It’s a hot new trend and it is here to stay: barn/farm weddings. We are approached by many couples looking for that rustic feel and barn atmosphere for their big day. From cowboy boots to mason jars and wildflowers, a barn venue is the ultimate is rustic chic.

The barn pictured at right (photo by Quincy Adam Photography) is a beautiful venue that we are currently planning an August 2014 wedding at. Finding this venue was no small task, so I thought I could write up a little blog regarding the tricky-ness (is that even a word) of securing that perfect barn venue for your wedding day.

First of all, many barns are small. They’re barns. It’s not that easy to find a barn that can accommodate a 150 person or more guest list, and the average guest count for a New Jersey wedding sits around 180 people. Spacing becomes an issue once you request a sit down dinner and a dance floor. If you add a band, that’s even more space being cut into, and don’t forget that your cocktail hour will probably be in the same space, so no “surprise, look how pretty my reception room looks!”.

Another issue is that the temperature outside, is also the temperature inside. Many barns do not have air conditioning and even less have heating. Of course, air conditioning can be brought in, but you have now added an extra expense.

Speaking of extra, keep in mind that many of these venues are just a barn. That’s it. No catering, no alcohol, no tables, linens or chairs. You might be responsible for the rental of all of these items, the delivery of same, the return of same and so forth. If you truly love a blank canvas, then this is something that is welcome, but it will keep the price high.

If you really love to party, we recommend finding an “after party” location as well since many barn properties turn off the music anywhere between 9 and 10pm. This can be a buzz kill for many couples, but with proper planning, an after party for those interested can be easily arranged. 

Truth be told, I love a barn wedding. I find the atmosphere is more interesting than a typical banquet hall, and who doesn’t like “something different”? But there are challenges, and while we recommend a wedding planner (duh) in every instance, this is one of those instances that you would have a hard time staying above water without one. We know the tricks to make it easy and can find you that perfect barn that you are looking for. Plus, we’ll handle all of the rentals (bathrooms included) so that you can just show up and get married. 

One thing that should be said though: these are the expensive weddings. Barns require a lot of work and will be pricier than your average banquet hall. If you’re looking at a barn or a farm to keep costs down, then you’re barking up the wrong tree. In the New Jersey area, it is difficult to keep venue costs under $30,000 for a barn wedding and that’s just for the venue and food; not the rentals, alcohol or any of the other basic necessities. Just like the “natural” look takes more time and effort than the fully made up face complete with a smoky eye, a barn wedding takes more money and work than the halls surrounding you. 

I hope I have given you some insight into planning the perfect barn wedding. Please feel free to leave your comments and questions below!

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