January 13, 2014

Why We Chose a Southern Wedding Venue and Cedarwood!

Written by Cedarwood Bride and Guest Blogger, Ronee Uyeshiro

My husband Jeff and I got married at Historic Cedarwood in July of 2013 and we could not have been happier with the way our wedding turned out. Living in Los Angeles, California and planning a wedding from 2,000 miles away initially seemed like a daunting task, but it was the best decision ever.  For those of you in the process of planning your own Cedarwood Wedding, here’s our story.

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Our wedding was almost perfection. I say almost, because we got a little (ok, a lot) of unexpected rain that weekend. By our Saturday arrival at Cedarwood, the rain was coming to an end, but rain on your wedding day is supposed to be good luck, isn’t it? Despite Mother Nature’s unexpected twist in our story, our wedding went off without a hitch and was even better in some respects than we had anticipated. The ceremony itself, which had been planned for the lawn, was moved to the barn (per our pre-devised rain plan) resulting in a beautiful and more intimate experience than either of us could have imagined. So much so that it brought both of us to tears, which we SOOOOO were not expecting.

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 So, why did a couple from Los Angeles choose to have their wedding in Nashville? A few reasons. The first is that we both liked the idea of having a destination wedding since our family and friends were coming from both coasts. But we also didn’t want to run off to Italy, excluding people we love based on cost alone. The second is that I fell in love with Cedarwood’s beauty and the endless possibilities it affords. I mean, I did A LOT of research (scouring blogs, wedding magazines, bridal message boards, wedding websites, etc.) and kept coming across this absolutely stunning property (with breathtaking grounds, lake & rowboat, covered pavillion, barn, vintage airstream, antebellum mansion, etc.) in Nashville. But why Nashville? Jeff initially asked the same question. But as I did more online research, I discovered that lots of couples were choosing Nashville as their destination wedding location and I became convinced that we could create the kind of fun weekend experience for our guests (the southern food, the honky tonks, etc.) that was so important to both of us. But Jeff, being the practical one, convinced me that a Los Angeles wedding would be easier to plan, so we looked at local wedding venues, found one that we both loved and booked it.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, as we like to look at it), we didn’t fully consider how much of a headache we had signed on for. The endless research of caterers, dj’s, lighting companies, florists, equipment rental companies, day-of planners, etc., quickly became overwhelming. Yes, we wanted our wedding to be original and reflect our love story, but at what cost? Definitely not our sanity! So we circled back to Cedarwood. It had the overall aesthetic we were both looking for, was in a fun and central location, PLUS had the added bonus of being an all-inclusive wedding venue that allowed for customization. This was a biggie for us since we had some very specific ideas and DIY projects we wanted to take on. We revisited our budget to make sure we could still make it work despite losing our deposit, decided to cut our losses, and signed a contract with Cedarwood.

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Pointers for Planning a Cedarwood Wedding Long Distance.  In contrast to our wedding planning experience with the Los Angeles venue, planning with Cedarwood was a breeze and only required us to fly to Nashville twice (once to view and tour the property before booking and the second to attend the style show and planning meeting). There are a few things we found helpful while planning our wedding from afar that I thought I would share, starting with the Cedarwood Style Show.

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Cedarwood’s annual style show (produced exclusively for confirmed Cedarwood couples) is insane in a good way. We pulled up, expecting about 10 or 15 other couples to be there, but were in awe of the sheer size and scope of the event. They really go all out to give you the full Cedarwood wedding experience with example ceremony setups, fully styled tables (“Patina,” “Mint Inspiration” and “Love of Lavender” were among my favorites), bands playing and champagne flowing. You also have the opportunity to get a feel for their partner vendors. Cedarwood caterers were there serving their unique and delicious fare and there was even an entire room dedicated to cake tasting. You will want to BRING A CAMERA or make sure your cell phone has enough battery life. Trust me, these pictures will be invaluable. Even if you have a pretty clear vision of the look you want, you may see a particular prop you can’t live without (like a rustic mint tin) or a very specific type of place card you hadn’t thought of (like mini vintage-inspired luggage tags) that you will end up incorporating into your wedding.

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Personal Planning and Beyond. My next piece of advice would be to schedule your personal planning meeting for the day or two after the style show (if possible and especially if you live out of state) and come prepared with your ideas so that you can make the most of it. Jeff and I brought our main “wish list” and questions we had, in addition to having a streamlined version of my Pinterest board ready to view during our meeting with Linda (we accessed it right from their computer). I don’t mean to make it sound like you have to do all the work, because they will definitely guide you through, but just that being prepared will help you make the most of the meeting.

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I think perhaps we were so prepared because we were afraid that our personal meeting was all the time and attention we were going to get, but this was not the case at all. We emailed back and forth with the team over the months leading up to the wedding regarding additional ideas or changes we had, etc. I have no idea how much they communicate with the average couple, but I do know we tried to gather our ideas and email them with very specific questions, changes or additions (often including pictures) every once in a while rather than bombarding them every time I pinned something new (which I tried to limit to Jeff and my bridesmaids). They were always responsive and receptive to our ideas, often suggesting ways to expand or improve on them, that we hadn’t considered. Jeff and I really enjoyed the collaborative aspect of planning a Cedarwood wedding. That being said, if you are a couple that wants more direction, or you just want to leave the details to Cedarwood, I have no doubt they will exceed your expectations.

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Wedding Weekend. My best advice would be to enjoy the time with your family and friends and to rest assured that Cedarwood has it covered. Admittedly, I did have some minor stress over the unforeseen rain in the days prior, but when I came to terms with the fact that the weather was out of our hands I was able to enjoy our wedding weekend knowing that whichever ceremony plan the rain would dictate, it had been well thought out and would be executed by Cedarwood’s team flawlessly. When I arrived with my bridesmaids on our wedding day I was beyond blown away by how beautifully everything had come together. Most importantly, Jeff and I got our perfect moment. When I walked into the barn on my father’s arm and saw Jeff standing there surrounded by our friends and family, we both lost it, and that’s when the waterworks started. We were getting married!

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They say that your wedding will be a blur, but for us it really wasn’t. We didn’t have to worry about any of the details because our wedding director, Kortni, and the rest of the event and design team were like a well-oiled machine, guiding us through everything from lining up for the ceremony through the sparkler send-off. I remember taking time later in the night to sit together for a few minutes as husband and wife, watching our outdoor movie screening of Sabrina, confident that our guests were being taken care of. We could not have made a better choice than having our wedding at Cedarwood and will forever be grateful that we truly did have our dream wedding.

If you have any questions about our wedding planning process or are interested in reading more about our DIY projects, feel free to stop by my personal blog Little Mint Kitchenette.

Ronee

(See Ronee and Jeff’s wedding feature here!)

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