One of the very best ways to give your wedding a signature look and feel is to use your wedding venue wisely. Being prepared for anything and everything might not be on your wedding planning bucket list, but it’s totally feasible with three quick – yet often underutilized – tips you can implement today. Not only will your guests walk away with a feeling of impressed relaxation, but they’ll also note how seamless and entertaining your evening was! Read on for three simple secrets to maximize your wedding venue space, featuring hot tips and advice from Rhonda Carpenter, wedding coordinator at Knoxville’s premier antebellum wedding venue, the Historic Bleak House.
1. Plan to use as much of your wedding venue as possible throughout your day.
I know I’ve said this a hundred times on the blog, but that’s because it’s oh-so-true. Opting for many areas around the property to host different events – such as your cocktail hour, bouquet toss, and cake cutting – ultimately keeps guests interested in your itinerary. It also gives them the opportunity to really take in and enjoy your wedding venue!
At the Historic Bleak House, antebellum charm and vintage décor are standard commodities. The venue is so well decorated and cared for that it naturally draws guests into its charm. From the stunning, old-world grandeur inside the mansion to the five gorgeously landscaped levels of gardens behind the house, the Historic Bleak House has no shortage of areas to host different parts of your event. The gardens are accessible through a stunning gate and covered archway dripping in twinkling lights and mature wisteria which blooms in April. All of this makes for jaw-dropping pictures. In addition, the venue is steeped in rich history starting with the Civil War era and continuing throughout today.
“We most often use all parts of the venue – both indoor and outdoor – for different parts of the wedding day,” Rhonda details. “It’s just such a great venue with something for everyone. You can create your own look at Bleak House. It’s versatile to a wide range of color palettes. I often ask brides as they tour, ‘What do you see?’ We start there and build from that because each bride sees her dream wedding in the venue differently, and each wedding ends up looking stunning.”
2. Always, always, always have a rain plan.
Rain can either make or break your wedding day. While the images from your wedding can be quite amazing in the rain (not to mention, superstition states that rain is good luck on a wedding day!), your guests won’t appreciate getting drenched or eating soggy food throughout your evening.
“We always work out anywhere from one to three different rain plan options for the bride and groom,” Rhonda states.
While Rhonda details that the Historic Bleak House can fit up to 200 guests inside, she states that 100-175 is most comfortable. Up to 400 guests can fit outside in the gardens as well, with 300-350 suggested max. You can use most rooms downstairs for guests to explore and mingle throughout your day, too, so rain plans are easy to adjust and settle.
3. Focus a lot on having great lighting in every area.
One of the biggest components of design that I always touch on with brides is the lighting in their venue. It can add so much to the look and feel of your day. However, having the proper lighting also reduces safety concerns and even affects how guests feel throughout the wedding. Especially when dealing with a venue like the Historic Bleak House, which has multiple outdoor levels with minimal lighting on-site, you’ll need to secure the proper lighting tools to keep guests safe and happy.
“When going over a bride’s rental order, I always make sure they have the right kind of lighting and the right amount to keep their event safe,” Rhonda explains. She often suggests portable streetlights, chandeliers, and bistro (strung bulb) lighting to give your event that stunning, unique look.
Rhonda Carpenter has been coordinating weddings at the Historic Bleak House for five years total. Her favorite aspects of working with the Historic Bleak House include loving the character and feel as well as the rich history of the venue. She also states that she feels humbled to help keep the house in such a stunning state by sharing it with the community through weddings and events. Just from chatting with Rhonda for a few minutes, it’s obvious that she feels a deep connection to the house.
“I’ve done so many events here in the past and look forward to so many more in the future,” she states. “It’s not just about a connection with the venue; it’s also amazing to help contribute to a bride and groom’s most important day.”
Rhonda went on to detail how some of her clients remember her years after their wedding! “I had a groom call me and arrange for his 10-year anniversary. He wanted to surprise his bride, and when she saw me that day, she was so excited. She remembered that I was her wedding coordinator at the venue a decade earlier! It’s amazing to see these couples come full circle. They now have kids of their own!”
To contact Rhonda about hosting your dream wedding at the Historic Bleak House, give her a call at (865) 235-4268. Be sure to also visit the Bleak House’s website and Facebook page to learn more. Tell Rhonda that The Pink Bride sent you!
Images courtesy of the Historic Bleak House Facebook page.
Second and third images by Leah Bullard Photography.