Nashville Nuptials

Last month I was invited to perform a ceremony for a wonderful couple, Lisa and Tina at the East Ivy Mansion in Nashville. 

These two beautiful brides – together for 32 years! – had an elegant and fun wedding even though Lisa broke her leg just before the date!

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Chef Penelope’s Catering DJ Davis Mallory, Perfect Party Pix Photo Booth Music City Tents & Eventsand Stephanie Taylor Photography

 

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Stunning ( Free!) Ceremony Spots in Nashville

If you are looking for an affordable location for an outdoor wedding ceremony in Nashville, look no further than the Metro Parks Department. You may be surprised to find out just how many picture perfect wedding spots are in the Metro Parks list!

 

Parmer Park

One of my favorite little parks on the West Side of town is Parmer Park. The park is on Leake Avenue past the side of Belle Meade Plantation, and features some beautiful stone archway that would make a simply stunning ceremony backdrop.

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The stone archway shown above is actually from the school that used the on the site back in 1927. The school closed in 1982 and burned in 1985, but was created as a park in 1986.  The stone and brick archway was left as a reminder of the school’s history.

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Parmer also has lots of trees and grassy areas that would be beautiful in your wedding photos. Word to the wise though, this place is very popular with families on the weekends so if you are looking for a more private ceremony, try to come during the week.

Fort Negley

If you like history you’ll love a ceremony at Fort Negley over by the Adventure Science Center. The original fort crumbled over a century ago. The WPA restored it, but then the restoration fell into ruin as well. Its been restored again in recent years and now features a beautiful visitors center in addition to the park. There are tons of gorgeous spots around the park for a ceremony, stone arches, bridges, low rock walls, grassy knolls and clusters of stunning old trees.

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Lock Park Two

How about getting married by the river? This little known Nashville park is mostly loved by history buffs, photographers and those who just like to watch the river roll by.  The park is small but is a striking place to hold a wedding ceremony. Not only do you get the quite peace and natural beauty of the Cumberland River there is also a historic house on the grounds and an adorable nautical theme playground!

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Percy Warner Park

Another of my personal favorite locations is Percy Warner Park off Belle Meade Boulevard. The large stone entrance to the park itself is pretty eye-catching and it only gets better from there. Percy Warner is part of the ‘Warner Parks’ which has over 3,000 acres of pristine woodland area. One of the best and most picturesque part of the park is the stone steps that lead up to some of the walking trails. Just the most perfect spot for a romantic wedding ceremony.

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Centennial Park

This is one of the most popular and well known wedding spots in the Metro Parks repertoire, and while it’s not totally free it’s very (very) affordable. The sunken garden is impeccably manicured and just around the corner is a beautiful arched bridge that overlooks a pond buzzing with ducks.  Centennial Park also houses the Parthenon which not only has an amazing history , but looks pretty spectacular in wedding photos!

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If you have some other ideas on great Nashville wedding spots let me know!

Libby Lovejoy is a certified wedding officiant in the Nashville, Tennessee area. For more information or to book a ceremony email her at lovejoyweddings@gmail.com .”

3 BIG Reasons to Plan a New Year’s Eve Wedding!

A New Year’s Eve Wedding!

Don’t wait until Valentine’s Day to get married. Plan your elopement for December 31!

1.Romance! Love is in the air!

New Year’s Eve is a very romantic time and offers so many advantages over February 14 and other holidays because it is purely for celebrating.   It even comes with Fireworks!

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2. Tons of Location Options!

It’s not too late. There are parties being held all over town so you can just tell your friends and family which party you’ve chosen (or which one to START) then schedule your ceremony.

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3. Affordable!

Elopement (impromptu ceremony) costs are reasonable, you will not have the exorbitant cost of a private reception, and everyone will have a great time celebrating with you.

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How to Personalize Your Ceremony: Hand Fasting

About 20 years ago I was the “+1” for the wedding of a couple I hardly knew at a beautiful venue with a lavish reception for over 100 guests. Bride and groom were of different backgrounds and chose a traditional secular ceremony – except for one thing. After they stated their vows they added the very old, and seldom heard of, ritual of “jumping the broom.” I don’t remember the couple’s names, I don’t remember the dinner or whether they had a band or a DJ; but I do remember that interesting feature they put into their ceremony to show their unique take on life, on ritual, and on their imagination as a couple.

