Finding the perfect venue for a wedding can be intimidating. It is not just about cost and capacity, though these factors usually end up influencing your decision more than you would like. Of course, you are not the only person who stresses over finding the perfect wedding venue. Lots of people don't even look at wedding barns as an option. They assume they are limited to villas, country clubs or ballrooms. Many barns can cover the basic necessities of hosting a wedding reception AND provide the kind of setting and atmosphere that you were hoping for in your wedding venue.
Why a barn?
How to dress up the barn for your wedding:
Choosing your barn wedding dress:
Choosing the perfect barn for you:
- Barn Wedding Venues: Guide to Finding a Barn Wedding Venue
- Barn Venues: The Best Barn Wedding Venues In The United States
Barn wedding details:
- Barn Wedding Invitation Ideas: Best Invites to Send a Barn Wedding Message
- Barn Wedding Favors: 5 Barn Themed Ideas Your Guests Will Love!
Barn weddings require planning that is slightly different from other event venues. We cover everything you need to know about planning a barn wedding here in this post. For now, let's look at the positive attributes that wedding barns have and all that goes into hosting your wedding at a barn, from invitations to your wedding dress, to wedding favors, we've got you covered!
Barn venues are very popular in some parts of the United States. In rural states, many of these historic agricultural buildings have been restored and renovated and now serve as venues for a variety of special events. Why should you choose to have your wedding or dinner party in a barn? There is a sense of rustic charm that makes these large buildings seem attractive. When you combine the atmosphere of a barn venue with the surrounding rural landscapes, it becomes one of the most naturally romantic options for a wedding or special event. But barn venues have more than their ambiance going for them. Here are some other traits that make a barn an ideal setting for a wedding or special event.
Almost unlimited space
Barn venues often sit upon large farmlands with acres upon acres of usable event space. Unlike an estate which may have exterior courtyards or gardens, most villa and ballroom venues can't match the size of the grounds surrounding a barn. Expansive lawns not only give you a sense of spaciousness, they also provide room for your guests to move around. Some barn venues will even let you set up a marquee on their lawn to accommodate extra guests or to give your wedding an outdoor feel.
The best event barns have roughly the same amount of space as a hotel ballroom. You are not sacrificing any room by choosing a barn over another type of venue. Also, the high ceilings and open design of most barns gives a feeling of spaciousness that standard ballrooms lack. So even if the number of guests reaches the venue's capacity, it will not seem overly crowded.
Barns are usually on properties that have ample parking. This is an important convenience that most people overlook when planning their wedding. Your guests won't have to drive around in a full parking lot looking for spaces or, worse, have to seek out street parking.
A blank canvas for decoration
Because of their spacious one-room layout and tall ceilings, barns can seem like a blank canvas for decorators. You have space for an unlimited number of table layouts. Beams and supports are perfect places for lights, flowers and other design elements. Some venues have in-house decorators who can help you realize the perfect design for your wedding or event. Others will let you hire your own vendors to come in and work to make the atmosphere as perfect as possible.
Peace and quiet
One of the reasons that barns are popular is because they offer an escape from the urban hustle and bustle. Some people want their wedding or their family reunion to be relaxing and low key, and a barn can make this desire a reality.
Flexible enough to host almost any type of event
Barns are a blank canvas for decorators... and also for event planners. Most people associate barn venues with weddings, but these flexible spaces can be used for many other types of events. Perhaps you are looking for a place to host your spring formal or to have a charity gala. The interior of barns can be laid out to accommodate both tables and a dance floor, or they can be organized for a cocktail style event with casual seating and a dance floor. It may even be possible to transform the space during the event. For example, you could take down the tables after dinner to have more room for dancing or bring in a small stage so that a band can perform.
And then there is the kind of experience you want to create for guests and for yourself. Many people are happy just to let the rustic romance of the barn define their wedding. The ambiance is anything but generic, and the surroundings are often beautifully rural. The best event barns have large doors that can be opened so that your guests can enjoy the views of the surrounding landscapes. Many barns offer standard decorating packages. However, they are flexible when it comes to this aspect of wedding planning (more than other types of venues). You can have more of a say about the layout and decor. Since lighting is often strung up for each event, you can even plan how your reception will be lit.
A weekend in the country
Here is one thing that people don't often know: some barn venues actually have overnight accommodations. No, you won't have to sleep in the hay or even in the loft area. Since most barns are on farms, cottages and bed-and-breakfast style farmhouse rooms are sometimes offered. Barns with adjacent accommodations like this are ideal not only for a rural wedding weekend, but also for events such as family reunions or corporate retreats.
