Barn weddings are all the rage right now! There are so many reasons why you might want to consider getting married in a barn. For starters, barn wedding venues are often much more affordable than traditional wedding venues. They also offer a rustic and charming atmosphere that is perfect for couples who want an intimate and laid-back wedding. In this blog post, we will give you a guide to everything you need to know about hosting your barn wedding!
What to Wear to a Barn Wedding
You may be wondering: “What is the dress code at a barn wedding?” Well, the answer to this question largely depends on what the newlywed couple desires; part of the fun of barn weddings as they can be dressed up or dressed down to suit any couple’s needs. For example, it’s not uncommon for the bride to wear a full white gown at her barn wedding, while others might simply go for their favorite pair of jeans and cowgirl boots.
However formal you choose to go with your wedding, it’s great to make expectations clear at the start. This eliminates confusion for your guests and ensures everyone shows up feeling like they’ve been set up for success to enjoy your special day. This also ensures that any photo ops will provide the perfect snapshot to remember your wedding day for years to come.
While there is some discrepancy in how formal different couples choose to go with their barn weddings, there are a few fashion staples that are generally always on point. Here are some classic options perfect for wearing to a barn wedding:
As the Bride:
· Flowing, structured, short cream or white wedding dress. If you are going for a look that decidedly says “bride” but that won’t get tangled up in hay or other atmospheric accents, you may want to opt for a shorter-than-traditional wedding gown. Especially if you’re getting married in the warmer months, this option will not only be more comfortable, it may even save you money! For an extra organic look, try a linen wedding dress!
· Gingham prints. Not everyone wants to get married in the traditional white wedding gown. Gingham is a bold choice that says “down-to-earth bride” and will also make you look cute as a button for your big day!
· Wedge shoes. Even if you opt for a very modern barn, it may be prudent to skip the stilettos. Wedge shoes ensure maximum comfort and walkability for you as the bride while also lending a dressier vibe.
· Floral arrangements. While the traditional wedding veil has its appeal, part of the allure of a barn wedding is the play in the spectrum between man-made and natural. A great way to add soft touches to your look is to wear a corsage or flower crown for your barn wedding. Check with your florist in advance to see if there are any local plants that would lend themselves well to your aesthetic!
As a Guest:
· Floral maxi dress. Barn weddings are all about new beginnings. Floral prints are not only gorgeous, but are on track with themes of life, growth, beauty, and love! Make that a maxi dress and you’ve got a great look with maximum comfort.
· Denim jacket. Depending on how formal the barn wedding is, you may want to wear a denim jacket. Be sure to check the dress code in advance to see if you’d be better suited with your favorite flattering blazer!
· Sun hat. This is your opportunity to go big with a floppy sun hat! This is not only a fun fashion statement but lends some practicality to your wardrobe as well for any outdoor festivities to follow the ceremony.
· Cowgirl boots. (Or cowboy boots!) Is there anything that says “country wedding” more than a solid pair of cowgirl boots? You will be comfortable and ready for anything in your favorite pair of boots.
Top 11 Tips for Planning a Barn Wedding
When it comes to planning the perfect barn wedding, there are a couple of key takeaways to keep in mind. While there’s a lot to love about a rustic wedding, there are some primary points of interest when it comes to what barn wedding venues are capable of accommodating and where you will need extra manpower or wiggle room in the budget. Here are the top 11 tips for planning a failure-proof barn wedding:
1. Parking. The dreamiest barn venue in the world won’t do you much good if they can’t accommodate everyone on your guest lists with spacious, clearly delineated parking areas. Ensuring you have a parking plan in advance allows you to spend your big day focusing on the things that really matter while putting your guests at ease.
2. Establish set up/tear down staff. Check with your wedding venue if they will be providing the service of setting up before the event, tearing down after, or both. This eliminates the possibility of miscommunication or confusion and helps make your big day seamless and smooth.
3. Space for Bride and Groom. Does the venue you are interested in offer room for the bride and groom to get ready for the big event on-site? This added convenience can go a long way, as it saves newlyweds the headache of getting ready offsite and shuttling to the venue. It also offers groomsmen and bridesmaids an opportunity to connect with the groom and bride respectively, so the newlyweds can soak up the company of those they love best before the main event!
