ut this squarely in the category of things couples and hosts don't consider.
Imagine you're a bride. Your highly desirable fall wedding date is fast approaching. Invitations have been sent, travel and lodging booked. And then your venue calls to cancel your event. The reasons could be many - but in Nashville it's usually that the property was sold and the venue's lease was not renewed. Regardless, now you have a mad scramble to find another location. A replacement venue will likely be hard to find and may require some unattractive concessions, such as going well out of town or to a lesser venue.
We receive these calls fairly regularly, usually from a distraught bride or mother. Usually we can't help other than to refer them to a few other venues.
We think that independent venues are the most interesting of all venue categories. They usually don't have the sameness of hotels and institutional venues. But rarely do great independent venues own their properties.
Venues that own their properties don't lose or get priced out of their leases.
We've received these calls from brides since we opened in 2011, but the frequency of indendendent venue closings has gone up considerably in the last year. For this reason we think that any host should look into who owns the venue as well as to the longevity of the venue.
There is nothing wrong with asking the venue if they own the space. Independent venues should love to talk about their spaces and the ownership and construction story are always front and center. You should also be able to tell if they own the property by the investment made in the facility. If the venue is an empty shell, it's likely leased and awaiting its next phase as a retail store or restaurant. Tick tock.
If a venue has been in operation for many years, the likelihood that it is being leased falls considerably. We chuckle at the marketing of the latest venue to open. Invariably they proclaim the opening of Nashville's "newest venue". Given Nashville's real estate prices, we can almost assure you that this is a leased property unless the rental cost is far higher than the market. As an aside, "new" is great when it comes to cars, but not so great when a venue is learning the ropes on your wedding.
We own and operate our venues, Ruby and Clementine Hall. We haven't lost a lease. And when you come visit our venues, hopefully you'll see the investment that could not be made if the property were leased.