6 Steps to Book Your Perfect Nashville Wedding Venue
You just got engaged and are feeling a mixture of excited and overwhelmed. We totally get it. Planning a wedding is hard. It’s costly, time consuming and frankly can be exhausting. The biggest step in your wedding planning process is finding your venue. For couples who have never planned a large event before this can be daunting! Follow our 6 “easy” steps and you’ll have your perfect Nashville venue booked in no time!
(A cozy reception setup at Clementine, Nashville Wedding Venue)
1. Start by figuring out your budget and what you’re looking for in a venue
Your guest list is going to dictate a lot of decisions moving forward so take some time to think about this. Do you want an intimate wedding surrounded only by your closest family and friends? What is most important to you on your wedding day? Do you want to have a huge blowout party with dancing late into the night? Maybe your day will be hybrid, intimate ceremony with a big party later? All these options are great and we’ve photographed them all its all about deciding what’s best for you!
There are so many different types of venues for weddings in Nashville. Don’t think you only can get married in a church (although we do have a lot of gorgeous churches and cathedrals in Nashville). The wedding venues in Nashville range the gamut from barns, to our beautiful Nashville Metro Parks, to industrial to gorgeous gardens and estates. Breweries, taprooms and distilleries will always be some of our favorite spots for wedding receptions in and around Nashville.
(The Tennessee rolling hills can offer up some breath-taking sunsets. Here is one of our favorites from White Dove Barn)
2. Narrow down your search by considering the location, size, and style of the venue
Looking through photographers’ portfolios can be a great place to start. Especially if you already have one in mind. Looking through full real weddings that they have captured at venues in your area can give you a great idea of what your wedding could look like.
Nashville weather can be pretty unpredictable throughout the year. One day in January it could be 70 degrees and the next day it could be snowing. Definitely think about having a venue that has both indoor and outdoor components that you LOVE. What is their inclement weather plan? How far in advance do you need to rent a tent if you are wanting an outdoor wedding but it might rain?
Do you want both your ceremony and reception in the same place? This is definitely our preference. It makes logistics on your wedding day so much easier. But this isn’t possible for everyone. Make sure you take into account transportation and travel times between your prospective ceremony and reception venues.
(A gorgeous outdoor ceremony setup at Magnolia Farms and Events)
3. Take a tour of the venues that interest you to get a feel for the space
This is tough especially with COVID and so many couples planning weddings long-distance. A lot of great Nashville wedding venues will do a tour over Skype, zoom or FaceTime. Being able to “actually” walk around a property can be so much more helpful than looking at photos.
This is a great time to scope out the amenities at the venue. One of our favorites is having an on-site suite for getting ready. Transportation might not seem like a big deal but trust us on wedding days it is. Getting a large wedding party from one location always takes twice as long as you think. Having a designated place on-site at your venue to get ready cuts down on one more time you have to wrangle everyone into the cars and get them to the next destination.
(A fireworks display is a unique add-on and will surely create a memorable experience for your guests at Allenbrooke Farms)
4. Make sure to ask lots of questions about availability, catering, and other logistics
What are the venue’s time restrictions? How long can you be on property for? Do they have a noise/music cutoff time you should be aware of? Can you bring in your own vendors or do they have a list you can choose from? If you are booking with a venue that has its own vendors you want to make sure that they are all going to meet your needs!
Ask for a copy of the contract. What all is included with your venue rental? Some venues might seem like a better deal until you start seeing all the additional charges that you will need to make things the way you want them. A lot of times finding a venue that is “turn-key” and is already decorated or has the feel and vibe you want will be easier than bringing in additional rental companies to make things how you want.
(Nashville Metro Parks have some amazing options for Nashville weddings! One of our favorites is the Parthenon in Centennial Park)
5. Read reviews from past couples to get an idea of what the experience is like
This is a big decision so you want to make sure you know what you are getting yourself into. Just because a venue looks gorgeous doesn’t mean you will have the perfect wedding there. You’ll be dealing with the venue owner and/or coordinator a lot between now and your wedding date. Make sure they are accommodating of your needs and have a personality that you can get along with.
Some of our favorite venues are our favorites because the owners are so awesome. This in turn makes the whole experience better! Remember you aren’t just booking a piece of land or building. There are real life people behind all of these places 🙂
(A cute chapel located at The Venue at Birchwood provides a great space for your ceremony right next door to the reception space!)
6. Once you’ve found the perfect venue, book it ASAP!
Especially this year with so many couples getting married. Make sure you book your venue as soon as you have made your decision. Consult with any other “must-have” vendors and make sure they all have the date available before putting down your deposit.
(Marathon Music Works has a unique industrial vibe for Nashville wedding receptions)
Once you have your venue booked you can take a deep breath! So many of the other wedding planning details will start to fall into place now. Enjoy your engagement! Make sure to go out some dates where you and your partner don’t talk about wedding planning at all! And if all of this seems wayyyy to overwhelming it’s always a great option to elope or have a destination wedding! Every couple we’ve worked with who has chosen that path hasn’t regretted it.
There really isn’t a wrong answer when it comes to choosing the venue for your wedding (well maybe there is if you end up not following our advice and hating it). Find something that is unique and really showcases you and your fiancee. Find a place where you will be happy making memories that will last a life-time.
Have any further questions? Want some advice on finding the perfect venue for your Nashville wedding? Feel free to shoot us a message! In our eleven years as wedding photographers and videographers in Nashville we’ve shot at a lot of great venues and are happy to share our experiences!