Hey beautiful! It’s time for another Wedding Wednesday! This week, I’m going over the importance of venues.
Before I start talking venues, I wanted to clarify on the date. I personally think it is fine to go ahead and decide on a date prior to having a venue (actually, a lot of people will ask you what date you have in mind when you’re venue searching). Or, you can find the venue you like the best and then see what dates they have available. I remember sitting in the San Fran airport with Teej about to head home from the most magical trip when he proposed to me (read that story HERE!), and of course, we were SO thrilled about the big news in our lives & beginning our next chapter. We sat there thinking about some possible wedding dates and realized that we started dating on 11/23/12 and we got engaged on 05/24/15. TJ mentioned seeing if there was a Saturday the next summer on the 25th of a month. Well, we got lucky – it was meant to be! June 25, 2016 would be our best day ever.
So, once we got home to Tennessee, we officially began wedding planning. We were more than ready to be married. The very first thing that Teej and I looked for in our search for wedding vendors was our venue … or actually, venues. We had discussed for years (before even being engaged) about what kind of venue we had in our minds. Basically, outdoor weddings are gorgeous – when the weather cooperates – however, we always said that with our luck, it would come a monsoon, lol. Plus TJ may have possibly died standing in a tux out in the heat in the middle of a southern summer. No joke! So, we knew that we definitely wanted an indoor wedding.
We then knew two things that we wanted: our June 25th date & an indoor venue.
So, the search began. TIP: Book a venue as soon as you can. The dates fill up fast (well over a year in advance in some places).
After some thought and discussion on our number of guests, themes, etc. we decided that we liked the idea of a church (with stained glass) for our ceremony and something like a large, classy ballroom for the reception. That was the plan! Plus, I really just loved the thought of anything ‘fancy’ with chandeliers. 😉 We visited a few different places and had narrowed our choices down to two different churches and two different reception venues.
But, for some reason, I just wasn’t really sold on either of the reception venues that we had in mind. Both would have been beautiful, but I guess I just didn’t get the ‘feeling’ that I had wanted from either of them. So, I was just searching around on the Internet one night and found the venue of my DREAMS!!! Cherokee Country Club. I didn’t even know if it would be a possibility. Would our date be taken? Would it fit in our budget? Would it be the right size for our guest list? Would the girls and guys have different rooms to get ready in? (TJ and I didn’t do a first look.) So many things were racing through my mind, but all in all, I just knew that we had to go see it. The next week, we had an appointment with the wedding coordinator (who, by the way, is a complete saint – I’ll cherish her forever!). We toured the whole venue, and to get to the point, it was everything we could have ever dreamt of for our Big Day. AH!
Then, we decided on the church based off of the location of our reception venue. It was a super short drive, AND it had the most beautiful stained-glass windows that I had ever seen. It was the perfect place that we had in mind to say our I Do’s!
My heart beats fast for beautiful stained-glass. This was our ceremony backdrop!
I really loved this church because it felt like an old, romantic castle!
One of the things I was looking for in a church was a room for the bridal party to hang out in for a few minutes before it was go-time. We had this huge room to just chill for about 30-45 minutes in between pictures and the ceremony. The kiddos were really excited for this break. 😉
TRUE LOVE, y’all — when your girls pick all of the bugs, grass, leaves, sticks etc. out of your dress by hand. Walking around for pictures definitely got lots of random things stuck in the bottom of my dress. Gotta love tulle!
A few other must-haves: an organ for the bridal march (I’m traditional y’all!!) and a piano for live music prior to the ceremony.
I looooved the center aisle! Another must-have for me.
Oh, my heart!!!
We’re married!! 🙂
I loved loved loved our ceremony venue! So many amazing spots for photos, and the coordinators were so helpful & easy to work with. I highly recommend Graystone for any of you East Tennessee brides! What worked so well for us is that you don’t have to be a member to get married there. A lot of churches, you do. We are actually a part of a Methodist church closer to where we live. It’s gorgeous and we LOVE it, but it’s very contemporary and we just imagined something a little more traditional for our wedding. We even got to bring in our own preacher from our home church, which made it so special. We didn’t want to have it any other way!
Cherokee Country Club
All our ballroom dreams came true!
A must-have: places for both the guys and girls to get ready and hangout during the day. We had a huge sunroom with couches, chairs, lots of windows for natural light, lots of mirrors and a huge bathroom area. This is where us girls spent a good part of the day … getting all dolled up, eating breakfast / lunch, sippin’ mimosas, dancing, taking selfies (duh, lol) — so fun!!
Although not at Cherokee Country Club, the guys also had a great place to begin their day. Teej took his groomsmen to Frank’s Barbershop for shaves, cuts, root beer & pool. The guys really enjoyed it here because Frank’s treats their customers like royalty. Then they packed up and headed to Cherokee!
Beautiful views and places for lots of photos. Thank you, Jesus, for the most beautiful weather on our special day!!
The guys’ lounge at Cherokee had tons of leather couches and chairs with a full bar, pool tables, TV’s and even a vintage bowling alley – so cool!
Okay, I mean HOW GORG are my ladies, y’all!? I love you beautiful girls.
Great photo op spots!!
I mean … THAT VIEW!
Ballroom loooove 🙂
There was even a private room with a table for two set up for TJ and I to have a quick ‘first dinner’ as a married couple! It was so nice to sneak away for a few minutes to enjoy a private dinner as husband and wife. And the wonderful staff at Cherokee already had our plates ready to go. They even made us a to-go basket with tons of food and a bottle of red wine to take with us after the reception was over! Cherokee was incredible!!
Of course we had to have a ceiling tall enough for our UT Cheer pep rally / reunion ha! When you get a bunch of former collegiate cheerleaders together, there’s no doubt that there will be some stunting going on – and lots of Rocky Top in our town! SHOUTOUT TO MY TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS!
Plenty of room for lots and lots of dancing — also a must-have for us. We wanted a huge party to celebrate!
Cherokee Country Club was seriously a dream come true for us, and I would recommend this venue to ANYONE hosting any type of event. From weddings, to rehearsal dinners, to bridal luncheons (I had my bridal brunch here with my girls in a smaller event room!), to fashion shows, to galas … literally the perfect venue for almost anything! Everyone was so easy to work with and the staff was so helpful in every aspect. We will truly cherish our venues and couldn’t have pictured our Big Day being at any other locations. It was perfectly us.
My biggest suggestions when it comes to venues is to first find out what best fits the theme and ideas that you and your fiance have imagined and then start looking for your dream venue(s) ASAP because they all fill up so quickly .. especially in the spring and summer months.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more information and photos of the other vendors that we used throughout our wedding process! I may be biased, but we really lucked up with some of the very best people in the biz. We looove them all, and we were way more than pleased! I can’t WAIT to share them all with you guys!