The craze for barn weddings shows little sign of waning. So, yeah, you can bet the farm on it.
By Rebecca Hardiman
My wedding took place on a bluff overlooking Cleveland’s Lake Erie on the same weekend, as it happened, that both The International Gay Rodeo Association (fabulous) and the Promise Keepers (scary) were in town (you can imagine the colorful elevator encounters…but that’s another story). The event itself skewed toward the formal, like so many nuptials back then, and the trend for folksy barn settings—playing cornhole during cocktail hour and saying “I do” in a forest—was just burgeoning. Since then, the popularity of these more laid back, customizable, rustic affairs, especially for outdoorsy types, has exploded—and endures. As local wedding consultant Paula Smith of Your Event puts it, “Who doesn’t love the charm, nuances, relaxed nature and often historical aspects of these settings? These spaces are imperfect in the most perfect ways. They’re usually off the beaten path and more remote and they remind people of so many magical qualities of being outdoors.” Seeing as how there’s no other region that so quintessentially channels this magic, we rounded up some choice area venues where folks can throw a real barnburner.
Owls Hoot Barn
West Coxsackie, NY
“The couples I see want something different,” says Kerri Corrigan, owner of Owls Hoot Barn in West Coxsackie. And she would know: Corrigan’s been throwing barn weddings at her little slice of paradise for 23 years. Her brides and grooms, she explains, love the chill vibe, the natural setting (kayakers and hikers are super common) and “a destination that means something to them. The Catskills draw people back. They either dated here or grew up here or went to college here. Something significant in their past draws them back to the area.” Nestled in the Hudson Valley with a windy creek and backdrops “that never go out of style,” Owls Hoot lets couples get loose. Newlyweds can create whimsical spaces and vintage furniture vignettes, light bonfires and play lawn games. And with a historic farmhouse on-site that accommodates plenty of guests, the party can, and often does, last for days. OwlsHootBarn.com
The Barn on Hubbard
“I keep waiting for this not to be a trend,” laughs Sara Diehl, owner of the stunning Barn on Hubbard in Sullivan County. Diehl credits the freedom and flexibility of farm weddings as a major draw to her huge (4000-square foot) and historic former dairy barn. “Couples love the ability to build their own custom weddings as they see fit,” she explains. Set on 28 bucolic acres in the Beechwoods, The Barn on Hubbard is a scenic and lush swath of country with rolling hills and all the nature that entails. As Diehl puts it, “You might just have a bird fly through the barn in the middle of your wedding.” TheBarnOnHubbard.com
Great Barrington, MA
“Millennials are getting married later in life and their parents aren’t so involved,” says Event Coordinator Chelsea Huff who runs Crissey Farm (pictured above) with her dad, Gary Happ. “They don’t want banquets and ballrooms. And since they’re often paying themselves, a barn wedding’s an affordable option.” Located in the heart of Great Barrington, Crissey Farm’s barn is a new structure (hello AC!) with easy access to nearby shops, restaurants and tons of Airbnb options. Ceremonies take place in Crissey’s pretty courtyard and guests often opt for what Huff calls “casual style,” which translates to a much longer, looser cocktail hour (more like hours) with heavy hors d’oeuvres and folksy, less formal seating. Bonus: Crissey’s on-site Barrington Brewery, housed in the farm’s original barn, frequently plays host to the inevitable late-night after-party. CrisseyFarm.com
Long Eddy, NY
Barn weddings, Kate Murphy of Handsome Hollow points out, are intimate affairs, their carefree, unfussy vibe emphasizing what matters most to many wedding-planning couples: simply hanging out with friends and family. True to its name, Handsome Hollow in Upstate New York is a beautiful, rustic oasis at the end of a private driveway on a dead-end road. Guests wind their way down paths cut right out of the woods for ceremonies that take place amid a lush fern forest. Before repairing to the 240-year-old barn for dinner and dancing, guests sip drinks and partake in some good old-fashioned farm fun, whether it’s tossing horseshoes or wandering through a cornfield with a hollowed-out center. Unique, in other words. Murphy agrees: “Our couples often tell me, ‘I don’t wanna have the same kind of event I’ve been to 100 times!’” HandsomeHollow.com
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