Real Weddings: Caitlin & Dale

Caitlin & Dale…what a sweet, sweet wedding day! There were so many good things about their special day, and we want to point out a few!

-Caitlin and Raquel (the bride’s mom) were incredibly easy to work with from day one. They were organized, had a plan, and went with the flow even when things didn’t go exactly as they had originally thought.

-We love the mix of fall and pretty light blues for this wedding! It had such a fall feel, but they kept it light and airy. It was gorgeous.

-A family friend grew the white pumpkins they used in their decor.

-The bride and groom were so kind to us throughout the whole process, and at the end of the night, Caitlin couldn’t stop thanking us for being part of making her day so special. That meant the world!

-Let’s talk about Caitlin’s dress. So stunning and elegant, and it was complimentary to who she is as a person. We love that she wore cute sneakers as her wedding shoes! Adding in your personality to your wedding is a perfect way to make sure it’s a day you’ll never forget.

-They also gave away cute tiny succulents to their guests! They had a little sticker on them that said “Let Love Grow”.

Getting to be part of people’s special day is a dream come true for us. Every weekend, we are able to witness one of the most exciting parts of people’s lives and that will never get old.

Images courtesy of Cortnie Smith Photography.

Our Favorite Southern Music Festivals

Josh and I are no stranger to music festivals.  Ever since we started dating in the mid 90s, music festivals and concerts have been our jam (no pun intended).  We both have an eclectic taste in music so going to festivals allows us both to hear a variety of bands.  Here's a list of some of our favorite in the South, along with a few that we're doing later this year!

Memphis in May-Beale Street Music Fest

Memphis_in_May

One of the first music festivals we ever attended was Beale Street's Music Fest in Memphis, Tennessee.  It seems to ALWAYS rain whenever it's Memphis in May Music Fest, but that never seems to bother concert goers.  We've been there in the muddy mess-we were a lot younger and it didn't bother us back then.  The thing I love about Beale Street Music Fest is the wide variety of acts you can see.  We love getting to see talent representing a variety of genres in one weekend.  Over the years, we've seen people like Bob Dylan, Widespread Panic, The Wildflowers, Little Richard, North Mississippi All Stars, Blues Traveler, Better than Ezra, and Bush (just to name a few).  

Tip:

If you go, make sure to pack a poncho and rain/muck boots.  Chances are-you're going to need them!  

Bonnaroo- Manchester, Tennessee

Bonnaroo-our view in 2011

Bonnaroo-our view in 2011

Bonnaroo Baby!

Bonnaroo Baby!

Set in Manchester, Tennessee (south of Nashville), this iconic 4-day fest has been going on since 2002.  In 2011, Josh and I, along with two of our friends, set out to experience it.  First, let me tell you...it's HOT.  It's always in the middle of June in southern Tennessee, so it's not surprising it's scorching.  But it's set in the middle of a 700-acre field and it gets real hot and real dusty.  As long as you are prepared for the heat, you're going to be fine.  And, any of my friends can tell you, but I absolutely positively hate tent camping.  I don't want to rough it in a tent.  Not to mention, a tent in 110 degrees--no thank you!  Luckily, our two friends had access to an RV, so we were able to use that the whole weekend.  Honestly, I cannot imagine doing Bonnaroo without an RV.  We were able to cool off in the air-conditioned RV whenever we wanted, and we had a nice hot shower to rinse the dust off with each day.  

The year we went, some of our favorite acts of the weekend included: Ray LaMontagne, Florence and the Machine, Widespread Panic, Arcade Fire, The Black Keys, My Morning Jacket, Old Crow Medicine Show, Loretta Lynn, and Big Boi.  The crazy thing about Bonnaroo is that you can listen to a band at any time of day.  Literally, concerts were still going on at 2:00 a.m.  What's even crazier is the people watching.  I'm talking about better than "The People of Wal-mart" people watching.  I've never seen anything like it in my life.   

