My flower experience came down to three steps 1) Decide what kind of bouquet I wanted 2) Decide if I could do it myself 3) Find a company that could help me get the flowers

My first autumn in TN was something like a child discovering something new. Although I was born in Ohio, I moved from there when I was young and only visited in the summers and the winters. I had never really experienced the changing of the seasons. Having lived in TN for a couple of years now I can truly appreciate the beauty of this state and flowers are a significant part of that. When it came to planning a fall wedding I knew I would have a lot of choices with flowers. The awesome thing is that I really love the look of mums, dahlias, daisies, and sunflowers because they have a more fresh picked and local look.

I did a ton of research on how I can save money and soon decided that due to the fact that I want the fresh picked look with inexpensive flowers I could do my own bouquets. Luckily I have some ultra talented friends to help.

After deciding we could do the flowers on our own the next hurdle to cross was finding a wholesale florist. This proved to be much harder than I thought. I tried two florists before I got to one that would answer my questions and treat me nicely. Import Flowers on Murphy Road was awesome. They were the first florist I spoke to that made me feel comfortable and hopeful regarding my flowers and staying in the budget.

I went to visit them in June and later this month I plan on going back and placing my order along with a trial run bouquet. Below are some ideas for the bouquets I shall have at the wedding.

Sunflowers are a Go!

Autumn, Dahlias, Mums and More!


Some of you alredy know because of my facebook status updates and ranting that in mid-June I got an email from the photographer we had signed a contract with months ago that he was unable to do our wedding. I won’t go into detail but needless to say…Brandon and I were both very upset. Four months to go and our photographercanceled!?  I think I handled it well though as I refrained from childish emails in response. However, I have told everyone I know. So refer to earlier posts on the Nashville photographer not to use.  As soon as it happened I raged for a little while (I was visiting my family in OH and couldn’t do much more than that.) By the time, I set foot in Nashville again I had already gotten the names of a few more photographers and soon began my slightly more desperate search again.

But enough about the negative. The good thing we found an awesome photographer.

Our friend Jeff referred us to Leslie Rodriguez. Leslie is a wonderfully talented photographer and she has a great variety of experience. We were super impressed with her use of color and her ability to focus on the small details of the events she captures. That element was really important to me since Brandon and I adding a lot of personal touches. Check out her website at http://www.capturedbyleslie.com.  I was most impressed, however, with her personality and positivity. When Brandon and I first met her a Frothy Monkey she really seemed to understand our personalities and get our relationship. I also love her open-mindedness. Some of the vendors we have met during the wedding planning process have a huge chip on their shoulders and are definitely missing a “customer service” attitude. Leslie was not pretentious and extremely genuine. In choosing someone to photograph one of the most important days of our lives we wanted someone who was “real.” Leslie is extremely talented and dedicated to her business. We love her work and looking forward to working with her. Sometimes these wedding snafus totally happen for a reason it seems.

I have been talking about these crazy mason jars for month. We have collected over 350 to complete our southern, fall, rustic feeling wedding. I have created lanterns from some of them using tutorials I found online. The others will serve as vases, candles holders, drinking glasses etc. I have put so much hard work into these I thought I would show some of my ideas.

Okay, so here’s the deal with Nashville.  Its a touristy place.  There’s a lot of hotels.  There’s a lot of crappy hotels, there’s a lot of overpriced hotels, and there’s a lot of hotels right in that sweet spot.  Since almost all of Shannon’s family/friend base is from out of town, she’s been pushing me to publish a blog regarding hotels in Nashville.  (The reason she thinks I’m the best man for the job?  Years and years of delivering pizza).

So here’s where we live in relation to the city of Nashville.  I’ve also circled the Airport, as well as the sweet spot.  See below:

So, you can probably tell, we want to put you near the airport/our apartment/Opry Area/Interstate/Downtown

You’d think that was tough to do, right?  Wrong!

The following guide is for the adventurous among you.

Hotwire.com is the best deal you can get.  The catch with Hotwire?  You don’t know for sure what hotel you’re getting until after you’ve booked it – and its non-refundable (although I believe you purchase trip insurance that will allow you to cancel).  Good thing you know someone who’s familiar with the area.

So, here’s my advice if you’re willing to use Hotwire to get your hotel.  First of all, only look at hotels in the “Nashville Intl Airport BNA area hotel” because those are the ones I’m most familiar with.  There’s currently a 3.5 star hotel available for $75 a night.  That hotel is the Sheraton Music City (Sheraton.com/MusicCity) (I’m about 90% positive on this one – it could be the Hotel Preston, which still a very nice 3.5 star hotel which runs about $110+ a night).   This is probably the nicest hotel in the area that’s not geared towards business travelers.  In addition, those rooms go for anywhere from $130 to $150 a night, typically.  Its a great deal.

