Tips + Tricks | Planning a Barn Wedding

Planning a wedding can be S T R E S S F U L. There are SO many things to think about – your wedding party, budget, food/beverage, etc. After enjoying some time engaged to your future life partner, one of the first orders of business that every couple will have to decide on is the venue. From hotels, golf courses, event centers, etc., every couple has a venue style that they can envision themselves tying the knot in. One of the latest crazes in the wedding world is getting married in a barn, one that has been transformed into a beautiful wedding venue. At Rustic Elegance, we are fortunate to specialize in backyard, tent, barn, vineyard, and orchard wedding coordination. We love working with these types of venues – which start as a blank canvas but may require more planning then if you held your event at a full-service hotel or restaurant. Being in business for over 5 years, we have come up with our top 10 tips for planning a barn wedding, and we would L O V E to share with you all!

CLIMATE CONTROL
You might not think about this right away, but many barn wedding venues will face the outdoor elements because of the different seasons throughout the year. If you’re planning on getting married in the scorching summer months, you might want to think about adding some fans or renting an AC unit to ensure guests are comfortable. Also confirm with the venue if they have air conditioning as an option – there are a few out there. If you’re planning a fall/winter wedding at a barn, consider having space heaters or renting a blow-in-heating unit, so nobody will have to endure the harsh MN/WI winter during such a heart-warming day!

BACK-UP CEREMONY
Many barn venues have B E A U T I F U L outdoor options for ceremony sites, or a barn that can start as a ceremony site, where your guests are then invited outside for a cocktail hour, and the barn is then transformed into your beautiful reception venue. While outdoor options for ceremonies and cocktails hours are fantastic – there is always the chance of weather getting in the way. When planning a barn wedding, have a back-up plan if utilizing outdoor space. Also, think about who is going to help initiate a back-up plan once you have one, including ensuring guests are dry and safe, and moving any previously set up décor from your outside space indoors.

Day of Coordinator, Tips + Tricks, Planning a Barn Wedding_0400.jpgPhoto by: Emily Isakson Photographic Services

Day of Coordinator, Tips + Tricks, Planning a Barn Wedding_0403.jpgPhoto by: Nicole Spangler Photography

POWER
Many barn wedding venues are repurposed older barns, that were decorated and transformed to create a place to make lifelong memories from your special day. With the older barns, there may not be as many sources of power or outlets that you will need. Consider bringing a few extension cords or power strips to ensure that your vendors will have enough power to work.

FLOW OF THE VENUE
Layouts of barn venues/the farmland are very different throughout MN/WI. Some have one barn, some have two, some have bridal suites, some do not. When visiting venues, consider the space and spending your entire day there. If you do decide to use the barn space for both the ceremony and reception, there will have to be a “flip” period, or a time when the venue changes from ceremony layout to reception layout. Also when thinking about utilizing this space, also question who will be flipping it for you – the venue workers, family members, or you could hire a day of coordinator [like us] to take all of it off your hands.

LOCATION, TRAVELING AND HOTEL BOOKINGS
If you are centrally located in the Twin Cities, chances are you will have to travel a little bit into the countryside for your wedding if you choose a barn venue. Also keep in mind that this means your guests will also have to travel, and some may opt to stay in a hotel. Consider booking a block of rooms at a hotel nearby for your guests, and providing a shuttle to and from, to encourage safe travels and further encourage dancing the night away.

DECORATIONS
Barn venues have their own elegance throughout, created by the wooden beams, posts, and rustic décor that the venue has. With the venues permission, you will have the chance to dress up the barn to your D R E A M! A few things to think about when decorating inside the barn:

Centerpieces – If there are going to be doors open at the venue, wind may try to blow away your décor. Think about heavier centerpieces, such as wood logs, heavier flower vases, etc., so that the decorations stay in place! Also, consider who is setting out the centerpieces [florist, family, you, planner, etc.] and who is gathering them at the end of the night.

