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After Your Wedding

Lindsey + Michael’s Post-Wedding Poolside Shoot by Abigail Lauren Photography

Monday, June 5, 2017

At your wedding, you get one shot at everything - and hiring a good wedding photographer is crucial! Your wedding photos are what you will look back on for years to come and you want to make sure the person or team behind the lens is professional and knows exactly what you want captured in your day. But when the result is less than satisfying, opting for a post-wedding shoot like Lindsey + Michael did is such a great way to get the photos you want. Plus, there's no rush and you'll feel way more relaxed which definitely makes for better photos! And if there's a special location that is meaningful to the two of you, why not shoot there? Abigail Lauren Photography had the privilege of photographing this couple and paired with Lindsey's beautiful bouquet from her company Gradient & Hue against the pool and mansion backdrop, the photos were exactly what they were looking for! Check out all the oh-so sweet photos along with excerpts from Abigail and Lindsey about the day! 

Lindsey + Michael

Post-Wedding Photo Shoot

Private Residence

From the photographer, Abigail Lauren: This shoot was absolutely incredible. I met Lindsey, the bride, through another shoot I did in the Nashville area. She worked at the same floral company I received a bouquet from for another styled shoot, and after the pictures were delivered, she reached out in hopes of doing a shoot of her own. Lindsey, now an owner of an incredible new floral company, Gradient & Hue, was a dream client. Not only was she open to shooting at someone's Nashville house (which turned out to be fantastic) & being flexible, but she was also able to create her own floral designs for the entire shoot.

We did this shoot about 6 months after they had been married. Lindsey had mentioned that they didn't have the means to hire a professional photographer, or that they didn't really like the outcome of the first set of photos they got, so why not try again? Doing this bridal shoot after the wedding also allowed us to take the time to get interesting shots in a relaxed environment.

I often have clients do bridal shoots before or after the wedding in addition to the wedding day coverage. Although there are certainly many amazing photos taken on the day of the wedding, it's always fun to grab a few more, interesting and relaxed shots without any rush of a wedding day.

If I could suggest anything to brides, I would say to be confident in your choice of wedding photographer, and to remember to budget for a high quality, experienced photographer. These photographs, while fun to post on social media shortly after your wedding, hold so much more weight as they stand throughout time as the remaining documentation of your wedding day. Build a good relationship and trust with your photographer before the day of the wedding so that you are certain they will be able to get the shots you hope for. Also, if you have little to no budget for a wedding photographer, you can always look into doing a post-wedding bridal session to ensure you have some great photos in your wedding dress!

I look forward to working with Lindsey more in the future, as we have now built a great working relationship as Lindsey starts her new floral design company. It's these ongoing work relationships that make my job so interesting & rewarding!

Wedding Vendors:

Photographer | Abigail Lauren Photography

Venue | Private Residence

Florals | Gradient & Hue (by the bride!)

Dress | The Dress Theory - Rue de Seine

From the bride, Lindsey on their wedding: So we actually got married this past October during peak Aspen season at the C Lazy U Ranch in the mountains of Colorado. It was nothing less than magical. Our wedding was an entire weekend where 75 of our friends and family came out to the ranch together and rode horses, hiked, fly fished, and spent quality time together. That being said, I felt a bit overwhelmed the day-of, and I felt that I looked so nervous in my wedding photos. I wanted to have an opportunity to shoot in an environment that felt familiar and where my husband and I felt relaxed and comfortable. It was so fun to do these photos after all the wedding madness, as we got to focus on each other and just have fun!

About their engagement: The mountains have always been a special place for my husband, Mike, & I. I was born in Colorado, and a love for the Rockies has been engrained in me by my family and the many summers I spent following my grandparents up and down mountain trails. Knowing this, Mike took me on a "winter trip" to the mountains. He was planning on proposing at a beautiful, majestic, romantic lake called Emerald Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, but we got horribly lost and a winter storm rolled through as the sun was setting - the opposite of romantic! After another curtailed (and hysterical) attempt at proposing on a slippery mountain trail, he finally was able to get down on one knee at the summit of the beautiful Gem Lake hike. It was such a blast! After the proposal, we spent our descent from the mountain rehashing all his opportunities to propose that he had had to let go due to the snow storms, ice, and unsettling drop offs. Moral of the story - December in the mountains can make planning a proposal pretty tricky - but it was the most amazing experience. We now have a very special place that we can visit year after year to remember our engagement.

