They're romantic without being fussy and have jaw-dropping views often without the jaw-dropping rates to boot. With a description like that, who wouldn't want a barn wedding?
"Barns have been wildly popular as wedding venues," says Aviva Samuels, owner of Kiss the Planner in Delray Beach, Fla, "But along with a barn wedding can come some unique hurdles and challenges." Here are six you likely didn't think of before you booked that barn.
The barn will shelter you from a storm, sure. But on a hot or humid day, you may curse its wooden interior that keeps air from circulating or wish its rustic flair came retrofitted with a heating system. Samuels recommends renting portable fans and air conditioning or heating units as needed. Plus, "let your guests know what to expect," she says, so they can plan to dress appropriately. "Providing fans, gloves, blankets, or shawls is a nice gesture that could also come in very handy."
A brand-new barn built for weddings likely won't face issues you may find in more traditional models: Roof damage, wood rotting, bug-infested timbers and fading paint, just to name a few. "Be sure to keep an eye out for any items in need of general repair or attention," advises Samuels. "Find out when and how these will be taken care of, allowing adequate time prior to the wedding date."
Between hosting fancy shindigs, your barn could be home to animals. "And there's a good change their smell will linger on," warns Samuels. "Odors and mustiness can be tackled by thoroughly deodorizing the area with a product specifically intended for that purpose." You can also incorporate aromatic elements into your décor, including floral arrangements scented with fragrance oils, pine garlands, and candles, Samuels says.
Fact: When it comes to a barn wedding, "portable restrooms will likely need to be brought in," Samuels says. "Although this may not sound like an appealing option, have no fear! Today's Port-A-Potties are designed with comfort and style in mind. Some of the fancier portable options are often nicer than many homes' bathrooms and include sinks, a variety of amenities and even an attendant." You'll determine just how many to order based on your guest list, the ratio of men to women, and the length of your wedding.
Powering a DJ's equipment, up-lighting package, or a caterer's kitchen essentials take a lot of juice, and many barns don't have the electric capability to support them. "A generator solves the problem, but be sure to get the right type so that the cables are long enough to hide the large unit far out of sight," says Samuels. "You will also want to protect your guests from the loud noise that it makes."
You fell in love with your venue because it's off the beaten path — but if it's too far from civilization, it could be difficult for guests to find. "Provide a map and directions within your wedding information and post signs if necessary," says Samuels. "And if guests need to walk down a gravel road or through a grassy area, warn them in advance so that they can be prepared with proper footwear or provide them with a temporary alternative as they follow that path, such as flip flops or sneakers."