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Lighting – Barns are typically only lit by a few overhead lights and may be seemingly dim on your initial visit to the space. To brighten the room [as well as everyone’s day], think about adding string lights across the ceiling or a chandelier over the head table, for a dramatic effect.

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Keep it simple – The barns that we have been so fortunate to work with are beautiful on their own with no decorations. Try to concentrate on the true beauty of the barn with light décor, or choose to focus on a focal point in the room.

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Photo by: Midwest LifeShots Photography

DRESS FOR THE OCCASION
All barns have different surroundings. Some may be surrounded by grass and fields, others by dirt paths/roads, etc. Ceremony sites may be all grass, rock, or they may be in the barn itself. Either way, remind yourself and your guests to wear farm or grass friendly attire, especially footwear, for your special day.

EVENT INSURANCE
Some barn venues require extra “event insurance coverage” to host your event at their venue. This is extra event insurance, in case there were anything to go wrong. This may be an added fee to your budget, so it’s something to keep in mind. Check with your venue or planner to verify.

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VENDORS AND DAY OF COORDINATORS
Unlike hotels, event centers, or golf courses, most barn venues do not have an in-house caterer, bartender, or coordinator, which means that you will have to outsource for these vendors. When deciding on vendors to help with you day, it is important to choose vendors that have experience with the outdoor/barn type venues. Some caterers will bring a grill/tent set-up and cook right on site – how A M A Z I N G is this? This set-up ensures food will be freshly made for your guests. Other vendors will bring food already made at their facility and transport it to the barn [not as fresh – but still yummy!] Barn venues may have restrictions on how loud a DJ or band may play, therefore, hire a DJ who has had experience with this type of venue. Also, look for a DJ who has experience with outdoor ceremonies and equipment that can withstand the “wind” noise. When considering your make-up/hair artists, hire someone who can keep your make-up and hair in place despite the weather elements. Last, but not least, hiring someone who is going to capture the magical moments from your day! When hiring a photographer, it is important to hire someone who has had experience with the barn type venue. Lighting can be a challenge and photographing with the elements [heat and rain], can be a tricky. Consider asking your photographer if you can view an entire album from a wedding they have photographed at a barn venue [this way, you know they aren’t showing you just their very best photos]. Hiring vendors with outdoor/barn experience is a must, and will ensure every element of your day will flow smoothly and you won’t have to worry about a thing. Many barn venues will have a list of preferred vendors that they enjoy working with. Think ahead about all the tasks that will need to be completed from start to finish throughout your day, from set-up, greeting vendors and guiding them where to set up, to giving last minute payment to vendors, greeting guests, directing guest traffic etc.

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CLEAN UP
Depending on your venue choice, you may have to clean-up the venue the night of your wedding, and remove all items that you had brought in, including décor, presents/cards, floral, food, etc. Plan for someone to help designate the clean-up effort, so that you aren’t tacked on with any extra clean up fees, or make sure your wedding planning team can take care of it.

BONUS TIP
One more bonus tip because we just have so much to share! When putting together your seating chart, we always recommend assigned seating for your guests, to make their dining experience a G R E A T one! One common mistake we see is that guest names are listed by table number vs. alphabetical order. This layout forces guests to have to look at all the tables/names to find their own. Instead, consider putting guest names in alphabetical order by their last name, to ensure guests can find their tables/names with ease. Also, we recommend using a list/frame type style vs. place cards. At barn venues, the barn doors are usually wide open to let the natural breeze in and this provides the perfect opportunity for fly-away place cards. When deciding on what will be used for your actual table numbers, consider something large enough to be seen from a distance, and something that is stable against the elements as well [have these placed on the table facing the door that guests will be entering from].

