Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Something Old, New, Borrowed & Blue: The Why's and How-to's of this Timeless Tradition

Something Old, New, Borrowed & Blue: 
The Why's and How-to's of this Timeless Tradition

Where did this tradition come from?

This tradition originated with an Old English rhyme.  The rhyme goes something like, "Something Olde, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, A Sixpence in your Shoe."  Hence-forth, these four objects that the bride adds to her wedding outfit or carries with her on the big day have just been considered to be good luck charms.  Something old is representative of continuity, or the link between the bride and her family.  Something new is considered optimism for the future and is representative of the new union the bride and groom are creating together.  Something borrowed is meant to symbolize happiness borrowed, or the support that family and friends will lend to the new couple.  Something blue is reminiscent of purity, fidelity and utmost love.  And lastly, and most often omitted, the sixpence in your shoe means a wish for good fortune; however, this tends to remain a British custom.
What can I use for something old?
-A locket with family pictures
-A vintage garter
-An old poetry book or Bible
-A vintage car
What can I use for something new?
-Lingerie—This could be an opportunity to take advantage of and treat yourself with something you would not usually buy.
-A "new name"—Have you initials embroidered on your gown.
-Your dress—You do not have to over think when thinking of your something new item.  It really can be as simple as your new wedding dress in itself.
What can I use for something borrowed?
-WordsIf there's a passage that really speaks to your relationship and circumstances, "borrow" a portion of these words for your own ceremony
-A cake knife
-Rent a luxury bag—The website that was made famous by the Sex and the City's first feature film could set you up in style for your "Something Borrowed" needs.  Follow this link to shop: Bag Borrow or Steal!
-Jewelry—Jewelry is always a wonderful go to for something borrowed as well!  Ask family members from both sides, as well as close friends!
What can I use for something blue?
-Pale blue nail polish—This can be beautiful when kept simple; you don't want to take away from the rest of your ensemble.  
-Blue embroidery—Kill 2 birds with one stone and have the stitching be your "new name".
-Blue bridesmaids' dresses
-Blue flowers—You could incorporate these in your hair or in your bouquet.
-"Something Blue" perfume by Oscar De La Renta

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

How to Say 'Thank You' to Your 'I Do' Crew

Congrats on finding your mister, but now you need your sisters!  Here is a breakdown of the in-and-now do's of how to say thank you to your 'I Do' crew.

Step 1) Time Frame To Ask Your Crew 
How to ask her once he's asked you:
There are various creative outlets one can use to let your girlfriends know that you might need something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue, but the most important thing you need is them standing next to you!  A good rule of thumb is to ask your gals to be your bridesmaids anywhere between a year to eight months before your wedding. That gives them plenty of time to plan the bachelorette party and get their dresses. Any less time than this may not be enough for them to make the commitment.

Step 2)  
Now comes the fun part!  You know the old saying: "giving is better than receiving"...?  Well, this is one of those times.  Not only are your girls going to be equally as thrilled as you to get to stand next to you on your big day, but being asked is one of the best parts for you both.  The trend, as of late, has been to assemble a little box of personalized and pampering goodies topped off with a creative note to pop the question to them, as he has to you!  

Soirées' Team has hand picked one our favorite ways to ask your ladies to plan, stand, cry and laugh 
with you on your special day.  This is such a unique and adorable keepsake to throw in your box!
Here is the link to Choosing You shop on Etsy where you
 can find all of your personalized tool and spool needs!

Another foolproof trinket to include is a candle.  Everyone loves candles. Check out this adorable candle made specifically for bridesmaids that we found!
Check out the really reasonable prices here!

Lastly, include a bottle of wine—large or small.

A great shop Soirées loves to use is One Hope.  They provide personalized wine bottles with a flare! 

12-bottle case mini sparkling brut - silver
Add labels to make this already tasteful and thoughtful aspect go
above-and-beyond the usual standard!

