Say YES! to the Bridesmaid Dress

July 19, 2017 by Grand Central Party

The only thing better than marrying your best friend is having your best girlfriends each in their bridesmaid dress attending you during the wedding. It really is such a magical moment to know your best friends (and family) will stand alongside you as you exchange nuptials.

Bridesmaid Dress Ideas

Complement your style with the perfect bridesmaid dress.

Let’s not forget how much fun and excitement is involved! There are Bridesmaid Proposals and all the incredible pre-wedding beauty photos.

Now let’s talk about the dresses.

We all know how many dresses the bride has to try on before she selects THE perfect gown. But there’s no way to find the perfect bridesmaid dress for each of your BFFs without going to a bridal warehouse like David’s Bridal, right?


You can totally find a stunning bridesmaid gown for your best girlfriends to wear on your wedding day and beyond. We’ve compiled a list of retailers with dresses that area available to purchase now instead of being ordered and waiting six or eight weeks for it to arrive. Or worse – go out of business like Alfred Angelo, leaving brides in a panic.

Rest assured, these stores have dresses to suit your bridal style at a variety of price points. Besides, now you’ll have an excuse to get dressed up for a day of shopping with your besties!

Ann Taylor

Known for her polished-yet-trendy styles, Ann Taylor offers a variety of dress silhouettes in lovely solids and bold prints. Plus, you’re likely to find a style like this one that your bridesmaids would be willing – and able – to wear again and again after your big day.

White House Black Market

Not only does WHBM offer casual dresses for all occasions, but there are also categories like “Wedding Guest Dresses” and “Cocktail Formal” that provide some fabulous options for bridesmaid dresses. Another alternative option would be to have your ladies wear a stylish jumpsuit like this one.

Charming Charlie

Charming Charlie makes shopping oh-so-easy! The entire store is laid out by color and features everything from shoes and handbags to dresses and accessories. If you’re a bride who wants to let bridesmaids choose their own dresses within a certain set of parameters, Charming Charlie is a great place to start. The website even offers the option of shopping by color within specific categories, like dresses.


Imagine everything you love about Charming Charlie, then step it up a couple of notches. That’s Versona. The shop features an array of boutique-style apparel, shoes, accessories, and gifts. Whether your wedding style calls for cocktail attire or bohemian chic, Versona is a fantastic option for alternative bridesmaid dresses.


This luxury department store features an entire line of gowns for brides and bridesmaids, alike. From gauzy ethereal to flowy florals to glitzy glam, Nordstrom offers an unparalleled selection of dresses that will have you giddy with excitement.

Banana Republic

This is another shop known for its sophisticated silhouettes and polished styles. If Banana Republic is your absolute go-to for on-trend style, consider it for your bridesmaid dresses, as well. This look is perfect for your outdoor garden wedding!

Another department store favorite is Belk with all its Southern charm and glory. Belk also features a bridal section that includes bridesmaid dresses on its website and formal gown option inside its stores. It also gets bonus points for offering mother of the bride and mother of the groom options! We’re particularly fond of this sparkly dress that your bridesmaids are sure to love for your indoor or outdoor nuptials!


We’ve always considered H&M as a sort of grown-up version of Forever 21; the styles are typically super trendy, a tad more mature, and of a slightly better quality than F21. They’ve also begun offering options labeled “premium quality” that can be wonderful for your bridesmaids. This is especially true if your wedding has a whimsical feel about it, and your besties can wear adorable dresses like this paired with sparkly ballet flats.

Planning a Family Reunion? We Can Help!

July 8, 2017 by Grand Central Party

A family reunion can be a lot of fun as well as a lot of work and since reunions abound this time of year we decided to post a few tips. Summertime makes us feel alive; the sun is shining, kites are flying, sprinklers are spraying But nothing tops the feeling of reuniting with distant family members and meeting new ones!