About the shoot: I find that the most beautiful artwork is many times created when you give full artistic liberty to the artist. The only guidance I gave Abi was that I wanted it to be genuine and fun. I love Abi's photography style, and trusted her fully in grabbing some great shots with very little direction from me. And as suspected, Abi produced the most beautiful photos. I was in awe as I scrolled through the gallery the first time (and second time, and third time). She truly captured the authentic moments between my husband and I. Trust your photographers to do great work and give them some freedom to play around! You won't be disappointed.

Working with Abi was seamless from start to finish. She is cheerful, energetic, kind, professional and truly has an eye for creating beautiful art. We felt comfortable with her, and she had great suggestions for poses (my husband and I are awkward!). We would have been lost without her direction!

I think the most fun was near the end of our shoot. We played around a little bit after we knew we got the shots we wanted, and I think the last shots are some of the best! Who would have known photos by the pool would have turned out so well (well, I guess Abi did!)?

Advice for brides: Let your vendors get creative! While it is ok to give them some direction, I feel that the best work is produced when they are allowed to work within flexible boundaries and given creative liberty - this is what will make your wedding day memorable, unique and give you a great connection with the people who helped make your day come together.

Thanks so much for sharing about this incredible + unique shoot, Abigail and Lindsey! Check out more of Abigial Lauren's work here on her website and also be sure to check out Lindsey's floral work here at Gradient & Hue!

Posted by Alyssa | Filed under: Inspiration & Trends, Photography, Wedding Style - Garden, Outdoor, After Your Wedding, 0 comments »

Cabbage Salad Recipe for Brides on the Go from A Happy Healthy Heart

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Hey girl! I am so excited to share this guest post with you today from food blogger Melissa Haithcock with A Happy Healthy Heart! Melissa was kind enough to share her cabbage salad recipe with us since it's the perfect healthy lunch for the on-the-go bride! Hopping from appointment to appointment on your lunch break and after work gets hectic - and finding time to eat healthy in hopes to look your best on your wedding day isn't always the easiest! But this cabbage salad recipe is one that will put these worries to rest. The delicious + fresh ingredients are sure to give your tastebuds a treat! Without further ado, I'll let Melissa share her story + recipe with y'all! 


Melissa from A Happy Healthy Heart: I haven’t always loved vegetables and when I first started experimenting with recipes that included them I had to make myself want to eat them. For me, this meant they had to be pretty! Our eyes are drawn to attractive things so I figured that if the food looked good then it must taste good too! I have now learned that the prettier the food, the better it is for you because the color comes from the nutrients within it. 


On Sundays, my mom would steam cabbage before church so that it would be ready for lunch later that afternoon. I remember waking up to the smell of it and thinking it was awful! The scent would drift into my room just as I was opening my eyes and because I didn’t like the way it smelled, I never ate it. I didn’t eat cabbage until a couple of years ago but now I absolutely love it; especially red cabbage.


I love combining all kinds of fresh vegetables into one bowl to make a complete meal. This dish is just that. The quinoa offers protein, the vegetables are full of nutrients and the peanut butter sauce is a source of good fat. If you like, you can always substitute almond butter in the sauce. It’s just a matter of preference. 


If you have an extra 20 minutes this week, make this nutrient-dense salad and let me know what you think. Wiley (my husband) absolutely loves it and I’m always happy to make it. Enjoy!



¼ head red cabbage, thinly sliced

¼ head green cabbage, thinly sliced

1 head broccoli, chopped

5 mini bell peppers, sliced

½ sweet onion, minced

2 carrots, peeled and shredded

1 ¼ cup quinoa

¼ cup vegetable broth

handful of cilantro 


2 tbsp peanut butter

2 tbsp tamari (or sub liquid aminos)

1 tsp chili flakes

1 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper to taste


Once all vegetables are chopped, combine all sauce ingredients in a small bowl, mix until well incorporated and set aside. 

Cook quinoa according to package instructions.

In a large saucepan heated to medium heat, cook vegetable broth, onions, broccoli and peppers together. The vegetable broth should simmer and absorb into the vegetables. Allow to cook for 7-8 minutes.

In a large bowl combine quinoa, cabbage, carrots, cooked vegetables, and sauce. Mix well and until sauce has covered all ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve warm or cold. Store in air tight container for up to a week. 