Y'all ready for my favorite part of Bonnaroo?  I absolutely loved the concerts and listening to all those amazing acts.  But, my absolute, hands-down best memory of Bonnaroo was "The Silent Disco."  It was an open-air pavilion, and when you walked in you were handed a set of wireless headphones.  The DJ was at the front of the room playing all kinds of music.  Everyone was dancing, singing aloud to the music, but because it was all in the headsets, you couldn't actually "hear" the music if you weren't wearing the headphones.  I love a good dance party, and the Silent Disco was the bomb!  The best was when you walked by and you could see a ton of people dancing and singing, but you didn't actually hear the music.  

I found a video on YouTube to show you what I'm talking about:

Tips for Bonnaroo-

  • Be prepared for lots of dust if it's dry, and lots of mud if it's been rainy.
  • Wear OLD clothes and pack old shoes.
  • Drink a lot of water and stay hydrated; staying out in the hot sun will get you if you're not careful.
  • They have water refilling stations everywhere, so just pack a refillable water bottle.
  • Pack sunscreen!
  • Pack Clorox wipes (you're going to want to wipe your hands from all the dust)
  • Check out the yummy food trucks.  They had a donut truck from Knoxville that was delish!

Hangout Festival-Gulf Shores/Orange Beach, Alabama

The Ferris Wheel, Hangout Music Fest

The Ferris Wheel, Hangout Music Fest

In the spring of 2015, we attended the Hangout Fest in Gulf Shores/Orange Beach, Alabama.  This is hands down one of my favorite festivals.  Instead of standing outside on dirt or mud, you get to stand on the beach!  Seriously, even though it was hot, we had the ocean breeze and sand between our toes at every show.  Another awesome part of this festival-the bathrooms.  In the interest of keeping it real, every porta potty had toilets with running water.  If you are a concert or festival-goer, you know this is a BIG deal.  I've told y'all, I don't like "roughing" it.  Josh laughed when I told him how happy I was that there was running water.  It's the little things, and yes I know I just admitted I'm high maintenance when it comes to the outdoors.

Some highlights from that show (besides the awesome beach scenery) were the vendors, the food trucks, the shuttle experience and the time of year it was held.  It was in May so it wasn't scorching hot.  At an outdoor festival, that's always a plus in my book.  We also paid to do the shuttle buses and that was well worth the money.  We didn't have to worry about getting stuck in bumper to bumper traffic, as the shuttle buses pick up out front of most major condos in the area.  

Some of the acts we saw that year were The Foo Fighters, Zac Brown Band, Beck, Skrillex, and Paramore.  I have to say that I wasn't expecting this, but Skrillex was my fave.  I wasn't sure I'd like his show, but y'all, it was amazing!  If you've never heard of him, he's an electric dance DJ, and the light show combined with the music was unbelievable.  I knew none of his music because it's all computer generated (not radio friendly), but it was a killer show.  I'd like to see his show again, but I'd have to make a trip to Las Vegas, where he DJs.

Tips for The Hangout Fest

  • Pay extra for the shuttle service via bus-it's worth it
  • Pack sunscreen and a water bottle (they had refillable stations inside)
  • Pack a small towel or blanket you can use on the sand; it's perfect for sitting at the back of the shows and taking it all in.
  • Wear shoes you can easily take off (like flip flops)

Forecastle Festival-Louisville, Kentucky

Forecastle Festival-Louisville, Kentucky

Forecastle Festival-Louisville, Kentucky

In the summer of 2015, we went to The Forecastle Festival in Louisville, Kentucky.  It's set on the banks of the Ohio River with multiple riverfront stages on about 85-acres.  Louisville is such a cool city, and I really wished we would have had more time to explore it.  We stayed really close to the show at the Embassy Suites in downtown Louisville.  It is in a historic building, but it's completely modern and updated.  We were able to stay parked in the garage and walk back and forth to the show.  

