Signature Drinks – Part 1, Classic Champagne

We are fancy ladies (sometimes we are fancy in our pjs, but still – fancy!) and while sipping champagne cocktails during last night’s domination Super Bowl game, I thought – wouldn’t it be fun to have a series on signature drinks?

The answer is – duh! So, here is the first of 4 “Signature Drink” ramblings insights from yours truly!


I loooove champagne – especially at a wedding when everyone is already bubbly with excitement! What better way to serve this classic celebratory liquid than to create a festive signature drink? Over the years we have created and sampled (yeah. This job is hard sometimes!) several champagne drinks. Here are our top three favorites!

St. Germaine Champagne Cocktail
Simple and sweet.
Champagne + a splash of St. Germaine + Raspberry to garnish.

Bubbly Martini
A little unexpected and delightfully fresh.
Champagne +  a splash of Gin. Mix into a shaker with ice. Shake. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with Olives.


Champagne Mojitos
This drink is a favorite of mine and perfect for a summer wedding! It takes a little more prep like a regular mojito, but is worth the (bartender’s) efforts! It is prepared with rum and fresh mint just like a classic mojito but topped with a splash (or 2 in my case) of champagne.

3/4 cup sugar, 3/4 cup water, 1 1/2 cups packed mint leaves, plus 12 mint sprigs, for garnish. 6 limes, cut into wedges, 2 cups light rum, cracked ice and 3 cups Champagne or sparkling wine.

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and cook over high heat just until the sugar has dissolved. Let cool to room temperature.
In a large pitcher, combine the sugar syrup with the mint leaves and lime wedges and muddle well with a wooden spoon. Add the rum and stir well. Strain the drink into another pitcher.

Fill tall glasses with cracked ice and pour in the drink, filling them about two-thirds full. Top with Champagne, garnish with the mint sprigs and enjoy!!

The Glass
Don’t forget to take into account the glassware your choose to serve your highlighted sips. Make your champagne cocktails extra inviting by serving them in one of these charming retro champagne glasses!

(images from, recipe from

 Happy sipping!

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7 Major Wedding Guest Mistakes


Well, of course, it should go without saying that a wedding guest should not hit on the bride or groom, but in today’s world… sometimes the obvious needs to be stated! Ha! :)

That being said, it’s important to remember that most couples spend countless hours (or have planners who do the work for and with them… ;) ) and dollars to make their wedding memorable and special. And they do not want it to be memorable because Uncle Tom had one too many and started telling stories! If you are among the couples nearest and dearest, the least you can do is be a gracious guest. Here are some common, and not-so-minor, mistakes wedding guests make.

This is absolutely one of the worst mistake because it costs the bride and groom either big bucks or big problems (or both) if you don’t RSVP. They have to decide whether or not to count you in the overall guest list which means they are potentially paying for someone who will not show up OR they risk not having enough food and seating in the event that you do show up. So send back that little card you get with your invitation and be sure to send it by the date due. That date is the date given to the couple by the caterer; it’s not a date they have control over. If your plans change, be sure to let the bride and groom know ASAP.

If there are separate RSVPs for the rehearsal dinner, the ceremony, a brunch or other events, SEND THEM ALL. They are often being coordinated by different people.

The invitation tells you exactly how many people you can bring in addition to yourself. Your name “and family” means you and your kids/spouse. Your name “and guest” means you and one guest – usually a significant other. Your name means just you.

Don’t RSVP your children unless they are explicitly invited. Don’t assume you can bring your baby because the couple doesn’t have to buy a dinner plate. Some couples prefer to have their wedding adults-only. Don’t take offense, but please do honor their request.

Oh, and ps: don’t ask mutual friends if they have received an invite. It could be embarrassing if they are not invited and cause needless hurt feelings.

Arrive 10-15ish minutes prior to the ceremony. No one wants to see you in the lobby, behind the bride waiting to come in. Turn off your cell, including vibrate. Don’t take pictures. There are usually rules about what pictures can be taken during the ceremony and by whom. Some churches require the pastor or officiate to make an announcement to let guests know this. In case they do not – just assume. Even if it is allowed it disturbs the professional photographers ability to accurately photograph the wedding and that just wastes the bride and groom’s hard earned money.

