We've been incredibly busy the past few weeks trying to make a venue decision. It seemed like just when we thought we were done looking someone else would say "You've got to go check out (insert venue name here)!" We did a lot of emailing getting information and narrowed it down to the 4 places that we actually wanted to go and visit. Those places were: 1) Cheekwood Botanical Gardens, 2) Ruby, 3) The Cordelle and 4) Ravenswood Mansion. Each venue had its own set of pros and cons, but ultimately, we decided that Ruby was the perfect fit for us.

We absolutely loved Cheekwood (see blog about it here), but by the time we added up costs for bar service, tent rental, pipe and drape, etc. it just seemed out of reach for our budget. It felt like we would be spending a lot of money on things that weren't visible. We've talked about saving to start a life together as opposed to saving for an event. If money is no object, then I would absolutely recommend Cheekwood, especially if you DON'T want the Nashville barn, mason jar and burlap package which seems to be very popular for weddings right now. We also decided that we could still have Cheekwood be part of our memories by doing our engagement photo shoot there in the coming weeks.

EVERYONE suggested we go look at The Cordelle, so we finally gave in and went to take a look. The indoor space is stunning, especially the loft area for the wedding party. However, we were not crazy about the location - specifically the noise from the interstate. We just couldn't imagine standing outside in the garden for the ceremony with the noise of semi-trucks rushing by. It was an immediate buzz kill.

Ravenswood Mansion in Brentwood was a more inexpensive option that lent itself to that same outdoor garden feel that Cheekwood offers. It's a gorgeous old antebellum home with sprawling views of the rolling Tennessee hills. We really loved the location and privacy, but it just felt a bit too Civil War-ish for us. We wanted something a bit more modern. And again, we would have had to worry about a tent in the event of rain.

After visiting these other venues and weighing the pros/cons/costs, we decided on Ruby, a boutique event venue here in Nashville. Ruby is actually the old Blakemore Primitive Baptist which has been gutted inside and remodeled with gorgeous hardwoods and white plaster walls. It's modern, but still has a sense of history. We loved the ability to blend the indoor and outdoor space together at this location. Ruby is also the most flexible of all the venues in terms of vendor policies. We can bring in our own caterer, alcohol, servers, etc. We also realized that we could save a substantial amount of money by having the wedding on a Sunday instead of Saturday.

We've got a lot more to talk about over the next year, and hopefully our updates won't be spread out quite as far now that we've made the venue selection! More to come soon on our photographer, band and event planner.