For those who prefer a wedding location a bit more outside the box, a barn could be the perfect solution. As we’ve learned above, barn weddings combine the charm of natural surroundings and rich history, evoking a true sense of warmth. Now we need to figure out how we will plan the perfect, elegant barn wedding.
Add Elegant Elements
Even though your wedding may be taking place in a rustic barn where tractors and animals were once housed, that does not mean that your barn wedding has to be entirely rustic. Add elegant elements, such as dramatic fabric draping and chandeliers to transform the rustic space into a chic, romantic setting. Given that barns are often huge in size (and feature extremely high ceilings), incorporating elegant elements that would generally be found in an upscale home or hotel can also help to bring a more intimate feel to the barn and personalize the space. Now is your chance to be creative and turn this barn into a truly magical event space!
Embrace the Barn's History & Charm
When choosing a unique venue, it is always a great idea to share the location's history or significance with your guests. Include a story of how the barn came to be or use a silhouette of the barn in your paper products and invitations. Embrace the barn's charm by incorporating classic "barn" elements, such as hay bales.
Use Natural Elements & Fabrics
By using natural colors, fabrics, and elements into your florals and decor, you will create an event space that is complementary to your surroundings and the architecture of the barn. For example, the incorporation of twigs, assorted vases, mason jars, and burlap table runners (below) brings the feeling of the barn and surrounding land to the dining table.
Decor inspiration photos are courtesy of Cosmopolitan Events by Katy Higgins. Courtney & Chris' Rustic Barn Wedding (at The Olsen Barn in Chester, CA) has been featured on Martha Stewart Weddings. Photography by John Schneck.
Chalkboard and Handmade Signs
Chalkboard and handmade signs compliment the barn wedding theme. You can use chalkboards to tell guests any number of messages from what’s on the menu or where the wedding favors are located. Chalkboards can also be used for seating charts. They make for a relatively inexpensive decor item. If you don’t want the chalkboard to appear overly rustic, you can dress it up with an ornate frame. By their very nature, chalkboards are also easy to customize as you can handwrite messages and sayings to extend your wedding theme. Handmade signs can also be used at barn weddings. As a popular décor idea for barn weddings, handmade signs often point guests in the direction of all of the night’s events from the ceremony location to the dance floor. Again, these wooden signs can be inexpensive for the bride on a budget.
String Lights and Chandeliers
Barns are not always known for their lighting. Most wedding venues with barns on the property will dress up the space with string lights. String lights create a more romantic and soft ambiance to a dark and dimly lit barn. You can hire a lighting company to execute your vision. You might think that the cost should be low to hang up a few strings, but some companies will quote high bids. It’s best to get lots of bids before committing to one company. If you are cash strapped, you can always string them up yourself if your venue will allow it (however not recommended). String lights are often at their most affordable just after the holiday season. For brides looking to get away from the cliched décor notions of a barn wedding, you can do so easily with the lighting. To add a more elegant and opulent feel, chandeliers can be added to the barn venue instead of or in addition to string lights. You can also hang lanterns from the barn beams for additional lighting.
Barn walls and ceilings are generally plain and wooden. Just like any room that is blank, drapes are added to enrich the space. You can add more visual interest and color to a barn with drapery. Drapes soften the space and in turn can make barns more sophisticated at first glance. You can also use drapery to add drama to your space by adding fabric to entryways and across beams. If you don’t want to use such heavy fabric, but you still want to adorn the walls of your barn with some sort of visual interest, buntings also work with the barn theme. Buntings come in all sorts of fabrics and materials so that you can cater to your level of formality.
Burlap Accents and Twine
Photo from Wedding Chicks by Photographer Katrina Louise
Barn and burlap tend to go together like chocolate chip cookies and milk. A burlap table runner or burlap wrapped around jars always goes well with barn décor. Burlap is also inexpensive for brides watching their wallets. In addition to using burlap accents, twine also harks on the barn theme. You can tie jars, programs and menus with twine to promote that rustic look and feel.
Mismatched Tables, Chairs and Dishes
You might cringe at thought of mismatching, but an eclectic mix of furniture for your barn wedding can also contribute to the overall theme. Chairs and tables don’t necessarily need to match for a barn wedding. The setting is already a bit hodge-podge. Antique and colorful chairs and tables don’t just contribute to the style of a barn wedding but they also help your barn wedding look and feel unique. You can rent from companies with vintage furniture or see if your venue has a mix of tables and chairs. If you can’t do mismatched furniture for your wedding, you can still create that eclectic look elsewhere. Mismatched dishes are an easy way to lend rustic chic and set a more casual tone to your barn wedding. The unmatched look provides a suggestion that this wedding is unique and not like every other gathering.
