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Variety is the Spice of Life

Old adages are often times dismissed because they are just that…old. But, in the event industry, Variety truly is the spice of life.

As technology and information is more accessible now than any time before in history, the challenge of trying to keep your guests engaged is tougher than ever. With attention spans shorter than this sentence, the goal of every event professional is to draw the guests in and keep their attention. Its an almost impossible task that often times is thankless.

So, the first task is to find the right venue that offers the ability to stage different activities without losing the guests. Venues that can accommodate this become the most sought after. From rooftop event spaces, to well-manicured acreage, and everything in between, venues are rushing to add more options and give your guests more to do!

Here are several venues around Middle Tennessee that serve as a great example of what I am talking about:

1. Cumberland Park: This is one of the most beautiful places in all of Nashville, right on the Cumberland, between the Pedestrian Bridge and Korean Bridge. The views of downtown are second-to-none. The park has lots of green space, a built instage and covering, and a large concrete pad under the bridge that serves as an excellent rain plan. You can have live entertainment on the stage and food trucks under the bridge. The possibilities are endless.

2. Nashville Palace: By Opryland Hotel, the location is ideal for local corporate events, as well as conventioneers staying across the street at Nashville’s largest hotel.There is free parking, which can be closed and tented for those wanting a festival type vibe. This venue has a large back room for up to 600 guests, a small front room for up to 200, and patio space for cigar stations.It’s a piece of Nashville’s music history that has several opportunities for customization.

3. OceanWay Nashville Recording Studio: Music Row is not a location most people look at for events. OWN boasts Studio A, its largest studio, as its main space for events. Being that it is used to record large symphonies, it opens up nicely for group gatherings. OWN has 3 studios, and 3 lounges that make it a wonderful place to do breakouts, stations, and all kinds of difference experiences. There is even a rooftop space that is an incredible spot for an evening reception

4. Nashville Zoo: Nothing says a fun corporate event than dancing the night away next to the elephants. Man…those guys can party. But the Zoo is built perfectly for events. Late night drinks next to the Carousel, Hors D’oeuvres next to the zip line, dinner under the fixed tent…this place has room for it all. The coolest part is the property includes a long driveway with tons of parking, where any type of festival vibe could be accommodated. Every event I have had here has been amazing.

5, Reunion Stay: This venue is a wonderful hidden treasure in Franklin. I used the media room and turned it in to a night club type vibe, cigar stations pool-side, happy hour on the front lawn, and clear-tenting the upper back lawn for an amazing dinner dinner under the stars. If the guests can’t keep their attention, don’t worry, the game room inside can help. Don’t hesitate to think outside of the box here. The pool is stunning, but would be perfect to put a clear dance floor on top of and dance the night away in complete luxury.

6, Arrington Vineyards: Not far from Reunion Stay, Middle Tennessee’s premier Vineyard boasts rolling hills, reclaimed barn, tented patio, tasting rooms, and so much more. You can not top their views, and the wine is quite fantastic. There’s nothing better on a hot summer day than their Reisling, and their Cabernet on a cool Fall evening. You can bring in your own catering, and the property is family friendly for an all-occasions event.

Every type of venue serves a purpose. They all have their pros and cons. Middle Tennessee is swarming with a wide range of venue types. You will see an even more divers offering of venues around the country. However, in today’s culture of short attention spans, having a venue that has multiple event spaces/areas, in one property, gives your event an advantage in keeping your guests engaged and entertained. What guest would want to leave an event that has everything? I know I wouldn’t!

“About the author Bo Jennings serves as the Director of Events for CHG Special Events. He also serves as President for the Nashville Chapter of the International Live Events Association. His event planning has helped with events from 20 to 20,000. He has managed properties around Middle Tennessee, and executed events and countless venues.

He is a guest speaker each semester at Belmont University on event planning, and has been a guest speaker for multiple associations on the event industry.”

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