The bride and groom don’t expect you to know religious etiquette. However, if you are not of their faith, it would be nice to Google it anyway. See wedding religious ceremonies for common traditions. If in doubt, follow the family’s lead for standing, sitting, kneeling, singing, and praying.

Enough said. I hope!

Can you help me with…?
If you can’t find your place card or you were brought the wrong entree, don’t ask the bride and groom. Instead, talk to the wedding planner.

Why wasn’t so-and-so invited?
Deciding how many and whom to invite is a painful decision and usually one done with a lot of thought. Don’t remind them of an uncomfortable decision.

Wow, how much did this set you back?
There are very few times when it’s appropriate to ask how much something cost and this is not one of them.

Remember the good times when we…?
If you and the bride or groom had some wild times together, this might not be the time to remind them of their wild days. In front of their new in-laws. Or grandparents. Or priest.

When do you plan on starting a family?
It’s none of your business and crosses the line. This goes for mothers and mothers-in-law, too!

The bride and groom need and want to spend time with all their guests. Plus there are a myriad of other tasks they are called to do during the evening such as the first dance, cutting the cake, tossing the bouquet and having pictures taken (and many more!).

Again, the bride and groom have spent the money to hire a professional photographer and videographer. Stepping in front of (or even to the side of. That is not “staying out of the way”) the photographer or videographer with your iPhone/iPad/camera makes doing their job at least ten times more difficult. Its heartbreaking to see the photographer miss the bride walking down the aisle because of an overzealous relative with a camera. Even after the ceremony there is a strict timeline for photography before the couple heads over to the reception. DO NOT TRY TO SNAP SHOTS FROM BEHIND OR BESIDE THE PHOTOGRAPHER! Many photographers have it written into their contract that this is not allowed so please, please do not do this. Wait for the reception for your photos. OR consider going UNPLUGGED.

                                                                                                                                    c’mon guys!!! Really?

Weddings are special, memorable and significant events for everyone: the bride and groom, their families and all who attend. Etiquette is just common sense and thoughtfulness – try not to get too carried away with joy!

Happy Planning!

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Dare to Dream!

Guest Blog by Sammy Cortino


As if your special day isn’t going to be magical enough, how about hiring an illusionist to entertain your guests? For “Magic’s Royal Duke” Sammy Cortino, magic is an art: an image of life. Whether performing on a stage or using a restaurant table as his stage, Sammy’s performance utilizes classic illusions incorporated into drama, music, dance, and comedy as a theatrical medium to express life and preserve magic’s foundation for future generations. (and his website is pretty cool, too!)

1) Illusionists aren’t something that most bride’s think of when they consider wedding day entertainment for their guests. What are some upsides to hiring you for their cocktail or reception?

Magic is something different and really fun. Above all else, it really engages people and stimulates participation which allows people to remember it better. It’s also something catchy and dynamic, which you see when I do a set that’s choreographed to music with stage magic. Finally, every show I deliver (like any product) is geared toward the audience. No floppy top hats…….unless it’s requested… which case we’ll talk about it!

2) How long have you been in your trade?
I’ve performed magic since age six and professionally since age eleven. Like an artist will tell you, it’s always been my passion.

3) What’s your favorite movie?:)
Pirates of the Caribbean is a classic for sure!

4) What are some tips/advice that you can share with brides?
Keep a journal of you wedding planning and look back at it after you’re happily married. You’ll learn a lot about yourself.

5) Do you have upcoming public shows that potential clients can see you at?
Potential clients can catch me at The Rutledge on August 1st at 7:00PM. I’m performing my live music/magic concert format, where a rock band backs me as I perform.
(you can see his tour schedule on his website!)

Learn more at and enjoy planning your wedding — it’s a very special occasion!

Follow Sammy on Twitter and Facebook!

