Whether you love the country, favor rustic style, or just want to tie the knot somewhere a little unexpected, you may have been thinking about planning a farm wedding. There are plenty of advantages to a farm wedding (bistro lights, mason jars, beautiful scenery, live animals, and more!), but you may also encounter a few challenges, too. For example, the farm may not have a working bathroom, and you'll likely need to budget for linen and furniture rentals. With proper planning, however, the pros can definitely outweigh the cons. Here, nine questions to ask yourself before planning a rustic ceremony and reception on a farm—they'll help you determine if it's the right venue for you.
1. Has the venue hosted a wedding before?
Thanks to the rustic trend, farm weddings have exploded in popularity, but that doesn't mean all farms have hosted a celebration. Venues with little or no experience may not be adequately equipped to handle such a large party. Talk to the farm's owner beforehand and read reviews online, if possible. While there's nothing wrong with working with a brand-new venue, you'll want to be aware of this fact before you start planning.
2. Does the farm have working bathrooms?
Many American farms were built decades ago without modern plumbing, meaning that your dream wedding venue may not have working restrooms. Unless you want everyone to use outhouses, you'll probably need to rent portable bathrooms. Luckily, many companies offer luxury restroom rentals with sinks and flushable toilets—a major upgrade from those bright blue boxes. But they come at a cost, so you'll want to budget ahead for this expense.
3. Does the farm have electricity?
Many farms also don't have modern electricity. Since you need to power your lighting, speakers, and catering equipment, you may need to budget for generators and extension cords. After all, you don't want guests to get sick from improperly heated food.
4. What other rentals do I need?
Many farms function as a blank slate. You get a beautiful landscape and rustic background, but probably not much else in terms of basic necessities. Prepare to shell out hundreds of dollars for chairs, tables, dinnerware, linens, lighting, and more. Depending on the rental company, you may also need to pay delivery and set-up fees.
5. What are the rules and regulations?
If a farmer rents out his/her property for events, they likely have rules and regulations you need to follow. These could include noise ordinances, necessary start/stop times, rental restrictions, insurance policies, and more. Always ask about the fine details before booking the venue. And remember, many farms work with animals and crops, and breaking the rules can negatively impact the farmer's business.
6. How will the landscape look?
Search "farm weddings" on Pinterest and you'll find red barns, lush greenery, wildflowers, and rolling hills. Not all farms have these design details, and the "perfect farm wedding" you found online was probably achieved with rentals and a big budget. Always express your concerns with the farm owner; you don't want to be disappointed to learn there's nowhere to string bistro lights at your reception site. Also consider the time of year, since some flowers only bloom for weeks at a time.
7. Is the farm easily accessible?
Most farms weren't designed to accommodate dozens of parked cars. When touring the venue, check out the parking situation, and ensure all guests (even your elderly grandmother!) can easily reach the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception sites. If not, you may need to hire a valet, wagon, or shuttle service. Also remember that farms don't always have flat and smooth grounds, so handicapped guests may have trouble getting around.
8. How will bugs affect guests?
One of the best parts of a farm wedding is the natural landscape. But open fields often attract mosquitoes, flies, and other bugs—all of which can put a damper on your wedding festivities. Be prepared with bug repellent and citronella candles, and try hosting your wedding reception away from heavily wooded areas, which attract these buzzing pests.
9. Do you have a back-up plan?
You may dream of exchanging vows on a vast expanse of land, but sometimes Mother Nature has its own plans. If the farm doesn't have a rain-proof area, you may need to reserve a tent for your wedding. Couples should also prepare for hot/cold temperatures, bringing in fans or heating units to keep guest comfortable, if necessary.