What You Need to Know About Wedding Photography: Part I

April 24, 2017 by Grand Central Party

 If a picture is worth a thousand words, then wedding photographs are priceless.

You’ve already found THE PERFECT dress and a handsome groom. Plus, you’ve designed your wedding bouquet (with hot pink peonies, of course), rented a tent, selected a cake. The list goes on.

Wedding Photography

Image courtesy of BrassPenny Photography

Don’t forget to capture the magic of your special day with professional photographs – the key word being “professional – that will last a lifetime.

We sat down with Nashville-based wedding photographer, Rachel Tenpenny of Brasspenny Photography, to get the scoop on wedding photography! This is only Part I, so stayed tuned for Part II.

Q: What is your number one recommendation when selecting a photographer?

A: Find someone whose style you love and whose work is consistent and trustworthy. Ask the prospective photographer to send you 2-3 full wedding galleries. They should have no problem obliging – and it gives you a glimpse into the kind of work they do for a full wedding, not just the best images that they share on their website or Instagram.

Also, ignore the “What to Ask Your Wedding Photographer” lists that are scattered across Pinterest; it doesn’t really matter what gear your photographer uses, as long as they are delivering work you love.

Q: What does a typical wedding day photo schedule look like? And how do you get all the photos without keeping your guests waiting forever?

Day-of wedding schedules vary from wedding to wedding, but here’s a typical wedding day for me:

I arrive about an hour before the girls finish getting ready, so I can snag Getting Ready shots of the girls and guys, as well as set-up shots, hang-the-dress, and gorgeous detail shots of the rings and other goodies.

After everyone is dressed, we start portraits. If we do a First Look, then it goes first, and then we finish as many photos as possible prior to the ceremony; we finish the rest afterward.

First Looks are a great way to speed up the post-ceremony photography process and get you to reception – and to partying with your guests – sooner. But certainly, don’t feel obligated to do one if you’re a more traditional bride.

About 50 percent of my brides don’t do a First Look, and we’re still able to get about 60 percent of photos done prior to the ceremony (shots that include the bride and groom together can be done after nuptials are exchanged).

When a bride and groom does a First Look, we typically ONLY do golden hour couples’ photos after the ceremony (the rest is finished beforehand). And if they opt to keep it traditional, then we usually have about 30-40 minutes of photos before the reception.

I always ask my brides to fill out a formal Family Shot List so we know exactly what we’re working with prior to the wedding day.

And sometimes, if schedules are tight after the ceremony, we will finish bridal party and family, then go to the reception for the introduction/first dance, and while guests are being served dinner, the couple and I sneak out for 15-20 minutes of golden hour photos.

There are a MILLION ways to make your wedding day dreams work for you, but they key is proper planning from the beginning.

Q: Let’s talk dollars and cents. Wedding photography can cost more than the dress! Please explain.
A: I think a lot of couples are shocked at the sticker price of wedding photography. As cheesy as this saying goes, it’s true: other than your all-consuming passion and love for each other, wedding photography is literally the ONLY thing you are purchasing for your wedding that is going to last forever – and that you will be using again and again.

Don’t you want to make sure it’s of high quality???

If a price tag looks low – and you know you’re paying for a beginner or student – you have to expect that quality of work. If you are working with a full-time wedding photographer who has been in the industry for 8 or 9 years, their prices will reflect as much.

Never be afraid to do your research, so you know what the going rate for quality wedding photography is in your area.

Know that your photographer isn’t “just getting paid for 8 hours at your wedding.” Oftentimes, the price tag can very easily be broken down beyond the time spent shooting on your wedding day and time spent editing. Photographers still have to keep up their business, and their pricing factors in things like business insurance, equipment upkeep, the little amenities you receive throughout the process like online gallery delivery, etc. that aren’t necessarily included in the “wedding package,” but are all very much part of the whole package.

Keep in mind: most photographers are aware that every couple has a budget, and most photographers are also willing to work out personal payment plans, as well as tailor packages to fit your needs.

Part 2 is coming soon.

Alternative Wedding Times: Say ‘I Do’ Over Breakfast

April 13, 2017 by Grand Central Party

Who says weddings have to start at a particular time? Sure, there’s traditional etiquette that dictates black tie and seated dinners, but why not have some fun and  plan an alternative wedding time?

Alternative Wedding Times

Break Tradition with an Early Morning Wedding

If you’re looking for a way to make your special day unique, consider an alternative wedding time: breakfast, brunch, or late-night.

