Destination weddings in Nashville are becoming more and more popular. We get it! Nashville is an "it" city and centrally located so it makes sense that many couples choose Nashville to host their destination wedding as often it is easily reachable by guests from all over the country and it has lots of other fun things to do (aside from your wedding- which is of course the MOST fun thing to do right?!) Whether you've already chosen Nashville as your wedding spot, or you're still trying to decide on the location, keep reading for some of our best tips and helpful how-to advice when it comes to planning a Nashville Destination Wedding.
Choose an All-Inclusive Venue
Probably one of the most important aspects of planning a destination wedding is the venue itself. Being unfamiliar with vendors in the area and trying to plan from out of state, choosing a venue that offers an all-inclusive option will save you tons of stress and time. At Cedarmont Farm, our all-inclusive package includes some of the best vendors in Nashville so you don't have to spend hours scrolling and reading reviews from afar. Plus our all-inclusive comes with full planning so our team will be scheduling your tastings and decor meetings for you so that it works best with your travel schedule and when you're available to come in town. If you can't come in town before the wedding, we coordinate those meetings via Zoom. We have tons of experience working with out of town clients (many we don't meet til their wedding days!) and know how much stress it takes off our out of town clients to have our team here on the ground in Nashville coordinating all the vendors and logistics for you. We also have a preferred list of vendors not included (photographers, officiants, etc) who are familiar with the venue (and the best photo spots) to make even the non-inclusive parts of your package stress-free and easy.
If most of your guests are coming from out of town, it's also helpful to have a venue that's close to lodging options. A venue more than 30 minutes out of town may seem cool in theory, but it is going to be a major headache for most of your guests to travel in and then have to travel even further to the wedding itself. Our venue is 40 private acres with a secluded feel, but only five minutes to the interstate, lots of great hotel options and a quick 20 minutes into Nashville and the airport.
Book Hotel Blocks
Booking hotel blocks for a destination wedding is super important as most of your guests (if not all) are coming from out of town. While some guests may choose to book their own hotel or a vacation rental, many guests like staying at the same hotel as other guests and it's a nice gesture to make their travel planning easier by offering a reduced rate at hotels.
Many of our clients get scared when we talk about hotel blocks, as they imagine themselves paying for hotel rooms that don't get booked but that's not the case! Many hotels in Franklin, offer complimentary room blocks (usually 10-15 rooms) that they will hold free of charge at a special rate for your guests to book until a month before the wedding. Additionally, hotel pricing is much less expensive in Franklin than downtown Nashville.
If you prefer guests to stay in Nashville, it never hurts to ask if they offer complimentary room blocks. We suggest holding rooms at two hotels (maybe one in Franklin and one in Nashville OR one 4 star hotel and one 3 star less expensive option in the same area). When you reach out to hotels, they will often send you a booking link to pass on to your guests. They will also keep an updated list for you of who has booked in your room block in case you're thinking of offering welcome gifts to your guests in their hotel room on arrival or want to coordinate a shuttle to and from the wedding. Knowing which guests are staying where can be really helpful when planning other events as well (Such as after parties, brunches or welcome dinners).
Book Wedding Shuttles & Transportation
You picked Nashville. You booked your venue and your hotels. Now you need to figure out how to get guests from the hotel to the wedding. If many of your guests are driving in and will have cars, you may decide a shuttle isn't necessary but for weddings where most of the guests are flying in and may not be planning on renting a car or the majority of the guests will be drinking, having a shuttle is a really great gesture. If a shuttle seems out of your budget, consider foregoing favors or other wedding "extras" and spending that money on a shuttle. Trust us, your guests will appreciate a safe ride home at the end of the night much more than a keychain or Koozie. We suggest having shuttles pick up at hotels and return at the end of the night. Additionally, consider having shuttles stay on site and offering an early and late departure (After cake is cut then a few hours later when the wedding is over) for guests.
Host Other Events
One of the best parts of a wedding is having everyone you love in the same spot at once! It's such a great feeling and there's really no other time in your life that this will happen, so it's so important to cherish it. Your favorite people came all this way, try to spend as much time with them as you can!
Often, particularly for destination weddings, couples choose to host a larger rehearsal dinner and invite all their out of town guests instead of just the wedding party. If you'd rather an intimate rehearsal dinner, consider hosting a welcome party after. It can be a hosted event with dessert, appetizers and an open bar, or simply an informal meet up at a bar. Even if you're not picking up the tab, consider making this an "official" wedding event. If you need help with invitation wording for a casual buy-your-own affair, try this out "WELCOME PARTY! If you're just getting into town, stop by and have a drink with us! *cash bar*" Other wedding weekend events can include a post-wedding brunch, Broadway bar crawl or wedding after party either at your hotel bar or a bar within walking distance (for downtown Franklin, we suggest The Buganut Pig or Kimbro's). If you're booking your wedding at Cedarmont Farm, our planning staff will assist with recommendations for restaurants to host brunches, rehearsal dinners and more.
Create A Wedding Website
We can't stress enough how nice a wedding website is particularly for destination weddings. Remember that booking link hotels will send you? Put it on your website! The transportation you've booked? Put that info on your website! Other events you want to hold in Nashville? Put those on your website too!
We love The Knot and Zola for free wedding websites but there are many other options as well and most include a "Travel" page which will have space to put all the details you will want to give to guests traveling in (and help save on the cost of all those extra detail cards that go with your wedding invitation). Before sending out your save the dates, remember to put your wedding website on them and get at least your venue and room block links up on it in case you have lots of "planner" type guests who would love to get their travel booked and checked off their "to do" list.
Also consider putting other recommendations on your wedding website for guests to check out while they're in town. For Nashville, Broadway is always popular, but consider checking out some local hang out spots if you're in town for planning and giving guests some personal recommendations. For Franklin, our team loves Arrington Vineyards, historic downtown Franklin or The Factory for shopping and food, Garcia's for Mexican and Leiper's Fork for music and their distillery. For Nashville the options are endless but personally, we love Lockeland Table, Pearl Diver, Bastion, Tailgate and HQ Beercade.
So what are you waiting for? See our package info and book your showing! (we offer virtual showings)