1. Does the venue exude the vibe you’re after?
The venue you select depends on whom you want to attend. It’s that simple. The venue needs to support the vision that the host (and planner) has for the event. Most hosts do fairly well with this and thoughtfully reduce the list of venue contenders, for instance, to independent venues with a historic/industrial appeal.
If the venue is a blank page, more design flexibility is possible, which is a great thing. Look at pictures of past events at the venue; is the look you’re after represented? If so, visit the venue with those who need to see it. The undecorated space may be difficult to connect to the vision you have for your event. So, ask about the layouts for past events that could be similar to that of your event, and what made these events work well? What decoration is most effective for the space? Who is showing you the space and are they passionate about it? When it’s right, you’ll know it instinctively.
2. Are there key differentiating aspects of the space?
Guests want a unique experience as much as the hosts. Major distinguishing objective features may include the architecture, historic features, or outdoor and green spaces. An important subjective consideration is the attitude of the venue. Honestly, are they excited to have your event? Do they volunteer ideas even though they likely aren’t your event planner?
3. What are the venue’s high order policies?
Venues, such as hotels, may be largely restrictive in their policies or very permissive as with some independent, local venues. The biggest policies to consider pertain to: 1) alcohol, 2) outside vendors, particularly caterers, and whether they are allowed (and then if you must choose from a pre-approved list), and 3) venue mark up of (and/or discounts on) vendor prices.
4. Do your logistics permit use of the venue?
This may seem like it should be the most important item, but I believe that you only ask this question if the venue has satisfied the first three issues. Is the date you want available? I’d argue that if you’re happy to this point, you should do what you can to get an available date at this great venue. Is the venue the right size for your event? The space should not be too big or too small, when considering the format of the event (fully seated, reception, etc.). Here too, if there is a marginal size discrepancy a space man often be configured to work for a smaller event than optimal for the venue, or space can be added creatively (outdoor tenting for example). How’s the location relative to starting/ending places such as the wedding ceremony, hotel, after party, office, or where your guests live? Your guests will prefer to be closer to home (and may choose to attend for better or worse!).
5. Is the venue a good value (not necessarily cost)?
What’s the cost relative to the first two items? Apart from the usual facility fee, costs are largely driven by the policies in item three. Quantifying individual costs often will be difficult, made more so at venues where the use of in-house vendors is required and costs are bundled, so compare the total costs incurred at each venue. Specifically ask about hidden costs; a fertile area to start is with vendors markups or discounts.
6. How’s their reputation?
A venue’s reputation is not a closely guarded secret. Ask a vendor or event planner. You may enjoy asking another venue where they would recommend. A venue that doesn’t need the business and prefers happy clients should recommend other venues freely and without your having to ask.
7. Do their miscellaneous policies check out?
These many policies individually usually aren’t that significant, but taken together may paint a picture of how the venue does business. This catch-all category of policies includes tenting, decorations, load-in/out times, parking, payment, audio/video, etc.]]>
It’s the home for free summer Sunday concerts. Kids love to play on the huge dragon sculpture. And neighbors plant trees each spring to spruce up the area.
Fannie Mae Dees Park, referred to by many as Dragon Park, is a neighborhood staple, and neighborhood leaders want to make sure it stays that way.
In collaboration with Metro Parks, residents and Hillsboro Village merchants and stakeholders have begun a master planning process for the park and are gathering input that will guide the park’s future growth.
“The park is a great asset to the neighborhood and Hillsboro Village, but it could be a lot better,” said Dan Cook, owner of Ruby, a new event hall adjacent to the park.
“It’s the beginning of the process, but we have the survey out and I’m surprised how quickly people have embraced the effort. It’s just time to take a fresh look at it.”
There is currently no money to make any improvements, but the intent is to develop a guide for future investments, said Tim Netsch, planning superintendent with Metro Parks.
“For the most part, the community feels like there is a lot to like about Fannie Mae Dees as it is, but I think there is a desire to make sure it continues to serve the community,” Netsch said.
“Fannie Mae Dees overall is in pretty good condition compared to parks countywide, but there is always room for improvement. This will be a very conceptual master plan with improvements, and we would prioritize the projects and get in line for funding.”
The park board purchased Dragon Park, at Blakemore and 24th Avenue South, in 1978. It’s named for Fannie Mae Dees, a local civic leader. The park has tennis courts, playground equipment and a popular colorful sea serpent sculpture, which serves as the park’s centerpiece. Students from nearby Eakin Elementary and Harris-Hillman schools regularly use the park.
The master plan process was kicked off at the recent annual Dragon Parade, where neighbors began soliciting resident input. Over the next several months, residents can complete a survey to recommend improvements, programming and what amenities they would like to see in the future.
Today our spotlight is on Ruby Nashville. Dan Cook was so kind as to answer a few questions about this fabulous new venue.
Tell us about your venue.
Ruby’s high quality, custom designed space early on led us to refer to the structure and land as a small gem, and after several years of planning Ruby was born. Ruby is an oasis in the city; we border Dragon Park and anchor historic Hillsboro Village. We’re privately owned and operated – a true Nashville original.
What makes your venue different from other venues?
We have a top 10 list!
Blank Canvas Ruby’s minimalist architecture and white plaster walls are a perfect stage for most any type ofevent or theme /decor – or even no decor at all! In part due to this flexibility, Ruby hosts all types of events, including wedding ceremonies, rehearsal dinners and receptions; corporate seminars and parties; non-profit events; concerts and film productions, photo and video shoots, church services, university events, birthday parties, bar/bat mitzvahs, you name it.
Design We’re closet architects. Ruby’s design has been called contemporary, historic, industrial and natural – but not institutional. Our repurposing of the historic structure was done to a sustainable level consistent with its park environs. Much of the construction is custom and all is done to a high standard. We used an abundance of natural materials, and the indoor spaces and filled with natural light.
Park Dragon Park (Fannie Mae Dees Park), a state arboretum, surrounds Ruby.
Outdoors Ruby is as much an outdoor facility as an indoor one. Our courtyards and deck look upon the park and green spaces.
Location A Hillsboro/Vanderbilt – Green Hills corridor location – what more can be said?
Vendors Though we offer an approved vendor list to streamline planning, events may bring in many of their own vendors, including caterers.
BYOB Facility Beverages costs can eclipse all other events costs. BYOB provides low and predictable cost.
Systems Great sound and video systems are a must. Ruby has them – band/DJ connections, built-inspeakers, iPod hookups, two video projectors, and darned good acoustics.
Simple Pricing Ruby pricing is transparent and largely inclusive. We don’t mark up vendor’s prices.
Collaboration Ruby utilizes cloud-based collaboration, not a paper trail, to facilitate event planning and coordination.
What is the history of your venue?
The original structure was built in 1945, and the 2011 remodel preserved the original structure and features while introducing a high quality contemporary, industrial and green design.
What are some of your wedding and reception options?
We offer rehearsal dinner, ceremony, and receptions. Combination ceremony and receptions are quite popular and being an old church with an industrial bent, we’re a natural fit for ceremonies. The outdoor areas, which can be tented, are perfect for transitioning from the ceremony to the reception. The park is an ideal area for wedding photographs. Also we have chairs and a podium onsite for ceremonies.
Does your venue require use of your preferred vendors, or are brides free to bring their own?
No, brides can generally use their own vendors, including caterers.
In your opinion, which event (or type of event) has most creatively taken advantage of your venue, and what made that event a success?
Any event that utilizes great lighting stands out at Ruby. Our architecture and plaster walls are highlighted when wall lighting, chandeliers and other lighting is used. Great LED lighting can also change the entire feel of a room when the colors are changed between the ceremony and reception. Our two projectors also add a great lighting and entertainment element that brides use for slideshows, video or still/logo image.
Dan and Brenda Cook
If you’re looking for an interesting venue that offers lots of different options and flexibility give Ruby Nashville a call!
Brenda and I want to thank our development team that shared the faith in this unconventional project. Patrick du Buisson of Polifilo Architects, Blake Adams of InsBank, Brady Fry of Fry Construction, Mike Haney of Live Oak engineering, and John Fairhead of Village Real Estate.