Flash forward to this millennium and I am now a wedding officiant helping couples custom craft their vows and making their ceremonies memorable. For the last few years I have researched wedding traditions and rituals of many cultures throughout the ages. While the trends and fashions change frequently (and sometimes radically), the one constant is that couples want a ritual, not only to proclaim and solidify their love, but to reflect their personalities.

Many couples are looking to ancient rites and customs as a way to personalize their wedding ceremony and make it more memorable. Recently, a couple with whom I was working requested a Hand Fasting ceremony, which I was happy to do for them.

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The ancient Celtic ritual of Hand Fasting is a declaration of intent (just as the law requires today). The couple states that they are marrying of their own free will, that they have formed eternal and sacred bonds and they will strive to make real the ideals that give meaning to this ceremony and to the institution of marriage. The origins of Hand Fasting derive from agrarian society, but the ritual has meaning today in its environmental aspects and its invoking the natural elements of the earth, sky, sun, stars, etc.

Hand Fasting is actually tying the couple’s hands together with a ceremonial cord or ribbon upon wrapping the hands each time the couple affirms one of four questions. The cord is tied after the fourth avowal and thus they have “tied the knot.”

The officiant can then summarize with a pronouncement such as, “The knots of this binding are not formed by these cords but rather by the vows you have made. For always you hold in your hands the fate of this union. Above you are the stars, below you is the Earth. Like the stars your love should be a constant source of light, and like the Earth, a firm foundation from which to grow.” A blessing of the hands can be added as well as the beautiful poem, “These Hands” (author unknown).jenty-handfasting

Hand Fasting’s ancient sentiments seem very modern now when used alone or in conjunction with a couple’s chosen traditional or personal vows. Either way, adding an unexpected element to your wedding ceremony definitely makes it more memorable. Whether your addition is Hand Fasting, a Unity Candle, a Wine or Sand Ceremony, your love for each other can be expressed in some very unique ways; and your guests will appreciate the extra thought put into your ceremony as evidenced by my remembering that posh couple from 20 years ago jumping over a broom.

Libby Lovejoy is a certified wedding officiant in the Nashville, Tennessee area. For more information or to book a ceremony email her at lovejoyweddings@gmail.com .”

Why “Elope” Isn’t A Scary Word!

“Elope” is an old fashioned word that is not used often these days. When many modern couples think of getting married in a “no-frills,”simple ceremony with just one or two witnesses, they do not think of it as eloping. Either it is not a secret or they are just thinking in terms of legalizing their commitment to one another without the expense of a full scale, months (or years)-in-the-planning kind of event. However, when you elope you can still have a memorable wedding day without the bells & whistles. In fact, with just a little thought, there are few things more romantic than an intimate elopement.

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Even if you are getting married (eloping) on your lunch hour, you can make your impromptu wedding individual by bringing along something unique to carry or display like a book that means something to the two of you or a souvenir from the place where you met. A family heirloom, a piece of jewelry or an item of clothing with special meaning, worn or carried, can add just the right sentiment. You can ask the witness to take pictures or video, or can have noisemakers or streamers, flowers or balloons. The attire can be whatever you are wearing for the day or something special.

The heart of any wedding, however, is the ceremony. It should be heartfelt, warm, funny or solemn; but primarily, it should be personalized even if it hasn’t been planned far ahead of time. Your wedding officiant should be able to work with you to write the perfect brief-but- meaningful ceremony and make it memorable.

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To some, the actual act of getting married is merely a legal formality that is just a step to their future as a couple. While this is factually correct, your wedding anniversary is still a special day that most people happily commemorate. How and IF you want to remember it is important regardless of whether you have a large, well-attended event or a good old fashioned “quick” elopement.

 

Libby Lovejoy is a certified wedding officiant in the Nashville, Tennessee area. For more information or to book a ceremony email her at lovejoyweddings@gmail.com .”

A Picture-Perfect Wedding

What makes a picture-perfect wedding? Emulating the photographs you’ve seen in the latest bride magazine? Using a far-out Cos-play theme to show how your individual “weirdness” made you one great couple? Following traditions found in your family or culture?

The answer is that your picture-perfect wedding is the one you put together that fits your personality, your budget and your dreams.

Case in point, I was recently honored to write and perform a late summer ceremony for a couple who had been together for 4 years and who were obviously deep in love. One worked for a non-profit, the other was a PhD grad student. Their ceremony/reception was in the backyard of some long time friends, who were happy to offer their home and their efforts.

