Before you can have your perfect barn wedding you need to find the barn wedding venue that can make your dream day come true. One of the reasons we launched our Rustic Wedding Guide back in 2013 was due to the overwhelming amount of emails I received via our Ask Maggie section looking for a barn wedding location. The first step in planning your barn wedding is to head over to our Rustic Wedding Guide and start checking out the venues and vendors who can bring your ideal day to life. Our Rustic Wedding Guide has over 5,000 vendors to help you make your day the best possible day it can be.
2. Select The Perfect Season
I have seen barn weddings take place in each of the four seasons but the most successful barn weddings seem to take place in the Spring and Fall season. After you find the barn venue for your wedding you need to start thinking about what date you want to host your wedding and what does that date mean for your barn — a Summer wedding might mean it will be too hot and a Winter wedding might mean it will be too cold. Speak to the wedding venue you find and ask them what dates they have open and what are the dates that they think are the best for the venue. Check out our post on 5 Tips For Planning A Winter Barn Wedding for more ideas.
3. Get Creative Without Layout & Design
One of the challenges about planning a barn wedding is that sometimes the layout of the barn is not 100% perfect for a wedding. Long, narrow barns or large square barns might be what you find at your venue and you might need to get creative with your layout and design. When you start your layout and design ideas you should first have an idea of how many people will be on your guest list and talk to either the venue coordinator or a previous bride and get suggestions of what layouts have worked in the past. Don’t forget to leave room for dancing, catering, bars and the cake display when you start your layout options.
4. Do Your research
Some barn wedding locations look great online but you need to dig in and do some research to make sure it will be the barn of your dreams. The first place to do research is to ask the venue for references and previous brides information — any good venue will be happy to give you a list of past clients that you can contact. You can also head over to Yelp and find reviews for wedding venues and wedding vendors.
5. Find Inspiration To Copy
We know better than anyone that the amount of barn wedding ideas is in no shortage but when planning your own barn wedding it is important to try to hone in on a select amount of inspiration that you can realistically duplicate at your wedding venue. Many times brides-to-be find barn wedding inspiration but it does not reflect what is possible either for their venue or their budget so make sure when you start to look for ideas you really pay attention to what you can and can’t replicate. Speaking of barn wedding ideas — head over to our real barn weddings section and our barn wedding board on our Pinterest page for endless amounts of ideas.
6. Double Check About Heat & Air Conditioning
No one wants to be too hot or too cold at their barn wedding so I can’t stress this enough — please double check with your venue to make sure the barn has air and heat options and how to use them. Many barn wedding venues are kind of “hands off” meaning you rent the space but you might not get an entire wedding planning team that comes with it so you will need to make sure you know how to use these amenities if needed.
7. Find Out If The Venue Is Full Service
A “full service” wedding venue is a venue that usually offers a full staff, several ceremony and reception options, is fully licensed and is hands on to help you wedding come to life. Many rustic wedding venues are full service venues but there are many that are not. Some venues you will find that you are simply renting a space and the management is hands off — there is really no right and wrong here but you need to make sure you know what type of venue you are getting.
8. Look At The Parking Situation
I have heard too many stories from couples that they found the perfect rustic wedding location but they did not take into account the parking that they would need for their guest list. You don’t want to find yourself short on parking or getting a ticket for having cars parked on a road. Talk with your venue and make sure you have some options available for parking.
9. Have Your Guest Count Ready
Almost every decision about planning a wedding is based on the guest count — from rentals to catering to parking to space needed, the guest count is really important! The earlier you can nail down your guest list the better!
10. Is There A Weather Backup
You might need to think about the weather at some barn venues but at some venues it is very important to think about the weather. Some barn venues are there for just dancing so a tent for dinner is needed and some venues are used only for cocktails — whatever the situation is please make sure you talk to the venue to find out what sort of backups you need and how to work around weather issues. Head over and check out our post on Outdoor Wedding Weather Tips.