Marriage Bells in Music City
By Rebecca Padgett-Frett
Music seeps from and surrounds every street of downtown Nashville. The songs of Music City draw couples in for everything, from bachelor and bachelorette parties to entire wedding weekend celebrations. With Nashville being one of the fastest-growing and most popular cities in the Southeast, it was the ideal location for the first ever bridal stroll With Love LUIS (Luxe, Unexpected, Innovative Show).
The stroll took place on Saturday June 14, beginning in historic Printers Alley and spanning a dozen venues throughout downtown Nashville. The concept is unique in the fact that instead off occurring at one centralized location, attendees were able to migrate from one venue to the next, experiencing it while also seeing an expanse of the city.
“When coming up with the concept of the stroll, we thought, how can we take the existing bridal show model and enhance it and update it to reflect what couples most want and need?” said Ashelyn Vazquez, co-founder of Party with Russelyn, creators of With Love LUIS. “Instead of one location, we made it multiple. Instead of solely the wedding day, we wanted to include every event of the wedding journey.”
A main focus of the event was to be inclusive of not just the bride, but also the couple, the bridal party, family members and anyone else included in the wedding festivities. The stroll succeeded in this by hosting visceral and sensory experiences that offered points of interest for all.
Northwest Florida Weddings Magazine ensured every attendee received a copy of the magazine and then attended the stroll to take in the sights and sounds of the city alongside those planning their wedding activities and wedding day in Nashville.
From 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., attendees made their way to the various stroll locations indicated via map to meet exhibitors and enjoy immersive guest experiences.
The venues and hotels provided curated property tours where attendees could visualize their ceremony, reception or guest room blocks. The following hotels and venues participated: AllSaints at the Dream Hotel, Nashville City Club, TownePlace Suites by Marriott, Hampton Inn & Suites, Home2 Suites & True by Hilton, Hyatt House, W Nashville and STK Steakhouse.
“By having locations throughout the city, it allowed everyone to see just how much Nashville is growing and how it’s the perfect place to have a destination wedding,” said Russell Monllos, co-founder of Party with Russelyn. “This event is intended to streamline the planning process by providing access to wedding professionals who can bring your wedding vision full circle and help you think outside of the box. We want couples to have the autonomy to plan their day.”
At each location, guests experienced activities that included mobile bars, an adult bounce house, photo opps, vendor booths and the chance to chat with exhibitors. Instead of one grand finale fashion show, there was a rotating fashion showcase featuring Lily Pulitzer, Tory Burch, White Dresses and Any Old Iron Nashville.
It wouldn’t be a Nashville party if there wasn’t live music. The band lineup, sponsored by Northwest Florida Weddings Magazine, was led by the lively and talented Bobby & The Aristocats, featuring everything from a solo pianist to a jazz trio to a 15-piece band. Nashville singer/songwriter Lukas Scott performed his single Mrs. Me, which he wrote as a proposal to his now wife.
Throughout the day, guests could sign up to attend speaker series, including dress alterations and re-creations with Sarah Jameson, the designer and seamstress of Rudy Lou; cocktail curating with Sarah Murphy of Bar Magnolia; honeymoon planning with Linda Dancer of Honeymoon’s Inc. and Eric Adler of Eric Adler Clothing; and wedding music with Rebecca Padgett, editor of Northwest Florida Weddings Magazine and Linda Harper, talent manager of Bobby & The Aristocats and Scott.
The day concluded with the LUIS Lu’au, where bridal parties could preview a mock reception, meet travel and honeymoon planners, scope out resort and honeymoon wear, and dance to live grooves.
With this being the first ever stroll, Ashelyn and Russell were most excited to see the reactions of both the attendees and vendors. Their hope is that through collaboration with respected and connected wedding vendors, couples were able to envision their wedding from engagement party to honeymoon.
“We want attendees to be mind blown,” said Vazquez. “We are disrupting the traditional model with something that is innovative and tangible, a model that helps couples realize how different and personalized their love story and celebration of love can be.”
As brides and their best gals, happy couples and ecstatic family members strolled around town popping in and out of each location, the sheen in their eyes and smiles on their faces showcased certain success of With Love LUIS’s first year.