Wedding Questions Are a Category All Their Own

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

What's the best time of year to get married in Nashville?

Nashville has good weather for much of the year. Even the winter months will often see days in the 60s or even 70s. The spring is prone to rainy days and July and August are often hot. Leaves turn color in early November and fall by the end of November. In short, every month in Nashville has something redeeming about it.

What's are the most popular months of year to get married in Nashville?

There should be a separate category for October, which is by far and away the most popular moth of the year. The entire fall (September through mid December) and the spring (April through June) are the peak seasons for weddings in Nashville.

How do you choose a wedding venue?

We've written many articles on this topic that you can find here. We suggest finding the right wedding venue for you is using a number of filters and reduce the options accordingly.

First, we normally recommend searching based upon location (Nashville wedding venues, for instance). Second, determine the type of venue (or venues) that are most appealing (independent venues, hotels, country clubs, farms, museums, manor homes, etc.). Third, eliminate any remaining venues that don't meet your physical requirements, which could include a size that is suitable for your expected number of guests; adequate parking, bathrooms, and dressing rooms; sufficient space for a ceremony/ reception flip; and outdoor space. Fourth, look at photos of the venues, Google Street View, and other images and video of the locations. Fifth, make sure the venue cost and vendor policies fit your needs. And last, go visit the venue in person!

And don't underestimate the feeling the venue projects. Is their website comprehensive? Did they respond to your inquiry quickly and professionally? Who gave you the tour (hopefully not an intern)? Did the venue give you a contract and proposal onsite (run away!)?

Do you pick a wedding date or wedding venue first?

The answer depends upon what is more important to you. As venue owners, we think the venue is more important. It determines most aspects of a wedding from overall design and look to the food served and music played. Most couples agree and have dates that are at least somewhat flexible.

But, sometimes a date is more important, whether it be an anniversary, a numerology thing (who can forget 10/10/20!) or a military deployment.

In what order should you pick your wedding vendors?

Most couples chose their wedding venue before their many other vendors. That could be for several reasons. Often the venue selection determines what vendors make sense to use, perhaps becaususe they've been to the space many times before. Or the venue may have restrictions as to what vendors may be used.

After the venue, clients typically choose their planner/ coordinator or photographer as these vendors are critical and tend to have limited capacity. A caterer is often the next choice.

What things should you consider before booking your wedding venue?

We've written many articles on this topic that you can find here. Many things are obvious and include location, type of venue, cost, what's included, and size. But we're surprised that most couples don't think about the audio, video and lightings systems a venue has (or more often doesn't) as these quite literally set the stage for the event. Also, some serious consideration of the usability of any available outdoor space and parking are critical.

How much should you spend on a wedding venue?

Rather than give an absolute number, because that depends upon the budget, a percentage is more applicable. (For the sake of this generalization, the wedding budge should include food, beverage, rentals and decor, music, lighting, coordinator, insurance, security, and transportation.)

If the venue is more than 40% of the total budget, the venue may be too much of a reach. If the venue is less that 20%, the venue may be lacking or too much may be spent on another vendor.

What does a wedding venue include?

There simply is no standard as to what a venue includes. Even a roof may not be included. On the other end of the spectrum, a venue may include quite a bit (food and beverage, table, parking), but rarely will a venue include everything that is needed.

Our venues take an uncommon approach. We provide everything building related, which includes audio, video, lighting, management, insurance, and often stages, bar, furnished dressing rooms and catering kitchens.

What do people want from their wedding venue?

It's almost universal that a couple wants to be inspired and have their guests inspired by the venue. They want to space to reflect their style and personality. After this, it could be any number of things including outdoor space to a combination ceremony and reception venue.

Why do wedding venues fail?

It seems that everyday someone wants to open a new wedding venue. We're flattered that it appears easy and we suppose even seductive. But it's pretty apparent to us which venues will be around and which are either unserious or uncompetitive. What is hard for us is when a couple tells us that they are looking at one of these venues that we suspect will not be around. We get calls frequently from couples who have had their venues close or cancel on them.