If you’re not looking to spend that much, check out the 2.5 star hotel currently listed in that same area at $42 per night.  Now, the issue here is: there’s a lot of 2.5 star hotels in this area.  The nice thing?  They’re all pretty nice hotels.  There’s not a single one I wouldn’t stay in (Comfort Suites, Holiday Inn, Country Inn and Suites, Etc.).  So, if you’re not looking to spend a lot of money and still want to stay in a fairly nice place – go for the 2.5 star hotel in the Nashville Intl Airport BNA area.

Now, for those of you who aren’t quite as brave.

I would still highly recommend using Priceline to find your hotel.  You’ll get to pick your hotel, and are still going to pay less than you would booking directly through the hotel itself (typically).

My recomendations (once again, make sure you search the “Nashville Airport – BNA area within Priceline):

  • Club Hotel – $59 a night.  Quiet hotel near the airport, but away from the main road. Outdoor Pool
  • Wingate Inn by Wyndham – (currently listed at $69) – One of the nicest hotels near the airport.  Super friendly staff, above average rooms.  Nice common area in the lobby.  Free breakfast.  Indoor pool.
  • Radisson Hotel Nashville Airport – $78 – Another nice choice.  Set away from the road, similar to the other two listed above.  Considered a 3-star hotel.  Indoor Pool & Spa
  • Holiday Inn Airport/Opryland – $86 – Another good choice.  You know what you’re getting at this well known chain.  Nice rooms, indoor pool, restaurant, right by the interstate.
  • Country Inn and Suites Airport – $70 – Nice hotel.  Literally right off the interstate.  Closest hotel in Nashville to the airport.
  • Courtyard by Marriott Airport – $89 – Geared towards business travellers, but has everything you’d need.  Outdoor pool, restaurant, business center, store.  Up-scale business class.
  • Crossland Hotel Nashville (Not a BNA area hotel) – $45 – probably the best economy option (aside from the above discussed Hotwire option – an economy studio hotel room.  Its the closest hotel I would recommend staying at near our apartment.  Its not located in the greatest neighborhood, but it is set far back from the road and up a pretty substantial hill.  Given that, its pretty quiet and translates to a pretty good deal.

Now, you’re more than welcome to seek out your own deals and contact us for opinions.  Downtown area hotels are always an option – but be prepared to pay a premium for a hotel in downtown Nashville.  Good luck!

However, in between the moments of “Which basket is best for the flower girls? and “What size bowls do we need for the soup?” we are able to have these beautiful moments of commitment and love. Writing our vows and the ceremony has been like small promises leading up to the big promises. I think that because of that I have really and truly appreciated the magnitude of the words being spoken and really taken the time to fully invest in the planning of our wedding and our marriage. One can easily get caught up in the unimportant and get swept away.

Another one of those moments happened when we went to purchase our wedding rings. Brandon and I have been working with a family member who owns a jewelry shop in La Vergne. (Al is awesome if anyone is looking for any kind of jewelry.) Wedding bands are such an important symbol  of love and commitment to so many and choosing ours meant it was one more significant step in our journey to husband and wife.

Tradition calls for an item to hold the rings in on the big day.   I really like the idea of creating a ring bowl instead of a ring pillow because we were not necessarily going to have a traditional ring bearer. My nephew is too little to carry much. Also, the ring bowl could be something we kept and used. There are new trendy items out there that you can have it made for you. I got the idea that it would be even more fun to go to one of those creative pottery places and paint our own bowl.

It was an awesome idea and a great date night but please remember that neither Brandon nor I are in the least bit artistic.

The bowl itself is a conglomerate of related wedding colors and for amateurs it isn’t half bad. However, the awesome part for both of us is that it is so personal in that we created it together and we both put a lot of heart into it. It also contains our favorite line from our vows (Found in the title of this blog )and our ring finger prints inside the bowl.

I hope this special bowl lasts Brandon and I for many years. Although it isn’t the work of artists its imperfection holds all of the meaning and symbolic beauty we had hoped it would. Looking at that bowl brings together our wedding rings, our vows, our imperfections and above all, our love for one another.

Brandon and I knew a few things right away as we begin planning our wedding. 1) We were getting married. 2) It would be in the fall. 3) We would have a honeymoon registry.

Some may be asking themselves. “What is a honeymoon registery?’ Well have no fear. I am about to explain!

