Posted on: March 14th, 2019 by Southall Meadows




Wedding planning is different for every single bride. No two brides have the same planning experience.
What works for some, may not work for you and that’s 100% okay.
So today, I really want to talk about realistic timelines for planing your wedding.

Wedding Planning for the Realistic Bride. Plan your wedding, your way!

When you’re planing your wedding, you’ll run across oodles and oodles of different timelines telling you when to do what and sometimes, those just aren’t realistic. For example, I distinctly remember a certain big name website telling me to start packing for my honeymoon two weeks before our wedding day. My first thought was, “what am I going to wear for the next two weeks then?”

Just NOT realistic.

So, how I’m going to do this blog today is I’m going to hit the highlights on a few things I see brides confused about all the time. Then at the very bottom, I’m going to attach three different timelines for different engagement lengths.

Side Bar: Put together an estimate guest list before you do anything.
This is usually the biggest pain in wedding planning. Its long, its tedious, if an argument was going to ensue its here. Nobody likes doing this. But this is SO SO SO important. Before you go venue shopping, have a rough number of guests in mind. You don’t want to fall in love with a venue that holds 150 but you absolutely can not get your list below 200. This will also help you determine your budget from the get go.

Booking your Photographer + Venue:
In my opinion, whether you’re engaged for 6 months, 12 months, or three years, these two should absolutely be the first two on your list. Your photographers will book WELL in advance and if you have your heart set on one, act fast. Same with your venue. If you’ve always dreamed of a May, September or October wedding then you need to spend exactly five minutes enjoying your engagement and then IMMEDIATELY look at venues. ESPECIALLY my long engagement brides. You think you have time, but here’s a bit of insider information for you: personally, HALF of our October 2020 dates are spoken for. That’s a full 18 months in advance. So do not hesitate friends.

When should I ask my Bridesmaids?
So, I would recommend asking your gal pals between the 8-10 months before your big day. Maybe a year if you’re absolutely SURE about your picks. This gives you tons of time to think about your choices and to come up with a cute bridesmaids proposal gift 🙂

My reasoning for this is because SO much can change between the day you get engaged and your wedding day. You may get a new coworker or neighbor who you would LOVE to have in your bridal party. You could also have a break up with someone you thought was your absolute greatest friend. Things happen and the last thing you want to do is have to break up with a bridesmaid or do a last minute addition.

Save the Dates & Invitations: When do they go out?
This is something that everyone has a conflicting answer about, so take my answer with a grain of salt if you will.

Save the Dates:

  • If you’re looking at a popular weekend (Memorial Day, Labor Day, right after Thanksgiving or the month of December): 8-10 months before the big day. I’d 100% recommend doing magnets rather than paper for these. People will leave a magnet up on their fridge for longer periods of time and the whole point of a Save the Date is for people to constantly see your smiling faces and not forget about your big day 😉
  • Any other time of the year: 6-8 months before the big day. The simple truth is VERY few people are thinking and planning much further than 6-8 months out. If there’s someone specific you know that needs ample time, shoot them a text and let them know when the wedding is and to put in their request for time off. Word of mouth is a lot more useful than you would think.


Every time I see someone in one of the numerous wedding planning groups on Facebook say they sent their invitations out 6 months in advance I CRINGE knowing their impending RSVP issue. Here’s the basic facts about sending Invitations.

The earlier you send out your invitation the more likely people are going to forget to RSVP.

I know. It’s annoying. And you may be saying “But my RSVP is online, its so easy.” That’s great. But, I’m telling you right now, when you send your invitations out 6 months early and I see your RSVP date isn’t for another three or four months? I’m going to plop that RSVP on my kitchen counter and FORGET about it until you come chasing me down a month before.

People see deadlines, and they think “Oh! I have time! I’ll do it later.” They just do. So, save yourself the time, trouble and stress and wait to send your invitations.

My recommendation?

Send your invitations 10 weeks out and RSVPs are due 40 days before.

10 weeks is just enough time for people to get the invite, see the RSVP is due in a few WEEKS and think “oh! I better do that now!” This works great if you’re operating on an A/B list (which I’ll do a whole blog post on that later) because you’ll get your responses much quicker than you think.

SO, those are my highlights on wedding planning. Don’t forget to download your timelines below and enjoy them! Pin them on your Pinterest, print them, use them to your advantage. If you see something and think “oh no, I can’t wait that long.” Then no worries, adjust it to your preferences. Wedding planning is different for everyone and you should tailor the experience to your needs.


Wedding Planning Timelines


Posted on: March 3rd, 2019 by Southall Meadows




You’re engaged and now its time to shop for wedding venues! But oh jeez, there’s so many. Barns, ballrooms, gardens, warehouses, venue only, all inclusive, semi inclusive.

WHERE do I begin?

Nashville All Inclusive Wedding Venue


Greetings my newly engaged friends. The post engagement flow has worn off and its time to get into the nitty gritty of wedding planning. Everyones first stop?

The venue.