We’ve seen some extremely remarkable weddings at stunning barn venues across MN/WI, and have had the chance to work with some pretty amazing couples! We feel so grateful every day to be doing something that we love and feel so passionate about. We hope that our barn wedding tips have helped you consider how great it is to have a wedding at a barn venue, and that you also consider Rustic Elegance to help coordinate your special day! Day of Coordinator, Tips + Tricks, Planning a Barn Wedding_0409.jpgPhoto by: Asher Marie Photography

Day of Coordinator, Tips + Tricks, Planning a Barn Wedding_0399.jpgPhoto by: Emily Isakson Photographic Services

Day of Coordinator, Tips + Tricks, Planning a Barn Wedding_0406.jpgPhoto by: Shelley Kay Photography

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Jodie + Nikki | Bloom Lake Barn

This past fall we had the absolute H O N O R of being a part of Jodie + Nikki’s special day! This couple was A M A Z I N G to work with throughout the planning process, and Rustic Elegance lead planner Lynse loved working with them. Although Nikki was blessed with a last minute broken foot, this couple S T I L L found a way to make their day P E R F E C T [with the help of a wheeler and a golf cart!].

These two lovebirds spent their special day at Bloom Lake Barn. They prepped for the day with their all lady wedding party [who were such a B L A S T!]. Jodie’s side of the party was dressed to the N I N E S in woman’s tuxes – and looked F A N T A S T I C. Nikki also fashioned a unique vintage wedding dress that was S T U N N I N G. Their ceremony was absolutely adorable and so romantic! The setup looked G O R G E O U S – and the overcast parted just in time for them to be able to walk down the aisle [it was the perfect day – we couldn’t have asked for more!].They both hand wrote their vows – and ended up starting them I D E N T I C A L to one another [that’s when you know you’ve found your true soulmate].

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Throughout the day, we L O V E D all of the personal touches that were specific to the couple. They opted to have a shot ski used as a guest book [how F U N is that?!]. They also had a wedding cake topper that was P E R F E C T for the couple [& pretty self explanatory!]. Their videography was done by Paul Jennings Film, who did a great job covering the day from beginning to end. The night ended with dessert by Sara’s Tipsy Pies. With a Twist Bartending was fantastic to work with [as always!] and kept the drinks flowing all the way to the dance! Bellagalla did a G R E A T job getting all of the guests on the dance floor and kept the love spreading through the music into the night!

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Lynse noted that this was one of the most high E N E R G Y weddings that she had the pleasure of coordinating, and that she had the B E S T time getting to know Jodie + Nikki! These two souls are sure to live a H A P P I L Y – E V E R – A F T E R!

Special thanks to Joe Lemke Photography for sharing these G R E A T photos from the day – they tell the story perfectly. Also, shout out to Paul Jennings Film for sharing their video with us – what a F U N keepsake!

P.S. This was Lynse’s last wedding with Rustic Elegance as she moved on to a new business venture – owning a resort up north – so fun! We are so thankful for the heart and soul that Lynse put into her time coordinating with Rustic Elegance, and she will be greatly missed. We hope the best for her in her new adventure in life!

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Vendors
Venue: Bloom Lake Barn
Photography: Joe Lemke Photography
Videography: Paul Jennings Film
Dessert: Sara’s Tipsy Pies
Bartender: With a Twist
DJ: Bellagalla
Coordination: Rustic Elegance
Catering: Friend of the couple
Floral: Family friend

Carina Photographics Guest Blog | First Looks

As wedding coordinators, we get asked quite frequently about photographers – how long to hire them for, what types of photos to ask for, timeline etc. One of the M A I N questions we are asked about is whether or not to do a First Look.  So we turned to one of our favorite photographers, Joanna Carina from Carina Photographics for her thoughts about including this in your day and decided we would share her advice with our favorite people!

To Look or Not to Look? Having a First Look on Your Wedding Day

One issue I see a lot of couples struggle with is if they should do a First Look, or if they should wait to see each other when they first walk down the aisle. As a wedding photographer, I have worked with couples in both scenarios. While both ways can work well, there are a few distinct advantages to going with a First Look prior to your wedding ceremony.

The First Look begins with some private time for just the two of you…alone. Unlike your walk down the aisle in a public arena where all eyes are focused on you, these private moments, where you see each other separately from the more formal portraits, are often extremely special for you both. You are able to exchange meaningful gifts, relax, and think about the moments to come. This quiet, contemplative time also serves as a break to calm your nerves. This pre-ceremony atmosphere creates a smooth, steady flow through the day’s events.