Aside from decorating the walls and ceiling of the barn, you have to come up with centerpieces to suit the barn. Colored glass jars go with the blank barn canvas. You can place flowers or candles in colored glass jars, staggered across the tables. The classic Mason jar is always a barn wedding staple. To find these key centerpieces, you can look at antique and vintage stores, garage sales and online bidding sites. Your florist might also have Mason jars that you can use. You can find colored glass jars in all sorts of shapes and sizes to create a more assorted and unique look. For a more sophisticated feel, you can stick to clear glass jars. For a more country look, you can try tin cans and pitchers as centerpieces. Also, for a different feel, you can suspend the jars from the barn beams for a floating presence.
Hay Bales and Wine Barrels
For guestbook tables and the like, you can accent the empty spaces around your wedding with hay bales and wine barrels. While hay bales aren’t for every wedding, if you want to create a country look, they work well as accents when you need to fill vacant spaces. Brides looking for a more elegant alternative to hay bales can use wine barrels. You can construct bars and dessert tables with the help of a few wine barrels and an old antique door for the tabletop. They can also be used to fill empty spaces, similar to a hay bale. Barns are big after all.
Back at the barn, lighting that is truly classic is that illuminating from candles. You can stagger candles on the table to lend that rustic feel with a romantic glow. Candles provide soft lighting that you might want instead of the string lights. However, if the barn is composed of wood, your wedding venue might have restrictions on open flames. If this is the case, you can try battery operated candles or covered lanterns instead.
Now that you’ve booked your barn venue and planned how best to decorate the space for your rustic (yet elegant) wedding, you still need to find that perfect dress that blends seamlessly with your wedding style and venue. While some brides buy their dresses before selecting a venue, many bridal consultants and shops will dissuade the newly engaged from doing so. Certain styles and fabrics of dresses don’t always work for every wedding venue. If you are clueless as to what to look for in a wedding dress for your barn wedding, you are not alone. The wedding dress is not only a big investment, but also a big commitment. It will be seen in photographs for decades and often leaves that lasting impression with guests. In hopes of helping those brides bound for a barn wedding, here are a few features to look for in a wedding dress that you might want to consider for your barn bonanza.
A giant ball gown tends to work well in grand cathedrals and large palatial estates. However, the ball-gown doesn’t always fit into a rustic barn. It can overwhelm the venue and contradict the feeling of the wedding that you want. For many brides, the ball-gown is the princess dream. Even if you are getting married in a barn, you can still have your cake and eat it too. Some designers make dresses with an overskirt. This is a great option if you want a ball-gown for the ceremony, but something more form fitting for the reception. The gown typically consists of a skirt over a sleeker gown. It can be removed when you need to start dancing in the barn rafters. Many brides who have barn weddings resist the ball-gown style and go with something more form fitting. One of the advantages to this look is that you don’t have to worry about overwhelming your simple wedding venue. A more streamlined gown will be easier to move around the barn and outdoor surroundings. Barns can be precarious places where your photographer might have you posing on hay bales and against rusted old barn doors. A dress that doesn’t have as much volume tends to work well in these sorts of spaces.
If you have seen photographs of barn weddings, the bride almost always has some sort of lace detailing on her gown. Lace wedding gowns make for an ideal material for a barn wedding. Barns can be rustic, yet vintage, spaces. Lace harks on those classic ideas of romance. A lace wedding gown also creates a soft feminine look that tends to go with a barn wedding style. Having tried on many lace wedding dresses for my own wedding, I would still be careful with the amount of lace that you choose for your barn wedding. Lace can be extremely heavy, especially if the dress is completely covered in lace. If you are planning on a summer barn wedding and your venue doesn’t have air conditioning, you might want to go with a dress that is composed of a lighter material. At the same time, just because you are getting married in a barn doesn’t mean you need to buy a lace dress. There are other options if you aren’t a fan of lace. Barn weddings tend to be more relaxed and carefree just by design. Your gown material should reflect this. A soft and flowing material like chiffon lends more of an ethereal look that is still easy to move around in from different points in the barn.
For those antique barn wedding venues with buckling gray doors and wooden beams, your wedding dress can also match the venue merely by the color that you choose. An ivory gown tends to compliment those antique settings. Soft ivories might blend in better with vintage decor that you add to your wedding venue. An ivory wedding dress is a nice option for brides that don’t want to wear white, but also for brides that might want to add more embellishments to their dress. Even if you are getting married in a barn, your dress can still be detailed. The color of the dress can carry the theme of the wedding venue and the dress details can reflect more of your style. If you want to wear more of a white gown, you don’t need to change venues. A white wedding dress also works well with certain barn weddings. If you are going for a more classic look with that typical red barn, a white gown will compliment the style of the wedding. If you are going to pick a white wedding dress, it is important to consider the style. Simple and classic designs will work well with the barn. However, those dresses with over the top with beading and details might clash with your classic wedding style. Dresses with cleaner lines in white work well with a barn wedding.