Written by:
Valerie Mondelli, Music City Events Intern

A little about Valerie:
Approaching my last semester as an Undergrad at The University of Tennessee, I have been fortunate to serve as an Intern on the Music City Events team. After studying Hospitality and Business for the last 4 years, I knew I wanted to focus on Special Events. While growing up in Nashville I’ve always loved the city, but my hope was to gain more experience in Nashville Events behind the scenes. Having the opportunity to work in the wedding scene for Music City Events has opened my eyes to something much larger in Nashville. I couldn’t be more proud of this city and all it has to offer in this industry. I have loved being able to see how everything comes together so perfecty and the dedication of everyone involved. Each wedding I’ve been able to experience as an Intern has been more than fabulous and each unique in their own way. Although, my favorite part about weddings is getting to know the couple and seeing their love story come to life.

Two Not-to-Miss Experiences for Nashville Couples!

During the third week in September, ABG will host several bridal events designed to help you meet wedding pros, chat with Ashley (yes! There is a REAL Ashley!) + the ABG team, get wedding ideas, visit wedding venues and meet other engaged couples.

The events will be invaluable so I highly recommend that you consider them.

wedding workshop nashville

Wedding Workshop: Style Your Dream Wedding, from Fashion to Decor 

When: Thursday, September 15th, 2011

What to Expect: A hands-on, wedding planning workshop.  Jessica, Love Bird Style‘s lead event stylist, will showcase the most popular wedding styles and then help each bride define and develop their individual wedding “style” or “personality.  She will pass the baton to Kerri of Kerried Away Couture who will take each bride’s style and present complementary bridal attire – from dress style, length to fabric.

Why Attend:  This is an invaluable session.  You will leave with actionable ideas and advice from area wedding pros.   The intimate setting will also allow you to meet other Nashville brides.  I’ll also be there to answer any questions and will be on the look-out for great weddings to feature on ABG!

Cost: Free, just RSVP while spaces is available.

Tip: Space is very limited for this event.  Please RSVP asap to reserve your seat. Bring your wedding planning ideas, inspiration images, color swatches or palettes.

Next Steps: Click here for event details and to RSVP.

wedding locations nashville tour

Two Tours of Nashville’s Most-Loved Wedding Venues  

When: Saturday and Sunday, September 17th & 18th, 2011

What to Expect: ABG has teamed with StudioWed Nashville to host a bus tour of Nashville wedding venues. Our tour will be like a bridal show on wheels, complete with venues AND vendors that would be great for your big day.

On Sept 17, we will visit modern venues. The day will be filled with venues, vendors and ideas for the modern bride/groom. The next day, Sept 18, we will visit vintage/rustic venues and the day will be customized for the vintage bride/groom.

Why Attend: We designed the wedding venue tour to help you see and compare wedding venues and vendors, that fit your wedding style, all on one day. You can walk through venues, chat with other brides, talk to pros – all in a few hours. Save time, save gas, and see Nashville’s favorite wedding venues (and vendors) in one day!

Tip: It’s a luxury bus so seats are limited.

Cost: You can sign up for one or both tours. The fee is $15 per person, per tour. Take $5 off with my promo code: ABGBride. (Code expires 9.1.11)

Next Steps: Modern brides click here for details and to purchase tickets for the modern wedding venue tour on Sept 17. Vintage brides click here for details and to purchase tickets for the vintage wedding venue tour on Sept 18.

Happy planning!

Visit us at A Music City Event or call 615.727.3903!

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Mad Men Continues!

Okay fine, so maybe this doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with weddings but I wanted to share anyway! I am so excited that Mad Men will continue its gloriousness for another two seasons.:) Whoo! That seemed like a close one.

And I’m just kidding. Of course I am going to relate this back to weddings!  Read on…

‘Mad Men’ is a done deal! AMC drama is renewed with Matthew Weiner on board

Mad-MenImage Credit: AMC

Don Draper might make it to the 1970s after all. After a protracted standoff, AMC, Lionsgate andMad Men creator Matthew Weiner have reached an agreement for seasons five and six of the Emmy-winning drama.

Weiner, who will return as showrunner, has also signed a new long-term deal with Lionsgate. As a result of the negotiations, however, season five isn’t expected to air until March of next year.

