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How to Choose a Nashville Wedding Venue: Advice from Music City Events

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Photos by LMR Photography + Saybre Photography

Choices, choices, choices! If there's something Nashville isn't short on, it's wedding venues! From elegant historical mansions to casual coffee bars, the Nashville wedding venue ocean runs deep. Need some guidance on how to find a Nashville wedding venue? We spoke with Lindsy of Music City Events to help us with this task - it doesn't have to be daunting! And might I add, having a planner step in during the venue search process will save you so much time (and possibly money!). So whether you're looking to have an intimate gathering for 50 or a large party of 400, Lindsy is here to help us navigate the Nashville wedding venue waters! Keep scrolling to read all about finding a Nashville wedding venue...

There are so many venues to choose from! Where do you suggest couples start?

Lindsy: I highly recommend hiring a planner. Not only because I am one myself, but because your planner is your guru. Hiring a knowledgeable planner can eliminate all of that research to find out which venues suit your size, budget and aesthetic.

Guest count has a lot to do with finding a venue - can you dig a little further into this?

Lindsy: Your guest count is most important in your venue search. You may think you want an intimate event with 50 of your closest friends but your partner may have 100 guests on their own personal list. Most weddings average 150-200 guests. In Nashville, I feel as though there are many more options for venues if your guest count is under 150. If you find your guest count to be over 250 (and up to 400) guests, your options are limited. There are so many wonderful, unique venues but find out their max capacity (with and without a dance floor) before you fall in love with one.

Which should come first - choosing a wedding style/aesthetic or choosing a venue?

Lindsy: Many venues can accommodate a variety of styles. Spaces like The Cordelle are beautiful, blank canvases that can host a modern event as effortlessly as a traditional soiree. However, if you book the stunning 100 year old Hermitage Hotel, there's a specific aesthetic that works best in that venue. I recommend booking your venue before you commit to a certain style, aesthetic, or even colors. (I've seen mint green bridesmaids in a mostly-red venue and it just does not work!)

Do you suggest couples look for a venue for the ceremony + reception or switch locations for ceremony + reception?

Lindsy: There are positives and negatives to booking more than one venue. ONE VENUE : It's easiest for your guests and vendors. With everyone in one place, the vendors can communicate with you or your planner easily. Your guests only have to park once and there's very little chance anyone will get lost from the ceremony to reception. On the negative side, sometimes booking one space can require what we call a "flip" - flipping the space from ceremony to reception. Depending on the venue, this flip can put your guests out in the elements (rain, heat, humidity, etc.) or in a cramped hallway for cocktail hour. TWO VENUES : There are so many gorgeous ceremony spaces that I never deter a couple from marrying in one of them, it's just few more logistics to work out. The downside to two venues is two venue rental fees. If you have your heart set on a church ceremony, you're likely need two venues. Most venues and churches that cater to ceremonies require minimal set-up so the fees are much smaller. You'll also have to consider how you're going to get your guests from one venue to the next. Consider hiring a bus or trolley, or use a Lyft/Uber code. If you're a local and most of your guests will be driving themselves, make sure both venues have valet or ample parking. No one wants to pay a hefty parking fee to attend your event.

How much of your wedding budget should go into your venue?

Lindsy: The venue should be about 10-20% of your overall budget. When booking a venue, find out how much you're expected to rent. Some venues provide tables, chairs, bar fronts, china and flatware. Others provide an empty room. Ask your planner or venue representative what comes with the venue and how much the average couple spends on rentals.

At what point in the planning process should couples choose their venue?

Lindsy: The venue dictates almost every other decision you'll make, so do that early. I had a bride who booked planning services with us (Music City Events) in February of 2016 and wanted a January 2017 wedding at the Hermitage Hotel. Her guest list was growing and, sadly, the venue would be too small so we continued our search. She ended up booking War Memorial for August of 2016. She still got her traditional, classic wedding reception but it was a lot different from the winter wedding we were planning to have at the Hermitage Hotel.

How far out from your wedding date should you book a venue?

Lindsy: If you want to get married on a Saturday during Nashville's peak seasons, spring or fall, most venues are booked a year out. If you're willing to try a Friday, Sunday or weekday, your options open up tremendously and 6 to 9 months would work. If you're planning a winter wedding, you'll have many more options as most venues are wide open in January and February. Earlier this year I pulled off a February wedding with less than 3 months of planning. So, it can be done!

Do you have any more advice for finding a venue in Nashville?

Lindsy: As my realtor would say, "Location! Location! Location!" We have so many options in Nashville! There are venues everywhere, including downtown, right on Broadway, up to an hour outside of the city. Again, think about your guests' experience and the look and feel you're going for.

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Thank you so much for sharing such vaulable insight with us today, Lindsy! You can find more information on Music City Events' planning here on their website. Also be sure to give them a follow here on Instagram!

All photos provided by Music City Events

About the Author:

Alyssa's avatar
Alyssa

Hi - I'm Alyssa! Owner of Nashville Bride Guide. I'm here to help you plan your Nashville wedding by highlighting local wedding professionals, along with tips and finds that will help make your day the best ever! Don't be shy - email me at contact@nashvillebrideguide.com.

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send Posted on June 1, 2017 | Filed under: Advice & Planning, Wedding Planners & Coordinators, Wedding Venues and Locations,

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