If you’re getting married in Nashville, there are a few things you need to know. Nashville is now one of the most popular places in the COUNTRY to get married. How crazy is that?! We’ve lived here for about 8 years, and in that time we’ve photographed TONS of Nashville destination weddings – most often for couples who have recently relocated to the area, and want to share their love of Nashville with their family and friends at their wedding! I’ve wanted to write a post on how to plan a Nashville destination wedding for a long time, so here we go: tips to help you plan a Nashville destination wedding, from a Nashville wedding pro!
We’re based in Nashville, but we’ve photographed weddings in 10 states (and counting!) and we know what makes Nashville weddings different. I’m recommending things in this article that I would NOT recommend if you’re getting married in – say – Philadelphia or Charleston.
This advice is Nashville specific, from someone who has watched the “Nashville boom” happen from a (sort of) outsider’s perspective! I’m publishing this series in three parts, and we’ve made it to part 3!
Part 3: How to Plan a Nashville Destination Wedding
Nashville wedding venues are the cream of the crop. Seriously. The wedding industry has absolutely EXPLODED here in the past few years. There’s a ton of competition, and that means that vendors need to be at the top of their game to stay in business. That also means there’s a ton of variety when it comes to venues – estates, mansions, gardens, barns, warehouses, greenhouses, vineyards, breweries, distilleries, historic homes, lodges, quarries, restaurants… You name it, Nashville has it.
Don’t be afraid to look outside city limits for venues. Why? Because Nashville and its surrounding metro area/suburbs are spread out. You’ll likely need to consider transportation for your family/wedding party anyway. Encourage your family and friends to stay in the city (so they can have a fun weekend getaway!), but don’t be afraid to look outside the city for the perfect venue!
Because Nashville has so many weddings every year (and so many different styles of wedding every year), venues offer tons of different packages to suit every couple. Want a weekday elopement at a huge historic mansion? You got it. Want to DIY a massive 300-guest barn wedding? You got it. Want an all-inclusive 100 guest wedding in a boutique, historic home? You got it.
Do your research and decide exactly how much you can spend and how you want your wedding to feel. You will definitely be able to find something that works for you.
In general, Nashville is an extremely competitive wedding market. Weddings are hard, personal, emotionally intense work for vendors. And to be a great wedding vendor, I truly believe you have to love weddings and be in it for the people. You have to be ready to serve your clients and their families, and give 110% on a wedding day.
So my advice is this: because you have so many choices, take your time and get to know your vendors. Hire people you love, trust, and vibe with. Hire people who will make your wedding exactly what you want it to be. Hire people whose work you believe in. And make sure they truly love what they do, because that will make your wedding day better.
If your venue doesn’t already have a great built-in prep space, there are SO many good options in Nashville for prep spaces. Just make sure you leave enough time to get to/from your prep space to your venue!
Boutique hotels, bright and airy AirBnBs… people in the hospitality industry in Nashville know how important weddings are to their bottom line, and they design their spaces and their client experiences to accommodate that.
The other thing I LOVE about Nashville destination weddings is getting to see couples spend the entire weekend in a fun AirBnB or hotel with their very best friends… because that shows up in their pictures. Everyone is in wedding-celebration mode, and they’re also kind of on vacation in a super fun city. That’s a recipe for wedding awesomeness. So choose a prep space that also doubles as a space for you to stay with your wedding party!
Where to take pictures
Is Nashville a photography friendly city? Sort of. (This is coming from photographers who regularly shoot in a lot of different cities across the Northeast and the Southeast. In my opinion, Nashville definitely isn’t the worst, but it isn’t quite the best.)
For individual/couple portraits: With tons of beautiful neighborhoods and awesome small businesses around, you can get some really unique photos exploring local neighborhoods, coffee shops, hiking trails, etc.! Embrace the vibe of Nashville, and all the amazing things you can find just outside of Nashville. There are several locations that charge fees (for example – any Metro parks in Nashville area a no-go without a permit and a $150 fee), and generally the city and local business owners are pretty strict about things if they don’t want you taking pictures on their property.
For group/wedding party pictures: This can be a bit of a challenge if your venue doesn’t already have a space large enough to take pictures with your wedding party, but that’s the case in many cities. There are definitely a few places in downtown Nashville that are super popular for wedding parties on weekends, and they tend to get crowded quickly. If you’re getting married downtown, plan time to transport your wedding party to an off-site location for pictures, and make sure you don’t need a permit to shoot there! My personal favorite is the War Memorial, and I’m also never opposed to some classic Nashville skyline pics on/near the Pedestrian Bridge.
That’s it for today! This was part 3 of how to plan a Nashville destination wedding – check out our past posts for everything you need to know about Nashville accommodations, transportation, weather, where to take pictures, and more!
Want to read more wedding planning advice, and tips for your Nashville destination wedding? Check out the “For Brides” series here!