All in all, barn and country wedding really are a blast. They don't require much decoration, as Mother Nature does it best. They're spacious and can accommodate much larger crowds for less. My personal favorite part, is that if your guests get a little rowdy, the neighbors are further away.
For a little context, you should know that I grew up on a small farm in backwater Pennsylvania. I fell through a bad floor in the barn when I was ten, and I built dusty forts and tunnels with hay bales.
The farm up the street actually does have alpacas.
You can imagine my surprise when I first heard about barn weddings. I immediately thought of how scratched up my arms and legs were as a kid, the mouse droppings, and detritus everywhere.
I was pleasantly surprised when I went to my first, and it was more like a fancy hunting lodge inside. Obviously not meant for real usage as a farm!
This lead me to realize that many of the couples that are migrating to the countryside for their weddings, and the planners that come with them don't understand the realities of a country wedding. That's okay! That's what I'm here for! Here are a few insights to make your rustic wedding go smoothly:
Photo by Isadora Pennington.
Pinterest is not your friend. I stress this because planners often will put things in staged pictures that are not feasible. The biggest particular offender in this category are hay bales. Hay is NOT, I repeat NOT, a seating option unless your guests are wearing jeans, or you put pillows on top of them. Hay clings, gets through the thin fabric of formal clothes easily, and will likely give 25% of your guests allergies.
Wheat makes for a cheap, cute bouquet though.
Speaking of allergies, keep multiple kinds of non-drowsy allergy medicine on hand. Oftentimes people won't remember to bring it to weddings, and the last thing you want is multiple people sneezing through your ceremony. I usually keep a brand new one in my kit for each wedding.
Heel Stoppers. These are useful for all kinds of outdoor weddings, but I also love these for barn weddings because heels can get caught in the floorboard cracks. They're slightly ungainly, but they're great for not stumbling after a few cocktails.
Do NOT pet, touch, or feed the animals. Unless the owner gives express permission, don't mess with them. Most farm animals are not pets. Even the animals that would be considered pets usually serve a purpose. For example: the cats eat mice, and the dog chase off groundhogs. Also, if you see goats, stay far away. If the little jerks don't bite you, they'll head-butt you.
Sometimes, though, they are adorable.
Horses are not photo props! Expanding on the topic above- horses are intelligent, gorgeous, enormous animals. It might seem like a great picture to make you look like a fairy queen or Lady Godiva. However, if you've never rode a horse before, this is a fantastically bad idea. If you really must take a photo with the horse, have the owner show you how to walk with the horse while holding the reins. Do not ever, ever, walk behind the horse.
This is what popped up when I typed in "Lady Godiva." You're welcome.
Rope off equipment. Most venues that still have operational farm equipment will already have safety precautions in place. That being said, some places won't. Ask your planner to do a safety check (bonus points if they sing "Safety Dance" as they do it). Tractors, balers, and especially bale movers are dangerous. While I was growing up, losing fingers and other appendages was common place. No one wants an ambulance on their wedding day.
Groomsman #1 down!
These often are private residences. Please keep wandering groomsmen and guests out of private areas, both for their safety and the residents. This is usually self-explanatory, but there's always that one person.
I know a fair few folks that would love this headboard.
Get a shuttle. A lot of these places are someone's house, or used to be, so a lot of them won't have a parking lot. As a result, places often will park their cars on the grass. The owners will love you if you bus your guests in- it causes less damage to their property, as a bus will usually fit on their driveway.
Bring bug spray. Scented candles are also a good way to keep away mosquitos, although they don't usually protect against ticks. There's a country song about my next piece of advice- make sure to check for ticks that night, or at the very least, the next morning.
If you're not sure about country weddings, please feel free to give me a call for a free consultation. I'd be more than happy to dig deeper into the details with you!
The full video of this fellow shows him going through the hay baler.