Honeymoon registries are a fun alternative to a traditional registry for engaged couples. Brandon and I have both been living on our own for a number of years and have acquired quite a few household items. What we don’t have we plan to purchase in the coming years and those are mostly big items like furniture. We also already live together and so “meshing” everything together is well under way. What Brandon and I did not have (because we are paying for the wedding ourselves in part) was the funds to take the honeymoon. Everyone knows that I am super nuts for travel and Brandon is not far behind me. We thought…why not register for the trip of a lifetime?

So there ya go. Honeymoon registry!

We plan to travel to Costa Rica sometime next year (we are working out a date with schedules etc). Right after the wedding we plan to take a 4 or 5 day “mini-moon” in order to celebrate our marriage and spend time together. Although we have not identified that location we are thinking somewhere in driving distance like Gatlinburg or Florida.

Below you will find our initial honeymoon registry detailing some of our plans for Costa Rica. We are so thrilled! Working on the honeymoon registry was so much fun. Costa Rica is an amazing place for a honeymoon. There are beautiful beaches and places to relax but we also plan to do quite a bit of backpacking and exciting activities. I am most looking forward to zip lining over the cloud forests! Brandon and I wanted to visit somewhere that we would be able to really explore and try new things so we thought this was a perfect place for us.

As we continue to plan this awesome trip we will be sure and keep you all in the loop. Thanks so much!


Pura Vida!

I am not even going to deny that planning this wedding has caused my fair share of overly girly moments. Mostly stress induced and resulting in my teary eyed rendition of 100 wedding day horror possibilities before I come to my senses and realize everything will be okay. (Until the next catastrophe).

Anyway, possibly the girliest moment to this day was when I first tried on my dress and I knew it was “the one.” I have talked about this wonderful moment in time in previous blogs so I will spare you all, however, I am fairly confident that will stick in my mind for a very long time. (Maybe replaced by the first time Brandon sees me in it).

Also, there is the fact that this dress is the epitome of girly, kind of over the top, wedding dresses in my mind.  Just you wait and see.

However, every girl knows that the dress is just the beginning of a wedding ensemble. There is a ton more to come up with. For the past few months I have been hard at work devising my wedding day look with a little help from the other girls in my life.

Next after the dress comes the veil. At first I was not planning on wearing one. I just never thought of myself as the demure, veil wearing type. But alas, I was wrong…well kind of. I will be wearing the reinvented trend  known as the birdcage veil. It is all the rage in wedding day looks right now and I am happy to go with the trendy in this case. I found mine with a little help from my friend…www.etsy.com.

To go with my lovely veil look I have asked our friend Alyssa Walker to make me a couple of lovely flower “fascinators”.  That is wedding speak for “flowers that go in my hair.” Alyssa is highly creative and super fun as indicated by her lovely blog http://miceandbirds.blogspot.com/

Alyssa even made sure I was covered with my “something blue”.

Created by Alyssa Walker of Mice and Birds

Created by Alyssa Walker of Mice and Birds

Now we move from the head to the toes. I have two pairs of shoes. I know, right? One for wedding and one for the reception. I picked out the reception shoes 1) Because I think they represent my own little style. 2) Because I know my feet will get tired. The reception shoes below are exactly as they appear. The ceremony shoes are champagne and not black but I couldn’t seem to find a picture of them online. Otherwise, they are exactly the same.

Reception Shoes

Ceremony Shoes

My jewelry I am oh, so excited about! I knew right away that I wanted to wear pearls on my wedding day. After asking around and finding out that I no family member owned a pair I soon begin leaning on my trusty “ask around” habit. A friend of a friend is designing a fabulous and slightly non-traditional bridal necklace and earring set. We have met twice to discuss ideas and narrow down my choices. I have seen the mock up but not the real thing and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with. The plans indicate a beautifully constructed, asymmetrical, hodge podge of pearly goodness. Check out her work online.


Lastly, I have my hair and makeup. I have found some things in magazines that I like regarding makeup. Once again, the gal doing my make up is a friend of a friend and I am confidant Andrea knows her stuff.  If you are in need of a friendly aesthetician just let me know. I have found a few things in magazines that catch my eye but overall I am planning to keep it simple with some accents on my eyes and focus on making my skin look radiant in those wedding days pics.

My plan is to get my hair done at Heads Up Salon on Lebanon Rd. One of Brandon’s family friends owns the salon and it is where I have been getting my hair cut as of late. They have a ton of experience and are always so nice when I come by. I am thinking of a look that is not extremely formal but an updo with a little mess and asymmetrical happiness. It is something like a chignon. (I tend to lean toward the asymmetrical look if you had not guessed.) These are some examples I found online.

I think that is it. I have a few more details to discuss but I plan to do that in future blogs. You all get the idea. We are closing in on the big day. We are down to two digits in the number of days!