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The décor for the small event was a beautiful mix of found or repurposed objects and the bounty of the season. That’s not to say that the beauty of nature doesn’t have its hazards. The ceremony site had to be relocated to the other side of the yard since the chosen tree was dropping walnut pods almost the size of tennis balls and standing under it presented a reasonable risk. However, the vases of wildflowers, white twinkling lights strung all around and the candles hanging in jars from the trees provided an ambience that suited the occasion completely.

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The couple’s rings were from a craftsman who fashioned them from an exceptional hardwood, inlaid them with precious turquoise and literally sprinkled them with stardust! He had pulverized a meteorite and applied the powder, making the rings quite extraordinary. As I described in the ceremony:

. . . in order to include the basic elements of life and thus the universe. These rings symbolize that your love for each other goes beyond the everyday, the mundane and the common while remaining organic, basic and life giving.

The couple also included a wine ceremony and wrote love letters to one another that they will read on their first anniversary. Very romantic!

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Elegant in its simplicity, this wedding was just what the couple wanted and they were proud to share it with friends and family, those in attendance and those far away who will view the perfect pictures and feel their joy.

Your picture-perfect wedding?

Libby Lovejoy is a certified wedding officiant in the Nashville, Tennessee area. For more information or to book a ceremony email her at lovejoyweddings@gmail.com .

Rent a Friend

As many engaged couples sit and agonize over limiting their guest list for the big event, I just read a report that in South Korea a large and growing business rents “friends” to attend weddings of couples who feel their guest lists need to be longer to make the event the extravaganza it should be. Yes, that’s right, MORE guests.

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According to the report, one rent-a-friend business has a contact list of over 20,000 people who will attend weddings for a fee. “You can rent chairs, tents and glassware, why not friends?” said one rental agency representative. Often the groom is unaware of these rented attendees and will just think his bride has a larger circle of friends or family he never met.

The trend in South Korea is toward larger and more elaborate weddings that are more like cruise ship productions than a celebration of love. There are musical performances frequently with dancers and often an MC.

When interviewed, one guest said she has attended as many as three weddings in one day. She said the money is good and she usually has fun.

Libby Lovejoy is a certified wedding officiant in the Nashville, Tennessee area. For more information or to book a ceremony email her at lovejoyweddings@gmail.com .

The Heart and Soul of Your Wedding

I was watching my favorite television show last week, CBS Sunday Morning, with ramped attention because the show was dealing with various aspects of love and marriage.  In some respects it touched on the business of marriage as well, reporting that the average cost of a wedding in America is $31,000 (without the honeymoon).

The theme was “Heart & Soul” and included segments on kissing, photography and the proposal — which we learn now is almost as big a production as the wedding, complete with a writer, director, story board, videographer . . . well, you get the idea.  It was reported that many say they feel cheated if the proposal wasn’t “YouTube worthy.”

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The one aspect of the wedding that wasn’t covered in this episode was the ceremony, the ritual, the part that is very personal and these days so very different for each couple getting married.  There is historic evidence of wedding rituals taking place thousands of years ago and in almost every culture for which we have records. Yet, in America a ritual isn’t legally required.

Modern couples want the ceremony included in their wedding because they are happy for the opportunity to declare in front of their family and friends that they have found the person with whom they want to spend their life, and that life begins at this moment.  It truly is the Heart & Soul of the wedding.

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That ritual is the couple’s chance to set the tone for the wedding and for their marriage, and they can do it any way they like. Couples are being creative, funny, theatrical and romantic; and they are seeking professional officiants who will make their unique vows reflect that tone — no matter how far beyond the norm.

Be sure to engage the wedding officiant you feel will be best able to capture your particular emotions in the short time allotted for your ceremony. Your guests will be looking forward to sharing this time with you; and, who knows, maybe your ceremony will turn out to be “YouTube worthy.”

Libby Lovejoy is a certified wedding officiant in the Nashville, Tennessee area. For more information or to book a ceremony email her at lovejoyweddings@gmail.com .

About Me

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Your wedding day is one of the most memorable days of your life. Your vow exchange is the HEART of your wedding and should reflect your unique personality and style.

As your wedding officiant I promise to create with you a ceremony that speaks deeply to you as a couple and embodies your personal love journey together.

From traditional ceremonies to fun theme weddings and everything in between, if you can dream it we can do it.  I’m eager to work with you to fashion a custom ceremony that fits seamlessly into your vision, creating an unforgettable day for you and your guests.

Call me at 508.838.9383 or email me at lovejoyweddings@gmail.com and let’s get started planning the perfect ceremony for your perfect day.