Mini-Moon and Luxury Engagement Session in Downtown Nashville

Do you ever get the feeling that “the planets and the fates and all the stars aligned” on special order for you and you alone? 

(Fair warning if this blog post is your first exposure to me: I am the most devout Swiftie you will ever lay eyes on, and I’m not shy about making sure everyone and their Great Aunt Betty knows it):

My not-so-subtle Taylor Swift reference aside, I get this stars-in-a-single-file-line feeling a whole hell of a lot through the work I do as a luxury couples and wedding photographer… and my mini-moon engagement session with McKenna and Jenna was no exception.

Couple kisses in Printer's Alley in Nashville during snowy destination engagement session.
Couple smiles as a chill whips through the Nashville air on their mini-moon engagement session.
Engaged couple leans in for a kiss with the Nashville skyline behind them during their mini-moon.
Woman in emerald green skirt and woman in beige overcoat hold hands.
Woman laughs as her fiance comes up from behind and surprises her in Nashville mini-moon photoshoot.

“I have been following Ali’s work for a few years now, and I always knew that if I ever were to get married, I wanted her to be the one to capture it. Jenna and I agreed it was non-negotiable. As fate would have it, we had to reimagine and relocate our engagement shoot to Nashville because I got sick and had to cancel our original session. So we flew to Nashville- in an ice storm. We weren’t sure what to expect; the weather looked BAD. But when we say “Ali made it happen,” well, the proof is in the photos.

Sessions with Ali are unique because she’s a hype-woman, stylist and friend who happens to have a camera. We ran around the city, all three of us, laughing, smiling and never once feeling awkward or nervous in front or the camera because Ali made it feel natural and easy. We caught intimate moments, funny moments and genuine moments that Jenna and I still say really capture the essence of our relationship. And the moment the sneak peek gallery was dropped into our inbox the day after our shoot we were instantly reaffirmed in our decision to hire Ali. You can really feel the love; both captured with her lens as well as the love that she holds for her clients and her work. She is an absolute artist.”

-McKenna

Make Your Engagement Photos a Mini-Moon

McKenna and Jenna are from my home state of Minnesota, and they opted to travel to Nashville for a hybrid mini-moon and engagement photography session situation. Lo and behold, they travel through a literal ice storm and arrive on the one and only, once in a blue moon day that Nashville gets SNOW… What are the odds, right?!

While literally anyone else might have seen this as a gigantic bummer, it felt nothing short of magical to me. And here’s why. 

If you’re a human of Nashville, then you know that Southerners can’t drive in the snow for the life of them. Even a mere dusting turns them into toddlers taking their first steps– no disrespect to the toddler demographic, of course. Anyone who dares try their hand at taking on the roads (also ridden with potholes… IYKYK) is guaranteed a one way ticket to getting deserted at the bottom of a hill (read: amateur Mount Everest) on the East Side, and the single snow plow dedicated to the entirety of Davidson County simply can’t save them.

Nashville’s loss was our gain, though, because this meant McKenna, Jenna, and I had the entirety of downtown to ourselves. 

I mean, do you truly understand how much of a gift that is?! No rowdy bachelorette parties. No honky-tonkin’ tourists. No ducking and weaving through crowds unlike any crowd you’ve ever seen before. Just me, my camera, one of the dreamiest couples I know, and the entire city at our fingertips.

Couple wanders the streets of deserted downtown Nashville in mini-moon engagement session
Engaged couple smiles at the edge of a Nashville rooftop overlooking the snowy street below
Couple laughs as they stand in Printer's Alley during mini-moon engagement session by Nashville luxury wedding photographer.
Engaged couple walks through the empty streets of Printer's Alley.
Couple is silhouetted outside of empty warehouse in downtown Nashville engagement photoshoot.
Engaged couple poses in dramatic and theatric image standing back to back and holding hands.
Couple holds hands outside Printer's Alley balcony in downtown Nashville.
Silhouettes of engaged couple in downtown Nashville warehouse
Woman leans head on fiance's shoulder in mini-moon engagement session.
Engaged couple chases each other through a snowy rooftop in downtown Nashville.

