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Wedding Style - Rustic, Farm

Gina + Paul’s Fun + Elegant Lakeside Wedding in Nashville, TN by Watson Studios

Friday, July 7, 2017

In order to have fun at your wedding, you don't need all the bells and whistles. Creating an environment suited to your personalities and vibe as a couple is the best way to go about it! And when Gina + Paul decided to create a laid-back family reunion style wedding in their relative's backyard, it was the perfect occasion for both old and young! The outdoor tented wedding took place on a beautiful May day along Old Hickory Lake where family + friends gathered for a Nashville meets New Orleans soireè. Want to see my favorite element of their wedding? You'll have to scroll all the way to the bottom of this post to see it! (Hint, it will make you leap out of your seat!). ;)


Gina + Paul

Private Residence on Old Hickory Lake


Wedding Team: 

Photographer | Watson Studios

Florist | Groom’s sister, Kimberley

Cake Artist | Wolfe Gourmet Cakes

Band | Spirit of New Orleans Productions

Makeup and Hair Artist | Ashley Stevens 

Groom's Suit |

Rentals | Chief Rentals

Catering | Actual Food Nashville

From the groom, Paul: We met 5 years ago when Gina's mother (a singer) dragged her along to one of my performances in New Orleans. There was an immediate attraction - we flirted clumsily. But, ALAS, I was already involved and by the next time we'd meet, Gina would be as well.
Although, the timing was obviously wrong, we did bump into each other occasionally. Gina would happen upon one of my regular gigs, or we'd be shopping at the same store, and we'd cross paths at the studio of a voice teacher with whom we were both studying (this voice teacher now claims she felt the "vibes" and our finally getting together was not a surprise to her at all!).

The tipping point, however, came 4 years later when my cousin Jill, a realtor, was handling the sale of Gina's parents house. (Coincidence?! We like to think of it as destiny!) She mentioned to me that she had a client who was also a performer - a singer, Louise, who lived very nearby. When she mentioned the name, I knew exactly who she was referring to - and made some comment about how good-looking her daughter was!

Thankfully, Jill LOVES to gossip. "Well, I told Louise you were my cousin and she adores you. She asked me NOT to mention this, BUT Gina is recently single..." I don't know that I heard anything else she said after that. I was already formulating my next move! I sent a special invitation to Louise asking that she attend my next performance. I didn't mention Gina. But I suspected that Louise would again drag her daughter along. And I was right. They walked in together and on our first break I sat down and told Gina that I wanted to see her again.
"How about lunch?", I asked.
"I like lunch," she replied.
The rest is history…

About the wedding from Gina + Paul: This was supposed to be so simple. - a small gathering of our closest relatives at my home. Then the families found out and decided we needed to throw a big party! What is MOST IMPORTANT to us, is that we get to hang out together. As long as we share the day, we'll be happy. We decided on an all-day, outdoor, Family Union/Reunion vibe. Hopefully, we've minimized the formality and stress. Hopefully, we've maximized fun and relaxation. We want the event to be equally enjoyable for our 80-year old antebellum Auntie and 2 year-old hell-on-wheels nephew. "Lakeside Elegance" was a theme suggested to us - and we liked it enough to let it guide the vision.

I mean come on! These bounce house photos are the cutest ever! Thank you so much for sharing this fun wedding with us, Dan! You can check out more of Watson Studios' work here on their website and also here on Instagram!


Posted by Alyssa | Filed under: Photography, Real Nashville Weddings, Unique Wedding Ideas, Wedding Style - Rustic, Farm , 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 »

Ashlee + Richard’s Romantic Summer Wedding in the Rain by Prairie Rose Events

Monday, May 22, 2017

With all the rain we had this weekend, I was thinking about all the brides making their rain plan decisions... it's a tough call to make for sure and I admire every single couple's will to go with the flow and know their love is greater than any weather that is thrown their way. And this is why Ashlee + Richard's wedding is perfect to showcase today! As a rainy day couple themselves, planner + designer Emily of Prairie Rose Events & Design describes their day so beautifully - it sure helps working with a couple who can gracefully weather the weather - you can just tell how strong their bond is in times like these! The beautiful barn setting at Southall Meadows and upscale details made their wedding shine through even the rainiest of days. See all of their photos by Sharpe + Walker Photography below!


