Reflections on my Music City Adventure

Seven months ago today, I posted a very personal post about the many things I had learned over the year and a half prior. I was excited to embark on my adventure to Nashville and see what life had in store for me next.

Funny, #5 on that list of things I believed I had learned was that God is in control…

GOD IS IN CONTROL. Sometimes it’s okay to not have a plan. I mean really…I can plan my future, I can plan my day, I can plan my work schedule, I can plan my outfit, I can plan a wedding….there are so many things in life that I can (and most often do) plan. But over the last year and a half I’ve learned that life will inevitably go according to God’s plan, which is typically not at all what I had ever imagined or envisioned. I’m 23, single, and I’m moving to a new, fun, crazy, beautiful city which I truly believe will have so much to offer me. As scary as not having a plan is to me, I believe that I will learn and grow so much from figuring it out and letting God guide me wherever He has planned for me.”

So much for my lack of planning! Whether I wanted to admit to it or not, I very much had planned out my entire adventure to Nashville. I planned to move here single (maybe meet a nice country boy). I planned to find a good church. I planned to dive into my event planning career in this new exciting city and see it flourish. I planned to find a regular full-time job in events. I planned to meet new people and fall in love with this city and never return to DC again. Little did I know, God definitely planned to remind me that He is in control.

The day that I officially decided I must move to Nashville was a Sunday while I was sitting in a church service at Life Community Church. There was a speaker who was talking about how God had led her to do missions in some third-world country. She mentioned during her talk that if you are feeling led by God to go somewhere, then you should go. Nashville is far from third-world, however at that moment, I was overwhelmed with emotion. It was as if God whispered in my ear, “Go to Nashville, Kelley.” In that moment, all my fears about whether or not I was doing what God wanted me to ceased. Clearly, God wanted me to go to Nashville. I called my parents and Taylor in tears as I shared the story with them. Finally, God had given me the clear answer I was praying for.

You can imagine my frustration, then, on the many nights I cried on the phone to Mike about how unhappy I was in this city and how many times I choked out the tear-filled words, “Why did God move me here? I thought this was where he wanted me to go!”

So here it is…the many things that have occurred over the past seven months that reminded me that God is in control and His plans for my life are often very different than my own!

1) I never stayed single in Nashville. I met Mike one month before I moved and one month after I moved here we decided we must make this long distance relationship work. Yea, that was not a part of the plan. However, I can honestly say that I now know the meaning of every single word written in “Bless the Broken Road,” because that guy I danced with all day at Seacrets in Ocean City, MD after having wayyyy too many Dirty Bananas over Labor Day weekend has become my very best friend and is the rock that got me through this adventure. I could not be more thankful that he was put into my life despite my plans (or that in 2 weeks we no longer have to be long distance any more!)

2) I never had one single full-time job here in Nashville. I started serving at a bar/restaurant downtown. Then, I got a full-time job at a hotel, an exciting opportunity for me as I wanted to see how I liked working in the hotel industry (I don’t know that I would do it again, ha! It is quite the customer service challenge!!!). Finally, I did start catering with Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and was privileged to learn a ton from their talented Banquet Captain. I must say, I worked more here in Nashville than I ever thought I was capable of. I will definitely appreciate working a job with more regular hours back home, which also happens to also be my (right now) dream job!

3) At the time that Taylor and I originally decided to move, we had grown bored with home. It felt like it was always the same…same bars, same people, same traffic. We needed some change in our lives. Since I’ve been away, I have really grown to miss and appreciate everything back home. I miss the big city (NEVER thought I’d say that) and my family and my friends and once I return, I never plan to leave again!

4) Moving to Nashville did prove to me that I was capable of much more than I ever thought I could handle. I never expected myself to move 10 hours away and have the courage to meet all new people who have been great friends to me since I’ve been here.

5) I did find an incredible church here in Nashville, but I had no idea the impact the church, my small community group, and Pastor Pete Wilson’s sermons and books would have on me. I’m in the process of reading Plan B, which is teaching me that just because life may not be going according to my plan, does not mean God is not using the Plan B situation to do some incredible work in my life! And believe me, if the entire reason that God whispered in my ear that day was to bring me closer to him while I was here, then I certainly have accomplished a lot here!

When I made the decision to move home, I started to worry what people were going to think. I thought people would think I was a coward for giving up before the year was up. I didn’t want to answer the questions that I knew people were going to have about why I decided not to stay. I didn’t want to listen to the assumptions about my reasons for moving home. I didn’t want people to say that I moved for nothing or that I wasted my time and quit my jobs for no reason, etc. etc. But then God reminded me that this trip was far from a waste. This trip was 100% purposeful and planned…just not according to my plan. He works in incredible ways. I can honestly say, in two weeks I will be moving home a completely different person. My life was changed in so many ways by this adventure and despite the moments when I felt like I was hitting rock-bottom, I couldn’t be more thankful that God decided to move me 10 hours away from everything I knew so I had no other choice but to turn to Him and so that he could rock my world in ways that I never could have imagined. Moving back home will be bittersweet, but I’m so thankful for the love and support I’ve had from those close to me (in Nashville and in DC) and I cannot wait to see what God has in store for me next!