Family Reunion

Summertime Family Reunion

That’s why we’re here to help you plan the perfect family reunion so everyone can have a great, stress-free time. We’ve thought of (almost) everything. Go ahead and read our suggestions below, then give us a call at 615- 868-3747 to start your party planning today!

Reserve a tent

Grand Central Party can help you check this to-do off your list! Not only do we offer an unparalleled selection of crisp, odor-free tents, but we’ll also professionally install them for your celebration.

Summertime in Middle Tennessee can be sweltering one minute and raining the next minute – or, let’s be real, hot and rainy at the same time! That’s why it’s important to plan ahead and keep Grandma safe from the elements.

Whether your family is small and spunky or growing every year, we have a tent to suit your party – and family – styles. Check out our Tent Rentals page for more info.

Bon Appétit!

We all have that one uncle who really is the Grill Master! Let him work his magic for your entire family on one of our oversized Charcoal Grills.

Need to keep your potato salad cold and baked beans hot? We have a variety of chafer options to make food presentation a breeze.

And let’s not forget a freestanding propane fryer for extra crispy chicken wings! Yum! Have a look at our Catering Rentals for even more ideas.

Have a seat

Family reunions are so much fun! Cousins are catching up, mamas are carrying little ones, and Grandpa is telling one of his loooong stories. Be sure to have enough chairs for friends and family to sit down and relax.

Plus, everyone will need somewhere to eat once the food is ready. We can help with Table Rentals and Chair Rentals in different sizes, colors, and price ranges to suit your family’s style – and family reunion budget!


No party is complete without a bar – especially a family reunion! Consider pre-mixing a specialty cocktail like Blueberry Stoli and ice cold lemonade for a super refreshing, no mess option.

7 Ways to Incorporate Your Groom’s Style During the Wedding

June 30, 2017 by Grand Central Party

As brides, we tend to get carried away thinking our wedding day is all about us. And the for the most part, it is. But you also can’t have a wedding alone. Incorporating the groom’s style will make the wedding even more memorable.

Think beyond the groom’s cake and consider these super fun ways to share your special day with your special someone. Consider his personality, style, and interests and be creative with them. He’ll thank you later! 

  1. Boutonniere

What are some of your guy’s favorite hobbies? Is he a musician? Or maybe a he has a passion for sailboats? Consider making (or ordering) some truly unique boutonnieres for him and his groomsmen to wear. We absolutely LOVE this sailor’s knot and these alternative boutonniere styles. Bonus points if you make the rose from some of your guy’s own music.

  1. Highlight his heritage

Marrying the tall dark and handsome Latin man of your dreams? Celebrate his culture in style! That is, if his Abuela hasn’t already insisted on her own ideas. Latina magazine published a list of 10 Awesome Wedding Favor Ideas to Celebrate Your Heritage! that are oh-so-fantastic.

  1. Groom’s gift

It’s always nice to get your groom a little special something for him to open before the ceremony begins. Find a nice cigar box and include a sweet love note, maybe some risqué boudoir photographs, and a pair of “don’t get cold feet” socks that match your wedding colors and showcase his personality. For example, if wedding colors include royal blue, then opt for a pair of Chicago Cubs socks (assuming he’s a fan).

  1. He can say, “Yes!” to his outfit

When we’re planning every single detail of our wedding, we also want to control what our guy wears, right? But it’s also important for him to be comfortable on his special day, too. If your fella is more comfortable is jeans and a band t-shirt, then chances are, he’ll feel completely out of his element in a black and white tuxedo. Consider a stylish suit paired with a pair of Converse sneakers. It relaxes the overall look and really showcases the groom’s (and his bandmates’) style.

  1. Serve his favorite drinks

What’s a reception without some bubbly?! If you’d like to feature a couple of His & Hers signature drinks, pick one he actually enjoys drinking. More bonus points if it’s reminiscent of his childhood home. Mint Julep, anyone? And be sure to have his favorite beers on-hand, too. After all, you can’t expect him to drink champagne all night – unless of course, that’s his natural drink of choice.

