The Rustic Barn Wedding

Things to think about before hitting the back roads!

Barn and rustic themed weddings are very popular and "in trend" for today's couples!   Barns offer a beautiful backdrop for those brides that are looking for the natural beauty that comes from a country or farm setting. 

There are many pros to a barn wedding; including the top one being just the general beautiful and laid back feel; however there are other things that you should also ensure you are ok with before heading down those country roads for your special day.  Here's a few..... 

No photo description available.Affordability

Many couples are seeking the rustic barn wedding thinking that it will save them money vs. the traditional banquet hall wedding.  Well... I am here to tell you that unfortunately most barn wedding venues that exist are actually quite costly :( 

From my past experience and research; most START at the $9,000++ range with the average cost being approx $12,000 for a popular Summer or early Fall Saturday wedding.   I am here to tell you that a barn wedding WILL COST YOU THE SAME OR MORE THAN A BANQUET HALL WEDDING.  So if you are heading down this road due to cost and hoping to save a dime on your special day; unfortunately this is not going to be the option for you. 

Reminder that the barn rental cost fees are JUST for the barn itself and maybe the tables, chairs and other small items.  It does not include food, bar, rentals, etc.   Once you factor in the hefty room rental cost + the average catering company cost and all the little extras; you will easily end up right back in the $100+pp price point for your special day.  Don't be discouraged - just be informed!  Do up your budget and work out the numbers. 


Barns are generally pretty fixed when it comes to local fire laws and maximum occupancy.  If you are having a large wedding of 130+ people, ensure that you do up your guest list in advance and check with the venue BEFORE booking!  Larger weddings cannot be accommodated in most barn venues.  There are usually options for adding additional people on an offsite structure like a tent if needed. 


You will notice that most, if not all, barn venues do not have full service kitchens onsite.   With that in mind, your catering options and plated meal options will be more limited to what the catering company can bring and keep warm onsite.   Most catering companies servicing a barn wedding will opt for a BBQ of sorts or bring in ready-made food and just keep it warm to accommodate.   


Are you particular on your wedding date??  Are you hoping for a summer or early fall Saturday?? Are you less than 1+ year to your special date?? With the popularity of barn weddings these days, securing one for your special date COULD be a challenge.   Be sure to consult with your favourite venues in advance; especially if you are particular on a Saturday in high season.  If your prime dates are no longer available; consider a Friday or a Sunday wedding as an alternative. 

Are you a true country girl?

Things like the bug situation, leaky roofs, no air conditioning (or heating), porta-potties, etc. come with the territory of a rustic barn wedding.   Although many barns have been renovated with the modern wedding in mind, there are certain things you'll have to be ok with tolerating if you choose to go the barn wedding route.  If you are not a fan of bugs and can't handle the extreme temperatures, a barn wedding may not be for you.  Don't forget that green turf = heels that poke through.   Wear flats or a thicker heel! 

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Century Barn

Cavan, Ontario

I once had a wedding at Century Barn in Cavan, Ontario.  The venue is absolutely stunning; however we unfortunately ended up with a rainy day.  There was major leaking issues at the time with this barns roof and with the natural construction of a barns side wall boards being permeable.  When the wind blew ... it BLEW - right through the barn: rain and all.    These are things that  couples forget to ask or think about when considering their special day; so be sure to ask what your venues construction is like and how it will hold up in inclement weather.  Also be sure to plan out your decor with this in mind i.e. candles and anything that can fly off a table is likely not a good idea.  Vases need to be sturdy!

Century Barn Indoor Ceremony Rain Plan B @Connie Butera

Weather Back-Up Plan

With a barn wedding, you are likely looking to have that beautiful country setting as your wedding ceremony back drop.  Should inclement weather arrive, what is the back up plan for the ceremony?  most will re-locate inside the barn. If that is the case; is there enough room to have tables and chairs for the reception as well as a ceremony space??? How will the space be flipped between ceremony and reception?   Where will cocktail hour now happen?? Is adequate staff onsite in case the space does need to be flipped quickly?? Be sure to ask these questions!

Featured Right: Century Barn Plan B Rain Plan - INDOOR ceremony.  Guest tables had to move to the sides under short notice.  Guest chairs placed to make an aisle.  Some guests had to stand during ceremony. 

Location Location Location

With the country setting often comes a little bit of a commute for your guests.  When choosing your rustic barn and country wedding venue, be sure to factor in the commute time and location of your expected guests.   Do you have a lot of people coming from out of town?? Are there hotels in a reasonable driving distance to the venue??

Oftentimes a rustic barn wedding means a more rural town which may not have the local amenities like hotels that you and your guests may have been relying on. Be sure to check out these amenities prior to booking.   Some clients have opted to provide shuttle services for guests when their venues are a little bit of a way's away.

Along these same lines, when researching vendors and suppliers for your day, ensure that they will service your rural location selections.  


Barns were made with a purpose and that purpose was not for large scale weddings :) Most retro-fitted barns are not wheelchair accessible.  They will not have elevators, lifts, ramps etc.  If you have guests with mobility concerns, be sure to consider this. 


Once again, it comes with the territory that a rural country setting may come with it some unique local bylaws which may cramp your wedding style.   A couple of interesting local bylaws I've seen are noise bylaws which require music out or lowered by earlier times than usual and also GARBAGE restrictions. 

  • At Century Barn in Cavan, ON they required you to bring your garbage home at the end of the night as the local bylaws did not allow for excess garbage from a wedding. 
  • At Holland Marsh Winery, the local neighbours are very particular about noise and are right to the phones if the sound gets out of hand.

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