Oh, I have to comment on the award ceremony. The event was overwhelming to us little guys – the 21st floor of the Pinnacle Building with the whole stage, trophy presentation and photographer with notable developers and contractors in the audience. Terrible for the ego! Thanks ULI for a well done event, and thanks for the attention that you’re drawing to quality developments in our city.
From the Tennessean: Urban Land Institute honors 6 development project, May 6
The Urban Land Institute Nashville District Council honored six area development projects ranging from event spaces to workforce housing with Excellence in Development Awards.
“The ULI Excellence in Development Awards celebrate exemplary design, creativity and vision in land use and real estate development, and commitment to the Middle Tennessee community,” said Ed Owens, chairman of ULI. “These best practices should be recognized and shared.”
The winning projects were chosen for their design excellence, innovation in land use, contribution to the community, reflection of the neighborhood or regional character. Other factors were creative use of a public/private partnership, environmental sensitivity and financial viability.
Judges’ comments [for Ruby]: “A most creative use of a difficult to develop parcel, accomplished through innovative collaborations, parking agreements and design solutions. Demonstrates that being sensitive to historically significant structures can still be fiscally successful.”
From the City Paper: William William’s blog “Creating Places: ULI Awards”, May 4
Posted by Elizabeth on May 1, 2012 in Featured, Lifestyle
When I mentioned to friends that I was writing a post on Ruby, most asked, “What’s that?” You know that cool building on Wedgewood/Blakemore between Fannie Mae Dees Park and Harris Hillman School? That’s Ruby.
Formerly the Primitive Baptist Church, this once sacred space still has a sense of soul, and we can only imagine the tales that could be told. In its newly renovated state, it lives on as one of the hippest, coolest event spaces in town. Its modern exterior is visually appealing, and once inside, you’ll marvel at the use of light and space, as Ruby offers a sense of openness with her towering ceiling and blank slate.
When I sat down to interview Dan Cook, the man behind the building, I realized Dan is a lot of things rolled into one – part visionary, part preservationist, a neighborhood advocate and a bull-in-the-china-shop kind of guy. Together with his wife Brenda, they wanted to put their stamp on Nashville, and their renovation of Ruby does just that.
“So why’d you take on this project?” I asked Dan. “Lots of reasons,” was his reply, and he took me through the journey that led him to this place. It celebrates the past by reclaiming an old building and creates something better; it energizes the adjoining park and school with its sense of presence and beauty, and it joins the neighbors together to make where they live more communal and fun.
If you think about it, there are often thousands of reasons why something won’t work, but one reason why it will—vision. This project is a prime example. Looking beyond the obstacles – a dilapidated church in a prime neighborhood with a ton of zoning restrictions – Dan and Brenda saw potential way beyond typical high density office space or multi-family dwelling reclamations.
Ruby now welcomes a host of events from weddings to corporate meetings, with a standing church service held every Sunday morning, and Harris Hillman School benefits from its new neighbor by providing parking for nightly events. Dan and Brenda consider Ruby the hub of the wheel when it comes to the Hillsboro Village neighborhood. We couldn’t agree more.
And as an aside, I had my own special moment of being dazzled by this building when Liza and I were honored byNashville Post magazine as one of Nashville’s Entrepreneurs of the Year in 2012. Yep, the party was held here and I loved seeing how this space worked for such an event. I tell you what, I walked away wanting to throw a party as Ruby stole the show that night.
A special thanks to Donald Yeager Photography for the generous use of his images.]]>
The Awards entries are judged on criteria that support ULI’s commitment to best practices in the use of land, and leadership in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. The Awards reinforce that strong communities, good development partners, and excellence in development and design should be recognized and best practices shared.
We’re up against 11 other amazing projects, so we’re not readying our acceptance speech. But thanks to Polifilo Architects, Fry Construction, InsBank and Live Oak Engineering for their work in getting Ruby from concept to reality. So, you have to see the ULI video and the impressive projects that are up for consideration.]]>
Leape is widely recognized as a founder of the modern patient safety movement. The Pioneer Program provides education, training and assistance to participating VUMC groups as they design, implement and test performance improvements.
In a half-day learning session held Jan. 27 at Ruby Event Hall, Leape spoke to about 130 physicians, nurses and frontline staff. His keynote address was titled “Respect and Culture in Patient Safety.” He also led an interactive session.]]>