That summer, a few of the acts we saw included Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton (before he became super famous later that year), Shovels and Rope, and My Morning Jacket.  Josh is a huge Sturgill fan, so getting to this festival and seeing him was how we spent our 13th anniversary!  

The Forecastle Festival, at least the year we went, seemed like a way scaled back version of other festivals we've attended.  You could easily get to the front of the stage at all the shows we went to, and all the stages were pretty close to each other.

Forecastle Fest-2015

Forecastle Fest-2015

Sturgill Simpson Show, 2015

Sturgill Simpson Show, 2015

2017 Music Trips!

Sloss Festival-Birmingham, Alabama

Sloss Fest-Birmingham, Alabama

Sloss Fest-Birmingham, Alabama

This summer, we have tickets to attend the Sloss Fest in Birmingham, Alabama.  It's a two-day festival at the Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark.  There are going to be over 40 bands of 4 stages.  Here's who we're excited to see: Alabama Shakes, Sturgill Simpson, Widespread Panic, Need to Breathe, and Nathaniel Ratliff and the Night Sweats.  I keep hearing great things about this festival, and it's one more for Josh and I to check off our "list."

Pilgrimage Music Festival-Franklin, Tennessee

Pilgrimage Festival

To round out our list of festivals, this fall we're going to the Pilgrimage Music Festival in downtown Franklin, Tennessee.  We've been wanting to attend for the past 2 years, but we couldn't make the date work with our schedule.  I'm sure many of you have heard the buzz around the festival this year already.  If you haven't heard, Justin Timberlake (who bought a farm in Williamson County) is headlining it.  I've seen him in concert at Bridgestone, and I can't wait to see him at an outdoor venue.  The Pilgrimage Festival is hosted on a 200+ acre farm/park and features a wide-variety of musical acts.  It will take place entirely during the day, and all shows will end by 8:00 p.m.   One of the things the festival is known for is it "Pilgri-mashups."  This is where artists come together for one-time collaborations on the stage.  I honestly can't wait to see who will get paired up this year.  Here are the acts we're most excited about: Justin Timberlake, Eddie Vedder, Ryan Adams, The Avett Brothers, Mavis Staples, Better than Ezra, Shovels and Rope, and Valerie June.

So for you West Tennessee folks reading this, I have an interesting story about the last artist-Valerie June.  I wasn't familiar with her, until my family and I were on a Southwest flight to Orlando recently.  Josh handed me the Spirit of Southwest magazine, and told me to read an article about a girl from Jackson.  Valerie was born in Jackson and raised in Humboldt, and has made a name for herself in the music world.  Her bio reads like a "who's who" of people she's collaborated and toured with over the years.  She's performed at Carnegie Hall, the White House, the Tonight Show, Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo and Later with Jools Holland in the U.K.  She's toured with Sturgill Simpson and Norah Jones as well.  We've been listening to her music ever since we read the article and learned she had West Tennessee roots.  I'm excited we get to see her in concert later this year.

So, that's my list of top music festivals in the South that Josh and I have been to over the last few years.  

To recap our complete list, here you go:

  1. Memphis in May-Beale Street Music Fest
  2. Bonnaroo
  3. The Hangout Fest
  4. Forecastle Festival
  5. Sloss Fest
  6. Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Fest

I'd love to hear from y'all!  Do you have a favorite music festival that's not on this list?  Josh and I are always looking for the next one to add to ours.

XO,

Steph

 

 

 

Celebrating 2 Songwriters at The Station Inn

As many of you know, I LOVE a good party.  That love for planning parties and events is why Josh and I are building The Venue at White Oak Farms.  Last week, I featured an interview with Jessi Alexander, Nashville singer/songwriter.  I thought it would be fun to share some details from the baby shower I created for her at The Station Inn a few years ago.  

18 South, Jessi and J.R.'s band, regularly performs at The Station Inn. If you aren't familiar with The Station Inn, you should be!  It's a concert venue in The Gulch (12th Avenue neighborhood) in Nashville, Tennessee.  Some of the best musicians have graced the stage there, and it's an icon for any music lover.  Despite all the real estate development in that area, it has remained untouched.  It is well known for the bluegrass and country acts that have played there, and there is usually a line wrapped around the building trying to get in.  