Just as a big ball gown might look out of place in a barn wedding, a dress with a long train might also be problematic for the barn ceremony. If you are getting married in a barn, your ceremony might be taking place right outside of the barn on a grassy lawn. A long train will be difficult to keep from getting dirty on your wedding day. If you want to have a little train, you can. Just be sure that there is a bustling option so that you can move about the barn without tripping over your gown. Some brides with barn weddings decide to forego tradition and pick a short dress. If you are going for a more country style barn wedding, a short dress creates a more relaxed tone. Some brides like to pair these types of dresses with cowboy boots to further the style of a country wedding. A short dress will also be easier to move around a barn location than a long dress with a long train.
Some wedding experts will tell you not to buy a dress that doesn't go with your wedding venue. While you should consider your venue when you purchase your dress, you shouldn’t let it completely dictate your choice. Your wedding dress should fit your personality and style. Brides should stand out on their wedding day. If standing out for the bride entails wearing a giant ball gown, you can make it work in the barn wedding venue. Ultimately, you need to go with the dress that you want and not necessarily the best dress for your venue. The venue can help guide you as you shop for your dress, but it should never have the last word. Brides should select a dress that looks good on their figure. You should feel comfortable, special and yourself on your wedding day, no matter if you are getting married in a barn or a ballroom.
Just as you can’t put the earrings on the outfit before you have the outfit, you can’t dress up a barn wedding venue unless you have the right barn for your wedding. Before the bride commits to the barn and the groom, we have come up with a few elements to the barn wedding venue that you must consider.
Perhaps what make these venues so popular around the country are the potential themes that you can have within them. Unlike a grand castle or a modern hotel, the barn is back to basics. You can go for a variety of looks. As we mentioned earlier, for an elegant and glamorous themed wedding, many barn wedding venues will add drapery and chandeliers to create that feeling of opulence in your basic barn. Others appreciate the barn wedding venue for simple wedding themes. In true barn fashion, you can have a rustic and casual wedding with a few country details. The fact that the barn door is wide open as to what you can do with it, it is also important to consider what might go into dressing up this blank canvas. Some wedding venues feature actual (used to be filled with hay) barns, while others were built to be wedding venues. The fact that the barn is a blank canvas can overwhelm some brides when it comes to their theme. Some weddings in a barn require a wedding planner to help see your ideas through for the wedding. The versatility of the barn wedding can be a triumph and a challenge all in one when it comes to the theme of the wedding and achieving it.
Size & Layout
Many wedding venues that feature some sort of antique barn have designated areas where the ceremony, reception and dancing can all take place. Before you book your barn, you need to go through the different venues and the layout of their spaces. If you want to have your entire wedding within the barn, including the reception, you will need a barn that will accommodate your guests. Some venues can open up the barn doors to accommodate the overflow of guests so that you can have an indoor and outdoor wedding venue. With each barn wedding venue that you consider, you will need to factor in the shapes and sizes for your wedding guests. The overall layout of the space needs to make sense. A barn wedding usually doesn’t just involve the barn. It involves creating spaces for the ceremony, the reception, parking, catering and dancing. If you have too few or too many guests, you could run into some trouble if you don’t pick a barn and surrounding space that can accommodate your number. Also, if the layout of the venue calls for a great deal of your wedding activities to take place outside, you need to figure out potential bad weather solutions.
After perusing the Pinterest wedding section on a daily basis, I often come across these barn weddings that look like they fell out of rustic, country storybooks. What these photographs don’t show is what goes on behind the scenes. When you consider a barn by definition, it is usually constructed of wood and not much else. If your wedding venue utilizes an actual barn, not one that they built up for weddings and events, it might lack that amenities that you need. These amenities can be an additional cost that you won’t have at other venues. For example, my Mom went to a barn wedding in Colorado. They had dancing up in the rafters of the barn, with no air conditioning. In the dead of summer and in the dry heat of Colorado, she lamented how miserable it was. If you don’t want to have your guests either pass out from the heat or shiver due to the cold, you might have to pay for heating and cooling systems for your wedding event. Barns can be hot or cold places due to poor insulation. Often, wedding venues will provide these amenities, but they might come at an additional cost. You must also factor in water and electrical access with barn weddings. Some might require you to bring in bathrooms, generators and lighting. When you are on the hunt for your perfect barn wedding, be sure you ask your potential wedding venues about the amenities of the barn. You should know what they provide, what they don’t and what you will have to figure out on your own.