Here at Soirées we actually have our own personal One Hope contact, so if you are ever interested in their packages, feel free to contact the office for further details.  Here is a link to their website if you wanted to see all of the products the company has to offer. One Hope Wines

If you decide to pop the question by popping some One Hope bubbly, you will need something to sip down the sweetness with.  This brings us to another great addition to your box of fun!  Personalized wine glasses, water bottles and coffee mugs are all fun ways to go!  Pictured below are some of our fav options we've found scoping Pinterest.

Step 3)
Your gals are there for you.  Now that you've got them by your side, you want to show them how thankful you are for their love and support come the day-of.  It may be you wedding day, but it is customary to gift your girls once more prior to the ceremony.  

For the crafty bride: 
DIY sparkly hanger option
If you have the time, a really touching gift for your people is a personalized scrapbook of all the memories you have shared.  This gift will take some more time, preparation and personal effort than other options, however, it will be worth its weight in gold when you get to see the look on your girls' face and they see how hard you have worked.
For the on-the-go bride:
We also understand that though you may wish you had the time or artsy skills, crafting just may not be your thing—that is totally okay too!  We still have plenty of gifting options for you!

We love this personalized rustic frame sold by!  Not only is it a unique, handcrafted piece, but it is also a way to incorporate memories that you have shared together with your girls by filling each maids' frame with a special moment the two of you have shared.  

Also, we adore thinking outside the box!  Instead of going with the typical matching pajamas theme for a cozier gift, think about sentimental Forever Blankets from Swell Forever or bridal party flannels by TeamBrideDesigns Etsy Shop.  

We are also swooning over the idea of matching monogramed round beach blankets for your girls if you're headed to a shore for or prior to the wedding.

Step 4) Helping Your Man Find His Men 
Now that you have your girls so well pampered and waiting in anticipation of the approaching date, you don't want your future hubby's groomsmen to feel left out. Here are a couple ideas to help him out!

It is customary to ask the entire bridal party within that same timeframe of anywhere between a year to eight months before your wedding.  Groomsmen gifts are less commonly heard of, however, they are a super sweet touch—and who doesn't love to be showered with gifts and honored with the opportunity to support a dear friend?

Soirées' Team has selected a few of our fun favorites!

The Mini Bar in a Jar: 
This is one of those concepts that is sweet and simple.  

It is thoughtful, yet you really cannot go wrong.  

Check out this "open bar"!

The "Man" Box: 
As you can see, this box includes everything from socks to cigars!
It even includes the fun option to let the guys make a game out of
 guesstimating the length of the speeches, etc.

Planning a wedding can be stressful, so getting your support system rounded up shouldn't have to be. 
Hopefully this guide has sparked some ideas within you as far as how you will decide to go about saying thank you to your 'I Do' crew!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Vendor Spotlight: Rich Smith Photography

We have been working in the wedding world for more than a decade and we have the opportunity to meet and work with some amazing vendors that make the event a success!  One of the most important vendors a bride picks for her wedding is most likely going to be the photographer.  This is going to be the person who captures the most tender and intimate moments of her wedding, as well as provides the  couple with images of the beautiful memories that they will have for a lifetime.  We have had the pleasure of working with this particular vendor for many years, and overtime we are ensured of his positive and professional attitude as well as the incredible images that capture the love of the couple and the fun of the event in a genuine way.  We sat down with Rich Smith, owner of Rich Smith Photography, to get the inside scoop on what it is like to work in the wedding world of photography. This is what we unveiled!...(no pun intended)

  1. Where did your love for photography begin?

    I was inspired by a local photography team here in Chattanooga over 11 years ago. I stumbled upon their website one day in 2006 and was blown away. I had never seen photography done like this; with ordinary people being photographed in such a natural, beautiful, and authentic way! All I had known before then was "prom posey, cookie cutter, looking at the camera" photography. To say I was hooked and obsessed is an understatement. I bought a camera solely for the purpose to learn how to do what I do today!
  2. What is your business niche?

