By ALEXANDRA MATZKO

Choosing a venue is the first and most important thing to lock down for your wedding.

Since I’m getting married in the dead of summer due to job and scheduling issues, I knew my wedding had to be indoors, even though that’s very off trend for the Nashville wedding scene. Because this is an atypical requirement for a wedding, I found it really hard to find the perfect, affordable, and wedding-worthy space. Nashville just doesn’t have as much to offer indoors as other cities!

So, I hope the following list will help you on your venue journey. I’ve divvied the venues up into different categories with pros and cons for each. Some I have visited personally and others I have just researched online. I know that I could have really used a list like this when hunting for a spot to host my special day.

Hotels

The Hutton Hotel in downtown Nashville is a beautiful hotel. Upon entry, its modern and wood main lobby with gold and metal structures and comfortable seating had me intrigued. The staff on hand is easy to get in touch with and meet.

The Hutton Hotel is near lots of attractions that your guests will enjoy. HOTELS.COM

The Hutton Hotel is near lots of attractions that your guests will enjoy. HOTELS.COM

My mom and I were walked through the venue, pricing, and all the bits in between.

What’ll make you say I do:

  • Discounts on hotel rates for out of town guests and a free room for the bride and groom
  • Everything (food, staff) is located in-house (except for cake) = fewer moving parts
  • Beautiful ballroom that doesn’t require much in extra decor, lighting, or drapery
  • The location: it’s downtown and within 5 miles of everything fun. Guests can easily carry on the party by grabbing a cab or taking a stroll after the reception ends
  • It can host both the wedding ceremony and the reception

What’ll make you say I don’t:

  • The price: it was one of the most expensive venues, and I didn’t think everything included validated this price tag
  • The view: The Hutton’s ballroom has gorgeous, large windows along one wall that used to offer guests an unparalleled view of downtown Nashville. Now, a parking structure blocks anything worth seeing
  • The size: only the ballroom has windows. The ceremony and cocktail hour both take place in a smaller board room and hallway that give off more of a business than wedding vibe
  • Guest parking on hotel property is expensive and isn’t guaranteed

Ultimately, we ended up saying “I don’t” to The Hutton because of its price tag and sometimes-claustrophobic feel.

The lobby of the Hilton Downtown Nashville. NASHVILLEHILTON.COM

The lobby of the Hilton Downtown Nashville. NASHVILLEHILTON.COM

The Hilton Downtown Nashville is smack dab in the middle of downtown, and it was recently renovated. The lobby is open and features a beautiful, two story grand staircase. You know like the kind from Titanic? It’s a great photo opportunity. Again, the staff was accommodating and walked us through the entire venue. Hilton offered several options for the wedding ceremony, two indoor and one outdoor. The indoor rooms again had a business feel, but both of them did have windows, which is a huge plus. We don’t want to subject guests to Nashville’s July heat, so having the ceremony outside was not an option, but the patio at Hilton Downtown is available for pictures if you book here and offers a unique view straight onto Broadway and the Bridgestone Arena.

What’ll make you say I do:

  • Discounts on hotel rates for out of town guests and a free room for the bride and groom
  • Everything (food, staff) is located in-house (except for cake) = fewer moving parts
  • Beautiful ballroom that doesn’t require much in extra decor, lighting, or drapery. However, there are no windows
  • Several options for the wedding ceremony with more windows and a less-claustrophobic feel
  • The location: right downtown, though you can’t really see that during the event
  • It can host both the wedding ceremony and the reception
The Hermitage Hotel is historic and luxurious. THEHERMITAGEHOTEL.COM

The Hermitage Hotel is historic and luxurious. THEHERMITAGEHOTEL.COM

What’ll make you say I don’t:

  • The price: it was just as expensive as The Hutton (this is mostly due to food), and I didn’t think everything included validated this price tag
  • The view: aside from the cool patio, your guests (and you) don’t get to see much of the city
  • Guest parking on hotel property is expensive and isn’t guaranteed

Hermitage Hotel: We didn’t even bother looking at this famous and opulent venue. Why? We knew it would be out of our budget. If you’ve got the capital, I think you’d be hard pressed to find a venue more beautiful or luxurious.