Thank you so much for sharing this delicious recipe with us, Melissa! You can check out her healthy food blog A Happy Healthy Heart here online and also be sure to follow her for more healthy recipes on Instagram here


Posted by Alyssa | Filed under: Nashville-Style, Food/Catering, Makeup, Hair, Health, Beauty , After Your Wedding, 0 comments »

How To Plan a Nashville Destination Wedding Weekend

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Over the past few years, Nashville has turned into a popular destination wedding city. With many colleges and universities in the area drawing students from all over the U.S. to the Nashville area, students feels as though they have a strong ties to the city. As many relatives travel to Nashville, they may need some help navigating through an unfamiliar city. So why not show them the best Nashville has to offer by hosting a wedding weekend?

Photo by Delbarr Moradi from Style Me Pretty

Now, I know planning a wedding is very time consuming - especially when you're working, studying or raising a family. However, planning a destination wedding weekend doesn’t have to be complicated. Whether it’s a list of fun activities you provide to your guests, or several planned get-togethers, a wedding weekend is something your guests will appreciate! Here are a few ideas:

Start the weekend off with a cute gift basket for your guests in their hotel room like these from Wild Violet.

Photo from Nashville Petal Tavern

Friday Night:

Rehearsal Dinner! Think outside the box on this one. How about a progressive dinner? Start off at Sambuca, and make the rounds from The Gulch to Downtown Broadway. Petal Tavern after party? I’m in!

Photo from Tenn Green

Saturday Day:

Option A) Explore the outdoors. Nashville has many places to hike and explore. You can even plan a quick kayaking day trip. And it’s a great way for guests to get to know each other before the big day!

Option B) Are your guests more fond of the indoors? The George Jones Museum, Country Music Hall of Fame or even a trip to The Frist may be in order!

Next, take a breather and schedule a massage therapist to come to your house through Belle. You can also get your nails done. Or renta a Shasta camper for you and your bridesmaids for a pre-wedding primp session. At this point in the day, you’ll want to start getting ready to say “I do” and allow guests time to freshen up.

-It’s wedding time!-

Saturday Night:

Up for round two of honky-tonking? Or schedule a chill small group dinner at Bastion. Choose your own adventure. :)

Photo of Loveless Cafe brunch from Style Blueprint

Sunday Morning:

I don’t know if you've heard, but Sunday morning brunch is a thing in Nashville. ;) From Loveless to Biscuit Love, treat your guests to some good Southern comfort food before their travels home.

Need more ideas? Check out our ultimate list of 21 activities for your out of town guests.

Posted by Alyssa | Filed under: Destination Nashville Weddings!, Advice & Planning, Destination Weds & Honeymoon , After Your Wedding, 0 comments »

Oakwood Cleaners Provides Greener and Natural Wedding Dress Dry Cleaning

Monday, June 27, 2016

When I found out Oakwood Cleaners was a certified Greener Cleaner, I wanted to learn more! I'm all about choosing products and services that are healthy and better for the environment. And if you're a green-focused bride, Oakwood is the very best option in Nashville to clean your wedding dress. Plus, you can bring your groom's suit in for a fresh and natural clean at the same time! I rounded up a few questions from Rhonda about greener dry cleaning, so take a look below!

What made you decide to open up a greener dry cleaning company in Nashville?

Rhonda: We became owners of Oakwood Cleaners In April of 2011. My husband and I were intrigued by the dry cleaning business and when we found out Oakwood Cleaners was available we jumped at the chance. It is quite an honor to own such a wonderful business. We are definitely a niche for Nashville being a 5 Star Couture Cleaner, a Greener Cleaner and member of the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists.

What does it mean to be a certified "Greener Cleaner"?

Rhonda: Ever wonder why the clothes you bring home from conventional dry cleaners have a strangely sweet odor? That’s the smell of petrochemical residue. Most people find it distasteful, but some people who suffer from asthma or odor sensitivities find it can make them sick. Clothes dry cleaned with GreenEarth have absolutely no odor. Your clothes are fresh and clean right out of the bag, so there’s no need to let them "air out” (though you should take them out of the bag before hanging them in your closet—if humidity gets trapped inside the bag it is not good for clothes).

Skin friendly. GreenEarth solution is so safe you could rub it on your skin. In fact, you probably already do. That’s because GreenEarth solution is pure liquid silicone, the same base ingredient found in everyday shampoos, conditioners, skin lotions and antiperspirants.
Allergies or sensitive skin? No worries. GreenEarth is non-allergenic and non-irritating. Best of all, it leaves fabrics silky smooth, with no static. Wools aren’t itchy. Sweaters feel soft. Fabrics drape nicely again. Clothes just feel good.