This is especially helpful if your venue’s availability is limited or if you want to schedule your wedding on a Sunday or weekday.

One tidbit of advice: while your wedding day is your special day, be considerate of your guests (especially younger and older family members), who may not be night owls.

Whatever time you select for your big day, let it represent your style as the bride and groom. Personalized weddings are not only more fun, but much more memorable for you and your guests.

Rise & Shine

If you’re truly a morning person, early-morning is the perfect alternative wedding time for you! (Side note: If you’re not a morning person, don’t even chance it. You DO NOT want to oversleep on your wedding day – or wake up super cranky because you didn’t get enough rest.)

You – and your entire wedding party – will have to wake up early. Read: E-A-R-L-Y. Morning ceremonies typically start around 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. Any later, and you’re having a brunch wedding. More on that later.

Chances are, your pre-ceremony to-dos will be slightly rushed (there’s just so much to do), but that means more time for the reception!

If your ceremony is outdoors, you’re almost guaranteed the most beautiful natural lighting (barring any unforeseen weather, in which case, we have tents!). And if you’re planning a summertime wedding, an early-morning ceremony means you’ll miss the noontime heat.

Not everyone is ready for a heavy breakfast first thing in the morning, so consider fruit, light breakfast-y foods, and hors d’oeuvres like these French toast and maple syrup cups.

If you and your groom are super fun and playful, opt for a cereal bar, complete with a variety of milks, cereals, and toppings.

Coffee is always a good idea, but it’s an absolutely must for pre-noon weddings. Offer Bailey’s as a creamer with an extra boost to get your guests relaxed and ready to mingle.

An array of freshly-squeezed juices adds a nice touch to an early wedding reception. Break open some champagne, and voilà! Now you have a pretty, fruity mimosa bar!

While most morning ceremonies are very mellow and relaxed, the reception is sure to be just as energetic as an evening wedding. After all, who doesn’t love an afternoon dance party?!

The best part about a morning wedding? When you lovebirds leave, it’s still early-afternoon, so there’s plenty of time – and daylight – to be giddy newlyweds.

Go enjoy the expensive hotel suite you booked for your wedding night! Not only will you have time for a truly romantic dinner with your new spouse, but your wedding hair and makeup will still be oh-so-lovely from your morning ceremony.

Bonus points if you wind up in bed at a decent hour and wake up the next morning sans hangover.

Brunch, anyone?

Brunch may just be our favorite meal of the day. If your closet is full of super cute brunch tees, then it’s probably your favorite meal, too!

If that’s the case, opt for a brunch-time wedding. Seriously. It’s totally a thing.

You’ll get to sleep in later than you would for a morning ceremony and you still get to enjoy the mimosa bar!

Speaking of bars, let’s explore our options. BuzzFeed compiled a list of the Top 10 Beautiful Brunch Bars, and we are absolutely smitten! Spice up No. 10 with some Hattie B’s Hot Chicken for a touch of Nashville flair.

Brunch is inherently casual, but dress it up with china and fresh blooms for a soft, romantic feel. This works for indoor and outdoor weddings.

If you are planning an outdoor wedding, keep in mind that your ceremony and reception will take place during the hottest part of the day (sometime between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.). Be sure to visit your venue during that timeframe so you can have an idea of lighting and temperature.

Liven up your early-afternoon nuptials with some interactive games (think: croquet, corn hole, jumbo Jenga, and even mini golf) that will keep your guests entertained while the wedding party takes photos. Plus, it can also keep younger family members entertained because, let’s be real, kiddos get wiggly during weddings.

The early-afternoon wrap time still applies to brunch-time weddings, which means the bride and groom will have a full evening to bask in their newlywed glow.

Calling all night owls

If mornings aren’t your thing and a dinner reception is out of your budget, consider a late-night ceremony-and-reception combo.

This your chance to be super whimsical and non-traditional. Maybe you offer cocktails to your guests upon arrival and invite them to toast your vow exchange. Invite a local food truck for quick, quirky menu options.

Aim for an 8 or 9 o’clock start time, so older family members can head home after the reception.

Guests will likely have had dinner, but they’ll definitely want some munchies. Go ahead and plan for a coffee bar to keep friends and family awake for the late-night dance party.

Splurge on lighting – whether you love string lights for an outdoor ceremony, ornate chandeliers for a romantic reception, or swirling LEDs for the dance floor.

We also recommend a shuttle service for guests to get safely back to the hotel. This is a nice amenity for all weddings, but especially one with a late-night (or very early-morning) end time.