What’ll make you say I do:

  • The name: Hermitage Hotel is a Nashville landmark and status symbol. Your guests will know this isn’t an event to be missed
  • I assume the food and service is unparalleled
  • It can host both the wedding ceremony and the reception

What’ll make you say I don’t:

Richland Country Club is just north of Brentwood off Granny White Pike. RICHLANDCC.COM

Richland Country Club is just north of Brentwood off Granny White Pike. RICHLANDCC.COM

  • The price: keep in mind that a wedding is just one darn day! Though Nashville is lacking in indoor venue offerings, I guarantee there are others that will be just as awesome for a far cheaper price
  • The fancy factor: hey, some guests just aren’t comfortable in this environment, and it might make your whole event a bit “stiff.” I know this type of vibe isn’t for me.

Country Clubs

So, I’m biased because the Richland in South Nashville is is where I’m having my reception. One thing before you go any further: you need to know a member to get in here. Thankfully, my amazing mom had the hookup. Did I mention before that she’s like having my own personal wedding planner? Yep, she’s the best.

Richland was the last place we saw, (isn’t that always the case?) and I was beginning to feel hopeless. At this point, the place I wanted my parents didn’t, the place they wanted I didn’t, and neither of those places were perfect for logistical and other reasons. Enter the Richland on a white horse. Serendipitously, the club was hosting a wedding the day we visited. As soon as I opened the thick, tall doors and spied the beautiful, classic entryway, my heart fluttered. And I am not a wedding person.

What’ll make you say I do:

  • Beth: wedding coordinator extraordinaire and Richland staff, you feel safe and calm in her presence. Before this, she planned weddings for a living. I know I’m in great hands on my day
  • The price: somehow, the Richland is the most affordable of all the venues we visited. It offers everything the other venues do too and is way prettier. WIN!
  • Everything (food, staff) is located in house (except for cake) = fewer moving parts
  • The building itself: IT IS BEAUTIFUL. Hardwood floors, a floor plan that allows all the guests to be together in one room, gorgeous windows and natural light, a huge; wood bar, outside terrace. There is nothing that I don’t love about it.
  • It can host both the wedding ceremony and the reception (however, we’re having the wedding at a church a few miles away)

What’ll make you say I don’t:

  • You don’t have a member who can sponsor you
  • You don’t like indoor venues

Like I said, I’m biased, but this is the perfect venue for a no-fuss person like me who also wants a nice, classy, and beautiful wedding reception. I was so relieved when we found the Richland. It fit our budget, and we booked it. Getting the venue is the biggest piece of planning, and the one you need to check off your list ASAP. It feels great once you do!

I’ve hear Stones River Country Club in Murfreesboro also is beautiful with a terrace, large windows, and a beautiful, lush golf course that it overlooks. I’ve never been, but I would definitely check out the website if you’re hunting for a location.

What’ll make you say I do:

  • The price: this is super affordable compared to the other indoor selections

    Many venues can supply most of what you need, except the centerpiece cake.

    Many venues can supply most of what you need, except the centerpiece cake.

  • Everything (food, staff) is located in house (except for cake) = fewer moving parts
  • The building is supposed to be beautiful
  • It can host both the wedding ceremony and the reception

What’ll make you say I don’t:

  • It’s in Murfreesboro, so it’s not as centrally located

Old Natchez Country Club in Franklin was one of the top three contenders, and I visited it many times. Coincidentally, my fiance and I became a couple at this location! So, it had surprising sentimental significance. Natchez is nice, but it isn’t as nice as Richland, and it’s more expensive. It has a lot of windows and natural light, but the interior isn’t as classy or well-maintained as Richland. At times, it gave me a community recreation center or retirement home vibe. I felt like I would need to bring more than other places to really spruce it up.

What’ll make you say I do:

  • The price: more affordable than a hotel, but not the most affordable option
  • Everything (food, staff) is located in house (except for cake) = fewer moving parts
  • Great staff: everyone we met with was so accommodating and knowledgeable
  • The building is nice and full of natural light with a beautiful, wrap-around terrace

What’ll make you say I don’t:

  • It does not have the most beautiful interior
  • It cannot host both the wedding and reception
  • It is northwest of Franklin, which could make transportation for out of town guests difficult
The Schermerhorn Balcony Lobby can accommodate 225 guests, reception style. NASHVILLESYMPHONY.ORG

The Schermerhorn Balcony Lobby can accommodate 225 guests, reception style. NASHVILLESYMPHONY.ORG

Notable Landmarks

You may not know this, but many of Nashville’s tourist attractions and landmarks host weddings. For a while there, Schermerhorn Symphony Center was on the short list for us, but it was unavailable for our dates. I’ve scrolled through several pictures, and the venue is beautiful. The main hallways are adorned with tables, chairs, linens, lights, but it’s beautiful even without any of that. These venues that require so little “help” by way of decor really appeal to me because it’s just less to worry about.