Minnesota Engagement Turned Nashville Mini-Moon

We started our engagement session right off of infamous Broadway, on a lesser known hideaway called Printers’ Alley. We had the whole place to play under the string lights and frolic in the snow, and I just love how McKenna’s and Jenna’s photos are that much more one-of-a-kind because of the rarity of downtown Nashville being as abandoned as it was. I feel like the photos reflect the true essence of them as a couple because of the whole deserted downtown thing. 

Like I said… magic.

We then took a break to spend time together away from the lens before wandering off to Present Tense Restaurant, a Japanese izakaya and sake bar located in the up and coming Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood. We ordered a ton of food and drinks and had such a ball telling McKenna’s and Jenna’s story through more moody, date night-inspired images than the contrasting out-on-the-town ones from earlier that same day. 

Not only did McKenna and Jenna get stunning engagement photos out of the trip, but they also had the opportunity to step away from their typical surroundings and experience an entirely different side of Nashville by making the engagement session something of a mini-moon. I personally think this allowed McKenna and Jenna to feel that much more uninhibited and free to simply be, because they were somewhere new and exciting together, doing this once-in-a-lifetime THING (read: getting engagement photos taken to announce to the world that “heck YES, it’s forever!”).

Couple looks at Present Tense menu in Nashville mini-moon engagement session.
Engaged couple sneaks away to kiss behind closes doors in mini-moon engagement photoshoot by Nashville luxury wedding photographer.
Engaged couple exchanges glances while sipping from their artisan cocktails in Nashville mini-moon engagement photoshoot.
Woman looks at her fiance adoringly in romantic cocktail bar atmosphere.
Engaged woman displays oval cut engagement ring.

Why an Engagement Session is a Non-Negotiable

When a couple books a wedding experience with me, it always includes a 2 hour engagement session.

First of all, engagement sessions are such a great opportunity for you as a couple to get comfortable in front of a camera. Most of us aren’t totally accustomed to having a personal paparazzi follow us everywhere we go (unless you are, in which case, who are you, and can I be your personal paparazzi, too?!). Spending two lighthearted, no-pressure hours getting used to the sound of a camera shutter going off every half a second ensures that it’s old hat by the time your wedding day rolls around. 

Similarly, engagement sessions serve as my means to get to know you really really well, and vice versa. We always take a little break at some point during your session to put the camera away and just chat, and in McKenna’s and Jenna’s case, we opted to go grab a drink between locations. 

The fact of the matter is this: If you’re trusting me to create a cinematic legacy from your love story, you deserve to know me, too. And believe me, after having a glass of wine with me and listening to me gab, you’ll know me pretty darn well.

Couple kisses at mini-moon engagement photoshoot in Nashville's Present Tense saki bar.
Woman in black turtleneck sweater and emerald green skirt leans against rooftop balcony in Nashville engagement photoshoot.
Blurry image of couple looking at the cocktail menu at Present Tense Restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee.
Black and white cropped image of couple kissing in mini-moon engagement photoshoot.
Couple embraces in romantic kiss with Nashville skyline behind them

Key takeaways? 

1) Not to state the TOTAL obvious, but McKenna and Jenna are a gorgeous couple, and I feel so lucky to have gone on this snowy, whimsical adventure with them. 2) Who said travel had to be restricted to weddings?! You should highly consider having a destination engagement session, creating a little mini-moon for yourself to decompress and be together before your big day. 3) Don’t shy away from the concept of the engagement session. Even if you don’t feel the need to have a formal engagement announcement or technically need professional photos for your Save the Date, an engagement photoshoot allows you to get comfortable in front of the camera before your wedding comes around.

Hear anything in here that sounds like your jam? You know where to find me.

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