Barn Wedding Venue

How to Pull Off the Perfect Barn Wedding Reception

We’ve all heard the term ‘fairytale wedding’. It’s one that makes many future brides get misty eyed and think about their perfect day, but not everyone’s fairytale is the same. A fancy princess wedding in a castle is always gorgeous, but what about the bride who prefers something a little more low key? For the couple who grew up in the country and wants to keep their reception close to home, an outdoor barn wedding on a summer’s night might be their version of a perfect fairytale.

Of course, the first thing you need for a gorgeous barn wedding is the perfect barn! Are your clients looking for something picturesque and low maintenance? Many farms are used to hosting local weddings and have beautiful finished barns cleaned, floored, and ready to go. Are they looking for something a little more authentically rustic? Perhaps there’s an old barn a few towns over that, with proper safety checks, would make the perfect reclaimed venue? Whether your clients want a simple ceremony and reception in their barn or a vintage DIY spin on that classic concept, consider these ideas to complement their country atmosphere!

1. Embrace the Theme

It wouldn’t be a true barn wedding without traces of the country! Making the rustic barn theme stand out in the attire and pictures can be beautiful. Embrace subtle elements into how the wedding party dresses and where they pose for the camera. Flower girls and bridesmaids will fit right in wearing flower crowns that match their natural surroundings. Ring bearers and groomsmen will look the part in cowboy hats, particularly when the background features the horses that live on the farm. Even the bride can incorporate the theme so she doesn’t look out of place like a high fashion bridal model that’s been left in a field! She might be more comfortable letting her favorite worn leather boots peek out from under her dress, rather than balancing on stiletto heels as she walks down a dirt path under a canopy of sunlit trees.

Planning a Bridal Party with Cowboy Boots

2. Natural Décor

When the setting is so lovely, using what you have on hand can be the most effective decorating strategy. Think of beautiful arches woven from tree branches lining the path or watering cans holding cascades of the same flowers that are in the garden outside the barn. Chalkboard menus might be more fitting than impeccably printed embossed cards. Giving the bride a bouquet of sunflowers or pink daises tied with a stylishly frayed burlap bow will look more rustic than a neat bunch of red roses fastened with a pressed ribbon. Don’t forget that décor helps to establish the atmosphere!

3. Give the Barn a Glow

Lighting that is too bright might take away from the ‘summer’s eve’ feeling, so try something more subtle. Strings of small twinkling lights along the tables and the ceiling will give a soft glow. Barn-friendly fake candles in jars or lanterns placed along the tables will give substantial light while guests enjoy themselves without chasing the summer night away.

Lighting for barn wedding reception

4. Up-cycle Old Pieces

The best tables for a barn reception are rustic wooden picnic tables. Not only do they seat many people, but they’re perfect for the theme. Even if you cover them in table cloths, they still give a ‘home on the farm’ feeling to the dinner. For seating, try old wooden or wrought iron chairs that you’ve up-cycled with a fresh coat of paint, classic picnic style bench seats, or even unique mismatched seating that you’ve saved from garage and farm sales.

5. Save the Silver

Fine china and valuable silverware aren’t always found at big farm cookouts, so consider skipping them here. Instead, try combing local antique and farm sales for stylishly mismatched plates and forks that will cost you less and contribute to your atmosphere more. The goal isn’t to be cheap, but rather to put things that are vintage and rustic to good use!

6. Do it Yourself

Barn and country themed wedding receptions are an amazing reason to get crafty. Have the wedding party, or even your own team, look at inspiration boards and crafting resources and hand make their favorite simple ideas for center pieces, place cards, treat bags for kids and guests, and anything else that strikes the clients’ fancy. Adding a homemade element to the simple details makes the atmosphere even more comfortable, suits the rustic style, and can even save money.

DIY Barn wedding reception centerpiece

7. Guest Favors

Giving small gifts to each guest is another opportunity for DIY projects, but you can also choose something uniquely rustic instead. While you’re getting crafty with your center pieces, why not make each guest their own personalized mason jar? Write or paint their name, decorate the lids and stick colored straws through them, or tie ribbons around the handles. Guests can find theirs when they enter the barn and serve themselves beverages throughout the night. You can also give unique country gifts like tiny potted plants for guests to take home, or little jars of delicious locally made jam.

8. Food from Home

The food served at the reception is one of the most important parts of the guests’ experience. It’s only fitting, then, that dinner at a rustic country wedding taste like a good home cooked meal! Serving fancy items like escargot or steak tartar might feel out of place in a barn. Instead, have your clients choose dishes that they remember from big family meals at home. Try things like pot roast and potatoes or a delicious chicken dinner, followed by apple pie or peach cobbler.

9. Getting Down on the Farm

There aren’t many DJ’s in the country, so hiring a band might be the best option for a barn wedding! Choose a musical act who can balance an appropriately rustic acoustic sound with tunes that will keep the guests entertained and dancing all night. Hiring a live country band doesn’t have to mean banjos and square dancing (unless that’s what your clients are into)! As long as no one’s heart is set on electronic music, live singing and acoustic guitars will feel less out of place in the barn than loud bass and disco lights.

Guitar outside of barn

10. Don’t shy away from white

Throwing a wedding reception in a barn might mean that things get a little dusty, but that’s no excuse to avoid clean white elements! Getting a few pieces of straw on the bride’s train is worth making the most of her rustic wedding experience. Drape the picnic tables with white linen table cloths or hang a pretty, sheer white backdrop behind the head table with tiny lights twinkling through. Including a few pristine white elements in the seating area, attire, and décor is the perfect way to offset bales of hay or a dirt floor.

Check Us Out!

If you’d like to learn more about organizing themed weddings and choosing appropriate décor, meals, and guest favors, take a look at the courses here at QC Event School!

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One response to “How to Pull Off the Perfect Barn Wedding Reception”

    Jamarcus Dantley says:

    My sister is getting married soon and is trying to find the best venue for the wedding reception. She actually really loves the idea of a bar. We like your idea of embracing the idea and just going all out. That could really make for some fun memories. Thanks for sharing.

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