Jul 9, 2021

The Sometimes Great Outdoors

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Ruby under construction 2009

couple embracing in the field, grass blowing. Why are they in that field, we will never know, but we've seen that post. A million times. For those not intent on becoming a viral sensation (though that requires some uniqueness), we'll give you the reality on the outdoors.

We're the consummate outdoors people here. We lived in Wyoming for years for that reason. We enjoy the outdoors so much that we design significant outdoor areas into our venues even though they are in the heart of Nashville. Our venues are also intentionally located within or next to city parks to enhance our private green spaces. In the case of Ruby, we're surrounded by Dragon Park, from which we got our name. On a great evening, your guests will want to stay outside, particularly if the lighting is right, which of course it is at Ruby.

Despite our love of the outdoors, we tell everyone that you cannot count on the outdoors for your event. Apart from the hot or cold temperatures, well, it could rain.

How We Designed the Courtyards

Ruby has two outdoor spaces, what we refer to as the Treehouse Courtyard and the Park Courtyard. The Treehouse Courtyard, is elevated and shrouded in the trees for privacy. We think part of the appeal of a treehouse is that you can see what's below, but people don't see you. The Treehouse Courtyard greets guest when they arrive and is a popular spot for cocktail hour. From this courtyard, one can look up at the imposing architectural concrete and brick facade of Ruby and her 15-foot tall teak entry doors, all of which is aglow at night.

The Park Courtyard behind Ruby is surrounded by Dragon Park and protected by rich landscaping. A side deck overlooking the park panhandles off the Park Courtyard. Building, wall, and tree lighting make for what Hemmingway would call a Clean, Well-Lighted Place. Like the Treehouse Courtyard, this is a place that naturally draws guests in the evening.

The courtyards are hardscaped, that is decoratively paved, which means that the spaces are usable even minutes after a rain. Grass yards are often not usable even several days after a rain, especially in high heels.

The Treehouse Courtyard is permanently covered with a well-designed structure that dissipates heat in the summer and affords unobstructed views of the facade. We add walls in the winter so that the space may be conditioned for year-around use. Some areas, including the side deck aren't covered, but after all, there should be a small bit of luck involved.

For send-offs, the couple will exit through the front door, skirt the Treehouse Courtyard, pass through a lower plaza and step into their awaiting vehicle in one of two places, depending upon how many guest remain.

If you visit Ruby during the day, unfortunately you won't see the courtyards in their nighttime glory. For those visitors, we recommend a driveway any evening as most of Ruby's lights will be on and waiting.

What if We Get Unlucky?

Rain on a wedding day is said to be good luck. It is remarkable how may times it rains on a wedding day before guests arrive. But if the outdoors is hardscaped, these areas are instantly ready to use after the rain passes. And if the areas are covered, they may be used during a rain. And if they're walled, they may be used in the winter.