Real Wedding – Nicole & Michael

Finally, here are the photos from the last wedding I had the pleasure of coordinating with A Sweet Soiree before moving to Nashville.  Nicole and Michael were an incredibly laid back and fun couple and you can see that in these photos of their Hendry House wedding.  As a chef, food was very important to Michael, so the couple decided on Basikneads catering and were not disappointed!  He also mixed his own yummy cocktails.  Flowers also turned out beautifully.  The couple elected to pick flowers from a wholesaler and we put arrangements together during the set-up of the event.  Enjoy these awesome photos courtesy of the talented Astrid Photography!

Happy Thursday!


Event Coordination: A Sweet Soiree Events (Kelley Finnegan)

Catering: Basikneads Catering

Photography: Astrid Photography

Venue: Hendry House

Tent: L&A Tent Rentals

Cake: Alexandria Pastry

To wear white or not to wear white?

Yesterday, Style Me Pretty posted some photos of a beautiful San Francisco wedding by JC Page Photography on their Facebook page.  The first thing to jump out at me about this wedding was that the bride was not wearing white!

Tradition says you are supposed to wear white (or ivory, or something close) on your wedding day.  But what if white isn’t your thing?  You want to look stunning and beautiful on your wedding day…but does that mean you need to be in white?  Take a look at these beautiful non-white wedding dress options…

You know I’m always a sucker for weddings that break tradition.  However, this is definitely one you don’t see often!

How do you feel about this nontraditional wedding fashion trend??

Happy Wednesday!

Ringing in the New Year

I have to admit, I am SO EXCITED to head home to DC for New Years!  I am looking forward to celebrating with friends and getting to see all the people I miss so much back at home.  But for those of you staying in and hosting your own party this New Years, I thought I’d share a little New Years Eve inspiration.


Happy Tuesday


Happy (almost) New Year!

Tis the Season!

Engagement season that is!  Starting around Thanksgiving and rolling through to Valentine’s Day, engagement season is at its prime!  I love the idea of hiring a professional photographer to snap photos of your proposal (hint, hint gentlemen!)  Having a professional photographer will allow you to get some fabulous photos of that very special moment that she will remember forever!  Check these out!

Photo courtesy of Katelyn James Photography

Photo courtesy of Chelsa Yoder Photography

Photo courtesy of Barb Spencer Photography

Photo courtesy of Barb Spencer Photography

Happy Tuesday!

Inspiration Board: Winter Wedding

I saw my first snow in Tennessee yesterday.  Rumor has it that Nashville snow rarely accumulates to anything significant.  It snowed for at least 3 hours yesterday, but was hardly cold enough and the ground was too wet for anything to stick at all.  Still, it was pretty!  ((Although I have to admit, I am missing the 70 degree weather!!))

Anyways, between the snowfall and putting up Christmas decorations in our apartment (see above), I was feeling inspired by the upcoming winter season.  Winter weddings can be so whimsical and beautiful.  Enjoy this winter wedding inspiration board!

Happy Thursday!

Details I Love: Mismatched Bridesmaid Dresses

Depending on your taste and preference, you can choose a color and mismatch the style, mismatch colors but keep the same style dress, or mismatch everything!  I particularly love mismatched styles in different shades of the same color, but that’s just me!  Also, consider patterned dresses (i.e. florals and other prints!)  Check out these fabulously mismatched bridesmaid dresses:

Happy Tuesday!


I visited the famous Gaylord Opryland hotel today.  It’s been over a month now since I’ve done an event and I’m to the point where I am “itching” to get back into doing events.  So you can imagine my reaction as I walked into the gorgeous Opryland hotel…I couldn’t stop squealing “Taylor, can you imagine how beautiful a wedding would be here?!”  There are so many gorgeous locations on the property for a ceremony and reception of any girl’s dreams.  They are also in the process of setting up all the Christmas decorations, which I plan to go see this weekend…I’ll be sure to post photos!  Oh, and for those of you who have never seen the Opryland hotel…yes, almost every one of these photos is from INSIDE the hotel!


On a different note, this week I started a job at a Courtyard Marriott down here.  While it’s definitely not the Opryland, I am enjoying the job very much!  I have started working the front desk and am learning many of the basic skills necessary to work in the hotel industry.  I hope that this job will continue to open up opportunities for me to move into sales and catering and be working on events through a Marriott hotel one day.  Plus, I have heard such great things about working for Marriott, so this has been a very exciting opportunity!  I am still working at the restaurant, so I have been crazy busy to say the least.  I’m enjoying myself very much though, and hoping that once I figure out a healthy balance between hotel and restaurant, I will be able to get back to do events soon!

Thanks for continuing to check out the blog despite how terrible I’ve been at posting lately!

Hope everyone had a Happy Monday and has a very

Happy Tuesday tomorrow!

Mint Green & Chocolate Inspiration Board

Claudia, a girl I used to work with in DC, had asked me to do a mint green inspiration board for her.  I meant to do it before I moved, but things were so crazy that I never was able to get it done.  Anyways, here it is…finally!

Happy Friday!

Details I Love: Outdoor Lounge Areas

It’s that time of the year with brisk, cool evenings perfect for bonfires and blankets!  In fact, Taylor and I went to a bonfire last night with Kat, a girl who works with us at Cadillac Ranch.  It was fun to sit around the fire and smell the smells of fall and meet new friends.

Anyways, this time of the year is perfect to have the most cozy little outdoor seating area at your wedding, completely with comfy blankets for guests to curl up with a nice warm drink and enjoy the cool air.  Plus, how fabulous are these photos?

Happy Tuesday!