For the past month, I’ve been writing a series about
something that is near and dear to my heart: country weddings. Now that the
series is all finished, I want to share some of the lessons I’ve learned.
That’s something I love about this job — there always is so
much to learn!
There are a couple reasons why country weddings are
important to me, one being that I am getting married in September to a fellow
Purdue University Boilermaker and college sweetheart. Another reason is because
I love the warm, inviting style that country weddings bring.
Most of all, I just love talking about weddings. They are
such a special occasion, an opportunity for families and friends to celebrate
love and a chance to see old friends.
While writing this series, I’ve learned much more than I
expected, things including the amount of time and effort to plan an event such
as a wedding, the heritage and tradition of the event and the business side that
affects quite a few people in rural communities.
With barn weddings being so popular, a whole new demand for
barn space has risen. What does it take to make this happen?
For one, a lot of work – physically, as well as paper work.
It takes a person or family that is determined to make their dream a reality.
It takes a good barn that is structurally ready to be
renovated. A lot of painting, electric work and plumbing work are necessary, not
to mention work to make the barn a safe place for kids to romp around — can’t
have any nails sticking from the floorboards!
Pouring cement or laying wood down for a dance floor is
important. One event coordinator that I spoke with stressed that finding
plentiful space to accommodate guest parking is critical, as well.
It takes planning, insurance and a lot of detail work. You
have to decide whether you want to provide chairs and tables or if you want that
to be done through a rental company.
Do you want to add any personal touches? Maybe some light
strands, a garden or a new sign in the driveway to direct people to the barn. To
me, it’s all about re-branding the entire image of your property.
Something to take into consideration: If you have a friend
of family member who owns a restaurant or who can make floral arrangements,
decorate cakes, take pictures or DJ, including these services in the barn
wedding package may be a good idea. If nothing else, it’s good to suggest
vendors to make the bride’s life easier.
If you’re going to have a barn event space, you’ll want to
talk to someone else who does. Once you do your homework, figure out the
logistics and follow through on the barn renovations, it’s time to plan out
pricing and marketing.
You’ll want to become or hire a wedding day coordinator — or
two or three — to be on site to make sure the day runs smoothly.
With social media so popular, you’ll need a blog and
Facebook and Twitter accounts. A website is a must, but word of mouth goes a
long way, too.
There are so many creative ideas and ways to make a barn
into a profitable event space. If you’re interested in learning more, my best
suggestion is to chat with a local barn owner that does just that.
I always imagined that using a farm for wedding space would
be a great way to retire, something to do on the weekends and a fun business to
get into. For the right person, it could be a perfect business to start.
Please share your thoughts and #barnweddings ideas with me,
@AgNews_Sullivan, on Twitter, or comment on this blog post.