Archive for September, 2010

Julie Anne + Clay ~ A rustic wedding-A rockin’ reception! ~ 8.21.10 ~ Nashville Wedding Photographer

September 24, 2010

I was so happy to be chosen as J+C’s photographer, especially after learning about the reception band they had booked!  After chatting awhile, I realized that I went to high school with the band’s lead singer.  Such a small world!  Be sure to check out the awesome music of John Paul Keith and the One Four Fives.

Julie Anne and Clay met as students at Miami University.  After college, Clay’s dream of becoming a Navy Submariner took him all over the country while Julie’s dream job was unfolding with her sorority, AOII in Nashville.  After a brief break apart, the couple reunited and realized just how vital they were to each other.  I can’t give this sweet story the justice it deserves, so I’ll let Julie Anne tell it in her own words:

“…on the first day of 2010, Clay gave me a locket his grandfather had given his grandmother during WWII while he was a pilot in the South Pacific.  She had worn it on her wedding day and he wanted me to know it’s significance to his family and to him.  I started to cry because it was a beautiful gift and I was so touched he was giving me something so important and personal.  I didn’t think there was anything more to the gift, but when he told me to open the locket, there was a note inside that said, ‘Julie will you be my wife’ and Clay was down on one knee saying incredible things about us and wanting to be together always in our lives.”


Coordinator or Wedding Planner: Details by Margaret

“Having a day of coordinator was such a great help and we were lucky enough to have two! Margaret and her assistant Kelly. They were both willing to help with all the final details that needed to be pulled together the day of (setting up chairs, putting out bottled water, making sure all the set-up was perfect) and really helped with our stress levels the week/weekend of the wedding. They were a great help!!”

Contact:  Margaret Tolbert,

Hairdresser: Tamara McCray from Streets Salon. Make up artist: Delisha also from Streets Salon.

Bride’s dress designer – Ulla Maija (Tatiana – is the style of gown).

“The dresses came from Catan’s Fashions in Strongsville Ohio.  It was important I found my wedding dress with my mother up in Ohio, so we got it there while I was visiting my home state!”

Florist – A Village of Flowers in Hillsboro Village.

“The flowers were gorgeous and she was able to work within our budget without any trouble, which was wonderful! I would definitely recommend picking a flower budget far less than what you think you need to budget for and trying to see what will work to get it there. Melanie was very willing to work with us to achieve this. Pretty flowers were important to us, but sadly most of them get thrown away at the end of the night and they’re all gone in a week!”

Contact:  Melanie –

Wedding Location & Contact – Moonshine Hill, Leiper’s Fork

“We wanted to get married outside in the open and so we found Moonshine Hill (which is not a full service venue and required more work on our part to ensure we had everything set for an outdoor wedding that would go smoothly – including details like having the property sprayed for mosquitos, a portable toilet brought in, and a tent rented as our rain plan – which very luckily we didn’t have to use! Ann, the proprietor, was so helpful though in being readily accessible to assist us in thinking of the details that needed to come together.”

Contact:  Ann Johnson  615-500-1234

“Overall, we wanted to create the feel of a ‘backyard wedding’ that we were hosting and both venues allowed us to achieve this on a bit larger scale than we would be able to have done at a friend’s home.”

“Cori of Social Graces in Hillsboro Village designed our invitations and wedding programs and they were fantastic! We wanted to do something different that expressed our personal style and she was able to turn our vision into the perfect printed details that accented our wedding. She also created a design for matching water bottle labels and her attention to detail and great personality were fantastic to work with. It was fun to have customized and personalized designed invitations that were truly one of a kind!”

Reception Location: Lillie Belle’s (Franklin).

“We couldn’t have been happier with our location choices. Lillie Belle’s is designed as a full service garden wedding location and reception venue, but with the charm of a gorgeous Victorian home.”