Store friendly. People who work in or live near dry cleaning stores often worry about the dangers of exposure to perc (short for perchloroethylene, the petrochemical used by most cleaners), with good reason. According to the EPA, over-exposure to perc can lead to headaches, dizziness, skin and eye irritation and other health effects, including an increased risk of cancer. Seniors, young children and pregnant women are especially vulnerable. People who work in or live near a GreenEarth dry cleaning store have absolutely nothing to worry about. GreenEarth is safe to work with, safe to dispose of and safe to breathe. Employees especially love working in an odorless store!

Garment Care Video from GreenEarth Cleaning on Vimeo.

What ingredients are in the GreenEarth dry-cleaning product?

Rhonda: GreenEarth is a greener dry cleaning process that is completely safe. It has no hazardous chemicals. No perchloroethylene. No petroleum. So there’s no risk to the air, water or soil. GreenEarth cleans with pure liquid silicone. In essence, liquefied sand. The same natural sand the earth has been creating for over six billion years. GreenEarth's silicone is clear, odorless and gentle. In the environment, it simply returns to its three natural elements: sand (SiO2) and trace amounts of water and CO2. It's a clean you can feel good about.

Describe the process of greener dry cleaning.

Rhonda: Dry cleaning is not dry! It is a liquid solvent that does not use water. In our case it is GreenEarth, liquified silicone. It goes in a machine similar to a washing machine. The machine has several different settings depending on what is getting cleaned and after it is cleaned in the green earth it is then dried in the same machine! There are times though that our production manager is manually control the cleaning process and the drying time.

How is a greener dry clean different from a regular dry clean?

Rhonda: Petroleum-free. Regulation-free. GreenEarth is so safe, the EPA doesn’t regulate it. Neither does OSHA, RCRA or CERCLA. In contrast, the petroleum-based solvents most dry cleaners use are heavily regulated. That’s because they can be extremely hazardous to the earth and people when they aren’t handled properly. 

Most dry cleaners (about 80%) use a synthetic chlorinated hydrocarbon solvent known as perc (perchloroethylene). It has been classified by the EPA as a toxic air contaminant, a hazardous, likely carcinogenic substance and one of the top four contaminants found in drinking water. It can enter your body when you inhale its vapors or touch it. Perc can irritate your skin, eyes, nose or throat, and affects your brain much like alcohol does (e.g. dizziness, headache, nausea, loss of balance or coordination, etc.). California has recently banned the use of perc; other states have proposed similar legislation.

Beware of "green washing"! The second most common type of solvent used in dry cleaning is hydrocarbon, also petroleum-based. Hydrocarbon is sometimes marketed as "organic”. Beware! There is nothing "green" about organic dry cleaning methods. Scientifically speaking, anything with a chain of carbon can be accurately labeled organic, but that doesn’t mean it's environmentally friendly or chemical-free. Gasoline is organic, but you wouldn’t want to wash clothes with it.

Breathe easy. Hydrocarbon solvents are classified as volatile air contaminants (VOCs), meaning they can vaporize into the atmosphere and contribute to smog and global warming. But GreenEarth is not classified as a VOC by the U.S. EPA. It’s good for the clothes you wear and for the air you breathe.

Can any garment be green dry cleaned  or are there restrictions?

Rhonda: Most garments can be cleaned in our GreenEarth Cleaning agent. There are, however, some items that say do not dry clean. Those have to be dealt with differently.

How is green dry cleaning appealing to brides?

Rhonda: Brides can be rest assured that their gowns that call for dry cleaning will be cleaned in the most gentle cleaning solvents on the market. Green Earth is actually good for fabric and has no odor.


I don't know about you, but I just learned so much about greener dry cleaning! And wow - I never knew the dangers of a regular dry cleaning. Sticking with GreenEarth is the way to go!

You can visit Oakwood Cleaners in 3 different locations - Nashville, Cool Springs and Hermitage.

Visit Oakwood Cleaners' website here to find out more about their GreenEarth services.

Posted by Alyssa | Filed under: Alterations, Gown Preservation, Eco-Friendly Weddings, After Your Wedding, 0 comments »

Plan your Summer Honeymoon with 2 Travel Anywhere

Monday, June 20, 2016

Planning your honeymoon on top of planning your wedding can be a daunting task of sorts. However, 2 Travel Anywhere can help you in this task and plan your honeymoon for you! And for the summer bride, Carlie from 2 Travel Anywhere has some tips for planning your summer getaway. So whether you’ll be participating in tropical excursions or relaxing on the beach all day, Carlie shared some tips for ABG readers on summer honeymoon destinations:

Is there a specific honeymoon destination you would recommend for a summer bride?

