Choosing a wedding venue is one of the most important decisions an engaged couple will make when planning a wedding. With the recent surge of popularity in Nashville, the decision of where to host the wedding is an exciting opportunity. It's also a bigger challenge than it was in years past. This guide will help you pick the perfect wedding venue in Nashville for your big day.
The guest list, expected headcount, vendors, and design choices are all influenced by the choice of wedding venue. In turn, these combined decisions will drive the budget.
Here are some tips from the pro wedding planners at Big Events, Inc. when considering your wedding venue selection in and around Nashville, Tennessee.
Tip #1: Number of Wedding Guests
Approximate the number of guests that will be attending the wedding. Venues have different layouts and accommodations. It is important to know your requirements when you begin planning your wedding. Is it going to be small and intimate or large and classic?
Knowing this information at the beginning of the process will help when prioritizing which venues to visit.
Most wedding venues provide a max capacity but consider that you will want plenty of room for things like a band stage and dance floor, so the venue’s max capacity should not be equal to your estimated headcount.
For example, a venue like The Cordelle (Sohr Rehearsal Dinner) can accommodate a max of 400 guests. However, if you add a band and dance floor in their interior space and decide on a buffet dinner, this drastically reduces the capacity to a more comfortable 150-ish.
Tip #2: Wedding Budget
Have a conversation with your fiancé to decide on a wedding budget. No one likes to talk about money, but the overall wedding budget drives every other decision - especially the venue choice. Sit down with your fiancé, parents and anyone else involved in paying the bills and work to reach an agreement on a realistic target budget for your wedding day.
Tip #3: Gathering Information
Seek the advice of a professional wedding planner (like the team at Big Events, Inc.) for regionally specific estimates. There are also many useful online resources such as Southern Weddings to find advice on all things wedding.
By establishing a budget and doing research at the onset of planning your wedding, you can avoid the heartache of falling in love with a venue that far exceeds your budget.
Check out Real Wedding photos to see what potential venues look like in action. Nashville, TN is full of new venues and old classics. They range from rustic farms to urban contemporary spaces to traditional elegance with local history. Deciding on the vibe of the wedding will help narrow the choices.
Use tools like Pinterest, Nashville Lifestyles – Real Weddings, and local photographer websites to get an idea of how the same space can be customized to fit a variety of design choices. Here are some examples of The Country Music Hall of Fame event hall space with different designs:
Tip #4: Picking a Wedding Date
Settling on a date for your big day. This has become increasingly easier said than done in Nashville. Venues are booking a year or more in advance, so if your heart is set on a particular location, you may need to be flexible with the date decision. Keep in mind that venues often offer discounted rates for Friday and Sunday weddings.
A wedding that bookends the weekend on either end also offers guests an opportunity to explore Nashville with plenty of free time, enjoying both a vacation and a wedding celebration in one weekend!
Request multiple available date options from your favorite venue(s) and be prepared to make a swift decision with a deposit and contract if the deciding factors line up.
Tip #5: Know Your Wedding Style
The venue is a character in your wedding. What story do you want to tell? There are countless styles of weddings and not all venues can accommodate them equally. Do you want a rustic farmhouse wedding? Classic fairytale wedding? Small and intimate? Modern and non-traditional?
These are important considerations for visiting potential venues in person. If you want a classic fairytale wedding, you would be wasting your time by visiting a rustic farmhouse. Select a venue that reflects the story of your love.
Tip #6: Schedule a Venue Walk-through
Schedule a walk-through for potential wedding locations. Be prepared to ask questions and have an open mind. We don’t recommend booking the first venue you see. Take some time to scope out different locations and make a level-headed decision based on which one best accommodates your needs.
Keep in mind the various spaces you will need. These considerations include the actual wedding ceremony, cocktails, dinner, and dancing. It is important to have an uncluttered environment that seamlessly flows from one portion of the event to the next.
A final consideration here is to be mindful of lighting. With all the time, money, and energy spent on planning and executing your big day, you will want the photographs to capture the moments with clarity.
Tip #7: Wedding Logistics
Logistics are too often overlooked when planning a wedding. Here are some questions to keep in mind:
- What is the situation with parking and transportation?
Are there nearby lodging accommodations for guests?
Are their ample restroom facilities?
Are there enough electrical outlets or will a generator be required?
If the wedding is outdoors, is there a contingency plan for bad weather?
Does the venue have any vendor restrictions?
If the venue is providing the catering, can you set up a tasting in advance?
What time do all of the guests have to be out of the venue?
Tip # 8: Making a Decision
Venues in Nashville frequently require that you hire a wedding planner or coordinator, which can add a great deal of value to your wedding day. Wedding professionals can review contracts, find the best deals on vendors, and help guide all budget decisions with an eye out for savings and wise selections.
If possible, consult and hire a local wedding planner first to help guide your venue decision with their Nashville area expertise.
Once you have come to a venue decision, get everything in writing before signing a contract and putting down a deposit. Agreements are best entered with concrete expectations. Make sure you know exactly what is included in the venue package and any possible add-ons you might consider in the planning process.
Don’t allow yourself to get pressured into signing a contract before you are ready, but do be aware that Nashville venues book quickly. If the stars align, be ready to commit.