4. Space for caterers. Where there is food, there must be holding trays, and where there are holding trays, there must be running water! Help food suppliers out by ensuring they will have access to a sink with running water so they can deftly and professionally cater to your guests. This detail is especially crucial for events with a large guest count! If you can’t offer an onsite kitchen space for your caterer, make sure they know this in advance; start a conversation to problem-solve workarounds for this, such as an outdoor water source or a portable handwashing station.
5. Outdoor décor/landscaping. Should the weather cooperate, you will likely want to get some pictures together to celebrate the union of your two families. For this, rustic outdoor décor can be called for—but it’s always a good idea to make sure the grounds surrounding the barn are freshly landscaped. This is also a good time to establish where guests will be permitted and what areas will be better off left to nature so you can give your guests clear bounds on where to party!
6. Controlled climate within the barn. It’s a good idea to have climate control contingency plans should the weather grow too hot or too cold for comfort. Call barn wedding venues in advance to see if they’re equipped with central heat or AC, or if they offer standing heaters or high-powered fans. This act of courtesy will help your guests remember all the fun stuff while also creating a safer environment for everyone.
7. Contingency plans. It is wise to have a backup plan for your first-choice wedding plan, and maybe even a backup plan for the backup plan! This is because you never know what the day will bring, truly—whether that’s thunder and lightning, torrential rain, record high temperatures, or all three, it’s best to have a plan for mitigating weather or electrical issues. (Another key aspect of contingency plans is having a financial buffer in your allotted budget to confront any day-of catastrophes!)
8. Ample restrooms. This might go without saying, but it’s always nicer to err on the side of more available restrooms for a long guest list than less. If this means you need to get some portable toilets for your big day, so be it—but be sure to call your venue in advance to make sure they can accommodate your entire guest list and ask if they have adequate restrooms or if you will need to provide your own.
9. Lighting and electrical concerns. Is there power in the barn, or will you be supplying it with generators? Are you looking for a twinkle light atmosphere or a series of chandeliers? Whatever lighting you decide to go with, make sure you’re equipped with enough voltage to supply your event with the electric juice it needs.
10. Room for dancing/DJ/live music. This is a big one—do you have room to party? Will there be a dance floor, a stage, or both for hosting live music or DJs? Alternatively, consider moving the after-party to a different location that can easily accommodate everyone for the main celebration, as most venues have additional fees for staying beyond the predetermined time period.
11. Accessibility for all guests. Your barn may be chic, but is it ADA compliant? Making sure your wedding is wheelchair accessible means that everyone in your family can enjoy the festivities without undue hardship or strain. This thoughtful step is really important when it comes time to finalize your barn wedding venue, so call in advance and see if your desired location is able to host guests of all mobilities.
What to Give Your Guests at a Barn Wedding
When it comes to having a good time, you want to make sure everyone’s needs are met before they can get to partying. This may include “party favors” or thank you gifts for guests as they arrive for the big event. Here are some of the best gifts to give guests at barn wedding venues:
1. Directions to the venue. Especially if you’ve chosen an authentic, rural barn, directions to the venue are going to be all the more important! Make sure your guests know how to get to the main event regardless of where they’re coming from.
2. A map of the property. Be sure to label all the key locations like bathrooms, catering, and dance floor so your guests are empowered to wander the grounds after the ceremony.
3. A schedule. Keep everyone on the same page when it comes to main events like dancing, photo ops, and food service.
4. Bug spray or citronella candles with matches. Consider your guests’ experience—will they be exposed to mosquitos or other pests over the course of the celebrations? This can effectively be mitigated with bug repellent candles, Deet, and/or netting over doorways, so make sure your guests are set up for optimized comfort.
5. Hand-held fans in the heat of summer. Will it be swelteringly hot in the barn? Especially if there’s no AC available, it’s an act of kindness to gift your guests hand-held fans or misters so they can keep cool in the warmer moments of the gathering.
6. Barn quilts/blankets in winter. Are you getting married in the cooler months? Not only is a blanket an awesome gift, but it will match your rustic barn décor perfectly. This homey touch is sure to put your guests at ease and will go a long way towards providing the kind of experience you want to share with your loved ones.
Best Barn Wedding Venues in NC
Hopefully, you now feel a little bit more prepared to dive into your dreamy, chic barn wedding! From set up to tear down, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to planning a country wedding: electrical and running water hookups, landscaping, room for the bride and groom and more are all a big part of the experience that you’ll want to share with your friends and family. With a little careful planning followed by a little extra contingency planning, you can create a beautiful day for all to enjoy to celebrate your union.