Carlie: Really anywhere in the Caribbean and Mexico is perfect in the summer! One of our favorite Caribbean Islands for summer is Jamaica. People are so genuinely friendly and hospitable on the island. The natural beauty of the island is so stunning with the rolling mountains, white sand beaches, lush foliage, streaming rivers and cascading waterfalls. With so much to offer, you can do as much or as little as you want!

2 Travel Anywhere’s top choice is Sandals Resorts. As a Sandals Certified Specialist, we know everything about all the Sandals Resort options!  Sandals Resorts are adults-only and all-inclusive. Their slogan is “A Paradise Created For Two People in Love.” You can enjoy all-inclusive luxury vacations at Sandals' Caribbean resorts and see for yourself why we offer the most romantic getaways with more quality inclusions than any other luxury beach resort. You won’t want to miss the gorgeous white sand beaches, savory dining experiences, opulent accommodations, unlimited refreshing beverages, exciting water sports, and more. There are so many options in Jamaica - it really depends on what you and your husband are interested in doing!  You have the choice of the South Coast, Negril, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. Each location offers something completely different!

Is the weather nicer in certain honeymoon destinations than others?

Carlie: Caribbean tropical getaways always make for nice weather. Sunny weather Negril Jamaica has one of the best sunsets in the world!

What are some fun summer activities to do on your honeymoon?

Carlie: There are unlimited ways to have fun! At 2 Travel Anywhere, we love all-inclusive resorts where you can do everything or do nothing at all. Zip-lining, waterfalls, swimming with dolphins, glass bottom boat tours, snorkeling, scuba diving are all great summer activities. Typically activities outside of the resort cost extra, but everything at the resort is all included. 

As the birthplace of jerk, reggae and Blue Mountain Coffee, Jamaica is a wonderland of allure and stunning, natural beauty. From the scenic cliffs and majestic falls to pristine lagoons and bubbling hot springs, the region boasts plenty of things to do amid a diverse terrain. There are plenty of tours and excursions that satisfy the whims of the most adventurous or the most laid-back traveler. With the vibrant culture and serene countryside, you can experience a day of riding a river raft along the Martha Brae or zip-lining full-speed down a canopy traverse over ancient sugar mill ruins.

What advice can you give couples trying to plan a summer honeymoon?

Carlie: Start planning now. And start a honeymoon registry to help with your budget. Honeymoon registries are becoming a hot trend for couples these days. Why not have money towards your honeymoon rather than your traditional gifts you may already have? Rather than registering for household items they don’t need, couples now seem to do a honeymoon registry.

How can 2 Travel Anywhere help couples with their summer honeymoon?

Carlie: From free help to better prices, with 2 Travel Anywhere it is all about the “2” of you.

Save Time – The Internet is filled with information about travel! It takes a lot of time to sort through everything to find exactly what you are looking for. You are already busy planning a wedding, why not leave the honeymoon planning to someone else!
Stress Free – You can spend those countless hours on the internet searching for the best honeymoon spot and still not find what you want. Contact us and we will send you as many options as you like until you find the perfect option. This saves you from being stressed out about where to start!
Expertise Traveling – We often visit destinations most requested by clients so that we can tell you about destinations and resorts based on our experiences.
Extra Perks – We always contact resorts ahead of time to request honeymoon amenities for you. Our clients frequently get room upgrades upon availability, surprises in their rooms, and much more!
Save Money – We shop around to find you the best rate. We have access to special rates that are often times much lower than elsewhere. And even better, there are NO HIDDEN FEES to work with us.
There are countless benefits for booking with a travel agent. 2 Travel Anywhere, LLC is not your typical travel agency. We actually like to be called a honeymoon consultant - specializing in planning engaged couples’ dream honeymoons around the world. The best part of our services is that we are completely free! We know how stressful it can be planning a wedding so we want to make sure the honeymoon planning is stress-free!


Wow - I can’t tell you how helpful 2 Travel Anywhere can be in planning your honeymoon! Thanks so much to Carlie for sharing about summer getaways! Find more on 2 Travel Anywhere on their website here. Or follow them on Instagram for more honeymoon inspiration.

All photos provided by 2 Travel Anywhere.

Posted by Alyssa | Filed under: Advice & Planning, Honeymoon and Post Wedding, After Your Wedding, 0 comments »