GAYLORD OPRYLAND HOTEL AND CONVENTION CENTER
ADDRESS: 2800 Opryland Drive, Nashville, TN 37214; 615/889-1000
WEB SITE: www.gaylordhotels.com/gaylord-opryland
SUPER-SIZE: Gaylord's Opryland Hotel offers planners the largest non-gaming, in-hotel exhibit space in the world, according to Vincent Dreffs, director of convention services. The Ryman Exhibit Hall contains 263,772 square feet of space with 17 loading docks and enough room for 1,442 10-by-10-foot booths. The Army Aviation Association recently used the space, as well as a good chunk of the rest of the hotel, to host a convention featuring 15 pieces of aircraft, including 110-by-120-foot airplanes, in 554,000 square feet of space for 4,500 attendees. The hall also held the Food Network's Southern Food and Wine Festival in July and August, serving food to 7,000 guests.
OTHER OPTIONS: Slightly smaller than the Ryman — but still huuuge — is the Delta Ballroom. The Southern-style ballroom is 55,000 square feet of space with a 63-by-40-foot stage. And be sure to check out the hotel's nine acres of lush indoor gardens and waterfalls. Or host an event in the New Orleans-inspired Delta Island, a popular reception spot that's surrounded by a circular river and can hold up to 1,400 guests.
ADDRESS: 555 California St., 52nd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94104; 415/433-7500
WEB SITE: www.carnelianroom.com
SUPER-SMALL: The Carnelian Room restaurant has an especially intimate event venue in the Tamalpais Room, which seats two to six guests. Despite the close quarters, the romantic venue gives guests an expansive view of the Pacific Ocean, the Golden Gate Bridge and the charming Nob Hill neighborhood. Staff strives to be attentive yet unobtrusive — guests can push a button that turns on a green light outside of the room to signal a server or request privacy by pushing the red one. Kings, politicians and movie stars have all dined here.
OTHER OPTIONS: The Carnelian Room has 11 rooms to choose from for an event — or buy out the whole venue, which can hold 800. The Board Room is especially popular due to its high ceiling, elegant lighting and stunning views.
ADDRESS: Wizard Academy, 16221 Crystal Hills Drive, Austin, TX 78737; 512/394-0226
WEB SITE: www.chapeldulcinea.com
SUPER-SMALL: This tiny, open-air chapel isn't for the faint of heart — it sits on the edge of a cliff. But it provides a wonderful communing-with-nature feel for 12 guests seated or up to 35 standing. You can use the patio outside the chapel as well for up to 65 guests total. Eighteen gas lamps add a soft glow to the Spanish-style architecture of the building and the great outdoors. The chapel is on the grounds of the Wizard Academy — but it's a business school, so don't expect to find any Harry Potter-style shenanigans here. The venue is free, though there is a $100 cancellation fee, and donations are appreciated. A bride's changing room is available.
OTHER OPTIONS: Another venue on the small side is the Canadian Diamond Pavilion, a free 20-by-20-foot reception area, that's a perfect spot to toast nuptials with cake and champagne.