What would you look for in a rustic barn reception venue?

posted 6 years ago in Venue
Post # 3
1026 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

For any outdoor/semi outdoor space I would look at some of these things:
1) How many bathrooms are there/how far are they from the barn/what condition are they in?
2) Whats the temperature like- is the barn going to be 900 degrees in the summer heat, freezing in the winter or is it climate controled?
3) Where will guests park/ will ladies have to walk across pastures/gravel in heels?
4)Is there enough electrical outlets for DJ/Lighting and sound?
5)Is there any kitchen facilities and if not how will food be set up and served?

Thats all I can think of off the top of my head right now. 

Post # 4
4046 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

A nice, shady place for outdoor ceremony, with an indoor space for rain contingency.

A covered, outdoor space for people to smoke (I know that sounds silly but most of my family smokes so this would be important to them)

A place to get ready/freshen up for the wedding party, if there are onsite ceremonies

Post # 5
1141 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

Air conditioning and a real floor. Walking on soft dirt or gravel in heels is no fun. A mix of rustic with elegance would be a bonus ie a Chandeler in a barn is so pretty.

Post # 7
2697 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

@sarajade:  I agree with PPs about ceremony site and prep area. People that want an untraditional venue will ususally be more likely to:

1. Not have their ceremony in a church

2. Have their ceremony and reception at the same location.

I would strongly suggest making a ceremony site a top priority. I would not have looked twice at a venue that did not have a ceremony option. Also, if you have a barn as a venue, you are really only going to attract people who want rustic weddings, not modern ones so I would not worry about making it neutral in that sense. (I would do a wooden floor if at all possible.) Providing tables and chairs is wonderful and key, and if you decide to have a ceremony site, brides will thank you for providing that seating as well! As for the size, if you have big barn doors that open to a flat area outside, you can always add additional seating in a tent.

I just had a barn wedding. The barn was a bank barn, so it was essentially two stories. The lower portion was our rain location for the ceremony, while the upper has the reception area. The ceremony sitewas in a clearing in the woods behind the barn.The reception space held up to 150 people seated. We had 100 and it was a perfect fit.

Here is our venue

And our photog’s blog from the day


Post # 9
746 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

We’re getting married in a lovely barn, you should check out their pictures for inspiration! Here’s the link. It’s kind of 2 stories — the main area where most of the tables (seating for 100) is open at the top, showing the exposed beams with a very high ceiling. Part of the barn is 2 floors though — the first floor is the kitchen, and the 2nd floor seats about 50 more guests. The stairway up to the 2nd floor has a little balcony where the DJ sets up and the bride can toss her bouquet from!

I agree about making a fabulous ceremony site. Our barn has 2 options — the courtyard (surrounded by ivy-covered buildings, the barn, the silo, and trees) or a gazebo with a lake in the background. See if you can make the ceremony site near some big, pictureque trees!

Oh, and a note about the silo — that’s where they set up the bar! So fun!

Post # 10
2697 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

@sarajade:  our barn had high ceilings and exposed beams in the reception space; it can be done.

Post # 11
285 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

Can you please do this by October 2013 and build it somewhere between Oakland and Macomb counties??? ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m having a hard time finding an option that will work for our wedding. Tollgate was my first pick but they are completely booked from April to November 2013. My FH’s brother was just married in an Ann Arbor location so that’s out.

What would you want in a rustic barn location? Ceremony and reception options in one site.

If you have been to or hosted an event in one, what did you love/not love about it? Cobblestone in Ann Arbor was traditional red, which I loved. I did not love the steep walk up to the barn.

If you are looking for one as a venue, what specifically are you looking for? Must have an outdoor and indoor ceremony options.  Wood or semi wood interior and high ceilings would be a plus.


Post # 12
2693 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2008

I think our venue (http://www.thepavilionsattheangusbarn.com/) had everything I could have wished for in a rustic venue.  It wasn’t exactly a barn, but it had such a warm, rustic feel.  Best of all, it also felt elegant and a little magical.  I think if you were buidling a venue like this it would be important to make it feel rustic and elegant as well (not like my friend who married a woman that insisted their reception be held in a functioning barn..as in, they moved the farm equipment and hay out and asked us not to wear heels because the rickety barn had 2-inch gaps between the floor boards…and no bathrooms…I can keep going), as well as warm and inviting.  That way, you get that rustic feeling, while still giving someone a place to have their recption that make it feel like an event. 

Our venue was unique, had indoor/outdoor space (very important to us), a reception AND ceremony site (they have a gorgeous lake-front patio) fire pits, and a large, open air patio.  It really gave the feeling of having multiple spaces throughout the night–instead of another venue we looked at that would have needed a few mminutes between ceremony and reception to move tables/chairs out…basically herding our guests from one side of the room to another for ceremony/cocktail/reception. 

Post # 13
11167 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

Actual flooring, bathrooms and proper lighting.

Post # 14
6256 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: March 2014

I would want someplace that would let me bring in my own food and alcohol, that had a pretty bride changing room for photos, and lots of beautiful landscaping.

Post # 16
9 posts
  • Wedding: June 2013

Concrete flooring sounds like it would be painful to dance on, if it’s going to be the dance floor too. 

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