Wedding Questions Are Category All Their Own

Because wedding related questions are so specialized (and so numerous), we've created it's own category. These are general questions that we hear.

Where can I see weddings videos taken at Clementine & Ruby?

You can find many wedding videos on each videographer's home page on this site. Alternatively, you may view them on our YouTube channel.

How far in advance do wedding dates book?

Of course the answer depends upon the venue, location and season, but generally dates start to book about a year in advance. Saturdays, despite an often higher price, book faster than other days. Some months book much faster than others. In Nashville, October and May book very early. And since the advent of Covid, bookings have gone much farther into the future - as far ar 18 months out.

How far in advance do wedding venues allow couples to book?

This depends upon the venue. With bookings going much farther into the future since Covid, venues are having to sort out their booking policies.

At our venues, we book no more than 18 months in the future. On the first of every month we post a new month of dates, 18 months out. Clients may contact us that morning for a date in that newly released month. Dates go to the first claimant after 9 am on the first of the month.

What are the most popular dates for a wedding in Nashville?

The spring (April, May and June) and fall (September, October and November) are the most popular months for weddings in Nashville. Saturdays are the most popular day of the week for weddings. Saturdays in October are the most popular days of the year. Many weddings are held on Fridays and Saturdays as most out of town guests choose to spend a three day weekend in Nashville.

How quickly should we book a wedding venue?

We recommend not giving in to pressure by a venue to book before you're ready. Some local venues are notorious for creating a false sense of date scarcity to panic a couple.

If your dates are at all flexible, and usually couples have some flexibility, there isn't a rush to commit. However, once you make your venue decision, don't hesitate. Book the venue immediately.

How many wedding venues do most couples tour?

Most couples have a reasonable awareness of the type and look of venue they want, the locale where they want to be married, the size of the venue they require, and of course their price point. With these filters, couples in even the largest markets should be able to limit their visits to 5 or fewer venues. Touring many venues indicates that a couple doesn't know what they want or haven't looked into the venues thoroughly before visiting.

Who should we bring to look at wedding venues?

Couples should bring anyone who has a role in making the venue decision to the tour. Brides should bring the groom. This also often includes parents, but can include a sibling or friend who was recently married and has the definitive list of questions to ask. Many venues only allow one visit before booking.

Some couples have a culling process that involves multiple visits with different decision makers. This is not a respectful or effective use of the venue's or the couple's time. For this reason many venues only allow one visit. If couples research their venues and reduce their list of tours to no more than 5, the decision makers should be able to make all of these visits.

When should we tour wedding venues?

Ideally, you should tour wedding venues in the same season as the wedding itself if the outdoors play a factor in the wedding. This will allow you to see the state of the landscaping and weather that may be expected. You should most definitely tour venues as soon as you are engaged in order to secure the venue of choice.

We also recommend seeing the venue during the time of day you will have your wedding, so generally in the early evening. If natural light and/or lighting systems, both inside and outside, play a key factor in the look of the venue (and they should), you can only appreciate this lighting during the evening.

Wedding venue search checklist

These are the steps we would recommend you take when making a venue decision:

1. Location - Determine your wedding ceremony and reception location and concentrate the search here, using a simple web search. Avoid third party websites as paid placement sites skew your search results. In Nashville simply try Nashville wedding venue.

2. Type - Type of venue refers to how the venue is commonly described. It may be an independent venue, hotel, country club, museum, civic property, farm, manor home or historic property, etc. Usually, one or two categories will emerge as your preferred choice.

A general type of venue may be considered an "all-inclusive" venue (there is really no such thing and we discuss that in a blog post). Hotels and country clubs, for instance will usually provide tables and chairs, food and beverage. The restrictive choices, prices and rules should be considered at one end of the venue spectrum. At the other would be bare-bone facilities which often grant tremendous freedom, but are often more difficult to plan given the larger number of vendors involved.