Vendor Selection & Rentals
As a barn is a blank canvas, every bride dreaming of her barn wedding should be aware of the vendors and rentals involved. Some venues will allow you to bring in your own vendors, while others will require you to use their shortlist of wedding personalities. Regardless, a barn requires a great deal of dressing from tents to tables and chairs. If you are going for the mismatched antique furniture look or wooden signs lining the property, these all involve extra help if your venue doesn’t supply them. The best way to go about the vendors and rentals of a barn wedding is to see what your shortlist of wedding venues offer and what they don’t provide. You want to get the most for your money and the most out of your venue. If you don’t like the vendors at the barn venue, move on to another that will let you do more customization. If you like the hands off approach, finding an all in one venue might be your answer to dress up the barn without lifting a finger.
You won’t often find a barn in the middle of a metropolis. Barn weddings frequently take place in out of the way meadows and ranches. As a result, another factor that comes into play with barn weddings is transportation. These barns might be in the most idyllic of meadows, down dirt roads with no name. While it all sounds like what you might want to achieve in terms of isolation and privacy, you have to think about your guests. How are they going to find this place? Will they get lost? Most wedding venues can answer these questions for you. However, you can look into transportation services for your guests so that they can just enjoy their time and not worry about finding the barn. Bottom line, when you are looking for a barn wedding location, you need to stand in your guests’ shoes. If you think it will be a challenge to reach, transportation might be an additional cost to add to the wedding bill.
Let’s Start Looking!
A simple barn can be a complicated affair when it is used as a wedding location. Brides and grooms who want to get married in a barn must consider all of these elements when selecting their venue. Like finding that needle in a sea of haystacks, now that you know what to look for and what to ask of potential venues, you can make the best decision for your wedding.
The couple in search of a barn wedding venue in the United States seldom has trouble locating a barn. As part of the American tradition, barns litter the country, covering patches of acreage from the East Coast to the West and everywhere in between. They set up picturesquely in meadows and brightly in classic red as most imaginations picture. However, many of these barns are merely for the cows, horses and chickens. You need to find a venue that has transformed the truly rustic into something fit for a wedding. A number of barn wedding venues cover the United States. Just as you must consider a variety of factors when you look for a barn wedding venue, you must also exam the barns themselves. We have come up with a list of some of the best barn wedding venues from sea to shining sea. Let's have a look...
1 C Barn is an elegantly rustic home/retreat in picturesque Colorado. With timbers sourced out of the black forest burn, siding from the original land homesteader, and beetle kill pine throughout the interior, it has a rustic country barn ambiance. 1 C Barn has been specifically designed for intimate, simple, and fun gatherings up to 65* people and can be used to host a myriad of events such as weddings, reunions, dinners, dances, and meetings.
For a stunning rustic barn set on a Vineyard, Hidden Vineyard Barn in Berrien Springs, Michigan. Located 90 minutes away from Chicago and sharing the same state with Detroit, this venue is within driving distance of more than one major city. It offers a peaceful, natural setting and plenty of historic ambiance (the barn dates back to the 1870s). There is plenty of romance in the historic and rustic barn and the beautiful landscapes that surround it. There are a number of beautiful outdoor settings that can be used for the wedding ceremony. The covered deck, which provides an open-air setting that is still protected from the elements. Hidden Vineyard Barn can accommodate 200 guests. One of the most important things to find out when planning a barn wedding is what, exactly, is included in the price. Hidden Vineyard, for example, offers tables and chairs, lighting and kitchen prep area as well as extra access for a rehearsal and photo session.
Hewitt Hill Farm
Just 15 minutes outside of the quaint town of Woodstock Vermont you will find Hewitt Hill Farm. A working family farm estate that has 2 stunning barns on property ideal for small families. Guests can gather around the apple tree for an intimate ceremony, followed by cocktails on the patio with reception held in the barn. While the Barn can hold up to 80 guests, the property grounds can accommodate events up to 300. Woodstock Vermont is a great location for guests to stay and is a wonderful location for a destination wedding weekend. West Monitor Barn Christian Arthur Photography
The classic red barn look for a wedding reception is embodied at West Monitor Barn in Vermont. Located in the Green Mountains, the venue surrounds in forests, woodlands, hills, fields and Vermont’s third tallest mountain, Camel’s Hump. It positions just 20 minutes from downtown Burlington, yet it provides that escapism many look for in a barn wedding. The barn itself was originally built in 1903.It was restored using 40% of its original timber to create the character of a traditional dairy barn. The interior is covered in beautiful posts and beams and has the ability to hold up to 200 people. The barn ceiling is truly the limit in terms of what you can do to dress the barn up or down. Some of its barn features include rough-hewn lumbar and carriage barn lamps.
