I had found our ideal venue… online anyway. After seeing press from Blake Shelton & Miranda Lambert’s engagement party, Front Porch Farms (Charlotte, TN) seemed definitely out of reach, but I thought, “What the heck, I’ll check it out.” It ended up that the farm was owned by a couple that lived in the main house on the property, and they had just gotten their start with having weddings at their place. The price seemed reasonably within our budget, so we went to take a look (we weren’t quite engaged yet, but we’ll sweep that under the rug now just as we did then).
The event space was amazing, with an outdoor area for a ceremony (complete with pews, like I’d wanted), covered pavilion for the reception, a beautiful plantation home for the wedding party to get ready in, and all overlooking gorgeous country (having our ceremony and reception at the same venue was also something that was very important to us). Although initially swept away with it being our first venue visit and the obvious beauty of the place, the car ride home left us with a lot of discussing left to do. Below are a few reasons that we decided to give up on our initial dream venue and continue the search (I’ve spared you the list of positives, for the sake of highlighting this as a learning experience):
Cost– What does your venue fee include?
The flat venue fee fit into our budget, but it didn’t include a lot of the things that we would need to hold our event there. With this being a newer venue, they had a TON of upgrades and purchases planned to be done before 2012 (which would also bump the price of the venue fee up), but the list of items that we would have to be responsible for providing/renting was longer than we felt comfortable with. The pavilion was very nice, but a lot of decorating would need to be done, which can also add up very quickly.
Availability/ Season/ Rain plan
With planning so far in advance, availability wasn’t as much of an issue for us, BUT spring weather in Tennessee has a tendency to be a little unpredictable. If it were to rain on our wedding day, alterations to our plan were possible but definitely not something that we were comfortable with. Having all of our guests confined under a covered building with tent sides in the country didn’t seem like a likely backup plan if tornadic winds hit.
Although not extremely far from Nashville, the drive to the farm took us about 45 minutes, and getting there had a lot of turns and gorgeous country roads. Both of our families and several friends will be making the trip from out-of-town, presenting a transportation challenge (as was parking at the venue). Throw in the tendency to carpool if people are partaking in a little drinking, and it seemed like a recipe for disaster. We could have rented shuttles to get our guests back and forth, but this could easily tack on about $4,000 to our budget, which was another red flag. In addition, the distance meant that any caterers or rental companies would also have to make this trip, and any last minute back and forth that we had could turn into an issue.
After continuing the venue search, we found our PERFECT venue… The Loveless Barn in Nashville, TN! The Barn supports our theme and color scheme perfectly, making the atmosphere part of the decor, and requiring us to bring in fewer decorations to dress it up. Food is one of our top priorities, and we want to give our out-of-town guests a taste of Tennessee goodness. The Barn is behind the famous Loveless Cafe– some of the best Southern fare in the city! The site has an outdoor courtyard perfect for our ceremony, and they even have six pews that they bring out, just as I’d wanted. In the event that it rains, our ceremony can be easily moved inside, with the room being flipped for the reception during our cocktail hour. I’m very excited about our venue, and will definitely elaborate at a later time.
For any BSB’s currently embarking on the venue-choosing journey, CLICK HERE for a list of several details to keep in mind when meeting with potential venues. There are many things to consider, and some you unfortunately don’t even realize until you’re well into the planning process— And yes, I’m totally setting myself up for a sequel venue posting later down the line!
For any of you also researching country/plantation style weddings in the Nashville area, here are links to Front Porch Farms, as well as the Loveless Barn: