The South is a hotbed of stunning historic homes and landmarks, and Nashville is no exception. Offering up charm and character in spades, many of Music City’s notable spaces of old are also the perfect spots to create new memories … particularly when it comes to choosing a wedding or event venue. Here are three local options that merge the poignant narrative of the past with celebrations of the present and dreams for the future.
3 Historic Nashville Event Venues
1220 7th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37208 • (330) 618-5386
When you step into Germantown’s Alabaster Collective, you immediately feel at home. Impeccably designed by co-owner Colleen Locke, the women’s co-working space and event venue is a tribute to comfort and class. Constructed in the 1800s, the home boasts historical elements such as standout crown molding and a dreamy spiral staircase. The back building was even the site of a local printing company, owned by the two brothers who built the residence way back when. Now, it’s a family-run business with Colleen at the helm. “I’m not going to renovate something like this and not share it,” says Colleen. “People need to be in here, and they need to understand what you can do with a historic property.” Thankfully, her impressive eye for design offers a perfect example. “We feel so honored to own a piece of history,” she continues. “As we watch a lot of Nashville’s historic properties disappearing, I can’t believe we get to own and operate something like this! It feels like a call to steward.”
Purchasing the residence in 2017, Colleen and her husband spent 18 months renovating before the space was ready for use. Now it’s a tranquil co-working spot Monday through Friday. After hours, it offers an ideal location for events. Somewhat surprisingly, utilizing the residence for weddings wasn’t initially on Colleen’s radar. “We originally thought rehearsal dinners would be our niche,” she says, “but people are thinking differently about weddings these days. COVID really forces you to think about who you are and to be nimble.” And nimble they are, hosting everything from intimate weddings and corporate retreats to chef-inspired dinner gatherings.
The home speaks for itself. In particular, the front entry boasts an original spiral staircase that’s downright captivating. The steps were initially covered in decades of paint and varnish, but Colleen had them scraped down to the raw, unfinished wood. It took almost the entire renovation process to complete, but it was clearly worth the labor-intensive, painstaking process. “It tells the story of the layers, and history, and who we are,” Colleen tells us, “and it’s stronger and more beautiful than ever.” Which might just be the perfect way to sum up Alabaster Collective as a whole.
4683 Columbia Pike, Thompson’s Station, TN 37179 • (615) 854-7975
At 200 years old, Homestead Manor is a sight to behold. Its foundation may have been built in 1809, but it has seen many incarnations over the years — as a Civil War hospital, general store, and hotel, among other gathering spaces. But the heart of Homestead Manor is what makes it such a magical, special place and an integral pillar of the Thompson’s Station community.
Founded on Zimbabwe’s “friendship bench” concept, the manor honors the history of the land while supporting the lives of those who stop in to appreciate it. Ultimately, the vision is to offer a listening ear to those who need it, thereby improving the quality of life and overall health of the community. And what better place to start than with a coffee shop? Formerly a farm-to-table restaurant owned by Andy Marshall of Puckett’s fame, the manor is now home to 1819 Coffee, a coffee shop with plenty of caffeine, pastries (including delicious, locally made Pop-Tarts), and lots of comfy space to camp out with a computer or book for a few hours.
Beyond the draw of 1819 as a warm, welcoming gathering place for locals and visitors alike, the property also offers an elegant event venue in the form of a newly renovated barn surrounded by nearly 50 acres of perfectly manicured landscaping. “When we took it on, they did weddings and milestone life events in the barn,” says Aaron Sanders, who manages the property’s operations. “We didn’t want to lose that. It’s a top-notch event space, and we have great sound and lighting, but all of it is to help find connections. Our heart is in keeping that friendship bench concept in all we do.”
The event space itself is lined with glass roll-up doors that extend out to create an open-air venue that can launch your guest list capacity from 250 to 400 in mere seconds. A chef’s kitchen offers ample space for caterers, and a regal, double-sided stone fireplace provides a focal point that lures in many a bride-to-be. Visually stunning, it contrasts the elegant chandeliers and complements several walls made of wood panels from the original barn that once sat in its place.
A nearby structure (the former schoolhouse, built in 1814) offers a spot for brides to prepare for their big day. The perfect blend of modern and classic aesthetics, the space is complete with floor-length mirrors, a kitchen and bathroom, and special touches like an amenities basket with water, deodorant, a sewing kit, and other necessities.
But it isn’t just the Southern hospitality that tells the manor’s narrative. One glance at the boxwood-lined path leading to the stately manor and the mature trees flanking either side, and you’re transported back to the days of old. The original stained glass windows catch the sun as a nearby carriage almost makes you forget you’re in the dawn of the 22nd century. Whether you go for the coffee, the community, or to congregate for an event, one thing is clear: Homestead Manor is, unquestionably, a beautiful beacon of light in the middle of Thompson’s Station.
1833 Welcome Ln, Nashville, TN 37216 • (615) 228-8892
With its oldest section constructed in the late 1790s, Riverwood Mansion has witnessed several centuries of Nashville history. Built by Irish immigrant Alexander Porter in what’s now a residential area of East Nashville, the home was originally named Tammany Woods, and it saw several renovations and add-ons during the 1800s on its way to becoming the majestic manor that stands today. It has seen several owners, including former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Tennessee, William Cooper, and Lucius Burch, Jr., an attorney for Martin Luther King, Jr., during the Civil Rights Movement. There have also been numerous Presidential visits, and it’s even believed that William Strickland, who designed the Tennessee State Capitol, helped design the front porch.
A nod to its original incarnation, the residence still boasts the original front doors and stained glass windows, and many of the interior doors and hardwood floors have survived the test of time, too. Perhaps most notable are the exterior columns that enhance Riverwood’s sense of timeless Southern charm. “At some point, the front columns were somehow moved down to Mississippi, so the front of the mansion was just supported by large beams,” explains Riverwood Events Manager Cora Walsh. “It was like that for several years, and when the Glynns bought the home and restored it in the 1990s, they tracked down the original columns in Mississippi, and they were able to install those back onto the front of the home.” The current owners — a group of investors, including the founder of catering company 8 Lavender Lane — purchased the residence in 2015.
There is no shortage of beautiful spots to hold an event or wedding ceremony at Riverwood Mansion. Still, while there are many picture-perfect locations on the property, Cora says the ideal space ultimately comes down to the size of the wedding or event. “We have smaller, more intimate gatherings inside the home (and sometimes when the weather’s not great outside),” she tells us, “but our most popular spot for weddings is out in our piazza, which was specifically designed for ceremonies. That’s where the sun sets, and the trees offer a lot of shade for our guests.” With gorgeous greenery and inclusive event packages, Riverwood Mansion is an incredible event destination.
For more Southern-inspired event planning ideas, visit our StyleBlueprint Weddings Archive.