Sitting on 200 idyllic acres near Woodstock, Vermont, Reading Farms is a private estate that can host weddings and other special events. With classic architecture and rural landscapes that are beautiful and peaceful no matter what the season, Reading Farms has a natural elegance and attractiveness that is very difficult to find elsewhere. This is a very secluded, gated property. From the main entrance, guests travel down a one-mile drive that is lined with lilac hedges. The main farmhouse was built in the late 18th century. It has been renovated recently and now features the comforts and luxuries of a fine modern estate. At the same time, the timeless ambiance has been faithfully preserved, giving guests the best of both worlds. The gardens and courtyards are the first thing to welcome visitors.
The Riverside Farm sits in scenic Pittsfield, Vermont. This is an ideal place to host a wedding or other special event. There is not simply one type of wedding package available here. Riverside stretches for 700 acres and boasts three different properties, six barns, a working farm and innumerable outdoor settings that can bring romance and natural beauty to your most-special celebrations. This property, which is framed by Vermont's famous Green Mountains, is quite exclusive. The owners limit the number of weddings that take place on the farm each year.
The Ranch at Rock Creek recently opened their newest event space, the fabulous event barn. Built with reclaimed wood and stamped ceiling tile, the Buckle Barn venue is a versatile space that can be used all year around. The Buckle Barn can accommodate up to 125 guests for a seated dinner.
For the classic rustic wedding complete with a red barn, many couples host their wedding and reception at Bishop Farm. Set up on 300 acres of land, the farm sits in Lisbon, New Hampshire. Its proximity to major east coast airports and its location in the White Mountains make it an appealing destination for a barn wedding in New England. The private location also boasts accommodations for guests including seven farmhouse rooms and 6 cottages. For the bride looking for a historic wedding venue, the Bishop Farm barn hails from 1876, back when it merely housed cows and horses. It was renovated and updated since that time to accommodate wedding guests. The classic barn allows the couple to have a rustic wedding, but also an elegant one through adding certain opulent touches. The Bishop family is one of the earliest settlers to Lisbon.
Pippin Hill Farm is one of Virginia's most sought after barn venues. The charming rustic stylishness. Few wedding and event venues can accomplish what Pippin Hill does: creating a space and an ambiance that is at once stylish, relaxed and welcoming. Pippin Hill Farm can accommodate 250 guests. For the couple with an historical, barn agenda in Virginia, Ash Lawn-Highland House comes chock full of history. Set up in Charlottesville, Virginia, the estate served as the home to President and Mrs. Monroe from 1793 to 1826. In keeping with the wedding tradition, their older daughter Eliza married on the estate. Couples have since followed, appreciating the historic house and gardens for the ideal spot to tie the knot. While the estate features several different locations for wedding ceremonies and receptions, it does boast a barn. The barn measures 30’ by 70’ with a concrete floor. In such a space, the couple can make their wedding decidedly more country or more grand and fitting of presidential tastes. As part of the wedding deal, guests receive a tour of the historic Monroe home.
Pine River Ranch
Pine River Ranch Backed by the Cascade Mountains, those looking for a barn wedding venue in Washington tend to somehow find Pine River Ranch at some point. Sprawling across 22 acres, this wedding venue features fields, meadows, ponds, rivers and of course that barn reception location. With ceremonies held on the lawn in front of the barn, guests can retreat into the grand dairy barn from 1944 for the reception. Its dramatic arched barn beams make for prime photo opportunities. Pine River Ranch sits just 15 minute from the Bavarian village of Leavenworth and just two hours from Seattle. It also features a bed and breakfast with six rooms in case the happy couple wants to spend their first night as Mr. and Mrs. just beyond their reception.
Full Moon Farm
In the not so romantically named town of Medusa in Upstate New York, the barn wedding seeker will find Full Moon Farm. The property is home to a barn that has withstood the test of time. Spared from a fire in 2007, the barn boasts foundations in 1790. Peter Jaycox built it at that time for storing grain and overwintering animals. Today, the Hudson Valley Catskills barn hosts its fair share of wedding receptions. The barn also has sliding doors for the couple that wants an indoor and outdoor feel to their wedding.
Santa Margarita Ranch
The state also contains another idyllic barn wedding venue, Santa Margarita Ranch. The ideal setting for a rustic barn wedding perches just beyond San Luis Obispo in Central California. Over 15,000 acres make up the grounds, specifically with vineyards, gardens and open fields. Many brides want to get married in the historic and grand barn. With the ability to hold up to 200 guests, the barn exudes rustic sophistication. Santa Margarita Ranch carries foundations from 1769, making this wedding venue a true blending of history and scenery.
