Welcome out-of-town guests in style!
Welcome bags are a great way to provide some of Nashville’s finest goodies to your out-of-town guests. These bags can be handed out when your guests check in to their hotel, or can be delivered to attendees at the rehearsal. Olive & Sinclair chocolate, Whoopie Pies, Jack Daniels whiskey and Loveless Cafe jams are always a hit with lots of Tennessee flavor!
NashvilleGuru.com is a great local resource. Be sure to include that in your welcome bag.
If you’re getting married on the outskirts of Nashville or in the country, it’s also a good idea to provide your guests with maps of the area and clear driving directions to your wedding location – and be sure to let them know about any events going on during the wedding weekend, like marathons or festivals, or whether construction projects may impact their drive. When I got married in December, Christmas festival and parade locations crossed through the major roads between our guests’ hotel and our wedding location. This resulted in incorrect GPS and online directions that many guests were planning to use. We made a fun printed map to hand out at our rehearsal dinner showing everyone which areas to avoid, so most of them made it to the church on time! The beautiful rolling Tennessee countryside means that some locations are only accessed by one main road or intersection, and unfamiliar alternate routes can take much longer than anticipated, so be sure to help your guests out!
For my Nashville wedding, every single family member on my side and my husband’s was traveling from out of state – my family and friends even came from Canada and Bermuda! It was great to let them in on some of our favorite places to go, in addition to the typical Music City tourist destinations. With so much going on in Nashville, this list is just a fraction of the fun things to explore, but here are a few of the places I shared with my family and friends when they visited Nashville for the first time!
Direct them to the best of Nashville!
1) If your guests are interested in being a true tourist and experiencing the famous, Nash-vegas vibe, send them to Lower Broadway for a day (or night) full of things to do and see. In addition to the many honky-tonks, eateries and cowboy boots, there are tons of places to wander into.
2) Hatch Show Print (hatchshowprint.com) creates beautiful letterpress prints for many artists who perform at the Ryman. They also have posters for sale with iconic Nashville images, which make great souvenirs to frame at home.
3) The Ryman Auditorium (ryman.com), called the Mother Church of Country Music, is a beautiful venue where the Grand Ole Opry shot to popularity. While they are usually hosting concerts in the many evenings, there are guided tours offered during the day with lots of photos and country music history.
Photo: Ryman's Facebook page
4 & 5) The Country Music Hall of Fame (countrymusichalloffame.org) is easy to spot, with its piano-shaped architectural front. Filled with memorabilia, stage costumes and personal effects from some of country music’s greatest artists, this place is a tour through country music history. If you happen to be a Bank of America cardholder, admission to the museum is free on the first weekend of every month, as well as at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts (fristcenter.org), located a few blocks away on Broadway.
6) Finish your tour of Lower Broadway with a stop at the Wild Horse Saloon (wildhorsesaloon.com) to dance the night away, including free line dancing lessons!
7) The Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge provides a perfect view of the iconic Nashville skyline and is a great location for photos. Connecting Lower Broadway to LP Field across the Cumberland River, this standout bridge is especially dramatic at night when it is lit, and is even listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
8 & 9) Centennial Park is a great location to wander through, have a picnic at, and maybe even hear some music! With one mile of walking trails, gardens, a bandshell and beach volleyball courts, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Located in the center of the park, The Parthenon stands as a re-creation of ancient Greece, and is a popular place to take fun photos. There is even an art museum located inside! Centennial Park hosts free music throughout the year, with Musicians Corner on Saturdays in the spring and fall, nights with the Nashville Symphony, movies, dance lessons, and several arts festivals.
10) Yazoo Brewery (yazoobrew.com) offers tours of their facility and tap room samples of their handcrafted beer. We served Yazoo at our wedding, and having several six-packs on hand to send home with our friends who helped us tear down our DIY wedding was a great way to thank them.
Photo: company's website
11) Grimey’s Record Store (grimeys.com) is the perfect place for the indie music lovers in your party – especially if country music isn’t their thing. Located on 8th Avenue, this place is packed with CD’s, vinyl, and often has free live music in the afternoons. If you’re looking for music from a local singer-songwriter or band, or wanting to cruise through their large vinyl collection, you’ll be in heaven here! They’ve also got a book store next door called Grimey’s Too, and an outpost of a local favorite coffee shop, the Frothy Monkey.
12) Athens Family Restaurant (athensfamilyrestaurant.com) is a nationally featured restaurant that has been seen by many on the Food Network’s popular show “Diners, Drive Ins & Dives”. It’s known to Melrose locals as a great place to grab a late night bite, with delicious Greek food options. With a kitchen that stays open 24 hours on the weekends, and serves breakfast all day, it’s no wonder that they have been voted Nashville’s best breakfast restaurant!
13 & 14) If your guests are traveling with kids, places like the Nashville Zoo (nashvillezoo.com) and the Adventure Science Center (adventuresci.com) provide lots of activities to explore and enjoy.
15) Las Paletas is great for cool, summer treats, with its amazing flavor combinations of popsicles (including mini kid-size pops!). Located across from Sevier Park, this tasty spot is a perfect place for families with little ones to run around and cool off!
16-18) Radnor Lake State Park, Edwin and Percy Warner Parks have great trails exploring the lush Tennessee foliage. Heading for a walk, hike, run or bike ride is perfect for spring and fall days for guests who love to explore the outdoors.
19) Located 20 miles south, downtown Franklin, TN best known for its shops and festivals located along its Main Street. Franklin boasts the title of ‘Best Small Town’; with cute shops, quaint antiques and numerous eateries, there are lots of things to explore. Downtown Franklin also features several festivals throughout the year, including the Main Street Festival, Brewfest, Pumpkin Fest and Dickens of a Christmas. As if that weren't enough, it also hosts art crawls on Friday evenings throughout the year. What a city!
20) Arrington Vineyards (arringtonvineyards.com) is a great location for a picnic the day before (or after!) the wedding. This vineyard features live music on the weekends from April to December. There’s also an added bonus for country fans, as the vineyard is owned by Kix Brooks, who’s been known to be on site. If your guests can’t make the drive to this location 30 miles south of Nashville, you could always add a bottle of their finest in guest welcome bags.
21) If you’re looking for Southern charm, Loveless Cafe (lovelesscafe.com) is a must! Their biscuits are legendary, and many of my out-of-town guests went to taste the famous biscuits and Southern cooking for themselves the morning after my wedding! They also have biscuit mix and their delicious jams for sale, which would be a perfect addition to welcome bags or guest favors.
We hope you and your guests enjoy exploring our city! Did we miss any of your favorites? If so, leave a comment below to let us know!