Mewsic Kitty Cafe Pop Up & Nashville Cat Rescue {Nashville Cat Cafe}

Are you more of a cat person than a dog person? Or maybe you love them both equally like I do!  Either way, I think you'll absolutely adore these photos from the pop up cat cafe that happened in Nashville a few weeks ago!

This was the first-ever Mewsic Kitty cat cafe pop up, which took place in the basement of Atmology. Maegan and Thein (pictured below) are the creators of this unique event, offering cat lovers an opportunity to relax with cats, drink coffee, and watch movies all at once. All in collaboration with the Nashville Cat Rescue. I'd say this pop up was a great success!

Not only did the kittens at this weekend-long event have fun stage names, but seven of them even found forever homes! You might even be able to learn a bit about their looks and personality just by reading their names: Mike Fisher, Shania Twang, Jason Meowdean, Conway Kitty, Kitty Wells, Sid Not-Vicious and Johnny Cats.  

Although this was the first pop up, it won't be the last! Maegan and Thein are already planning for another pop up (likely this fall) and are hoping to have a permanent location for the Mewsic Kitty Cafe by the end of next summer. 

Curious about the story behind the idea? Maegan said that she has always loved cats and when she stumbled across cat cafes in Japan, she was blown away:

"I always thought it would be super therapeutic to chill in a room full of cats at the end of a long day. When I mentioned the idea to Thien, we had a lot of fun thinking up punny cat names and product ideas for a Nashville cat cafe. A while later, we saw cat cafes pop up in California and New York. North America added the adoption element to their cat cafes, which I thought was brilliant because it creates a more comfortable adoption environment for both cats and people. Once a cat cafe opened in Charleston, SC in fall of 2016, we agreed Nashville was past due for a cat cafe of its own. We decided the time is meow and here we are!"

If you're interested in staying up to date on future pop ups, visit the Mewsic Kitty Cafe website! And if you're interested in adding a new kitten to your family, the Nashville Cat Rescue still has many kittens up for adoption and in foster care. 

Hope you love these little fur babies as much as I do!

~ Mandy

 Mewsic Kitty Cafe Pop Up Nashville
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 Mewsic Kitty Cafe Pop Up Nashville
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 Nashville Cat Photographer Mandy Whitley

Adopting a pet cat? Capture the moment on camera!

Mandy Whitley Photography is Nashville's premiere pet photographer. Mandy Whitley creates fun and playful photographs with pets and their people. She photographs portrait sessions, family sessions, couple portraits, and weddings - as well as just pets! To inquire about booking a photo session, contact Mandy!

CJ's Off the Square {Franklin, TN Pet-Friendly Wedding Venue}

If you want to have your dog in your wedding party, this pet-friendly wedding venue might be just the spot for you!

I had so much fun capturing CJ and her 3-year-old dog Willoughby. CJ is the owner of a fantastic pet-friendly wedding venue in downtown Franklin, Tennessee, called CJ's Off the Square. Follow along with our Q&As below to learn more about CJ, Willoughby, and her venue!

~ Mandy

Nashville Pet Friendly Wedding Venue

First things first: let's talk about your pup! How did you come up with his name? 

I have enjoyed that name since I first read it in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. He isn’t really named for the actual character in the novel, more for just the way it sounds. You can’t say it out loud without smiling….which is completely fitting for this pup!

What's your dog's breed?

Schnoodle! His mom is a Miniature Schnauzer and his dad is a Miniature Poodle.

What does your dog love most / like least? 

He LOVES to play fetch. We have one of those Chuck-It ball launchers and he can’t get enough. On average, we play this game with him twice a day . . . sometimes more. It is great exercise for him and my husband and I just love the pure joy on his face every time we play.

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What's your favorite thing about him?

Willoughby is such a sweet dog. He is really playful but also loves to snuggle. He really enjoys being with people. He has tons of personality and does something cute or funny daily. 

What do you love most about the breed?

I was drawn to poodles and/or a poodle mix because of the low/no shed coat and low allergy sensitivity. Both my husband and I had poodles as kids and had very fond memories of them. They are also typically sweet natured, smart and affectionate. All of this and more is true of Willoughby.

Nashville Pet and Portrait Photographer

Now, about you and CJ's . . . How did you get started in the wedding business? 

I got started in the wedding and events industry back in 2004. While planning my own wedding, I was frustrated with the lack of options available for busy brides. There weren’t a lot of venues besides hotels and country clubs at the time and neither of those were an ideal fit for us. I wished there was a unique venue that wasn’t cookie cutter, preferable historic and had a built in team of professionals who could bring my ideas to life. I never did find it but after the dust from our wedding settled, this idea really stayed with me. I started doing research, wrote a business plan, and within 6 months, I found the property, quit my “real job” and CJ’s Off the Square was born.

How long have you owned and operated CJ's?

