slip away to tennessee for a magical wedding

Contributing Blogger: Monique Curryer

Tucked away in the majestic woods of a small-college campus at the base of the Great Smokey Mountains, you will find a cozy, inviting RT Lodge. With easy access to a major airport and interstate highways, RT Lodge is just minutes away from Knoxville. Surrounded by nature, it has that secluded feeling, almost as if you've stepped into the pages of a magical fairytale and have left the ordinary far behind you. If you're looking for an enchanting wedding venue, look no further. RT Lodge lends itself perfectly to just that. As a matter of fact, they had 110 events in just the past year alone.

Whether you want your reception and ceremony held outside in the midst of nature, or prefer something a little homier, there are many options to choose from. In fact, the staff at the lodge encourages you to explore the grounds in search of the “perfect” spot in which to say your vows. They're very supportive of everyone’s unique and individual visions and they’re open to letting you make use of any spot that you are inspired, by telling you to “go for it”. 

As Alexandra Stockton (Group Sales and Events Manager)   says, “We rarely say 'no' to anyone’s request, unless, we’ve tried it before and it’s proven to not be a good idea!” 

That being said, one of the only things not permitted during a wedding reception are fireworks as the woods are protected by Maryville College. If you'd like to add that zip, however, to your special day, feel free to whip out the sparklers! 

Although January and February are peak times, RT Lodge is perfect for year round weddings. If you opt for an outdoor venue, there are many spots on the property to choose from. There's a meadow surrounded by wild flowers, in the middle of the woods or an area used for volleyball that can be leveled out for a more rugged feel that can seat up to 400 guests. 

Or, if you prefer to have your “first look” on a windy road lined by candles, that’s do-able as well. Right outside the lodge, there's a grassy area that lends itself to a more intimate feel. With bistro lights hanging overhead and a quaint brick fire place nearby on a secluded patio with rocking chairs, it offers the perfect backdrop for that special day. 

There is also an area with a permanent, all-weather 60x60 tent with detachable clear sides. Heaters inside will warm up any chill, day or night. There's also a generator inside the tent as well as a wire which can accommodate a chandelier if you are feeling a bit sassy. Bistro lights surrounding the property at night lead to fire pits that you and your new hubby can escape to for some alone time and keep toasty in private. 

 If s’mores are more your style, take some family members and huddle around in a rocking chair underneath the stars by the giant pit. Again, the staff is incredibly flexible and eager to help you bring your vision to life and are very willing to try anything, even if it hasn’t been thought of before!

Music is allowed outside until 11pm. If you still haven’t retired your dancing shoes by then, you can bring the party inside. This is also an opportune time to switch over to a cash bar for all of your guests to continue to enjoy cocktails. 

The flexible staff is eager to help you have the wedding of your dreams and will make any accommodations - including allowing the bride to switch out any furniture (with a small fee for labor). Staff members will even shuttle guests from the main lodge to the reception/ceremony areas or even escort them with an umbrella should the rain gods decide to join the festivities.

The lodge houses 60 charming guest rooms with either a king or twin bed. On average rooms are $145 for the night, including breakfast and are available year round. The fee may change on a case by case basis. 

Any time of year, RT Lodge promises the perfect setting for a magical wedding!

how to choose the perfect wedding dress ...

Contributing Blogger: Monique Curryer

It's your day and you want to shine like the star that you are! Although you've already won him over, you still want his jaw to hit the floor as you make your merry way down that aisle. Before you say your "I Do's," it's imperative to find the dress that will totally wow him and make him weak in the knees, while making you feel your absolute best! Below are five steps for what to look for when shopping for your wedding dress.

Personal Statement. Make sure that you stay true to yourself. After all, it's your uniqueness that captured his heart in the first place. Make sure to go after a dress that brings out your personality and truly lets your special traits shine through.

Comfort. Wear something that's going to be comfortable up until the last dance. Nobody wants to worry about indulging in that second piece of cake that took you so long to pick out! So make sure that you have some wiggle room both for the dance floor and the food stations!

Color. It's 2016. In this day and age, there is no need to opt for a traditional, white wedding gown. Many different shades are the new go-to colors for a wedding dress. Especially for a destination wedding!

Body Shape. You want to flatter your God-given figure and show off what your Momma gave ya. It's important to find a dress that will make you feel and look your best into the wee hours. Now's the time to highlight your waist with an A-shaped dress, or accent those beautiful shoulders with spaghetti straps. 

Budget. You may want an expensive looking dress, but, not be able to afford the real thing. That's okay! There are plenty of dresses that look as though they were hemmed just for you by a professional designer. Be smart and only buy a dress that you can afford. When all is said and done, do you really want to set off into that sunset with your new husband- in debt?