In addition, you could mix and match some of these venues for the perfect day. Perhaps have the ceremony at Schermerhorn and the reception across the square at Hilton Downtown? The location makes it versatile, and these were ideas we played around with while searching.

What’ll make you say I do:

  • The beauty of the venue
  • The name recognition
  • The central location: it is close to everything, and you can really feel that in this venue. It isn’t a windowless board room
  • It can host both the wedding ceremony and the reception

What’ll make you say I don’t:

  • The price: it’s expensive, but equivalent to some of the hotels

The Country Music Hall of Fame also has name recognition. One of my brother’s friend’s sister got married here, and I’ve heard it is beautiful. It’s also located right downtown in the middle of everything and has the perfect, Nashville vibe with its archives of country music.

What’ll make you say I do:

  • Unique and beautiful venue
  • Central, downtown location
  • It can host both the wedding ceremony and the reception

What’ll make you say I don’t:

  • You’ll need to bring in more outside vendors: catering, tables and chairs, etc.  It isn’t the one-stop shop of other venues
  • The price: this is one of the priciest on the list

The Patron Platinum Club in Bridgestone Arena was the other on the top three contenders list. Thanks to word of mouth, I learned about the Patron Platinum Club hosting receptions (it’s inside the Bridgestone Arena). I really love the hip, downtown vibe of this place. It has huge windows that overlook the square with the symphony and Hilton Downtown. It has a vaulted ceiling onto which you can project a monogram and all sorts of lighting, and it has its own private, elevator entrance. It’s swanky, young, and unique all in one.

The inside is beautiful and the pricing isn’t too bad, but the layout is a bit problematic for a reception. There isn’t a sweeping, ballroom floor to set up tables or a dancing area, but I still like the vibe of this place. The layout just forced you to break up where tables and the dancing would be set up. The staff was really helpful, and the view was just awesome. It’s a place where you throw a great party.

What’ll make you say I do:

  • The price: it isn’t so bad
  • Unique location: it plants your wedding in the heart of Nashville in a venue that your guests won’t soon forget
  • Parking can be included at The Bridgestone for a small fee if there isn’t another conflicting event

What’ll make you say I don’t:

  • It can host both the wedding ceremony and the reception, but the wedding ceremony has to occur in a different board room in Bridgestone that requires a lot of extra decor, drapery, lighting, etc.
  • Awkward layout decreases feeling of inclusion for all guests
The Bridge Building offers stunning views of downtown Nashville. THEBRIDGEBUILDING.COM

The Bridge Building offers stunning views of downtown Nashville. THEBRIDGEBUILDING.COM

Right after my engagement, The Bridge Building Event Spaces in Nashville was the first name my mom threw out.

Overlooking the Cumberland river on the opposite side of downtown, The Bridge boasts the best views of any venue. Another cool feature? It’s really close to the pedestrian bridge, which makes it an awesome place to take wedding photos.

What’ll make you say I do:

  • Beautiful venue
  • Unique
  • Great downtown location with an incomparable view
  • Great location for taking Nashville-themed pictures

What’ll make you say I don’t:

  • Price: it ain’t cheap
  • Imperfect layout: guest lists over 100 require seating to be divided between two different floors. I really don’t like breaking up a party and making any guest feel passed over

Other notable landmark mentions

Union Station and Noah Liff Opera Center

Other

The aVenue type of venue is my least favorite because it takes a lot of legwork. The venue is right downtown on Third Avenue, which is a pro and a con. You are right in the action, but it is harder to get to and park at than the other centrally located, downtown locations. It’s a really great space: hardwood floors, lots of room, and a nice amount of natural light.

The owners are very nice and quickly informed me that “Kim Kardashian hosted a party here just last week.” That being said, this is more of an event space for any social function than a true wedding space. They provide the canvas, and you fill it up to match your vision.

What’ll make you say I do:

  • The blank slate: this is the place for you if you want to control every aspect of your wedding from flowers to food. You have total control to construct the look of your dreams
  • It’s located right downtown

What’ll make you say I don’t:

  • Parking is an issue; your guests will have to use a nearby parking garage
  • There are a lot of moving parts since you have to bring all vendors in: you’ll need a planner (or two) to keep track of everything
  • Cost: having to organize and have so many different venders just makes things more expensive.

This is an exhaustive list, and there are still more! These are just the most popular venues that I’ve also visited and researched, and I hope you learned something and feel less overwhelmed about this whole wedding planning thing. Stay tuned for my overview of the online resources that will help you map out even more of your dream, Nashville wedding coming soon.