• It's Our Passion To Capture Your Story In A Way Only A Photography Can...LINDSAY & BRANDON

 

Now that you have the bling on your finger and have emphatically said YES to your forever partner, you’re automatically thinking of a wedding. “So now what?” While this is natural, we want to help you narrow down some of the priorities so you’re not hurled in to the overwhelming wedding-planning abyss. There will bean overload of information all over and wedding planning to-do lists in every corner of the internet. Having spent time with SO MANY newly-engaged couples, here are the top six things we have found will help you to do first once you’re engaged.

  1. Enjoy it

Inevitably, someone will start asking questions about the wedding just hours and days after you’re engaged. While some brides have already made prior arrangements even before the ring, there may be some ideas you’ll want your groom in on, so don’t get too set on anything until you let the ecstasy of the proposal wear off a little. Our biggest piece of advice for the first several days, is to JUST ENJOY it before making any commitments and starting the stress of wedding planning. Soak in your FIANCE before moving quickly past that short season in your life.

      2. Discuss a season and possible dates – but don’t set it yet

Obviously you’ll have ideas in your head about your preferences for the time of year you want to get married. Maybe it’s around a school schedule, maybe it has to do with your ideal wedding look, but before you get too set and lock anything in, check with family and friends to see if anyone has advice to share or times that they’d suggest based on other factors. At the same time, there will never be a date that will be perfect for everyone, so be mindful that you can be flexible to an extent but not bend so far you break. Part of setting your date will have to do with must-have vendors, which we discuss in #4 below.

      3. Set a budget

This one is a toughie. First you’ll need to know who might contribute, how much and if anyone has any particular area they’d like to fund. And as uncomfortable as it may be, it’s helpful to address numbers instead of assuming. Remember to do your research before pulling random figures based off pinterest articles. Those articles tend to take an average from all across the county, which may be a very skewed way of calculating. For example, the national average for a florist may show $1,000; but if you take into account that some people do silk flowers and arrange bouquets themselves for maybe $200 total and some florists decorate everything in live flowers and charge $5,000 to decorate the full venue, then your expectations might be off base when you go for your meeting. Keep an open mind, as there are always ways to cut expenses on things that are less vital. On the other side of the coin, do consider adding in some fluff budget for things you won’t think about at the beginning of the process. In order to set a more realistic budget based on YOUR needs, see our next tip.

     4. Rate things in order of importance

Find out what’s most important to you, what you MUST have, then budget and book it first. Don’t rely on a wedding blog to tell you the order in which you should book things. If things are important to you, then it’s something you already know. It’s in your gut, it’s been there for a while, and you know that more than likely, you’re going to get what you pay for. This will also help your overall budget to come together more realistically. If your dream wedding is at a particular venue and nothing else will do, then book the venue. If you don’t care where or when you say your vows BUT you want dream wedding photos or video, then book your photographer/cinematographers first. You can always work things around and set lesser important things after you get your must haves, but it’s important to start with what’s most important to you (and your fiance), first.

     5. Think about your Bridal party

In choosing who will stand beside you on your big day, think about personality rather than obligation. Your sister-in-law or cousin may be an obvious must by family’s standards but if you think the stress will be too much, give her another duty rather than bridesmaid to honor her as family yet not have her in as close quarters during high-stress times. Also think about THEIR lives and schedule, and be mindful of the time and finances you will be asking them to sacrifice for you. We’ve seen bridal parties big, small, and non-existent; and these people really help set the tone for your day, so choose them wisely.

     6. Make it YOU

Now that most of your day is starting to come together in your head, you’ll want to use the little things to incorporate who YOU are as a couple and how you can make the day more unique and memorable. This could be location, overall style, table decor, or as small as the favors you choose to gift to your guests. The number one thing we can tell couples about making the wedding theirs is that the rules are more like guidelines, your wedding day is about your commitment to each other and celebrating your union. If that means breaking a tiny etiquette rule or having a non-traditional feel, then by all means go for it. As long as you’re acting in love and respect, you are probably not wrong, and it will be memorable for all who witness it.

 

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We’ve known Ashlee ever since doing senior portraits for her a few years back. When she got engaged, we were delighted to hear her story and hear about her wedding day plans. Upon hearing that they wanted a courthouse elopement (on a Thursday because their date was just that special), we simply couldn’t wait! We love intimate ceremonies because when you strip away all the fluff, it forces you to think about what REALLY matters at a wedding. Commitment. Love. Honor. And even family. Ashlee and John Michael had all of those, and more. Their vows were exchanged in front of their closest family, officiated by our absolute favorite Chancellor (never mind you that there is only one), and staged in a beautiful Cookeville courtroom with light, sophistication and nostalgia.
The vows were quick (thanks to Chancellor) and only minutes after we all gathered, they were married. I love that these two were able to share their day in the best way possible with their families, yet they remained focus on their love and vows as it gently rained on the windows outside. It truly couldn’t have been more perfect or special. We wish this new husband and wife nothing but the very best, and we are so honored to have witnessed such an incredibly precious elopement.