Hair Styling for Him and Her

April 3, 2017 by Grand Central Party


Wedding Hair Styles

Wedding Hair Styles for Bride and Groom

Every bride knows how important a pre-wedding schedule is; it’s essential for a stress-free ceremony and reception. Of course, there’s catering to confirm and alterations to finalize and boutonnieres to assemble. The list goes on. But let’s not forget about hair styling; they are just as important as the wedding cake!

If you haven’t already, start thinking about what styles you’d like for you big day – or pick two and wear one for the nuptials and one for the after party.

Then, be sure to schedule a consultation about three weeks before the wedding – any longer and your stylist may not remember what you discussed.

“I always tell my clients to bring in three pictures of styles they like and one they don’t like because it’s really hard for a stylist to recreate a look from just one picture,” explains Tabitha Bryson, hairstylist and color expert at Scout’s Barbershop in East Nashville.

Color me pretty

If your hair is already colored, schedule a touch-up at least one week before your big day. An aptly-timed refresher will give your hair a more vibrant color as you walk down the aisle toward your handsome groom.

Ladies, listen up. Those of you who have been too nervous to try color, but decided at the last minute that you want it for your big day – yes, we’re talking to you – don’t do it!

“You definitely don’t want to try something new right before your wedding,” Tabitha says. “If you’re seriously considering new color, start at least six months beforehand, so you have time to either love it, change it, or decide on a way to style your new locks.”

Now let’s talk color!

Bronde is the absolute hottest trend for 2017, and it looks positively gorgeous! It’s the perfect mix of brownish-blonde and blondish-brunette, depending on your personal preference.

Not only does bronde look great when your hair is down (think: long, flowy waves), but it’s oh-so-perfect for up-dos, too! The coloring is so subtle, it offers an effortless, natural look.

If you’re still in love with ombré, consider one thing: up-dos hide the transition of one color to the other, so you could end up with a very contrasting look.

Channel your inner flower child

Florals have long been used to accessorize hairstyles. Hippies of the 60s and 70s perfected the “flower child” look with their long locks adorned with delicate floral crowns.

But trends evolve, and modern brides can take their styles one step further with the addition of big bold blooms or a rhinestone-and-Baby’s Breath combo. We’re obsessed with Cosmo’s list of 24 Stunning Ways to Wear Flowers in Your Hair on Your Wedding Day.

There’s literally a look for every bride’s personal style – from messy braids woven with fresh daisies to a chic chignon adorned with rose gold-colored ivy hair combs.

Grooming the groom

All eyes will be on the bride during the wedding, but a dapper groom is sure to steal (at least some of) the spotlight!

Fellas, you seriously have it so easy! You wake up, you shower, you dress, and you’re out the door in 15 minutes. It takes us that long just to apply the perfect cat-eye flick!

So, when it comes to your wedding day – or your best friend’s wedding day – take a few extra moments to spruce up your look.

“Guys can typically get a haircut a week or two before the wedding, depending on the style they wear,” Tabitha said. “If they wear a short, short fade, cut it the week beforehand. If they wear it a little longer, go 2-3 weeks beforehand.”

The same goes for bearded bros. Tabitha suggests a good beard trim a couple of days before the wedding. (Once again, this depends on personal preference and desired look. If you’re unsure, talk to your stylist. They are experts, after all.)

If you’re a clean-shaven kind of guy, splurge on a trip to your favorite barbershop a few hours before your nuptials.

“Make time for a straight razor shave that morning,” Tabitha recommends. “The hot towels, moisturizer, and close shave will last longer and give you a substantially cleaner look.”
Then there’s the scruffy style that goes especially well with rustic, outdoor weddings. We’re especially fond of a 5 o’clock shadow with artfully-disheveled hair


Partners in style

Tabitha also stressed the importance of cohesion between a bride and groom. This is a given when it comes to the wedding gown and tuxedo cumber bum – or Levi’s and suspenders – but oftentimes hair and makeup styles are overlooked.

“The bride and groom’s styles should complement one another and the overall feel of their big day,” Tabitha said. “Definitely take your venue and wedding style into consideration.”

She also pointed out that the husband-and-wife-to-be should discuss beforehand if the groom wants a stylist to fix his hair for the wedding. A perfectly-coiffed look can make a bride swoon for her groom.

“It’s not just the bride’s day, it’s also the groom’s day, and he should look and feel special, too,” Tabitha said. “Men love having their hair styled as much as – if not more than – we do!”

