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How to Plan a Beautiful Barn Wedding – Helpful Ideas and Tips

A barn wedding can add a country farm wedding flare to your big day. If you have dreamed of cowgirl boots to compliment your wedding dress, chances are that a barn wedding venue may be just up your alley. More and more brides and grooms are tying the knot at barn weddings. Long ago, this was the main venue for weddings/receptions because there simply were no other large buildings in the area that could accommodate a large guest list. Even with more wedding venue choices than ever before, people are wanting to go back to a simpler time and era. I will be sharing some things to consider if you are thinking about having a barn wedding. There may be a bit more than meets the eye when planning this type of wedding.

Barns That Specialize in Weddings

There are some barns that are not working barns, but rather barns for hosting weddings. One of these of barns is called the Country Barn in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. This is one of the most unique barns for a wedding venue. It has vaulted ceilings and exposed beams. The dance floor is a beautiful varnished wood instead of a dirt floor, which is typical of working barns. The Country Barn in Lancaster has electricity, wireless internet, dressing rooms and is handicap accessible. You may want to check out their website by clicking here.  Another barn wedding venue in Lancaster, Pennsylvania is called The Barn at Silverstone. This is another full facility wedding venue that is not a working barn. To learn more about The Barn at Silverstone, click here. The Stone Barn is a very popular venue too. This building can be used for events of all sizes, including large wedding showers and weddings, or smaller-sized events. You can decide whether you want to use the whole building for your wedding or just a room or two. The Stone Barn is located in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, which is near Chester County. For more information about Stone Barn, visit their website here.

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Photo Credit: Weddingomania

Things to Consider

Sound Ordinance

Make sure you are aware if there are any sound ordinances before planning a barn wedding. Neighbors may not appreciate partying and noise late at night. Make sure to contact the local county seat to find existing ordinances. Be ready with information about when your music will begin and especially when it will end.

Tables and Chairs

Typical wedding venues will have tables and chairs, but most likely a barn will not. You will need to rent, borrow, or buy tables and chairs for most barn weddings. Plan on using trucks and other large vehicles other to transport the tables and chairs.

Generators

If the barn venue does not have electricity, you may want to look into using generators.  This will be especially important if you will have an evening wedding. But remember even if you have an afternoon wedding, you will still need a source of energy for band speakers, microphones, fans, and lights. Keep in mind that generators may be loud. If your barn does not have electricity, dreams of listening to the crickets chirp will be replaced with the loud hum of generators.

Mud and Terrain

If the selected barn terrain is anything like my farm, a nice and dry pasture can quickly turn to shoe sucking mud after a rainstorm. Keep in mind that you may have guests using wheelchairs or walkers. Other guests may have a hard time walking through a mucky field to the barn.  Additionally, consider the parking and weather conditions. Not everyone will be driving four-wheel drive vehicles. Consider what will happen if the weather changes during the reception and how vehicles will be driven away. You may want to consider a shuttling service to transport guests to and from a designated area.

Bathroom Facilities

Most barns do not have bathrooms and you may not want your guests to have to use an outhouse. Be prepared to budget money for portable bathroom facilities. Do not forget handicap accessible options. Some hosts choose typical blue porta-potties while others spend more money on luxury portable bathrooms.

Bugs

You may want to have a basket of bug spray available for guests, especially if you will be having an evening wedding. Mosquitoes can quickly turn a good time on the dance floor into an uncomfortable mess. If possible, visit your farm venue just days before your wedding day to see what kind of bugs are present at that time of the year.

Decorating for a Barn Wedding

If you are considering having a barn wedding, you will also need to consider what decorations to buy or rent. There are many decorations that can make your barn wedding extra special. Consider some of the following decorating ideas.

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Photo Credit: Rustic Wedding Chic

Candles

Candles can add a romantic glow to a barn wedding. They can also be your light supply if you are having an evening wedding. Remember to be aware of fire danger, since most likely, the barn is made of wood.

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Photo Credit: Intimate Weddings

Chalkboards

Chalkboards are a great way to write the menu, seating suggestions, and to remind your guests to take a wedding favor. They can also add a cute look to your wedding. You can buy chalkboards or you can make your own. To make your own chalkboard, you will need a frame, board/backing, and chalkboard paint. Spray the board with the chalkboard paint. Let it dry. You can also spray the frame if desired. Once the backing is dry, put it back in the frame. Using chalk, write simple messages, such as reminding your guests to take a favor or where to sit.

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Photo Credit: Intimate Weddings

Tin Cans

Vintage tin cans, as well as watering cans, can add a unique and pretty look to your wedding. Tin cans can be used to hold flowers, or even candles if you make your own candles with wax.

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Photo Credit: Intimate Weddings

Light Strands

Light strands can add a beautiful glow to your barn wedding, as well as providing the light that needed. You can usually buy light strands at a discounted price right after Christmas. They can also be purchased online.

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Photo Credit: Intimate Weddings

Wooden Crates

Wooden crates can add a rustic look to your barn wedding. Not only do they add beauty to your wedding, but they can also be functional and be used as a small table to hold flowers and candles. Wooden crates are cheap to buy. They can be stained to add a customized look.

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Photo Credit: Rustic Wedding Chic

Wine Barrel Bouquets

A wine barrel filled with flowers can add a pretty and rustic look to your wedding. Wine barrels usually cost a few hundred dollars, but may cost even more. However, cheaper barrels can be found online and are around $90. The cost will depend on the size of the wine barrel.

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Photo Credit: Cool DIY Ideas

Burlap Table Runners

Burlap is very inexpensive and can be purchased at fabric stores or hobby and craft stores. Burlap can add a rustic look to your barn wedding. Besides using burlap table runners, you may want to purchase or make burlap silverware holders.

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Photo Credit: Intimate Weddings

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Photo Credit: Pinterest

Buntings

Buntings can add a cute look to a barn wedding. It is also a way to add color and patterns. Since most barns are wood colored inside, buntings can add fun colors to the barn. Buntings are very cheap to buy or make.

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Photo Credit: Intimate Weddings

Rustic Signs

One of my favorite barn wedding decorating ideas is to write messages to the guests on old barn wood. A popular saying painted on the wood says, "Come as you are. Stay as long as you can. We're all family here, so no seating plan."  If you will be serving lemonade, you can write "Lemonade" just like lemonade stands years ago. When making signs, don't overthink it. You will want it to look simple and written on wood in a rustic fashion.

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Photo Credit: Tulle and Chantilly

Conclusion

Barn weddings are currently a popular trend. Long ago, weddings were held in barns because they were the only buildings big enough to accommodate large celebrations. People are now wanting to recreate that rustic feeling by getting married and holding receptions in barns again. I have reviewed the two types of barns to use for weddings.  First, there are barns from working farms; and second, there are barns no longer being used for agriculture that are specifically used for weddings. Several venue sites are located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania mentioned have turned old barns into restored barn buildings for weddings. With restored barns, most will have electricity and plumbing which simplifies wedding planning. If you are planning a wedding in a working barn, I have suggested several items to consider including sound ordinances, tables and chairs, generators, mud and terrain, bathroom facilities, and bugs. Lastly, I shared some fun ways to decorate for a barn wedding. I hope this article helps you to decide if a barn wedding is right for you.

Image Source: Rudy and Marta

Mariann Foster

I am one of our content writers for Everything Backyard. I am a mother and business owner of Big Horn Mountain Alpacas in Wyoming. I love farm life, cutting my own firewood in the mountains, and participating in local trail run races.

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