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9 things to ask when booking a Barn/Farm or private estate wedding by Terry Moran

So, you’re dreaming of getting married on a farm? You’ve seen the blogs and wedding photos: a heavenly display of rustic picture frames, recycled pallets, old cars, Mason jars, string lighting, wagon rides, bales of hay and whiskey barrels. The trend of hosting your wedding on a farm, complete with a barn or tent for your reception, continues to be the primary choice in NH. I personally love the trend and how it has changed and morphed over the years. As someone who DJs many barn/farm weddings, I have some suggestions (9 to be exact) to make your barn wedding a great experience. 1. Consider hiring a professional wedding planner They will help navigate the unknowns,and save you more money than you will ever pay them. They have done this many times over and will ensure a stress-free wedding weekend for you, and recommend vendors that have a great reputation and are easy to work with. 2. Some barns don’t have bathrooms or electrical setups for a large gathering. Most of the farms you will fall in love with were not originally built for 100+ people partying! The option is to rent porta-potty units or bathroom trailers. The new trailers are really nice; they are not the portable bathrooms you see at football games, but rather, luxury trailers that remind you of a nice hotel room. Porta potty placement will depend on where the water/electrical hook ups are and the location of parking. Make sure to plan on this expense-it is worth it. There are many reputable companies in NH that do it right. Be aware of electrical needs – work with the property owner to determine the electrical capacity and if necessary, hire a licensed electrician to ensure the DJ/band, caterer, lights, etc. are all on different, modern circuits with plenty of extension cords to reach their designated spots. Keep in mind every section of the farm that you will be using for your wedding, and check on the electricity that is available (or needed) in each spot for ceremony, cocktails, dinner, reception, etc. 3. Fully understand your budget to create a complete wedding. Thanks to blogs and websites that showcase rustic properties, it might seem this is the more budget-friendly way to have a wedding. This is why it would be helpful to hire a professional wedding planner or do the research yourself to understand the Total Cost of Ownership (Or TCO) for the wedding. Ask the property owner what is included in the rental fee. Barn rentals vary from place to place; don’t assume you are also getting an onsite wedding coordinator, chairs (2 sets, for ceremony and reception!), tables, plates, linens, ceremony setup, venue clean up, trash and so forth. You may need to rent items (including labor & delivery) and quarterback delivery and pickup times, as well as set up times. It is your job to understand what the expectations are, and what your barn/farm fee includes. 4. Pick vendors that are familiar with farms/barns/rustic vibe and can blend in. The rustic look is popular, and you want everything that you buy/rent for the day to match your intended look. For example, ensure your caterer can assist with a bar that does NOT resemble a NYC nightclub. Your DJ should have a setup in keeping with the rustic décor, vs. a high-tech, modern look. Your photo booth would look out of place if it were super modern. (For example, we have built a barn door to put in front of the DJ setup, a photo booth that looks like a barn, a rustic microphone from 1953, a suitcase from the 1930s that is rebuilt into a cell phone charging station for your guests, etc. (Everything should blend or it will seem out of place to guests.) 5. The party ends at 9 or 10 pm. While it differs from town to town in NH, some properties are restricted with noise ordinance rules for both outside and inside receptions. While the idea of rocking it out until midnight is something you have always expected, it may be that a late night bonfire with your friends is how your wedding concludes, rather than on the dance floor. Ask each venue what time the music has to end, and especially what time people have to be off the property. Validate that nothing has changed a few weeks before your wedding, when final plans are in place. 6. Booked it? Great! Where is everyone staying? Some farms in NH have onsite accommodations or allow camping, which are clutch. Others do not have overnight accommodations and are in very rural locations. You may find a spot 2 or 3 hours from your home that is exactly what you want; make sure there are hotels reasonably close that can accommodate your guests. 7. Who do you love? Consider your guest list. If your dream wedding includes partying with 300 of your family and friends, you might have to plan to rent a tent to accommodate a larger guest list. Many barns allow for this and have designated areas for tent placement. 8. Rules, restrictions, and “certainly not.” Some farms are still working farms during the week, and then transform into a venue on the weekend. They may have a list of rules that you and all guests will need to follow about parking, smoking, tiki torches where you can drink on the property, using ladders, hanging Rustic cell phone courtesy Crown Special Events décor, setting up corn hole or other games, 66 LAKES REGION BRIDE

Lakes Region Bride Magazine 2017  

Wedding Inspiration for New Hampshire's Lakes & Mountains