 

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Autumn and Ryan had an amazing summer wedding at the Loveless Cafe and Barn. There was no lack of love as everyone there was so excited for these two to celebrate their union. These two Nashville Predators fans lucked out when their mid-July wedding was not sweltering, and they had an amazing venue and super supportive people all around. Autumn is a girl who knows what she wants, and she did an amazing job with planning out this day. Ryan was chill as always, his comedians of groomsmen making their prep and formals easy and fun. Surprisingly this day seemed to just FLY by, but it was smooth sailing with a very organized bride and her team. The sweet couple opted not to see each other until the ceremony, and they said their vows in front of a beautiful cross that Ryan and his dad constructed just for the wedding. The party got started soon after, and there wasn’t a single guest who wasn’t having a blast. The dancefloor was full, the cool air moved in for guests to relax outside, and the night ended perfectly. Here are a few highlights from Autumn and Ryan’s Nashville wedding day.

 

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Zuzzel and Chase had an absolutely BEAUTIFUL wedding day. Even though it was in June, the heat wasn’t suffocating, and the sky was a perfect mix of clouds and sky. With a full day ahead of us, we started with the couple getting ready and the anticipation in the air was heavy and full of laughter. Zuzzel’s family is from Peru and their fun-loving nature was evident on this wedding day. The bridesmaids were helpful and kind, the groomsmen took on the day like champs, and the family was bubbling over with excitement. We love this couple and are so excited that they are finally married after what seemed like forever I’m sure. They are not only adorable, but they are so precious to each other, and as their ceremony reminded us, full of faith in the Lord to be loving husband and wife to each other. Here’s a sneak peek into their very amazing celebration.

Zuzzel and her dad are close, so we set up a first look with him and he was sooooo sweet!! One reason having two photographers is helpful – these two didn’t see each other until their ceremony, so these photos were taking during different parts of the day…

Brandon was with Chase and started portraits early on while I captured Zuzzel finishing up makeup and putting on her dress before heading to the same perfect spot.
An amazing ceremony location at the Noah Liff Opera Center. It was our first time, and it didn’t disappoint!Bride coming down the aisle GOALSAfter wedding celebratory selfie with the bridal party!Talk about a gorgeous bridal partyYou guys, this reception set up was SOOOO pretty!!This mother-son bond is strong, y’all. So sweet.As you can see – this dancefloor was one of the most active we’ve ever seen. Those Peruvian vibes were strong. SO. MUCH. FUN!!! Zuzzel and Chase, we had so much fun with you and are looking forward to seeing you again very soon! 

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You may remember seeing Jake and Julianne’s engagement blog post not too long ago. If you read that or if you just know them, I don’t have to tell you how absolutely precious these two are. Not only together, but as individuals as well. Both of these two young people are caring, compassionate and genuinely nice people. What I didn’t know, is just how much their wedding day would display Jake’s protection and love for Julianne. You see, Julianne had been very ill the week before their wedding with doctor visits and IVs, meds and rest. When she felt great on wedding day morning, we were all relieved. Unfortunately the heat at this gorgeous summer wedding would prove to be too much and cause all of the energy she had mustered up to turn on her and fail her. But I’ve never in my life seen someone so sick look so beautiful or act so gracefully.

 

Looking through this day you’d never know she was struggling, because she held all of her poise and beauty so well. And Jake was her strength each time she would feel sick again. It helps that he’s a nurse and knew exactly what to do for her. This couple displayed so much strength and dignity during these bumps in the road and their family and bridal party was right beside them every step of the way. Speaking of which, we left this wedding with such full hearts because every person we encountered was so incredible to us. So loving, so encouraging. One member of the family even made me (Lindsay) cry when I hugged her bye with her precious words of encouragement to me.

 

It was so breathtakingly beautiful from start to finish and I wish my words did it justice but I suppose the photos will have to do. Here are some highlights from this amazing wedding day.

 

On the right, her grandmother’s necklace…I think we decided she looked like Elizabeth Taylor. Consequently, also her grandmother’s name. This first look, y’all. The sweetest girls. And I still know all of their names :)These fellas were awesome too. Although one got “fired”, we let him back in. Brandon always kills with groomsmen shotsMitchell White with the florals <3This next set of photos is ABSOLUtELY POSITIVELY why you should build at least a few minutes of golden light photos into your timeline.

Yes, even when you have a first look.

This sweet couple trusted when we told them to run with us to this field, and I’m betting they’re glad they did…I was SQUEALING!!! I died. I am dead. I can’t tell you how happy this image makes me!When we tell our brides to get longer sparklers, they have time for a little fun. At this point, our couple was already gone in the getaway car, and their parents each took a turn through the line! So cute!

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