Not only are you in top form, but hair and makeup are still fresh and you are still comfortable in your wedding attire. Often times, wedding days and wedding wardrobes can be hot, so people look less and less fresh as the day moves on. Seeing each other in top form will happen if you choose to do your First Look right away.

After the First Look time has finished, we take some posed photos of the two of you. While we still refer to these photos as “posed”, rest-assured that we use our expertise to create images of you that look relaxed, natural and intimate. These photos are the ones that most often end up on walls and in prints or albums. We also take these photos privately, away from bridal party and family members, if possible, to continue to capture candid emotions and moments together.

Once your portrait time is finished, you are able to regroup with bridal party and family members and complete as much of your posed, formal group portraits as possible prior to your wedding ceremony. Once your ceremony is complete, you are then able to spend as much time as possible mingling with your guests and not forced to break into posed photos afterward while wishing you could be somewhere else.

All-in-all, including a First Look into your wedding day is an amazing experience, and one I highly recommend!

Special shout out to Joanna Carina for her insight on to look or not to look, letting us feature her on our blog + showcasing some of her A M A Z I N G photos! To learn more about Carina Photographics, check out her website: http://carinaphotographics.com.

Abby + Casey | Rolling Ridge

W O W – we are still so in love with Abby + Casey’s special day this past fall. Fall weddings are some of our favorites, because the leaves are B E A U T I F U L at all of the venues that we go to!

While the ladies prepped for the day ahead, the Rustic Elegance team of Kierra, Kristin + Kellie showed up to Rolling Ridge Barn ready to roll [at Rolling Ridge – see what we did there?]. We A D O R E this beautiful barn space, almost as much as we love the owners, Randy + Nancy. They are S O easy to work with, and very sweet. Short Stop Catering was also a dream to work with – we loved collaborating with them to make sure that everything was prepped and ready for the guest arrivals.

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The decor from this wedding was A M A Z I N G! They had a fun and unique guest book – guests signed postcards and placed them in a suitcase [that just happened to be Abby’s Great-Grandparents H O N E Y M O O N suitcase – how adorable is that?!]. This couple rented the display hutch and buffet table from Rustic Elegance and it looked perfect. Abby’s brother made this super F U N photo booth backdrop – there were holes to put your face through  [adorable]. Luckily, Guytano Magno Photography captured some G R E A T shots from this!

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The ceremony was a beautiful outdoor ceremony situated on the foundation of the old barn. Abby’s dad sang and played a special song for the [even more] S P E C I A L couple, and it brought many tears to the eyes of guests. As a surprise for the couple, the parents hired a “live painter” who painted their ceremony – it was one S W E E T wedding gift!

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Post ceremony, guests were treated to a cocktail hour and appetizers. Short Stop Catering even provided an ice sculpture [so C O O L!]. After dinner, Abby + Casey started out the night with their first dance to “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You” by Bob Dylan. Since the weather was P E R F E C T, they were able to do their first dance outside on the patio! The Brian Kinney Band kept all of the guests engaged all night long – the dance floor was P A C K E D.

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Abby + Casey were so kind to donate their flowers after the wedding, and the Rustic Elegance team brought them to a senior center the following day. We L O V E D being able to put the smile on their faces.

To the happy couple – thank Y O U for including Rustic Elegance in your beautiful day. The memories that were made are U N F O R G E T T A B L E, and we are so happy for you both.

Special shout out to Guytano Magno for sharing these A M A Z I N G photos with us to feature on our blog!

Vendors:
Venue: Rolling Ridge Weddings & Event Center
Food // Bar // Desserts: Short Stop Catering
Rentals: Rustic Elegance
DJ // Band: Brian Kinney Band
Ceremony Music: L’unica Quartet
Florist: Floral Arts
Photographer // Photo Booth: Guytano Magno
Transportation: Executive Express
Hair // Make-up: SM Makeup Inc
Coordination: Rustic Elegance

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