dream team! They were the main ones running the show the day of our wedding and I can't tell you of anything that went wrong. I know my mom sure enjoyed them the month leading up to the wedding. She was probably in contact with them every other day and they were so good at helping her.

The whole process of working with Scott and Kristin at Lane Photography has been awesome. We first met them at our engagement session, and I felt like we were laughing the whole time. Scott is really good at getting you to relax and feel comfortable. He's also got an incredible talent. I absolutely loved the action shots he got during the reception.

Now that the wedding day is over, is there anything about your planning process you feel you could have done differently?

Hannah: Absolutely not! That was one of the best days of our lives. I was on cloud nine for like a whole month after our wedding. While we definitely had some stressful moments during the planning period (especially planning it from DC), it was all totally worth it.

In one sentence, what words of advice do you have for couples in the midst of their planning?

Hannah: Don't let yourself get stressed out in the small unnecessary details. In the end, everyone that attends is there to support you and celebrate this huge chapter in your life!

Thanks to Hannah and Lane Photography for sharing these beautiful photos! Happy Friday!

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