Go ahead, give him your Pinterest login so he can start searching for his wedding day hairstyle!

Transform Your Wedding Tent with Six Easy Steps

March 27, 2017 by Grand Central Party


Envision your ideal wedding tent space. Do you see an ethereal Secret Garden, or have you always dreamt of a super posh black tie affair?

Whatever your desires, our expert consultants can help bring those ideas to life – inside one of our tents. Plus, all of our tents are professionally cleaned and dried completely, so you’ll never have to worry about mold or mildew, and your big day can be worry-free!

Decorated Tent for Wedding

Transform any Tent with these 6 Steps

Because tents tend to be quite plain without any sort of décor, don’t be afraid to let your imagination run wild. Think of your tent as a blank canvas that you can completely transform with a few key steps.

Decorate your space in layers. Start with draping and lighting, then add tables and chairs, and finally, florals and décor.

We’ve compiled a list of tips to make your special day picture perfect.

  1. RSVP for our upcoming Open House

We are excited to host a very special Open House on Thursday, April 13, from 4-8 p.m. at our Madison location, which features a showroom and 20,000 square feet of wedding and party rentals.

This event is perfect for brides and grooms who need some inspiration for their upcoming wedding. Preview a range of tent set-ups, from frame and pole to clear tops and liner. Learn how you can transform your tent into a picturesque wedding venue. Browse basics like tables and chairs, and peruse china, glassware, and linens that fit your wedding style.

Sample refreshments from local caterers and visit with wedding vendors. You might just find everything you need for your upcoming nuptials!

Plus, we’re offering specials on rental reservations placed during the event! Be sure to RSVP for the event on Facebook.

  1. Go from drab to dazzling with draping

Gone are the days of polyester pipe-and-drape backdrops. Our designers use silky, flowing drapery to softens an otherwise plain space and add a romantic feel – perfect for the bride and groom.

Your wedding style will determine which fabrics to use. Transparent materials allow light to shine through, which can be great if you’re pairing them with string lights and want a subtle sparkle. Heavier-weighted fabrics can be used to create dramatic, swooping curves that create a billowy, airy ceiling. Consider using both types of fabrics in differing shades for an added effect.

Mix things up with asymmetrical draping. We especially love this technique when used in an entryway or marquee tent. What a great way to wow your guests!

  1. Lights, Camera, Action!

Think for a moment about your favorite types of lights. This is not a trick question, we promise.

Are you drawn to glitzy, dazzling chandeliers? Or do you prefer oversized globe lights reminiscent of old Hollywood movies? Maybe it’s the twinkling of tiny fairy lights that make you swoon.

Now imagine incorporate those styles into your wedding tent décor. Anything is possible. If you can dream it, we can make it happen.

You can even combine two of your favorites! Suspend glass chandelier from the ceiling of your tented reception and incorporate twinkling lights into the draping for a truly elegant feel.

And don’t forget the magic of uplighting!

Lights can be projected onto draping from the floor upward or from the ceiling downward to completely change the mood of your space. This is a great way to transition from whites and ivories during the ceremony to vibrant pinks or purples as everyone dances the night away.

  1. Natural nuptials

Incorporating florals into your wedding décor is a surefire way to elevate your event; they’re romantic, fragrant, and provide a natural element to your tent.

Opt for an organic feel with lush greenery (think: garland and topiaries) or be a boho bride and suspend brightly-colored flowers from the tent’s ceiling.

Select flowers and plants that complement your bridal style and maintain cohesion throughout the ceremony and reception. Pretty pink peonies are better suited for a rustic wedding than, say, long-stem red roses.

  1. Texturize your tent

Beaded curtains can add another sparkly element to your special celebration. Work them into your drapery panels hung behind flickering candlelight. Or better yet, mix in tiny LED fairy lights to illuminate the strands of beading.

If you’re looking for something a bit more whimsical, ribbon streamers are another fantastic option. Create a ribbon canopy over your dance floor for a truly fanciful feel.

  1. Come on in, have a seat!

Spruce up your space with our selection of furniture options, which range from sweet and simple to extravagant.

Family-style seating is perfect for intimate celebrations and really allows friends and family to get to know one another. Pair our handcrafted farm tables with metallic chairs for a relaxed, rustic reception. Add an oversized area rug for an extra cozy feel.

If your groom’s style is a bit more modern and luxurious, consider bringing velvet couches into your tent. Coupled with those glass chandeliers you love and high-top cocktail tables, and you’ll have instant glam!