Located in San Luis Obispo County, this over 100-year-old dairy barn is the perfect space for a wedding. It is surrounded by lush greenery including an organic farm, avocado tree groves, a creek, and rolling hills in the background.
This former cattle ranch is nestled into the charming St. Helena wine country. Surrounded by vineyards, this barn has a modern charm with its glass and steel roll up doors and bright and airy interior. Now that you've found your wedding venue, it is time to get the little details in order!
The Ethereal Open-Air Resort in Escondido, California offers a perfect au-naturale setting for your next soirée. Boasting over 250,000 twinkling lights, world-class service and a truly heavenly vibe, the Ethereal Open-Air Resort offers a perfect combination of natural elegance and pure, untainted bliss—all amongst a setting chock-full of greenery and crisp California air. The resort offers a number event spaces depending on your specific needs, aesthetic desires and guest count. The Vintage Ethereal Barn can accommodate up to 180 guests at farm tables or 230 guests with stadium seating. It boasts redwood plank siding, two hay lofts and super romantic vintage chandelier lighting.
Barn Wedding Invitation Ideas: Best Invites to Send a Barn Wedding Message
Wedding invitations come in all shapes, sizes and styles. Pegging down one set invitation can be more difficult than deciding on the dress or the venue. There can also be too many options floating around a bride’s head, leaving you spinning in a sea of wedding invites. If you are throwing a barn wedding, the options for wedding invitations can seem endless even when you just focus on this theme. Invitations are an important aspect to the wedding. They set the tone and feel of the wedding as you are directly addressing guests. You want them to get excited about your wedding day and also have an idea of what it is going to be about. With a barn wedding, your invitations are your first opportunity to clue your guests in on the type of wedding venue and the style of your wedding. You need to incorporate materials and elements that are authentic to your barn wedding venue. Before you dive into this endless sea of invitations, we have come up with a few barn wedding invitation staples that send a rustic yet elegant message to your guests.
Chalkboard Inspired Invitations
Photo By Adored Occassions on Etsy
Chalkboard details at barn weddings have become a key décor element in the wedding industry. Using chalkboards at your barn wedding doesn’t have to end with the menus, programs and seating charts. The possibilities for using chalkboard elements are endless right down to your invitations. Many companies make chalkboard inspired invitations. These invites often look like a chalkboard. They can cut back on invitation design complications, as the backdrop is already set. You have to work with a black or gray color backdrop, which merely calls for deciding on what lettering you want for your chalkboard message. One of the benefits of using chalkboard invitations is that it lends a classic look to your invites, without being overly rustic. At the same time, it tells your guests that your wedding is not set in the average country club or hotel ballroom. Your location will be a more casual, chalkboard menus kind of affair.
Unique Shapes and Sizes
Due to the barn wedding location, you can certainly go untraditional with your invitations as the venue is different from most reception halls. One easy way to convey a barn wedding venue theme in your invitations is to play on unique shapes and sizes for your invites. By utilizing different shapes for invites and various sizes of envelopes, you are telling your guests that this will not be your typical wedding. The invitations aren’t square with a basic envelope. By going more unconventional, your guests will be in touch with the fact that your wedding isn’t at your standard event. It also suggests that the couple has a whimsical and fun side.
Nature Inspired Invites
Barn weddings by nature incorporate many natural elements, from barrels of hay to grassy meadows where the barns perch. Invitations to a barn wedding give you the opportunity to play on the natural elements of the wedding venue. One idea that you can easily add to your invitation is recycled brown paper. You can incorporate nature by way of not just the paper but also with the little details. You can have leaf or grass images added to the invites to further the barn wedding theme. Other brides select invitations that are tied with twine to add that natural element. One of the main benefits to using nature inspired invites to your barn wedding is that it indicates to your guests what the wedding will be like. Nature inspired invitations tell guests that the wedding isn’t at a five star hotel but rather it is taking place in a more natural setting. As a result, your guests can plan their attire according to a more natural location.
Barn Image Invites
Barn wedding invitations can also literally focus on the barn itself. There are a number of invitations that feature the classic barn image. This type of barn wedding invitation tells guests exactly where and what type of wedding they are invited to by the happy couple. For more personalization, you can have the image of your actual barn incorporated into the invitations in the form of an etching or drawing. Other barn wedding couples decide to incorporate the barn theme and the unique shape idea into an invitation. Some invitations are shaped like a barn with pop out doors that open to reveal the wedding details and information. Your guests are opening the barn door and in the process learning a great deal about the wedding setting.