    Our focus and passion is definitely for wedding photography. The majority of our time and efforts are spent getting to know our wedding clients, asking them a series of questions to understand their personalities; what defines their relationship, and seeking to document exactly that as authentically as possible. We take a limited number of weddings per year so that we can give the time and attention to each couple that we believe is necessary to develop a fantastic personal and professional working relationship! Whether it’s a traditional church wedding, a destination wedding, or an outdoor wedding at a gorgeous venue, our couples tend to be full of life, excited about their relationship, and place a very high priority on their wedding photography.
  3. (Rich Smith with wife/partner Heather Smith and 2 daughters)
    Describe a Rich Smith Photography Bride.

    She's smart! And sweet and kind. She's confident and feels deeply. She's has close friends and family who love her intensely. Everyone around her can't contain their excitement for her. There will be lots of laughter and tears of joy all around her. She has a beautiful spirit about her. Ultimately, she has an amazing love story to tell and trusts me to share it with care and authenticity!

  4. How can a bride be prepared for meeting with you?

    Other than to be familiar with (and excited about) our work, no prep, whatsoever. I try to convey our personalities as thoroughly as possible on our website so that couples who would be a great fit can find us and feel connected to us online before ever even meeting face to face. I’m casual and friendly but I’ve been doing this for long enough that I can naturally answer any question they may have had during our meeting. Choosing the photographer for your wedding is an intimate thing. My brides ask me (a stranger) to come in and become a part of their family for the day. I’m with the bride all day long, capturing everything to tell the story of her wedding day. It’s a big decision that I want them to feel absolute comfortable with!
    (a wedding Rich Smith Photography has done)

  5. As a photographer, wha is the greatest asset you offer your clients?

    I think our strongest asset in running our business is that Heather and I are a team, and we love our clients. We truly have learned to be better together, to complement each other’s strengths and leverage our weaknesses. I photograph many of our wedding solo, but Heather is available as a second shooter for our couples who'd like to hire her by the hour. We work together to create a phenomenal turnaround time, and we love working with so many talented local vendors. Those vendor relationships are at the heart of what we do and mean so much to us as a small business.
(an engagement session by Rich Smith)
6.   What is the best way for a bride to contact you?

My favorite way is for the bride go to my website first! ( That’s my main gateway. I’m the first to say that I’m not the best photographer for every single bride. Going to my website first allows her to get a really good sense of my personality, my style, and gives her a really good idea whether our personalities would mesh well! Many times the face to face meetings are just a formality because my brides have so connected with us online that they already know they want us to be the ones to document their wedding! Those are the best meetings!

(a wedding shoot by Rich Smith Photography)
7.   What are some of your business goals for this year?

It may be easier to say what aren't my business goals this year! My mind is constantly racing about how to improve my business and it's centralized around creating a better experience for my clients and vendors!  We've already developed a more focused workflow to turn around images to vendors of a wedding the day of (or day after) the wedding. Then to get the entire wedding edited and back my clients before they get back from their honeymoon. It's been fun to see the amazing response from everyone!

Hope you enjoyed this edition of Vendor Spotlight!

Friday, June 30, 2017

A Weekend in Chattanooga

If you're looking for the perfect weekend for your out-of-town guest to get a taste of the real Scenic City, look no further! We have put together the perfect 3-day weekend guide to make sure your guests see the best of the best!

Friday Afternoon:
After traveling to Chattanooga to celebrate your special day, your guests are sure to want to wind down, or should we say, "wine" down! Make reservations for your out-of-town guests to have a glass of wine at Tony's Pasta Shop & Trattoria in the Bluff View Art District. There, they can also enjoy historic Chattanooga, breathtaking views of the Tennessee River as well walk through the entire Bluff View Art District- the perfect spot for all ages. However, you can't go to Tony's Pasta without trying their hand cut pastas! After your rehearsal dinner, pop in to see your guests and let them know your must-have Tony's plate! 