Shopping for the venue is usually one of the more daunting things on your lists of things to do once you get engaged. They’re expensive, there’s an overload of information and there are TONS of them to choose from. Where do you begin?


Decide What You’re Looking For

This may seem obvious, but it is honestly vital. If you’re dreaming of a gorgeous barn with fields all around you and a big gorgeous oak tree to get married under (shameless plug here 😉 that’s us) then start with looking at event barns in your area and go from there. Make a list of what is truly important to you and weed through your options. If something isn’t fitting your vision, don’t be afraid to say no.


DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT be Overwhelmed by Prices

Sticker shock is real friends. But, once it subsides, take a look at what is included in that price. If you’re looking at venue only packages, what does it include? Does it include tables and chairs? If so, renting tables and chairs could cost you up to $2500. So, by getting married at that particular venue, thats $2500 that you won’t have to spend that you may have to spend at another venue that may be cheaper. Don’t be afraid to ask about the values of the things that are included to help you justify and see where your money is going.


Wedding Ceremony under Tree


Venue Only? All Inclusive? What’s the difference?

So, besides the radical difference in costs, here’s the difference and here’s why All Inclusive isn’t just a ploy to get you to spend more money. These explanations are based off the differences between our venue only and all inclusive packages. But typically, this is pretty standard industry wide.

    • Venue Only: A venue only rental is quite simply just the venue. Usually this includes the physical venue for 12 hours, a venue representative, an hour for rehearsal the day before (or morning of), two hours of clean up after the reception is over and sometimes tables and chairs.
    • All Inclusive: An All Inclusive venue is your one stop shop for weddings. Typically, these packages are in the 15-20k range, however, that price covers 87% of your vendors. Most all inclusive packages include: the venue, catering, DJ and ceremony sound, florals, lighting, drapery, rentals (linens, glasswares, special furniture), decor, planning and coordination and your wedding cake + grooms cake. So the money you’re paying your venue, is paying all of the vendors I just listed above. Outside of your all inclusive package, your only major expenses are photography and your alcohol + bar.

With that, your all inclusive package is more money up front, but it truly covers almost everything. This is great for those who are not your natural born planners and want the convenience of someone else handling it for you. This is also great for the brides who aren’t interested in vendor shopping and are happy with using your venue’s preference in vendors. However, if you’re interested in vendor shopping and want to hand pick each of your vendors, then a venue only option is definitely for you.


Sweet elopement ceremony set up under rustic gazebo


I think I’ve Picked a Venue. What now?

Woohoo! You’ve found the place you want to get married! That’s wonderful. Your next step is to let your venue know, get your contract, read it, sign the dotted line and send your deposit in.


Picking out your venue is a much simpler process than it seems. Its not quite the undertaking that you’d expect it to be. Enjoy going on tours, remember to ask questions (even if they feel silly) and remember to stick to your list of what you’re looking for and don’t divert!

Happy venue shopping!



Posted on: May 27th, 2015 by Southall Meadows

At Southall Meadows we spend a lot of time looking at the farm, and there’s a ton of beauty there. There are hills covered in trees, deer, rabbits, and wild turkeys that dash across the pathways, and a vintage barn that makes us swoon. We think we’re pretty lucky to look at such lovely vistas all day, but we get ridiculously excited about seeing our brides’ wedding gowns!

Who doesn’t love wedding dresses?! They’re exquisite, feminine creations that are the stuff of our daydreams. But we know that sometimes, actually picking your gown can be a bit overwhelming. All of those ruffles, beading, and tulle (not to mention all the friends and family you brought with you) can throw you for a loop. And the great thing about choosing a dress to wear at Southall Meadows is that you really can’t go wrong. It seems like some venues require certain outfits- like a ball gown for a hotel’s ballroom. At the farm though, anything goes. You can plan a black tie event to go with your romantic Claire Pettibone gown or something a little more modern to go with your dramatic Ines Di Santo dress. You can make anything work!

There’s so much pressure to pick that perfect dress and have a “say yes” moment, so we’re here to help. Don’t stress the dress, chickadee! We guarantee you won’t be gracing the aisle in your birthday suit; you’ll find a dress you love.

For having the best dress experience, choose a great dress store. We’re quite taken with The Dress Theory and Olia Zavozina. Both stores go above and beyond to tailor your wedding dress shopping experience.

When you find your dress, you’ll know. You may not cry or jump up and down, but you’ll know. Maybe it’ll be on sale or look like the one your grandmother wore or make you feel like the prettiest girl in all the land. And, if you don’t love any dress that day, that’s okay too! Like Scarlett says, “Tomorrow is another day.”

For inspiration, check out these photos of beautiful brides at Southall Meadows!

Posted on: March 25th, 2015 by Southall Meadows

Thank you Erin of The Collection for coming out for a tour on such a wet day and taking a few photos of some our grounds around Southall Meadows. You are Bobbie Sue’s favorite!

Southall Meadows is an elegant yet rustic, remodeled, nearly century old barn surrounded by the natural majesty of middle Tennessee – a perfect wedding or celebration venue.