For venues to be successful, they clearly have to draw couples in sufficient numbers to their space. In our experience, the venue has to come into existence for some grand reason and then be operated by those who believe in that reason. Couples quickly discern which venues are merely buildings in transition to another use. The proliferation of barn and warehouse venues in our part of the country is an example.

But most venues cease operations because their owners have lost interest. In recent times, COVID and a surging real estate market have given these less committed owners a reason for a graceful business, if not client relationship, exit. In Nashville, we continue to lose more independent venues for this reason that we gain as real estate costs create high barriers for new entrants.

What questions should I ask a wedding venue before signing?

Well, always read the contract. If the contract is not clear, then that may be an issue. The contract should address all of your concerns, including vendor rules, payment terms, rental period, force majeure (acts of God), cancellation, and any rules particular to the venue (candle use, sparklers, etc.). Of course, it's better to ask your questions at the venue tour or in any case before you request a contract since moving to the contract stage implies that you're committed to booking the date and have done your diligence. Better yet, the venue should have all of this information on their website as its both forthcoming and a considerate use of everyone's time.

What should you expect at a wedding venue tour?

You should expect to receive a total picture of the venue during a tour. Of course, you will see the physical space and get a better sense of the components: the dressing rooms, catering kitchen, outdoor areas, etc. and if the online photos were a accurate representation. Always look at the bathrooms! And in general, is the space clean and well maintained?

You should also understand what is provided in the space, for instance audio, video, lighting - even ice! These components can often define the space and, if they're missing, can add tremendously to the venue cost.

Apart from the physical tour, couples should understand the venue's policies, particularly as they relate to vendors such as caterers and bar. What rules does the venue have with respect to candles, sparklers, dance floors? To the extent that this information is available online (and it should), its always thoughtful to know the answers in advance.

And never discount the intangibles, the culture the venue exudes and the professionalism of the venue's representative.

What do I need to know before choosing a wedding venue?

You need to know everything that gets you to a position of feeling comfortable. You should scour the venue's website for information, take a tour, ask questions related to information that is not otherwise presented, get an overall feel for the space and the operation, and of course read the contract.

Can you negotiate a wedding venue contract?

Generally, the answer is no. Hotels, country clubs, museums and civic venues will rarely, if ever, change their contracts. Smaller venues may be willing to make changes, but venues that change their contracts are likely to be smaller and independently owned. If the event is relatively last minute, a venue may be willing to negotiate price and terms.

How do you negotiate wedding venue contracts?

Generally, you don't. Most venues have refined their contracts over years and have found a version that has worked for both the venue and their clients. Venues usually don't have the time or budget to have their lawyers change contracts for every couple. If the event is relatively last minute, however, a venue may be willing to negotiate price and terms.

What should a wedding venue contract include?

A lot of couples think a contract should have everything in it. Well, if it did, it would be 100 pages long. And of course no one would read it anyway. A couple should instead look to a few big issues and the spirit of the contract. Vendor rules, payment terms, rental period, cancellation, and any rules particular to the venue (candle use, sparklers, etc.) should be in the contract, but couples should pay close attention to the venue's force majeure (acts of God) policy. Overall, the contract should strike a fair balance between the interests of the couple and the venue.

Why is venue pricing so complicated?

We ask ourselves this every day, and sadly it comes down to most venues finding that hidden costs and add-ons are profitable. The fact that most couples are not experienced at planning a wedding makes these pricing tactics more successful for these venues.

Tracking all of the venue-related costs can be very complicated and miserable. The rule of thumb that we use is this: 1) take the stated rental fee of the venue, 2) double it if the venue is not BYOB, and 3) add the amount of the rental fee again to this total if there is not great audio, video and lighting in-house (which there never is). This will triple most venue's rental fees.