Read the Rest of the Story


Okay everyone – wedding time!:)

These Typewriter Favor Cards are Perfect for Mad Men Themed Wedding

These Typewriter Favor Cards are Perfect for Mad Men Themed Wedding

1.) Outfit your bridesmaids in dresses inspired by Joan, Betty, or Peggy. For the Peggy look, go with ponytails and a cute geometric printed dress. For Joan, think updos with height and sexy wiggle dresses. For Betty, get pretty with curls and a printed dress with a full tea-length skirt.

2.) Leave your ceremony in a classic car. People will ooh and aah as they toss the rose petals! :)

3.) A well stocked martini bar complete with retro glassware. Enough said.

4.) Dress your groomsmen in slick gray, brown, or olive suits paired with white collared shirts and a basic striped tie. Wear bowties if you like to channel Harry Crane :) Also, pocket kerchiefs are a MUST! Fedoras optional (but pretty cool for photo ops…)

5.) Serve up classic 60’s cocktails, including mint juleps, martinis, Tom Collins, and Don’s favorite: Old Fashioned. For the kids, Coca-Cola in glass bottles!

6.) Instead of floral centerpieces, have rotary phones and typewriters adorn your tables. As an extra special touch, add a few other neat details, such as games from the 60’s, vintage lamps, or tins.

7.) Create a cool lounging area by scouring thrift stores for retro furniture. Include some mod pillows and maybe even some magazines from the time period. It’ll be the perfect place for your guests to chill.

8.) Have a classic bride and groom on the top of your cake. It never goes out of style!

9.) Have your place cards crafted with Mad Men inspired designs or retro lettering and numbers. It’ll really make a statment if you pair them with themed place cards.

10.) Name your tables (and decorate them by theme!) after Sterling Cooper/Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce accounts.

Happy Planning!

Visit us at A Music City Event or call 615.727.3903

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Unveiled Bridal Show: Recap!

Special thanks to Nashville Lifestyles Magazine for inviting Music City Events to participate in the magazine’s 4th annual bridal show! The lovely “UNVEILED” event was Thursday February 3, 2011 at aVenue in downtown Nashville.  Unlike the more traditional bridal show, guests and vendors enjoyed an evening of {pink!} champagne and delicious hors d’oeuvres along with s’mores and cake samples from show vendors as they browsed the booths of some of Nashville’s most prestigious wedding vendors.


I also want to extend a huge thank you to my dear friend Bonnie of Belles Fleurs Design. Anytime I need florals she is exactly who I turn to. I always love seeing what she will create and I’ve never had a bride who didn’t LOVE her custom design florals from Bonnie. What do I love most about Bonnie? She’s never done the same thing twice. She makes the flowers YOU, not everyone else!

All the images shown here were provided by the ultra cool Scott Stimeare of Wedlock Images!

Nashville Lifestyle Bridal Show @ aVenue


Music City Events “Booth”

As always, I dismissed the standard 6′ table and decided to play up the new spring color Honeysuckle Pink with a lovely silver grey underneath. Loved it. Cool, crisp but not at all boring!

Custom Menu + Wine Glass Name Tags by Music City Events


Florals by Belles Fleurs Design
Love love love Bonnie!


Beautiful rental items provided by Classic Party Rentals

Designed by Music City Events {of course!}


Hope you enjoyed!

Happy Planning!

Visit us at A Music City Event or call 615.727.3903

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Subscribe to MCE Blog to have new tips, advice and Real Nashville Weddings
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And no, we never ever ever share your e-mail with anyone. Period


*All Images provided by Scott Stimeare of Wedlock Images

To See or Not to See – is that your question?

Every couple is faced with this question: “Are you going to see each other before the ceremony?” Lots of couples are quick to answer “No” when maybe, just maybe, “Yes” could be the preferred answer.

The Tradition – Not To See

The tradition of “hiding” the bride from the groom, prior to the wedding, comes from the days of arranged marriages when a wedding was merely a business deal between fathers. Things like love and attraction on the part of the bride and groom had nothing to do with it. The groom saw the bride, for the first time, when she walked down the aisle and a veil covered her face. After the minister pronounced them man and wife, the groom then lifted the veil, not only to kiss the bride, but also to see the face he would be waking up to for the rest of his life.