3. Size - Once the type of venue and your preferred location are determined, make sure that your guest count can be accommodated at the venue. Here, we offer three notes of caution. First, venues often have a stated capacity far higher than we would recommend at that venue. Second, your seating arrangement (fully seated versus mix and mingle) will vastly change your space requirements with fully seated events often requiring twice the size of a typical reception. Third, if you intend to have a ceremony and reception at the same venue, there must be enough guaranteed usable space to enable any needed room flip.

4. Design - With the list of venues shrinking, apply a subjective visual test to those that remain. Certainly not every hotel on the list is your style. Since venue photographs are often more attractive than you will find in person, discard from consideration any venue that isn't appealing visually.

5. Miscellaneous Features - Couples always have requirements of their venue that are objective and can be evaluated in advance of a tour. This could be a requirement for outdoor space, a certain number of dressing rooms, a parking lot, or even the ability to bring in your dog. Venues should publish answers to all of these questions online. If not, well that's another matter and perhaps they just want people to come visit them.

6. Cost - We all have a budget, and that may be a good thing. Know it and look at venues that are generally 20-40% of your overall budget (depending upon what is included).

7. Culture - No, we're not new age-y, but you'll know what we're talking about after you read a venue's website and visit with them.

This list should get a couple to no more than 5 venues to visit.

Are stages important for a wedding?

If the main room exceeds 2,000 sf, we strongly suggest a stage. If the room exceeds 2,500 sf a second stage is advantageous.

A stage is important in a larger room as it enables guests to see what is on it, which assumedly has some importance. Most couples think of a stage for use during a wedding ceremony or by a band or DJ. These are common uses, but others include a head table, speeches, bar, lounge furniture or wedding cake. In short, in a large room multiple stages serve many purposes. And bringing in stages is costly and time consuming to setup and remove.

What are the mistakes couples make when planning their wedding?

Of course there are many, and why wouldn't there be since most couples don't have wedding planning experience.

On the financial side, the biggest mistake couples make is not accounting for all costs before committing to a venue. Venues are notorious for hidden costs and line items, some of which can be quite large. We tend to focus of two of the biggest culprits, alcohol and audio/lighting, which can each exceed the venue's rental cost (so just these together could triple a venue's stated rental fee).

With respect to the type of venue they select, couples need to carefully consider what normally comes with a certain type of venue. Institutional venues (museums, municipal properties), for instance, tend to be rule bound and restrictive. Hotels and country clubs tend to be only semi private, costly, restrictive and cookie-cutter. Farms tend to be far removed from hotels and require transportation. Urban locations often entail costly parking for guests. Outside locations are subject to the weather.

Another big mistake couples make is not giving enough thought to how a ceremony and reception would work in the space. Having both in one locations is smart financially and logistically - in concept. But though many venues offer both, it is often a forced and uncomfortable accommodation. A flip of a main space has to work for both the guests and the vendors transitioning the space. Guests need to be in a comfortable area (covered outdoors, separate indoor area, bathroom access, food and beverage, etc.) that is removed from the busy setup area. Vendors need to have unfettered access to the space. These sound logical, but we rarely see it offered.

How long do we need our venue?

More time is not better. A venue should require the coordinator to be at the venue for the entire rental period, which, if too long, can be an exhausting day for the coordinator.

If the bridal party intends to have hair and makeup styled onsite, more time is desirable. If audio and lighting systems need to be brought in, much more time may be required. The guest window for a typical ceremony and reception is 5 to 6 hours. Add setup and takedown, another 4 hours or so, and a window of 10 or more hours is reasonable.

Are Friday and Sunday weddings popular?

In Nashville they can be. Most wedding guests spend 3 days in Nashville. A Friday or Sunday wedding can give guests more freedom for the rest of their weekend.

What do you think of a Downtown Nashville venue location? A rural location?

Nashville's downtown can be a very fun place, and your guests will certainly find their way downtown at some point. Having your wedding reception downtown probably means that they will never leave downtown, for 3 days. It's like going to Vegas, for 3 days. Fun for some, exhausting for others.

Nashville's countryside and farms can be quite beautiful. Transportation from hotels can be an issue, and staying in Franklin, for instance, means guests will have to travel long distance for their downtown escapades.