Ashlee + Richard Lowe

Southall Meadows

August 2016

Wedding Team:

Photography | Sharpe & Walker Photography

Venue | Southall Meadows

Planner | Prairie Rose Events & Design

Florals | Elder Floral

Catering | Peg Leg Porker

Rentals | Southern Event Rentals

Music | Premier DJs

From the planner & designer, Emily of Prairie Rose Events: Ashlee + Richard are a loving and down-to-earth couple who wanted wanted a romantic wedding in Southall Meadow's century old tobacco barn. Both have huge personalities and lead busy lives: Richard is on the coaching team for MTSU's women's basketball and Ashlee is a rugby player. They have huge laughs and did so much of this wedding themselves. Ashlee collected over 200 wine bottles to use as her centerpieces, washed them all in her bathtub to remove the labels, and dried them out on her apartment's porch. She also learned how to make candles, and she created leather & whisky candles for their guests to take home from the wedding.

They poured so much time and effort into their wedding, and then wouldn't you know, it began raining about fifteen minutes before their ceremony. With guests arriving and half wanting to sit in the rain so Ashlee & Richard could have their wedding between the two hills outside and the other half huddling inside the barn, there was a big question to be answered. Where will we do the ceremony? Having to choose the rain plan is what every bride dreads during the planning process and so many lose sleep over. I've never seen it handled better by any couple.

From the planner & designer, Emily of Prairie Rose Events: After we talked about the positives and negatives of both options, Richard looked at Ashlee (they did their first look earlier) and said something along the lines of, "I love that it rained. I love that our day isn't perfect because if it was perfect it wouldn't be us and it wouldn't be a marriage." He put his soon to be wife at ease and made the decision so easy for her. That is a couple who can weather anything.

We went with the rain plan: a reception style ceremony, which the guests appreciated. We opened the doors behind the preacher and let the rainy skies act as the backdrop. Ashlee and Richard had a beautiful ceremony and then we got to the party! No part of the wedding was dampened by rain, and the couple look back on that day as fondly as any bride who had sunny skies.

Thank you so much for sharing this beautifully rainy wedding with us, Emily! You can check out more of Prairie Rose Events & Design's portfolio on her website here and also here on her Instagram page


Posted by Alyssa | Filed under: Real Nashville Weddings, Wedding Planners & Coordinators, Wedding Style - Rustic, Farm , 0 comments »

Desiree + Mario’s Wedding by SheHeWe Photography at Front Porch Farms

Friday, April 14, 2017

Sometimes photos speak louder than words. And when it comes to your wedding photography, capturing those precious moments throughout your day to have for a lifetime is truly priceless! Now may I introduce you to Jim + Ilde Cook of SheHeWe Photography? They captured Desiree + Mario's day so perfectly! From each and every "getting ready" detail shot to the major dance party at the end of their wedding, Desiree + Mario were left with some stunning images and memories. We spoke with Desiree about her unforgettable day marrying the man of her dreams and making her wedding vision come to life! Keep reading to see all of their beautiful photos + hear from Desiree about her wedding experience... 


Desiree + Mario

Front Porch Farms


150 Guests

Wedding Team:

Photographer: SheHeWe Photography

Planner and Venue | Kathy Best of Front Porch Farms

Bridal Glam | Katie Russo Beauty

Bridal Gown | Danielle Caprese from Kleinfeld Bridal

Bridal Party Gowns | Vow To Be Chic

Groom + Groomsmen Suits | Men's Wearhouse 

Florals | Cathy Wilson

Officiant | Red Michel 

Music | Ceremony - Amelia Eisenhauer and Preston James, Reception - DJ Maddog

Catering | Two Fat Men

Cake | Jo's Cakes

Printing | Designs in Paper

Tell us about your engagement!

