Today, my mother and I looked all day at different venues. We ended up seeing 4.5 of them. I say 0.5 because it was unplanned and we didn't have a guide helping us. If you are having a Memphis wedding, maybe you will be interested in all these details. For the others, sorry about this! Here is the review:
1. Memphis Botanical Gardens - First stop! It has a nice visitor's center and two spaces for the event. One, Hardin Hall, is lovely and grand. However, it has a price tag to match - $2,400. There are some restrictions though and hidden fees. $400 for a garden ceremony, $100 for a dance floor, $100 for a tram rental to get guests out to the ceremony and back, and you have to use their alcohol due to some random state law. My family knows everyone in the alcohol business here, so it is very hard to justify renting any place that makes us use their expensive alcohol.
Their second space, the Goldsmith Room, is only $500. It is older, not very nice, but it does have a side courtyard. However, almost all the dates for next summer are taken. Sad day.
If you want to have a garden ceremony there without the reception, the latest you can have the ceremony is 3-4 PM. They reserve the later times for people who are actually having a reception there. Ugh.
2. River Terrace on Mud Island - Once we made our way downtown, my mother and I found our way to the River Terrace. It also has two locations. The first, the Yacht Club itself, is $1,500 to rent, and has a food minimum of $4,500 for our guest size. That is a lot of money. They do have a great rooftop location for a ceremony. In addition, you can have your ceremony anywhere in the mud island river park (courtyard, grassy areas with the memphis bridge in the background, etc...).
The second space is called Harbor Landing. It has a main two-level room as well as a bar two-level room. They have huge windows facing the lights of downtown Memphis. It also has a courtyard where you can see the Memphis Bridge. It is only $1000, and it does not have the same food and beverage minimums. I thought it was a definite potential option.
3. The Inn at Hunt Phelan - I'm going to keep this short because we are definitely not picking this location. Very pretty, lots of southern charm, but SO expensive with a million hidden fees. I can't image this fitting in anyone's budget who is under $20,000.
3.5 We were really early for the Brooks, so we walked into the Memphis Zoo which is next door. We just walked around since we know everything so well. I plan on calling them later for pricing information. We'll see...
4. Brooks Museum of Art, Exhausted and sweaty (remember it's August in Memphis, TN), my mom and I arrive at this fancy, pristine art museum. It is very pretty, and all the spots for the ceremony and reception are gorgeous, but it may be too expensive for us. It costs $2,600 for the ceremony and reception. You also have to use their food and alcohol. We aren't eliminating it, but I highly doubt we will pick it.