But wait, there's more!  Tony's is not all the this area has to offer.  There are so many great restaurants in the area, such as, Back Inn Cafe, Rembrandts coffee shop.  The Bluff View Art District definitely fits its name featuring stores and galleries and offers an impressive, outdoor sculpture garden. It is also situated steps from the Hunter Museum.

Southside is another good option for dinner or play. The Flying Squirrel, FEED, STIR, Alleia and the Terminal are all some of Chattanooga's most favored restaurants and bars that are right next to the Chattanooga Choo Choo.  Southside has a great night life too, so your Friday night with your out-of-town guests does not have to come to a quick close.  Just don't make it too long of a night, because you've got a big day in the morning!

Saturday Morning:
While you're getting dolled up, it's a must for your guests to grab brunch at The Bitter Alibi on Houston Street! They'll be greeted with mouthfuls of southern flavor with a creative twist! Once they've filled their bellies to the brim and enjoyed a Mimosa (or two) they can spend an hour or two shopping just down the road on Warehouse Row.  Featuring stores like Anthropologie, J. Crew, and Yves Delorme, the Row has a great selection, but he building's historical architecture with modern touches make it a sight to see all in itself!

Saturday Afternoon:

While shopping in Warehouse Row can be exciting, make sure your guests know to save some time for the award winning Tennessee Aquarium! They'll see exhibits all the way from the mountains to the sea! The River Otter Falls, Penguins Rock, and Alligator Bayou won't disappoint! If you have a few guests that are more for the delicate side of wildlife, the Butterfly Garden exhibit filled with exotic flowers will be their favorite spot! Before they know it, it'll be time to put their dancing shoes on and head to the main event- your wedding!

Sunday Morning:

We are sure your guests will have had such a great, long Saturday night, they may want to skip breakfast and shoot for brunch! And we know just the place! Adelle's Creperie is a brunch must! Their savory crepes are made to order and extremely customizable. They also have a lean list of omelettes and a few southern favorites such as waffles!

Sunday Afternoon:

Before your guests head home, you must encourage them to head up the mountain to check out Rock City! It's a wonder of nature featuring large ancient rock formations, over 400 plant species, and a panoramic view where they can see 7 states! If walking around enjoying all Rock City has to offer makes them work up an appetite, no worries! They don't even have to leave the park because they can enjoy a hot lunch at the Big Rock Grille where hamburgers, sandwiches, and chicken fingers are the norm!

Consider creating a special RSVP card for each activity that way you'll know ahead of time who would like to attend so you can call ahead to get discounted group prices! Another fun treat for your guests is a weekend welcome letter that lists the itinerary of the eventful weekend to come.
If you have many out-of-town guests, consider joining them on a few of these Chattanooga adventures to get as much quality time in as possible and to let them know just how much you appreciate them making the trip!

Happy Planning!


Friday, April 28, 2017

Vendor Spotlight: May Flowers

April showers bring May Flowers and this year it also brought a big move!

We set down with the owner of May Flowers, Christy Staven, to discuss the move, her goals, and who a May Flowers Bride is!

                                               Photo by: Bamber Photography
You can now find May Flowers at 800 N. Market St. in Chattanooga, TN and it couldn't be a more perfect spot to showcase their floral talent! The history of the building is a story all in itself! It was actually built in 1920 and served the community as a local market! Christy said she couldn't be more honored to carry on its story.

Christy told us she is also so excited about her new space because of the amazing, open floor plan. As soon as you open the doors, you are welcomed by tons of shelves full of gorgeous rentals May Flowers has to offer. Once you take a few steps in, you can see Christy's amazing team in the back designing away for your big day! You can also see a large cooler where the flowers are stored and a small desk where they get down to business! It all comes together to create magic!

Photo by: Amanda May Photography

Christy said that her main business goal is to add more weddings each year and to gain larger-scale events. Best news is, since she opened in 2013, she has hit her goal every year!