Desiree: My now husband Mario set up my dream engagement scenario. And it was all a surprise to me! We have date nights regularly, and this particular night he didn't disclose where we were going. So we end up arriving at Homestead Manor in Spring Hill and I didn't suspect anything because I had just been telling him about when me and my mom went there and toured the place and had a fantastic meal. So I assume he wants to see what the fuss is about! We go in the front doors and the hostesses smile and start walking us to our table, but we pass all the dining rooms and continue walking toward the kitchen.. we round the corner and head down the stone steps to the wine cellar/chef's table! Those steps were covered in rose petals and lined with tea lights, and once we got into the cellar there was a table set up beautifully for us with more rose petals and tea lights everywhere, as well as string lights all around the ceiling. The fireplace was burning and there was music playing softly. It was breathtaking. We got through our appetizer before he got the courage to propose ;). He told me he loved me, and wanted to spend the rest of our amazing life together. He then came around the table and got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. In between "oh my gods", I said yes with no hesitation! The waiters come running down a minute later to congratulate us, knowing it was safe to come down after they heard my omg reaction ;). I couldn't have planned it better myself.

What was the vision for your wedding?

Desiree: I had dreamt about my wedding for years, since I was a little girl. I couldn't wait to stand side by side with my fiancé and promise to love each other for eternity. I was so excited to share in our love with all our family and friends, to be able to celebrate our rare connection with everyone. I imagined how I would feel making that commitment before God and our guests, and when the day came I felt all the happy feelings I had hoped I would. As far as visually, I had visions of a big flowing ball gown and lots of luxurious touches at my wedding. I wanted an elegant but simple atmosphere, something you could just look at in awe. I saw billowing flowers and sparkling accents. I knew that I wanted it to look like all my Pinterest board pins, and only thanks to my planner Kathy Best did that dream come true! And now I get to look at all the details and relive all those amazing feelings anytime I look at the amazing photographs that Ilde and Jim Cook with SheHeWe captured for us, they're the bees knees.

Can you share any special moments or highlights from your wedding day?

Desiree: Walking down the aisle toward my future husband was magical. It's so hard to describe the feeling, all I know is that I was happy. All my dreams were coming true and I was able to be in my perfect dress, in my perfect location and marry my almost perfect (jk love you) husband!

What are some tips you can share with other brides planning their weddings?

Desiree: The #1 thing I tell brides is not to worry about being a bit of a 'bridezilla' at times. This is your wedding, your vision, and only you are going to actually look at the photos and relive the memories FOREVER. Don't be afraid to let people know what you want and don't let anyone turn your wedding into their event. This day is the only day you get for you and your husband and you and your husband ONLY. Take advantage and do it how you want it, and if anyone has a problem with it tell them to have their own wedding! Oh and also, if you don't have an amazing planner (like mine) to help you with everything, just don't procrastinate!!! You don't want to stress at any time about anything. You should only enjoy the process :)

Is there anything else you'd like to share about your wedding?

Desiree: If I could live that day all over again I would! It'll forever be embedded in my mind. I know my guests had a blast, and I have all the photos to prove it. It was beautiful and I'm pinching myself even still to prove that it actually happened and it was everything I dreamt of. But let's be honest, I could've been in a shack and worn a robe and I'd still be just as happy to have been able to marry my best friend. But the glitz and glitter adds a nice touch, doesn't it? ;)

Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful wedding with us, SheHeWe! You can check our more of Jim + Ilde's work on their website and also on their Instagram page


Posted by Alyssa | Filed under: Photography, Real Nashville Brides, Real Nashville Weddings, Wedding Style - Rustic, Farm , 0 comments »