  1. Be playful

Is your groom a kid at heart? Maybe you two bonded over your insane love for Monopoly? Then have some fun with it! This couple showcased their passion for Legos in some subtle and not-so-subtle ways that really highlight their personalities. Be creative! We promise your guests won’t forget those kinds of details.

  1. Make the wedding cake the groom’s cake

We mentioned groom’s cakes earlier (which, for the record, have come such a long way and are now insanely awesome!), but you can also make the actual wedding cake represent both of your personalities. You can still have the three-tier decadence with buttercream frosting you always dreamt of, but opt for Star Wars bride-and-groom cake topper! Your groom will love it! And it demonstrates compromise, which will completely save your marriage in the long run :)




Wedding Fitness: One bride’s journey to looking her best – and how you can, too!

June 15, 2017 by Grand Central Party

When bride-to-be Tylar Setser selected a form-fitting backless gown, she immediately started thinking about ways to improve her wedding fitness to look dazzling on her wedding day.

Wedding Fitness

Get fit for your Wedding

“I knew I wanted to feel confident and comfortable in my gown so that I could really be completely engaged and present during our big day,” she explained. “As our wedding day drew closer and closer, I began feeling anxious about how I would look and feel in it.”

Like most brides, Tylar’s thoughts immediately turned to diet and exercise, so she confided in her groom, Chris Maxey, about her concerns.

Lucky for her, Chris is not only a certified personal trainer, but he also co-owns Murfreesboro-based UFIT Fitness Studio.

Without revealing too many details about her wedding gown, Tylar explained which areas she’d like to tone up – and slim down – so she could feel confident and sexy for their big day (and night!) together.

“Chris has worked with brides preparing for before their big days, and he was able to personalize a plan for me based on the dress shape,” Tylar said. “Don’t worry – he still didn’t see me in it until the wedding day!”

He ultimately created a 3-month workout plan for Tylar that was simple to follow, easy to enjoy, and completely rewarding with clear benefits and improvements.

“He knew I really wanted to focus on my back, waist, and arms, so the workout incorporated interval-type training that gave me an elegant back, toned arms, and lifted glutes,” she said. “When I finally put on my dress on our wedding day, tears of joy filled my eyes! I looked how I wanted to look, and I felt confident going into the wedding.”

By putting time into the workout, Tylar could take credit knowing that she’d worked hard to feel confident and beautiful on her wedding day. That put her mind at ease, so she relax and not worry about how she looked in front of their guests.

Plus, working out was a huge stress reliever leading up to the wedding.

Not every bride has a personal trainer for a groom, so we compiled 3 Easy Tips for Wedding Fitness:

  1. Set realistic goals.
    If your wedding is in three months, don’t expect to lose 50 pounds in a healthy, keep-it-off kind of way. Remember: slow and steady wins the race, so start your fitness journey early. If you’re short on time, concentrate on the areas that will be highlighted by your dress. Think: arms and shoulders for a strapless dress or thighs and glutes for a mermaid-style gown.
  2. You can’t out-work a bad diet.
    Nutrition is SO important. We’ll say it again. Nutrition is SO important! Our bodies need vitamins and nutrients to function at their best. What we eat affects our skin and hair, but also our heart and kidneys and liver. Everything is connected, so you nourish your body with healthy foods. Check out My Fitness Pal for delicious recipes.
  3. Healthy is happy.
    Focus on being the best you. Once you commit to healthy eating and regular exercise, we promise you’ll feel great, too! Not sure where to begin? Start by following fitness bloggers on Instagram! We’re especially fond of @mytrainercarmen and her easy-to-follow workouts.


12 Tips on Event Photography with Pets

June 6, 2017 by Grand Central Party

Dogs are a huge part of our families. They share our day-to-day lives, and they are there for all the big moments!

In fact, our dogs are often with us more than our human family members. So it’s only natural that we want to include them in milestone moments, says April Hollingsworth, owner of Harmony Designs Photography, who has been photographing dogs (and humans) in the Nashville area for more than 14 years.