CJ’s Off the Square hosted our first event in spring of 2005. It is hard to believe it has been 12 years already!

What is your favorite part of working with couples during their weddings?

I love working with engaged couples. This is a really unique time in their life – full or potential and possibility. I am a big believer that couples should spend as much time as possible during their engagement to prepare for marriage but these days it is very easy to overlook that because so much emphasis is placed on the actual wedding. Being able to help couples with so many of the details that go into the wedding day itself frees them up to focus on the more important parts of what it means to be starting a completely new family unit. I also love all of the cake! ;) 

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What should couples look for in a wedding venue?

I could write a book as an answer to this question! As a wedding professional, I believe the venue is a huge factor in the overall success of the wedding (both the planning process and the big day itself). All of the other details of the day center on the venue so not only is this is a big decision and should be one of the very first things that couples research. However, some important foundational work must be done before the venue hunt begins. I encourage couples to follow the following five steps before they ever visit a property in person.

1. Determine the Size/Scale of the Wedding Guest List: Get in touch with key family members and start putting together a draft of the guest list. Have a general idea of how many people you wish to celebrate with you before you even start looking at properties. This one thing will help you narrow your search to only properties that can accommodate everyone. Your guest list is also a critical factor in determining the budget. Which leads me to point number 2:

2. Budget: Be realistic about how much you have to invest in the wedding. This is going to be different for every couple. Many couples have multiple family members contributing to the budget, some are paying for everything themselves. Have those conversations BEFORE you start looking at venues. Your budget may need to expand in order to get everything you want, or you may need to compromise in a few areas to make things stretch. But it is dangerous to start the venue search without having any budget guidelines whatsoever.

3. Flexibility for date: Now that you have a general idea of the size of the wedding along with a budget, consider dates for the wedding. If you can be flexible, you will have more options when it comes to selecting the venue. I suggest discussing date options with key family members before you start your venue research to save time. If the date is set, this will eliminate the venues who may already be booked and you won’t need to waste your time reading through pages and pages of brochures and pictures of a space was never even an option.

4. Style: Do you want to be outdoors? In a house of worship? On a family farm? At a historic property? Think about the aesthetic qualities that appeal to you and consider any restrictions or limitations for key family members. I also like couples to consider the time of day that appeals to them. The same space can look very different in the morning than it does in the afternoon or evening. This goes for both indoor and outdoor spaces. Also consider the overall style and color palette that you want to use. 

5. Amenities: Every venue operates differently. Some include catering, some include tables and chairs, some (like CJ’s Off the Square) are more all-inclusive. Some are just an empty room and it is up to you to figure out how to fill it. Consider what you want and need for the day and make sure that matches what the venue offers. If you have your heart set on using a specific caterer, make sure they permitted to work at the spaces you are considering.

Once you have done a little homework, your venue search will be much less daunting!

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What would you like future clients who are reading this to know about CJs?

We love weddings! My team and I are committed to serving our couples and their families throughout the planning process as well as on the wedding day. While we are blessed to get to do what we love for a living, we do not take our role lightly. It means the world to us to be trusted with such an important occasion. 

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Just for fun: What's your favorite thing to do for fun?

Play with Willoughby of course! I love taking him for walks, going to the dog park or playing fetch in the yard. My husband and I typically plan our evenings and days off around what we can do with him. Not terribly exciting, I know, but we love the simple life.

Pet and Portrait Photographer Tennessee

Mandy Whitley Photography is Nashville's premiere pet photographer. Mandy Whitley creates fun and playful photographs with pets and their people. She photographs portrait sessions, family sessions, couple portraits, and weddings - as well as just pets! To inquire about booking a photo session, contact Mandy!

Winks and Whiskers Vendor Spotlight {Nashville Dog Photographer}

This week I'm delighted to present a vendor spotlight of an absolutely wonderful company called Winks and Whiskers! The organization's creators saw a need for great apparel dog owners would love to wear - made with quality material and great design in mind.

Not only are their T-shirts super comfortable and adorable (I have a few myself!), but 10% of EVERY sale goes to a dog-focused charity.

I have been working with them to create their new product look book and couldn't be more excited with the results. Here you'll see a sample of the shoots, and I'll be sharing more throughout the year on social media.

I'd love to thank all of our models (people and pups alike) who took the time to be a part of this photo session for the Winks and Whiskers' new lookbook! My hubby, David, and our two pups, Don Draper and Rollo, also joined in as models -- you can check them out in the "Drinking Buddies" shot taken at Tennessee Brew Works!

Other vendors I'd like to give a shoutout to are Earthdog and Kira's Pet Shop, whose dog collars were used in a few of the images below.

~ Mandy

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Mandy Whitley Photography is Nashville's premiere pet photographer. Mandy Whitley creates fun and playful photographs with pets and their people. She photographs portrait sessions, family sessions, couple portraits, and weddings - as well as just pets! To inquire about booking a photo session, contact Mandy!