Photo by CCPrintsbyTabitha on Etsy
One of the latest trends in wedding décor is burlap. Not only is it versatile and representative of rustic elegance, but also it is very budget friendly. Burlap doesn’t merely need to accent your tables or adorn your centerpieces for a barn wedding. It can also be used in the invitations to introduce the rustic mood to your wedding right from the start. Some easy ways to incorporate burlap into invites can be as simple as using a burlap ribbon tied around the invitation card. You could also lay your wedding invites on burlap to create a burlap backdrop or frame for your wedding information. Do-it-yourself brides can easily achieve this look with a visit to a craft store. Overall, using burlaps with your invitation conveys a natural and organic feel to the event. For brides looking to extend the handmade tone of their barn wedding, a burlap wedding invite always works to send out this message to guests.
A barn wedding by design is one that doesn’t get lost in the shuffle of memories. The barn setting is usually a spot that guests won’t forget, especially if you leave them with a lasting favor. The options for barn wedding favors are limitless, but those gifts to guests should be associated with your theme in some way, shape or form. Whether you select favors that are handmade or a little bit rustic, your guests will remember your barn wedding, the special day that stood out from the rest of the weddings that they attend. With this unique theme for a wedding, you can play on the location with local products or actually craft something yourself. Regardless of what item you choose, your barn wedding favors should be fun to assemble and compose. They will lend that lasting impression of your day to your guests. If you can’t seem to think of what favors will fit into your barn wedding, here are a few ideas.
Flower and Plant Seed Packets
One of the most economical wedding favors for a barn wedding are flower and plant seed packets. You can mix wildflower seeds and place them in a burlap pouch or just plain paper packaging. It is a favor that lasts as your guests will be able to watch your favor grow in their gardens. Flower and plant seed packets also go well with barn weddings as they are often held on farms and ranches where nature reigns supreme. If you want to step up your barn wedding favor, you can always hand out potted budding plants if you want something with a bit more substance. In addition to the flower and plant seed packets, you can attach cutesy sayings to those favors that further the laid-back feel of a barn wedding. Many brides and grooms pass out flower seeds with sayings like “Let your love grow” or “Forget me not” to give guests something that will put a smile on their faces. If you would rather steer clear of cutesy sayings, you can merely have you names and wedding date printed on the pouches or packets so that guests can remember where and why they received this budding favor.
Photo from I Love Farm Weddings
Throughout time, horseshoes have been known to be good luck charms. While you might not have thought of horseshoes as a wedding favor, they do make for an unique gift and keepsake for guests. By giving guests a cast iron horseshoe, you are in essence passing out a good luck charm. You can have a message engraved on the horseshoe or just attach a tag with some twine so that your guests know that this is the favor item. They can place it in their homes as a good luck charm or décor item and always remember your special day when they see it. Such a favor is one that lasts, unlike food and drink wedding favors.
Photo from Green Wedding Shoes
Along the same lines as jam, another perfect wedding favor for a barn wedding is honey. Less labor intensive, you can purchase local honey in large quantities and then transfer the sweetness into little jars for your wedding guests. Honey with a honeycomb promotes the natural vibe of a barn wedding, especially if you are having a more rustic barn wedding. Just like with jam or flower seeds, you can attach sayings to the jars of honey like “sweet as honey” or “take the sweetness home with you” or even "meant to bee," giving your guests yet another aspect to your wedding to smile about.
Box of Matches
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Matches as wedding favors don’t just make for great puns like “what a match," or “match made in heaven.” They also further the barn wedding agenda. A matchbox made to look rustic or vintage with the names of the bride and groom and the wedding date suggests another time. Barn weddings are often affairs trapped back in another time, especially if you are getting married in an historic barn. Match boxes are also fully customizable which can be useful if you need mass quantities for a big barn wedding.
Photo by Sweet Caroline Jams on Etsy
If you have a little Martha Stewart in you, jam wedding favors always go with a barn wedding. Rustic by nature, jam harks back to the days of old when jam making was a regular weekend activity. You can either play on the flavors of your wedding or go with something completely different. For jam that will impress your guests, it is always best to use whatever fruit is in season for the best tasting jam. If you aren’t crafty or useful in the kitchen, rather than homemade jam, you can purchase a local product. One of the reasons that jam makes for a great barn wedding favor is that you can also dress up the jars to go with your wedding theme. From burlap covers to lace ribbons, the jam jar is much like the barn wedding venue. It is a blank canvas that will extend your wedding theme and also give guests something to remember you by as long as the jam holds up. Just like flower and plant seed packets, you can attach sayings to the jar like “spread the love” to further the wedding tone.
What are your favorite barn venues in the United States? What tips do you have to others that are planning a barn wedding? Are you looking for something more formal than a barn, but still has an agricultural quality? Why not consider a vineyard estate or a greenhouse?