We wanted to know a bit more about who a May Flowers Bride is. Does she like traditional flowers or trendy, loose bouquets? Or is she somewhere in-between? Christy assured me she is all the above! With classic, traditional training from Mississippi State, but also an ability to follow trends and keep up with the latest, Christy and her team at May Flowers can do it all!

Christy said, "We like to look at nature as inspiration. With classical training, nature, and then following trends, I like to think we are a happy blend of all those things."

On a scale from 1 to 10, a May Flowers Bride would fall towards the 10 side of loving and appreciating flowers! A May Flowers Bride is also someone who is laid-back, fun, and able to trust the professionals.

Photo by: Jennie Andrews Photography

"I love to see someone who is so inspired by flowers and is able to come up with some ideas but allows us to actually take that and run, putting our own twists and our own suggestions on something specific. Someone that is open to our creative freedom is my ideal client."
                     -Christy Staven

            Photo by: Cinderella Photography

There is so much more that goes into floral design than what meets the eye. Christy said she receives the flowers at the beginning of the week and will prep them and place them in the cooler to keep them fresh. Then, beginning Thursday they will start designing for whatever event the weekend brings! And designing continues all the way up until hours before your event to ensure every last petal is in its place!

Event days are Christy's favorite part because everything they have worked so hard on all comes together to create their vision. You may have 2 staff members or as many as 5 or 6 to create the event space you have envisioned!

         Photo by: Lanie Kay Photography

Are you getting ready to meet with May Flowers for your upcoming event? Here's some things you may want to have picked out ahead of time:
-Inspiration Photos

But, if you're overwhelmed and unsure, not a problem! May Flowers will walk you through every step.

With these April showers coming to an end, we are full of excitement to see those sweet May Flowers at our upcoming events!

                                                Photo by: Bamber Photography

If you think you just may be a May Flowers Bride, you can check out some of their amazing designs on their social media pages:
Facebook: @MayFlowersChattanooga
Instagram: @mayflowerscha
Twitter: @MayFlowersCha
Pinterest: @mayflowerscha

Or you can email Christy directly at or call the office at (423) 486-5320.

Happy Planning!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Top 5 Spring Wedding Trends

Dear Bride-To-Be,

I’m writing you today with a little extra excitement because it’s the first day of SPRING! While everyone loves the gorgeous flowers and warm weather the spring season brings, of coarse here at the Soirées office we are excited because we are in full fledge wedding mode! And we LOVE it! Here are a few things we are looking forward to this spring wedding season!

1.)  Pinks and Yellows and Blues- OH MY!
-While mutes have been the go-to colors in the past for an elegant, romantic wedding, this spring, say hello to color! Using a few pops of bright colors is a great way to wow your guests and give your wedding a little touch of extraordinary!

                Photo by: Our Ampersand Photography 

2.)  Vertical Space- the Perfect Place!
-This spring, look UP! Brides will be taking full advantage of every square inch of their venue! Hanging florals are a gorgeous way to add depth to your wedding design, plus, they are absolutely breathtaking.

                                        Photo by: Andy Baxter Photography

3.)  Enticingly Eclectic
-Can’t choose just one tabletop design? Choose them ALL! This spring, Bride’s will be shying away from the perfectly uniform past and will be moving forward with some organized mayhem! 

4.)  Metallics, Pleases!
-Metallics make a great accent and their versatility make them useful in any design scenario! This spring, metallics are here to stay! Just a little tip- don’t go overboard! A little goes a long way! Using metallic linens at the cake and guest book table should be just enough!

                         Photo by: Cinderella Photography

5.)  Sheer Bliss!
-The most important detail in any wedding is the Bride and her wedding look. This spring, brides may be showing their guests a little something extra… some skin! Sheer dress details this spring are HOT! Illusion necklines, beaded backs, and airy fabrics are perfect for this season!

Follow these tips and you’re sure to have your guests in full Spring Fever!

Happy Planning and Happy Spring!