Include pets with your pjotos

image by Harmony Designs Photography

“I still love it when a client tells me their pup will be involved in the photo shoot,” she said. “Adding in the dogs always make family photos or special events more memorable!”

Often times pups are our first babies, so it’s only natural to want to include them in all the special moments!

“Our dog has been a part of our family for the past 7 years. Now that our family has grown, it was important to us to capture any moment with our dog and our baby girl!,” explained Amy McNeil, who recently completed a photo session with Harmony Designs Photography. “We’ve grown accustomed to him being a part of our family moments and including him in some of our baby’s photos reinforces his position within our family dynamic.”

As a veteran dog photographer, April knows how important it is to incorporate Fido into your family portrait – or nuptials – so she compiled a list of 8 Tips for Including Dogs in Special Photography Sessions:

  1. Confirm – Don’t assume that your dog is allowed in the venue or park; be sure to check that dogs are welcome. And confirm your plans for the event or session with your photographer and event planner so there are no last minute surprises.
  2. A Helper – Have someone you trust – and that your dog likes – to help out with your pup. Your dog won’t be in every picture, so you will need someone to watch them when they aren’t needed. For a wedding you will want to assign a person to be with your dog throughout the day, to ensure your dog gets food, water, any medications, and potty breaks.
  3. Look Stylish – Nothing ruins a great image like a gross, dirty collar! Make sure your pooch is model ready with a clean or new collar and leash. Add a little extra flair with a bow tie, bandana, or doggie outfit.
  4. Have Treats – Not the normal, everyday treats either. On photo day, you spoil your good doggies with hot dogs, string cheese, duck jerky, Bil-Jac, or freeze dried liver. Having yummy treats will help to keep their attention throughout the session.
  5. Favorite Toys – Having your pups’ favorite toys on-hand serves two purposes: a toy might help get their attention for pictures, and it will also keep them busy when it isn’t their time to be in the spotlight.
  6. Leash Laws – Make sure to bring a leash for your dog! Even the best trained dogs can get distracted in a new environment and possibly run away. There may also be other animals, loud noises, or strange smells that can frighten or distract your pooch. All public parks and locations, as well as most venues, have leash laws requiring your pup to be on leash at all times.
  7. Supplies – Pack a small bag to keep everything for your dog in one place. Have food, treats, water, bowls, toys, accessories, baby wipes, paper towels, and cleaner (just in case of a potty accident). It is always better to be prepared and not ruin your shoot.
  8. Crate – Have a crate on-hand is important for a wedding or event. At some point your dog might get tired, become too excited, or just get overwhelmed. Placing the crate in a quiet room will give them a spot to take a break.

As much as she loves including dogs in every aspect of her life, April says there are times when pups are best left at home. As you are planning your big event (or outdoor photography session), consider just a few more things for the well-being of your furry friends:

Pets, Children and Photos do mix

image by Harmony Designs Photography

  1. The time of year – Is it July and 100 degrees or February and snowing? Will your dog be alright with the temperature? Do they overheat easily? Will they have to stay in a vehicle for any length of time? It is very important to consider the temperature and weather and make sure that is a good fit for your dog.
  2. Homebody – Is your dog shy, nervous, or protective around new people or in new places? Then this event might not be a good idea. You wouldn’t want your dog freaking out during your wedding if they are afraid of the people and loud music!
  3. Is this fun? – Will your pooch enjoy this? It is a question to ask yourself for sure! If your dog is the life of the party and a social butterfly, then an on location photo shoot or event is right up its alley. However, if they would rather be anywhere else, then a big soiree isn’t be the best idea. A photo session at home with your family might be a better choice!
  4. Medical Conditions – If your pup has any severe medical conditions that might make it dangerous for him/her to be a part of the event, definitely discuss this with any helpers, and your photographer/event planner.

Want more photography tips and session heads? Follow @HarmonyDesignsPhotography on Instagram!