5 Upcoming Events in Nashville You Don’t Want to Miss

March 15, 2017 by Grand Central Party


Wedding season has officially arrived! Birds are chirping, the sun is shining, love is in the air!

All things bridal seems to be popping up at every corner – from springtime flowers to wedding-themed emails and everywhere in between. If you’re a local bride, you won’t want to miss these upcoming Nashville events!

Oh, what a deal!

Prring Nashville Events

Check out the tulips at Cheekwood

If Say Yes to the Dress’s Kleinfeld is not within your budget, rest assured there are other options, especially if you fancy a great thrift store find!

Goodwill’s Annual Wedding Gala is this Saturday, March 18, from 6-10 a.m. at the RiverGate Goodwill store.

This event is the organization’s once-a-year sale that offers Nashville-area brides a chance to shop for wedding gowns, bridesmaid and Mother of the Bride dresses, and accessories at a fraction of the retail price. Many of the available gowns are donated by local boutiques and can include designers like Maggie Sottero.

What you need to know: Grab a friend and arrive early because sizes and colors are limited. Opt for comfy, easy-to-remove clothes like yoga pants and a hoodie so you can try on dresses in record time. And don’t forget shapewear! A pair of Spanx can make all the difference, especially with form-fitting wedding gowns.

Think of it as a pre-nuptial adventure! You may just find the dress of your dreams.

Your presence is requested

If you’re ready to shop for invitations, look no further than Paper Source, which recently unveiled its new line of wedding stationary and is celebrating with a sale! Find coordinating Save the Date, RSVP cards, custom embossers, and more.

Plus, you can book an appointment with one of Paper Source’s wedding experts, who are trained in finding an invitation that is unique to your wedding – and they will guide you through the entire invitation-related process.

The shop’s website also features a wide variety of wedding resources for color inspiration, tips for making DIY invitations, and highlights of wedding inspiration from Paper Source’s YouTube channel.

Plan your dream wedding in one day

Wedding shows really have become a rite of passage for brides-to-be, and lucky for you, Pink Bridal Show has announced its spring event will be held in Nashville on Saturday, April 9, at Music City Center.

The excitement of wedding shows is unparalleled. Brides-to-be show up, hand-in-hand with their moms, besties, and even grooms. All around them are stunning displays showcasing the latest in wedding trends. Models parade around in the hottest bridal fashions.

They visit booth after booth of prospective vendors, sampling tasty wedding cakes and chatting with photographers and DJs. Several lucky brides will even win some fantastic giveaways. And most wedding professionals offer special discounts to brides who book them during (or shortly after) the show.

Pink Bridal Show announced it will feature even more luxurious options than ever before, including a full couture wedding-planning section!

A not-so-secret garden

Springtime is just around the corner, and more than 100,000 tulips are blooming at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens.

Cheekwood in Bloom will be in full effect from March 18 – April 23 and features a full line-up of multi-colored tulips, daffodils, crocus, magnolias, snowdrops, dogwoods, hyacinths, and redbuds.

Not only is the garden absolutely breathtaking, but it’s also available for pre-scheduled Portrait Photography that will make for equally incredible engagement and/or bridal photos you can cherish forever.

Cheekwood requests a 3-day advance notice for all portrait sessions, and the group charges a sitting fee for any posed photography or videography. The cost is $200 for members and $300 for non-members and includes a 3-hour session for up to 6 guests (including photographer). Additionally, non-members will receive a dual household membership good for one year with their photography session.

One-of-a-kind, just like you

Shopping for the perfect bridesmaids and groomsmen gifts? Maybe you’re on the hunt for that show-stopping accessory that will make your bridal style truly unique?

Porter Flea is sure to have exactly what you need for your special day.

Now in its sixth year, Porter Flea is Nashville’s definitive pop-up event featuring modern handmade goods from the area’s most talented designers. The semi-annual artisan event is slated for June 16-17 at Skyway Studios in East Nashville.

Launched in 2011, the event brings together more than 140 gifted local and regional artists to share truly unique, local, and handmade gifts. Porter Flea is far from your grandma’s craft sho

rry, grandma. We love you.) In fact, vendors complete a lengthy vetting process that ensures only high-quality products make the cut.

We are especially fond of Hey Wanderer (hand-dyed bridal kimonos), Fernweh Jewels (nature-inspired jewelry), and Quiet Clementine (colorful, playful ceramics) for boho brides.

Go ahead, add these dates to your calendar. You won’t want to miss a single one!