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Home, Knoxville, TN

Thursday, May 7, 2009
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A professional coordinator will make sure that all the details are under control and can go a long way in relieving the stress on your wedding day. However, if you can’t afford to hire a pro, do ask a trustworthy friend or family member to put together a survival kit. If you’re prepared then you’re less likely to have anything go wrong, right? Most importantly, make sure that they remember to bring it on the wedding day!


Also, make a list before the wedding day of items to take to the venue and go over it before leaving home. Things can be so hectic. I’ve seen a groom forget the wedding bands and a bride forget her gown, but more likely you'll forget something like the garter, jewelry, or cuff links. The further you are traveling from home, the more important a survival kit and wedding checklist can be.


I am not saying that you need to spend a lot of time or money putting this together, but here are some things that you may want to include in your kit depending on season and venue:

Clear nail polish (for runs in your hose)
Individually wrapped nail polish remover pads, nail file, polish for touch-ups


Safety pins, straight pins, corsage pins 
Travel sewing kit
 (including thread to match the dress)



Brush, comb, bobby pins, hairspray 

Super Glue (broken heels, jewelry, etc.) 

Sanitary products 

Gum, Mints, breath spray 

Shout wipes - removes stains/dirt from tuxes and dresses 

PeptoBismol Tablets, Tums, Imodium 

Duct tape, Scotch tape, double-sided tape 

Lighter or matches

Bactine, clear bandaids 

Mosquito repellent 

Club soda (if serving red wine) 


Bottled Water and light snack

Rice/blotting paper and powder for shiny skin 


Wrinkle releaser 

Jumper cables 


Black socks for the men 

Lint remover 

Compact mirror 

Lip gloss or lipstick for touch-ups

Toothbrush and paste 


Fix-a-flat aerosol can 

Wooden or padded hanger for the dress

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Botanical Gardens and Arboretum, Knoxville, TN

Friday, April 24, 2009
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Kendra was a bridesmaid in one of my favorite weddings last year, and I was very excited when she and Matt decided to have me photograph their June 2009 wedding. For their recent engagement session, we started at their wedding venue, the Knoxville Botanical Gardens and Arboretum, and ended in downtown Knoxville. It was a beautiful spring day, and the four of us (Marcus was with me) had fun hanging out and getting to know each other better. Here are a few of my favorite photographs.

Kendra & Matthew's Engagement Session

Kendra & Matthew's Engagement Session

Kendra & Matthew's Engagement Session

Kendra & Matthew's Engagement Session

Kendra & Matthew's Engagement Session
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Church, Knoxville, TN

Tuesday, December 16, 2008
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I love petal tosses. There's something very jubilant and carefree about them. The wedding day is the one day when a girl can dress up like a princess in a frilly dress complete with a long veil and then act like a child and throw flowers in the air. Why not live it up and take full advantage of the opportunity?

Unfortunately, some brides think that tosses are only done during the couple's exit from the wedding. This just isn't true. When they are having the ceremony and reception in two different locations, couples often do a toss as they leave the first location. Some even do a toss as they leave the church and then sparklers or bubbles after the reception. However, when you are staying at one venue and have a reception that goes into the night, having a petal toss in the dark may not be the best idea. One idea that I really like is to have a toss during the recessional at the end of the ceremony. Everyone's excited, and what better way to celebrate than to shower the newlyweds with colorful petals (or bubbles if you prefer)?

As much as I like this idea, it doesn't always seem to work out as well as I would like because the guests just forget to participate. Jill and Chris addressed the problem at their fall wedding by attaching a cute little note to the petal cones that hung on the chairs.

Ceremony Petal Toss

Even then, guests are sometimes a little shocked by the end of the ceremony and may still forget to pick up the petals and throw them. I've thought that there must be a good way for the officiant to give instructions at the end of the ceremony, and I just read one way to do it on the peonies and polaroids blog. Peonies are my favorite flower so I was curious when I stumbled on this blog. The writer is self described as "a girl collecting ideas and inspirations for a wedding and for life", and if you're planning a wedding or are just inspired by art and beauty then you ought to check it out.

Anyway, Peony (as the writer calls herself) has shared some of her own wedding photos along with parts of her ceremony, and it is really beautiful. At the very end are these words

Now if you would like to throw a little luck and love Peonies and The Boy’s way, please find your little bag of confetti to shower them as they walk back down the aisle...

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Home, Knoxville, TN

Tuesday, December 16, 2008
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I snapped a few photographs today of two albums waiting to be picked up. The first is a 9x13 digital storybook with photo paper pages and embossed names on a leather cover. The second is a 10x10 art book with matte pages.

More Albums Photographs

More Albums Photographs

More Albums Photographs

More Albums Photographs
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Crescent Bend Armstrong-Lockett House, Knoxville, TN

Thursday, November 20, 2008
Brrrrr! Saturday was cold! Fortunately, Angie and Aaron had lots of happiness and love to keep them warm. Their wedding at Crescent Bend (aka the Armstrong-Lockett House) was beautiful. I was so happy that it never really rained on us and even happier when I found some beautiful fall color. The lower terrace was flooded, but we still got some great shots in the gardens. Angie was such a beautiful bride, and I always love the portraits. However, I'm going to fight my urge to post them all and actually show more of the important events and details instead.

Check out the bling!

Garner/Orr Wedding November 15

During the prep time...

Garner/Orr Wedding November 15

Garner/Orr Wedding November 15

Seeing her groom for the first time ...

Garner/Orr Wedding November 15

Although the original plan was for a ceremony beside one of the fountains, Crescent Bend has many possible setups. With the threat of rain, they opted to exchange vows under one of the tents instead.

Garner/Orr Wedding November 15

Rex Bradford Jones did the catering and cake, but I never had a chance to stop and try anything. I think it's a great idea to let the bride have her cake first if for no other reason than to give her a chance for pay back if he decides to smash the cake in her face. Aaron restrained himself and only left a dab of icing on her nose. Notice the cute, furry cape that Angie had to keep her shoulders warm(er) during the reception. I think that these are an excellent idea for winter weddings.

Garner/Orr Wedding November 15

and now for a couple of portraits

Garner/Orr Wedding November 15

Garner/Orr Wedding November 15

Everyone had fun (and kept warm) dancing under the tents, and Ogle Entertainment did an excellent job as usual with the music. Jim Ogle came by to set everything up even though he wasn't feeling well, but he didn't need to worry because Jake did a great job.
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Welcome to the Nancy Hellsten Photography blog! This is the place to be if you’re looking for wedding ideas and photography promotions or if you just want to view some great photos and see what I’ve been up to. If you or someone you know are getting married, having a baby, or just want some relaxed portraits with the family, please visit my website or contact me for more information. I would love to hear from you. Thanks for visiting and check back often to see what’s new.