Expert advice for planning a barn wedding

barn wedding

A barn wedding can be one of the most charming, made-for-photo-op ideas. With the warm glow of hundreds of candles in mason jars playing upon old, aged wood, the natural smells and sounds, and pretty lights and lace everywhere, it can be hard to not fall in love with the idea of a pastoral wedding.

barn wedding

First, you need a reality check


Without a doubt, barn weddings, farm weddings and other agricultural themes can be touchingly beautiful. Nevertheless, it’s important when you reach for such beauty, to be prepared for the challenges involved. Out on a farm, there is usually very little by way of modern, everyday essentials. Even if what you have in mind is the most basic wedding, you will still need to spend several thousand extra to arrange for amenities that you would take for granted elsewhere. That said, if you’re willing to take up the challenges involved, a farm wedding can be heartwarming. The possibilities are endless.


See if you can find a wedding-ready farm


Choosing to go with a barn wedding doesn’t mean that you need to walk up to any old farm, and ask to rent their barns. They wouldn’t know what to do with you, and you would have a terrible project on your hands getting the place ready. Instead, you should look for farms that specialize in barn weddings. They are likely to have barns set aside just for such gatherings, and have all kinds of amenities ready. They should also have information on where you might go to find some of the essentials that you need — such as seating, lighting and sanitation.


And then, there’s the sound


The farm that you pick may be far from civilization, which may make it look like you can make your own rules. Unfortunately, sound does carry very far out on flat, unbuilt land. If you’d like booming dance music well into the middle of the night, you might break a few sound ordinances in the area, and you might get a visit from the police if people in a neighboring farm complain. You need to ask about sound rules in the area, and if they are inconvenient, consider taking the after-party to a nearby town.


Make accessibility arrangements


Fields and barns are undoubtedly beautiful. That still doesn’t mean that your wedding doesn’t have regular needs. Not only do you need parking, you need the place to be wheelchair-accessible, or at least walker-accessible. If there is a mild drizzle, does the place turn into a sea of mud? How about outdoor visibility at night? Do they have power lines capable of supporting the kind of high-wattage lighting that you will need? How about guests wearing high heels? Will their heels go straight into the ground? You need to look for a location that helps with each one of these concerns.


Put everything you can into those bathrooms


You may need to rent portable bathrooms. It isn’t enough to simply park a few plastic toilet cubicles out there. You’ll need to think about high-quality wedding decorations all around the toilets, too. It wouldn’t do to disappoint your guests there.


Don’t forget about those allergies


Hay, pollen, animals, insects — barn weddings have all the makings of a great allergy fest if you aren’t careful. In general, it isn’t a good idea to plan such a wedding around spring when there is likely to be a lot of pollen in the air. There are simply too many people who have allergies today. When you send out those invitations, you want to put in a helpful reminder that tells everyone to come prepared with the right medications. It can also help to buy over-the-counter anti-allergy drugs, and keep ready things like blankets to cover hay bale seats up with.


Give everyone what they need


If it’s a real working farm (as it should be), you want to arrange for great tours, make it possible for the children to pet all the animals that they want, learn how to milk cows and so on. It wouldn’t do to deny the kids such a great learning experience.


Homestead Farm Resort has been in the Konopka family for decades. The current owner, Andrew, is proud to offer his renovated barn for weddings and other events. It’s one of those places that can be dressed up or dressed down. Andrew says that couples rave about the viral wedding photos from The Barn at Homestead Farm Resort. Andrew currently lives in Queens with his wife and children. He goes upstate often to see if his guests and staff are contented.

Photos: Anne Skidmore Photography / April and Claire’s barn wedding