Doug and I agreed the first big thing we should knock out, aside from drafting a guest list, was finding the perfect venue for our day. I’ve always wanted to have a destination wedding, a wonderful combination of vacation and celebration. I somehow talked Doug into agreeing with this idea and leaving behind his beloved Cincinnati. With so many of our friends having married in Cincinnati in recent years, we felt a destination would change things up and open our possibilities (endlessly) for new and exciting venues. With knowing our event would take place out of town, we agreed upon our date. September 4, 2016, Sunday of Labor Day weekend. We felt this would allow our guest more flexibility in travel time, especially if their ability to take off work was limited. Combining the idea of a destination and my dreams of a rustic, country-styled event, we set out on our search.
Starting shortly after the new year, I began emailing just about any barn/farm venue I could find in the southeastern United States. From Ohio, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and the Carolinas, I contacted well over 30 different venues. I felt it was best to gather as much information as possible including if our date was available, what the price was, and what each rental included then narrow it down from there. We first eliminated options over our budget, then took away options that weren’t in or near a big city. That pretty much got us down to Charleston, South Carolina and Nashville, Tennessee. It was a tough choice from here. Charleston was appealing because who wouldn’t want to vacation at the beach on the days leading up to the wedding? And Nashville stood out for its vibrant, musical nightlife and its proximity to majority of our guests. We decided to proceed with Nashville!
Doug was going to be in Nashville for a friend’s bachelor party at the end of March, so we sent an appointment for him to visit Arrington Vineyards. At this time we were living in San Francisco, and I was unfortunately not going to to be able to make it to Nashville until the summer. So, I trusted my soon to be husband to take on this task alone. He took lots of pictures and videos and I made him FaceTime me while he was there so I could see the place as best as possible without being present. It is a beautiful setting. A big red barn sitting atop a hill overlooking the vineyards. About a week later, we had agreed that this was it, although I had yet to see it in person. Talk about trusting your man! We were a little ahead of the game, as they were not booking dates that far in advance yet. So it wasn’t until May 29 that we officially signed our contract with Arrington Vineyards. Yay!
Then the storm came in. Our contact at Arrington called me on June 18, but I had missed the call. She left me a voicemail to call her when I had a chance. I was in a friend’s wedding that weekend, so I waited until the following week to return her call. We played a little phone tag, and I finally was able to get in touch with her on June 25. She informed me that their business model had changed and they would no longer be offering Saturday or Sunday weddings in 2016. They did offer us the option for Friday September 2 at a discounted price, but knowing our guest were coming out of town, I wasn’t very receptive to that alternative. Talk about a heartbreak. I tried to hold back my emotions on the phone and told her I would have to talk to my fiancé and my family. I called Doug and my mom to tell them the news, they both had thought something horrible had happened because I could barely form words. For those of you who know country music, Kix Brooks, of Brooks & Dunn, is founder of Arrington. I later heard, that they have decided to host a concert series at the property, obviously that’s more important than the biggest day of my life! My dad jokes, there will definitely be no Brooks & Dunn music played at the wedding. It was devestating, but on the bright side, we were so far out from the wedding that we still had time to find a solution. The very next week my mom, Doug, sister Laura, and I headed down to Nashville to hunt for our new perfect venue.
To be continued…