The-Station-Inn-Nashville

When Jessi and J.R. were expecting their twins, a few girls and I went in together to throw them a baby shower.  I can't think of a better way to celebrate 2 musicians than with a concert and baby shower at their favorite venue-The Station Inn.

I along with 2 of Jessi's friends-Morgan Stapleton and Cassidy Bentley-set out to turn The Station Inn into a fun, Mexican fiesta. We wanted the venue to transform into something different that night, so we thought we would add some fun festive touches.  Plus, since J.R. is from Texas, he loves a good Mexican meal.

Here are some pictures from that night.  All photo credit goes to: Leslie Walker.

Our "Mexican" version of the Stork.  I bought this stork years ago, and it traveled with me at any baby shower I threw!  I finally sold it before we moved back to West TN.  The shirt the stork is wearing is Josh's guayabera shirt he bought when we lived in Mexico.

Our "Mexican" version of the Stork.  I bought this stork years ago, and it traveled with me at any baby shower I threw!  I finally sold it before we moved back to West TN.  The shirt the stork is wearing is Josh's guayabera shirt he bought when we lived in Mexico.

Stork-The-Station-Inn outside

Inside The Station Inn, we used all kinds of decorations to transform the space for the party.  One super inexpensive thing we used were dowel rods with ribbon streamers tied in different colors and lengths.  We tied these to the ceiling using fishing line. We also had inexpensive red tablecloths and "Mexican" candles that you can purchase in the ethnic food aisle at the grocery store.  The  banners and Mexican lanterns were purchased online.

Inside-The-Station-Inn shot

For the menu, we had the main items catered by a local Mexican restaurant.  When I'm throwing a party for a large crowd, sometimes it's just easier to have the main course catered, and then I make the desserts.  For the dessert table, I incorporated "Dia de los Muertos" ceramic statues that I had collected during the time Josh and I lived in Mexico.  I made Key Lime cupcakes, strawberry margarita flavored cupcakes, raspberry almond thumbprint cookies and Mexican wedding cookies.  To finish off the cupcakes, I had a graphic designer, Lisa Sarmento, create custom guitar and star toppers with a Mexican-themed backdrop.

Dia de los Muertos Dessert Table

I also wanted to incorporate a wall of images for people to see baby pictures of Jessi and J.R.  I had my graphic designer create these custom cards.  On the front are images of Jessi and J.R. and on the back we left space for people to write fun messages to them.  I've taken this idea and recreated it multiple times over the years, including at several milestone birthday parties I planned for clients.

"Two Peas in a Pod" and "The Perfect Duet" are just 2 of the cards we did.  

"Two Peas in a Pod" and "The Perfect Duet" are just 2 of the cards we did.  

"Twice as Much to Love" and "Two of a Kind" to celebrate their upcoming twins' arrival.

"Twice as Much to Love" and "Two of a Kind" to celebrate their upcoming twins' arrival.

Love this sweet picture of Jessi and Shyla, her daughter

Love this sweet picture of Jessi and Shyla, her daughter

Childhood images of Jessi and J.R. mixed with fun little mustache onesies I made help adorn the stage.

Childhood images of Jessi and J.R. mixed with fun little mustache onesies I made help adorn the stage.

Pre-show rehearsal

Pre-show rehearsal

Jimmy Wallace 18th South
Jessi pregnant with twins performing at The Station Inn

Jessi pregnant with twins performing at The Station Inn

One final shot of the concert that we all enjoyed that night!

One final shot of the concert that we all enjoyed that night!

If you're ever in Nashville, make plans to stop by and see a show at The Station Inn. Here's their website to look for upcoming performances. 

If you're lucky enough, you may catch an appearance by 18 South.  In the meantime, here's a video of one of their performances.