Planning a barn wedding doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice glamour, thanks to modern farmhouse-style barn venues like the one at Grace Hill near Wichita, Kansas. That’s where one of our couples got married and we are so excited to share their story along with our tips for how to plan your own barn wedding!
From the moment we met Shelby + Graham, it was a big ol’ YES. Yes, they were completely head-over-heels in love. Yes, they were so kind we wanted to spend all our waking hours with them. And yes, they had a DREAMY wedding day (I mean, a coffee bar at a wedding? Hello!)
Their day was full of love, laughs, and some unique personal moments made only more special by the awesome location they chose.
Although their special day went off without a hitch, barn weddings typically have a few extra logistics to consider throughout the planning process (like where people will go to the bathroom 😬.) Keep scrolling for some sneaks from Shelby + Graham’s “Magnolia Farms” inspired wedding day and 8 things to look for when planning your own barn wedding!
Make sure your dream barn venue has a space for you and your pals to get ready in, as well as one for your partner and their crew. What might seem like a small detail is actually huge when you consider how many hours you’ll be spending together in that room. Luckily The Barn At Grace Hill has private getting ready suites that are so beautiful and cozy with lots of natural light.
Speaking of natural light, you’ll
want need it for getting ready, so make sure your barn bridal suite isn’t too dimly lit and has at least 1 window. For Shelby, the morning started off with all her girls (the mommas too!) spending time together in the bridal suite, getting pampered by Beauty Call Makeup and The Best Little Hair House.
This handful of gal pals were some of the most gracious and joyful women I’ve had the pleasure of working with! They were so invested in Shelby and in pouring love and affirmation back into her on this special day in her life.
Similarly, Graham and his gents were there to keep the laughs and happy tears flowing. Graham and fam are big fans of The Office (that’s what she said!) and were able to sit back, relax, and enjoy their time together while we took care of the rest!
Make sure the barn and surrounding fields fit the vision, as it’s going to be the backdrop for all the photos you will have forever and ever. One of my favorite parts of Shelby + Graham’s day was when we snuck the couple out during the reception to capture sunset photos out in the adjacent field. During this beautiful and stunning shot, the couple heard one of their favorite songs ‘Old Town Road’ come on so Shelby bundled up her train, kicked her shoes off, and they took off running back to the reception to party on!
When planning your own barn wedding, take note if there are muddy or overgrown areas and don’t be afraid to ask the venue manager if a certain spot can be cleaned up or if the greenery can be trimmed.
If you plan to have the ceremony outside the barn, take into consideration the path to get there — will guests in heels stumble over rocks or would your grandmother’s wheelchair get stuck? If there isn’t a formal path, ask the venue manager if they have wooden planks to lay down or other resource options to make the walk a little easier for guests.
Make sure they have them 🙂 And that they are completely accessible for all your guests. One issue with more traditional barns is the lack of bathrooms and that they only have porta-potties on-site. But, never fear! Even if there aren’t convenient restrooms available, chat with your planner about bringing in a luxury mobile restroom trailer.
Many barns have an outdoor ceremony space but aren’t well equipped in case of inclement weather. An on-site tent or a well laid-out room flip is definitely something to consider when touring your perfect barn. And just a side note for ANY outdoor wedding… always, always have an inclement weather backup plan!
For real. So important! While it’s authentic and so chic to have your wedding in a true barn, they can get extremely warm during the high heat of the day. Fans are indeed an option, but truly consider how those will change the atmosphere of your wedding (ie, you can’t really keep candles lit with large fans blowing, centerpiece arrangements tend to blow over, signs don’t stay up, etc.)
Also, your wedding dress can get a little hot under all that tulle and netting, so combine that with a little pre-wedding stress and no air conditioning and those tears of joy during your First Look aren’t the only thing that’ll be making your mascara run.
As Shelby + Graham geared up to see each other for the first time, I have to admit my own happy tears were starting to spill over. There is something so special about these two, and to witness their joy as they saw each other for their First Look was everything. As evidenced by all their portraits…it was just magical!
The twinkling of lights and brief silence as everyone takes in the ambiance of the room before the bride’s big reveal into the ceremony is always such a dreamy moment. Although Graham + Shelby had done a First Look, it was emotional all over again seeing those barn doors open as if by magic (jk, it’s not magic, it’s your wedding coordinator 😉), and watching all that love and happiness spill back over.
Those special moments are heightened by one of the most underrated wedding design elements – lighting!
Many planning couples tend to forget about the impact of lighting, and not all barns are created equal. You’ll want to make sure your barn has adequate outlets, voltage, and equipment to set up any additional lighting you may want to bring in. Double-check if the barn has outlets in the ceiling, otherwise hanging chandeliers or other statement lights might not be possible.
Another important thing to look for in your barn venue is adequate kitchen space, especially if you have a larger guest count. Your caterers will need – at minimum – a good-sized prep space to work out of and access to running water. Even if they are preparing all the food beforehand, most caterers use chafing dishes that require water to keep your food warm (or cold) before it’s served, so access to a sink is imperative for their workflow.
They’ll also need to wash their hands multiple times throughout the night and be able to quickly clean any utensils that get dropped. An outdoor faucet might seem like an appropriate solution, but it could potentially affect the quality of your catering service and food if the issue isn’t properly addressed beforehand.
Most barns are completely open and seem overwhelmingly huge at first look, but after you add in a bunch of tables and chairs, a dance floor, DJ, photobooth, and buffet tables…suddenly that space seems muuuccchhhhh smaller.
Think about how your reception will flow: bridal party entrances, receiving line, dancing, and dinner lines, paying close attention to square footage. Your wedding planner can help you figure out how many people might realistically fit into your barn space comfortably.
For Shelby + Graham, the layout at their venue worked perfectly! After their proclamation of marriage and exit, they made sure to enter back in and say hello to each and every person as they dismissed by row. At the end of the night, as guests were lining up and preparing for their sparkler exit, Shelby + Graham were able to spend one last dance together in a perfect moment alone.
There are so many things to consider when planning your own barn wedding but the most important thing of all is that you absolutely love the space! A skilled wedding planner will be able to handle anything on this list so don’t let it hold you back from having the barn wedding of your dreams!
Check out more of the stunning photos from Shelby + Graham’s modern farmhouse wedding below.