Contact:  Bud Carman–

“Instead of having a wedding band, we hired one of our favorite artists who we love seeing play venues around Memphis. It was great fun to expose our family and friends to their music and we had an incredible time dancing!”

Caterer: Constant Cravings Catering (for the rehearsal and dinner).

“The quality of the food was incredible (people are still raving about the smoked gouda shrimp and grits and as most of our guests were from out of town, it was a new experience for them to try grits! We did assorted desserts instead of wedding cake and the chocolate used on the chocolate covered strawberries was divine. Suzette was even able to find a delicious recipe for ‘Tres Leche’ cake, a specialty we wanted to serve in small pieces. As major foodies, it was really important to us that what we served our guests was exquisite and delicious and they achieved this for us!”

Contact:  Suzette Lane –

“After knowing each other for such a long time we make an incredible team and both feel so lucky to have married our best friend in the whole world. We love being husband and wife!”

Your favorite and least favorite part of planning? “My favorite part was daydreaming of the perfect details that added personal touches to the wedding.  Actually Clay thought of many more of these than I did, but including them really felt we were having ownership and adding character to our events.  For example, we used some of our favorite records instead of a guest book and had guests sign the white insert sleeves with their good wishes and put “Love and Honor” on our water bottle labels, which is part of the words to our alma mater of Miami University where we met.  Least favorite part of the planning was the stress of getting so many details done and Clay and I getting huffy with each other as we were planning (which really caught us by surprise!).  We both wanted everything to be so perfect, and that added stress that we sometimes took on each other.  Planning everything so closely together was a blessing, but also a challenge for us.  Overall though, it all turned out so well that even our tifs were worth the final result of the perfect weekend for us!”

The most memorable moment of your wedding day? “The time we had alone after our ceremony was wonderful.  We had a morning wedding, for fear of the Nashville August heat, and an evening reception, so the time in between was a really special several hours.  One of my favorite parts was going to lunch at Mellow Mushroom with Clay.  I changed out of my wedding dress for our exit from the ceremony so we wouldn’t draw too much attention.  It was fun to be under the radar so quickly following our marriage and just having lunch together.  We spent some time in a church in downtown Franklin and then walked along the main street and then took our pizza back to Moonshine Hill and had lunch at the cabin there, just the two of us.  I think it really helped us take in the events of the morning and get ready to celebrate that evening.”

What you would change, if anything? “We got a little stressed during cocktail hour and dinner trying to visit with everyone and making sure everything was set and ready to go (which of course it all was).  I wish we would have relaxed a bit during those two hours – but once we headed outside after dinner and had the toasts and our first dance.  The details melted away again and we were able to relax and just enjoy the day.  There’s no reason to stress about the little things!”

Where your budget was best spent? “Our band.  Instead of having a wedding band, we hired one of our favorite artists who we love seeing play venues around Memphis.  It was great fun to expose our family and friends to their music and we had an incredible time dancing!  Also, our photography!  Shanell you did such an incredible job and our pictures are fantastic.  Afterall, the flowers die, food is eaten and the day is over eventually, but the memories of it all are captured in those pictures and we will have those forever.  In addition, I can’t tell you how much we appreciated your stealth and subtle ways of taking pictures in a non-obtrusive manner. You were able to capture everything we wanted you to capture that day, while staying completely out of the way of what was happening.  You were amazing!!” (THANKS, JULIE!!!)

Any advice for future brides? “Honestly, one of our best decisions was to keep the wedding as small as we possibly could.  We had around 65 guests and it was just the right amount to truly spend quality time with our closest family and friends on such an important weekend.  We were able to invite everyone to the rehearsal dinner (and all but about 10 of them were able to join us!).  Guests from both sides and all parts of our lives got to make a weekend out of it and get to know one another.  I’ve heard so many brides say, ‘the day just flew by, I hardly remember it!’ and for me it wasn’t that way at all.  I think this was in great part due to the size of our guest list.  It was a difficult task to make our list small and there were family members and dear friends who were not on the final list (which was tough!).  But ultimately, it really allowed our wedding to be about us and spending time with a small enough group to really get to enjoy each moment and each person who was there with us.”

