Jul 9, 2021

The Usually Great Outdoors

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couple embracing in the field, grass blowing. Why are they in that field, we will never know, but we've seen that Instagram post. A million times. For those not intent on becoming a viral sensation with your outdoor posing, we'll give you the reality on the outdoors.

We're the consummate outdoors people here. We lived in Wyoming for years for that reason. We enjoy the outdoors so much that we design significant outdoor areas into our venues even though they are in the heart of Nashville. Our venues are intentionally located within or next to city parks to enhance our private green spaces. On a most evenings, your guests will want to linger outside, particularly if the lighting is right, which of course it is at Ruby and Clementine Hall.

Despite our love of the outdoors, we tell everyone not to count on the outdoors for your event. Apart from uncomfortable hot or cold temperatures, well, it could rain.

How we design our courtyards

Clementine's outdoor space is what we call Brash Courtyard, a walled, garden space akin to a secret courtyard that you might find in New Orleans. It's totally private. People passing by on the street don't even know it's there. Brash Courtyard is accessible by two steel entries, which are closed during events. The courtyard is bordered by rich landscaping and ivy that seems to consume our board-formed concrete and mid-century breezeway block walls. Built-in seating throughout eliminates the need for much or any furniture. Building, wall, fountain, neon, and tree lighting make for what Hemmingway would call A Clean, Well-Lighted Place. The gentle sound of the fountains as well as music, complete the atmosphere.

Ruby's two courtyards actually offer more outdoor space than Clementine's. The front courtyard is what we call the Treehouse Courtyard for the reason that it is elevated and hidden by tree branches. The back courtyard is the Park Courtyard as it is surrounded by Dragon Park. The Treehouse courtyard is often used for bars and lounge furniture to create a cocktail vibe. The Park Courtyard is often used for food stations or buffets as well as bars. Both courtyards may be used for cocktail hour during the flip of the main hall after a ceremony.

The courtyards are hardscaped, that is decoratively paved, which means that the spaces are usable even minutes after a rain. Grass yards are often not usable even several days after a rain, especially in high heels.

Covered areas are even more usable, and both courtyards at Ruby are covered. But vainly at Clementine, we decided that brought-in tents would mar the look of the facade, so we made their use impractical by design. After all, there should be a small bit of luck involved.

For send-offs, as always, we like options. At Ruby, we have two places where a getaway vehicle way wait for the couple. At Clementine, we have two entries (main and side into Little Bird Lounge), and two exits from the courtyard, which total four options for send-offs.

If you visit Ruby or Clementine during the day, unfortunately you won't see the courtyards in their nighttime glory. For those visitors, we recommend either driving into Dragon Park after nightfall or having dinner at Hathorne next door with a view of the courtyard to appreciate the evening atmosphere. And might we suggest having the Clementine cocktail if you visit Hathorne?

What if we get unlucky with the weather?

Rain on a wedding day is said to be good luck. It is remarkable how may times it rains on a wedding day before guests arrive. But if the outdoors is hardscaped, these areas are instantly ready to use after the rain passes. This said, do not count on outdoor space for space that you must have for dining, bar, or cocktail area. Of course at Ruby our courtyards are covered. And at Clementine, you'll never need the Brash courtyard for these purposes, and even on the worst of days your guests will experience the courtyard when they enter and you'll enjoy it during your send off.

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