Photos Before Ceremony Save Time

If you are reading this, you already know that a wedding costs quite a bit of money. For the purposes of this discussion, let’s say a wedding day costs a total of $5000 an hour ($30,000 wedding), starting from the beginning of the ceremony until the end of the reception.

If they didn’t see each other prior to the ceremony, the bride and groom must stay behind for post ceremony pictures. This usually takes about 30 – 45 minutes max (or at least, it shouldn’t take more than that. Anything longer is a HUGE mistake). Meanwhile, the guests move on to the reception location, typically for the cocktail hour, and wait for the bride and groom to arrive. At $5000 an hour, we now have approximately 75% of an hour where the bride and groom are separated from their guests. Basically, its stalling for more time. For $3,750.

After post ceremony pictures, the bride and groom get their first wedding day alone time on the ride to the reception. When you actually could have spent what is probably the most romantic day of your life together, in its entirety. Think about it – when in your dating and engaged lives have you spent an entire 24-36 hours away from each other without a work commitment being the source?

A Private Moment Together

I always do this for couple who choose to see each other prior to the wedding, and most photographers do as well. We arrange a private moment in the church, prior to the ceremony, for the bride and groom to first see each other. We call it the First Glance. The bride walks down the aisle, in her gown and the groom is at the front of the church, she softly calls his name and he turns to see her. When she reaches him they spend a little time completely alone together. Now that’s romantic!

If the bride and groom haven’t seen each other all day, they also tend to be a little more anxious. Just in general! They are anxious about what is going on prior to the ceremony and are much more likely to leave the reception a little early and have some time to themselves. If they have spent their entire day together, not being deprived of their beloveds company, brides and grooms are far more likely to want to stay for the entire reception and love every minute of it.

This is yet another option for brides and grooms. It is becoming more and more common so don’t panic about breaking tradition. Also, don’t worry if you decide NOT to see each other! I will happily plan, arrange and coordinate that as well. :)

Happy Planning!

Visit us at A Music City Event or call 615.727.3903

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Subscribe to MCE Blog to have new tips, advice and Real Nashville Weddings
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Alternative Wedding Menus – Enjoy!

Wedding Menus.
Not your grandmother’s cup of tea.

Photo courtesy of Roger Chartier

Wedding food – a seated dinner of soup, followed by salad, followed by a hot dinner and a traditional butter cream cake?

‘No thanks’, says today’s bride.

A recent Independent article on wedding food lifted the lid on one of the biggest wedding trends of the decade. In other words, as far as food’s concerned for the modern bride, anything goes.

So here is the lo-down on the latest wedding food fashion (and there’s not a gravy boat in sight!).
Fish and Chips
The definitive British contribution to European cuisine, a fish supper is bringing a relaxed vibe to weddings. Creative caterers are making smaller portions, served in small ‘newspaper’ cones for guests to munch on.

Family Style Meals
Long banquet or tea tables can be brought back to a fun, laid back feel and lend to very sociable eating when serving your guests meals like curry and rice, chilli con carne or BBQ’d meats, pasta dishes and salad, which can be passed around and piled on the plate.

Pig Roasts
The Independent tells us this is the latest in wedding food. Just type ‘pig roast wedding <your region>’ into Google and you’ll find a list of suppliers who’ll be able to give you a real feast for reasonable prices.

With tapas, I see something closer to the shared family style meals than a standing canapé reception. That is, plates of typical tapas-style dishes (patatas bravas, cold meats, calamares, croquetas, roasted vegetables), laid on tables and shared between 5-8 guests. Plenty of mini bread loafs and pitchers of sangría could give your wedding a real Spanish feel.

And it’s not just the main courses that are getting an overhaul – with ice-cream bars, cupcake bars, and dessert stations to name a few, the wedding cake is getting an overhaul as well. I have more and more brides who honestly do not care much for a huge traditional cake – if they want one at all – and love the idea of dessert bars.

Whatever you decide to do, be sure your wedding menu reflects you and allows your guests to enjoy a delicious meal AND celebrate through out the night.

Happy planning!

Visit us at A Music City Event or call 615.727.3903

Never miss another update!

Subscribe to MCE Blog to have new tips, advice and Real Nashville Weddings
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And no, we never ever ever share your e-mail with anyone. Period.