Thanks for all the info, Julie Anne!  It was a pleasure.

© Bledsoe Photography

Tara & Thomas ~ 8.14.10 ~ Nashville Wedding Photographer

September 8, 2010

It seriously felt like a sauna the day Tara & Thomas said “I do” in Nashville!  But thanks to wonderful planning by the folks at The Standard, every detail was taken care of so our bride and groom could keep their cool and enjoy their day.

Tara and Thomas’ son, little Thomas was their ring bearer and show stealer.  He wanted to be just as much a part of the wedding as mom and dad!  Such a cutie pie!

Tara filled me in on a few planning details so I could share them with other brides.  I’ll add them as we go along!

Caterer/location – The Standard at the Smith House

“Everyone raved about the ballroom and building, such a unique venue.”

“Billy is the events coordinator for The Standard.  I do not have enough good things to say about him. He was fantastic and went the extra mile for us!  He made our wedding beautiful and took care of everything!  He made the fabulous Chicken Riggie’s himself, a Utica, NY original which is my hubby’s hometown and favorite meal!”

David’s Bridal for wedding dress and Maid of Honor’s dress.”

“Glory at Suite One Salon did my hair.  She is great!”

I love this shot of big Thomas and little Thomas as they watch Mommy walk down the aisle.

Sweet family!

Family dance.

A dance with Daddy.

“Wedding cake was purchased at Publix.”

This kid was a great dancer!

Your favorite and least favorite part of planning: “I highly recommend finding a location, such as The Standard, that provides everything you need.  I could not have dealt with finding linens, forks, china, etc. all myself.  This made the planning part much easier!  All we needed to do was provide flowers, which we did ourselves and a cake!

The most memorable moment of your wedding day: “Walking through the door and seeing my soon to be husband and our 2yr old son waiting for me at the end of the aisle.  They were so precious together and I will never forget that moment.”

What you would change, if anything? “I would change the time of year of the wedding, August is HOT!”  (~ Amen to that, Tara!!)

Any advice for future brides? “Don’t stress out about the little things, no one notices what color your table linens are or what kind of fork they held.  Your guests will be having so much fun they will never take notice of all the small stuff you stressed out about.  Also, make sure your wedding coordinator or venue coordinator understands you and what you expect.  Billy, the coordinator for the Standard, was wonderful to work with and made sure he had a clear picture of what we wanted on our wedding day.  Finally, RELAX, eat, and enjoy your wedding!”


© Bledsoe Photography

Brando~a dressage dream!

September 2, 2010

I tagged along with my dear friend Christy (aka Axl to those who know her best!) as she competed with her stallion, Brando at MTSU earlier this summer.  Brando is not simply a beautiful horse.  No, no–you can tell just by looking that he is an absolute rock star!

Christy is the head of Equine Studies at Hiwassee College in East TN.  Along with competing and teaching, she also offers private instruction in basic riding and dressage.

I love you, Axl & Brando, and I’m so proud of you both!

Heather + Michael ~ Knoxville Wedding Photography

September 2, 2010

Heather and Michael were married June 20th on the Clinch River at Flatwater Grill in Oak Ridge, TN.  As usual for a June wedding in Knoxville, it was a smoking hot day and I think I lost about 5 pounds just sweating.  I can only imagine what the guys were feeling in those tuxes!

I’ll get right to the photos–such a pretty blue sky that day!

I love the prayer circle!

Again, surrounding the couple in prayer.  Beautiful.

Flatwater Grill has excellent food and a gorgeous location with indoor and outdoor event facilities.

Great centerpiece idea!  3 Engagement photos in a tri-fold frame with a candle inside to illuminate them.  Pretty!

Michael may or may not be a sports fan…

…and a closet Backstreet Boys fan.

© Bledsoe Photography