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?


Contributing Blogger: Curryer

It's the biggest day of your life! You've been dreaming about it since you were a starry-eyed little girl with visions of everything going just so. The perfect day! You did not, however, envision or anticipate the stress that would come along with planning your fairytale wedding or the fact that even the tiniest detail would send you roaring into Bridezillaville. Relax, we're here to help.

It's a no brainer why so many brides-to-be hire a wedding planner to sweat the small stuff and take care of the nitty gritty. Especially if it's a destination wedding. This way, all they have to do is show up bright eyed and bushy tailed ready to say "I do." Your wedding is one of the most important days of your life and you simply cannot afford for even the slightest details to go astray. Below are the top five reasons why hiring a destination wedding planner is an absolute must!

Lets face it, you don't want your wedding planning to take over your life. Time is of the essence and planning a destination wedding can be very time consuming. A wedding planner will do all of the legwork saving you time, effort and worry. This will also allow you to spend quality time with the friends and family who have flown so far to be with you as you tie the knot.

Local Vendor Knowledge
A good wedding planner will only work with the absolute best vendors in the industry. Planners work with suppliers they trust and can offer you a list of different vendors to suit your own personal tastes.

Not everyone is good at sticking to a budget and that's okay. Hiring a wedding planner can actually save you money in the long run. Many wedding planners have formed good relationships with reputable vendors and are not afraid to negotiate prices. They also know where to go for the best going rates in town. A good destination wedding planner can also help you stick to your budget and come up with creative ideas when necessary.

Making Your Vision a Reality
You deserve to have perfection (or as close to it) on your special day. A destination wedding planner will transform your vision into reality and point you in the right direction on how to make this possible. 

Making Your Special Day as Stress-free as Possible
Along with weddings comes family drama. A wedding planner can serve as the "go to" person when it comes to finding creative solutions to the family politics that will undoubtedly arise during the planning and on the actual day of your wedding. Planners will also tie up last minute loose ends and take care of any complications that could pop up, ensuring that the only thing you have to worry about is looking fabulous!

Hot Honeymoon Destinations for 2016

Contributing Blogger: Monique Richmond

Whether you crave adventure far away or would rather laze around on a private beach close to home, we've got you covered for the hottest honeymoon destinations for 2016. After so many decisions having to do with your wedding, the last thing you and your new spouse may feel like doing is making one final decision on where to spend your first official days as Mr. and Mrs. So we've made it easy for you and provided you with a list of this year's chicest picks for romantic getaways. From snowcapped mountains to steamy beaches, here is just a glimpse of 2016's hottest honeymoon destinations.


Perfect for those who love to lounge on silky, immaculate beaches while soaking in the luxuries of upscale spas and resorts that make up the island. The breathtaking sunsets and bustling nightlife aren't too shabby either!


Ideal for those seeking to stay active, undertakings such as horseback riding, zip-lining and kayaking are easily accessible while taking in a panoramic views of the rainforest. For those wishing to explore a little deeper, there are many ancient grounds to play on.


Sun-kissed shores along either the cool Pacific or tranquil Caribbean are perfect for sun and surf worshippers. If you prefer to explore the mysteries of Mexico's ancient civilizations and inspect ancient Maya or Aztec cities, you'll find that too. For something more sedate, step back in time and hang out in charming haciendas. Mexico has it all!

Lake Tahoe

Whether it is hot or cold outside, there are always many activities to choose from! In the summer, select from a slew of water sports, canoeing, kayaking or hiking and biking. If winter is more your thing, there's skiing, skating, sledding and snowmobiling. When day is done, grab a hot toddy and snuggle by a sizzling fire in one of many dreamy alpine resorts.


Nothing spells "amore" like Bella Italia - any time of year! Whether you're exploring the wonders of ancient Rome, sipping a chilled aperitivo on Lake Como, basking in the majesty of Venice, or simply savoring the charms of Tuscany's wine region, you'll be mesmerized by the magic.