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The farm as a wedding venue  RSS feed

 
J D Horn
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So my nephew got married over Memorial Day weekend. His bride chose a farm venue. It was a nice place, but I was a little shocked at the price of $3200 in rural AL. For that amount, they got use of the property for one day (Sunday). The facilities were a barn, a small kitchen in a building next to the barn, and a small house. The facility provided folding chairs for the wedding ceremony in the orchard and an ATV to transport guests from the parking area. The bridal party used the house, which was the only place with A/C. They provided their own food, drink, entertainment, and clean-up. The light went on for me. I'm thinking of a slightly grander model. I'd provide a commercial grade kitchen so that if the couple wanted to bring in their own caterer to do food prep there, they could. The kitchen would also serve as a place to prepare value added merchandise for sale as part of the farming enterprise, creating another income stream. Next, I thought that in addition to the income from hosting the event, I could soft market the farm relationship to guests with a few discretely placed brochures and a great website. If even one out of every ten wedding guests converted to a customer, I’d be ecstatic. Finally, I was thinking previously that I’d like to build a cabin for guided hunts in the winter. The cabin could also serve as a “rekindle” anniversary experience for the folks that wed there. Thoughts from the Permies world? Any other agritourism ideas?
 
Tyler Ludens
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Looks like a great idea! The buildings would be multi-purpose, so you wouldn't be putting all your eggs in the wedding venue bucket. The buildings and surroundings could be used for all kinds of meetings and activities.

 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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A couple things to look out for:

INSURANCE!! The liability insurance is steep for doing such things.

CODES!! Number of bathrooms per person, kitchens up to code, handicap accessible everything, road use, yada yada yada....

Once you figure those out, then you have to figure out how many days a year you need to rent out to make money, then go for it.

If nothing else, it can make building that big multi-purpose barn and kitchen a tax write-off.
 
Dale Hodgins
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This has been part of my plan from the beginning. I hope to carry it a few steps further by offering to officiate the cerimony, overnight in the house, and use my bus as the limo. I'll even act as a photographer, cook, giver away er of the bride and just for fun, I could object and offer reasons why they should call it off. I'll get ordained by the "Church of the Holy Lap Top" or by some other internet entity.
 
John Polk
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I know of a guy whose property includes a very rustic cabin next to his pond.
He rents out his "Honeymoon Suite" for a week at a time.

His only complaint is that it is so popular, that he can't get in much fishing there himself in the summer months.

 
Jay Green
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My son is getting married in July at a similar venue called The Barn at Aspen Grove in the Shenandoah Valley, VA. These people have a house that is styled after a barn but one whole wall has windows clear from the floor to the cathedral ceilings that looks out on the valley and the Blue Ridge mountain range....has cows in the field, etc. They actually live in this house and doing weddings there has become their business....it all started when a friend liked their house so much that they asked to have their wedding there. They paid $1000 for a 3 hour wedding with the day before and the day after for setup and cleanup. This place provides all the tables, chairs, linens for the tables, have an array of decorations, has a wonderfully appointed kitchen, etc. Their teenage daughters provide baby-sitting on site, there is a large game room for the groom and groomsmen and a balcony suite for the brides and bridesmaids. It's a lovely venue and they are pretty booked.

Here's their site and make sure to view the gallery of photos....very pretty venue for the price!

http://thebarnataspengrove.com/Home_Page_F53B.html

 
J D Horn
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Wow Jay thanks for posting. That place seems like a bargain to me, compared to what my nephew got. Here's the link to that place.

http://www.janddfarms.com/
 
Sam White
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A good idea in my opinion; weddings in 'alternative' locations are becoming more popular here in the UK from what I've heard. A mate of mine recently got married at a place called Yurt Camp in Devon and must have paid a fair whack to book the place exclusively for three days over a weekend. On top of that, guests were staying in the yurts (£70 per person, 30-40 guests staying in yurts) or camping (£25 per person, 8-10 people camping)) and buying some food from the cafe/restaurant on site. Add on all the booze that was bought and the owners must have raked in a fair profit - possibly £3000 turnover before my mate paid fees or food/drink sales are taken into consideration. Bear in mind this was a 70 acre site with 24 or so yurts... I don't think much else was done with the place in terms of generating an income... Yurts would be hired out as holiday 'cottages' when not being used for weddings I guess.

Another couple of mates are in the process of developing a wedding venue on their farm which will consist of 4 yurts, 3 holiday cottages and a wedding venue. They're expecting to support themselves and their son from that alone even before they inherit the rest of the 55 acre site.
 
Kevin Longeway
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Location: Calgary, Alberta
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I used my parent's farm this July to have my wedding. I let all the guest come and camp all weekend. We provided supper wedding day, midnight lunch and breakfast the next morning. The insurance and the toilets were the only real costs to this event. I have had friends ask me if we would ever rent it out for other people's weddings. I said no but just because we have plans for food forest and green houses in a lot of the spaces that were used for our wedding. I have some friends who are paying 1500-3000 to rent cabin/outdoor areas for their wedding this summer coming up, I think it is a good business model if you have the space and grew some nice flowered areas for wedding pics. I have had 6 friends/family get married in the last year and a half. Only one was in city setting, other 5 were farm, national park and acreage.
 
Arrow Durfee
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What a great idea! You have me thinking! I was planning for a a small bed and breakfast but this could really expand this potential.
If they bring their own food pre-prepped you dont have to have a commercial kitchen do you? We could just provide the refrigerators and stoves to heat things up.
 
John Polk
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If they bring their own food pre-prepped you dont have to have a commercial kitchen do you?


I think that is the secret: If you are NOT providing the food (or charging for it), then it becomes the caterer's problem.
A little less profit, but way less hassles (including liability).

Just let the planners know that their caterer will need to take care of everything from his end.

 
J D Horn
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Arrow Durfee wrote:If they bring their own food pre-prepped you dont have to have a commercial kitchen do you? We could just provide the refrigerators and stoves to heat things up.


I think that's right. You can have a fridge and oven for them to use but if you're not vending the food then its not your problem. But if you plan on having a B&B I think that operation would require a commercial kitchen and likely a restaurant license.
 
Zach Muller
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I went to a wedding at an Oklahoma vineyard called tres suenos. The main ceremony area is basically a pine woodlot with a covered shelter area next to it. Using a water feature and some planted garden beds they had plenty of places for photos to be taken, pretty well stacked functionally.
I think it really is a great idea to have a venue on or next to a farm, it exposes more people to your growing operation, gives you a chance to sell some of your products, and it just diversifies the farms income more.

Another thing I have observed is that currently I know a few people making significantly more profit on their rental property using online sites like air B and B to rent out their places. Depending on what your place looks like you can make a lot more than a traditional renting agreement. On a farm you could have a few extra cabins tucked away and with relatively little work they could pay for themselves and turn into pure profit. Imagine renting your venue for a wedding, selling your products to all the guests, then renting your 6 cabins to some out of town guests. Sounds like a really lucrative weekend for the farmer.
 
John Polk
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One caution on renting out cabins:
In many/most areas, properties are divided into 'Single family dwelling', or 'Multiple dwellings', for zoning and tax purposes.
If your property is zoned/taxed as 'Single family', renting out a cabin (even for one night) might put you in trouble with the local officials. They could either fine you, or worse yet, the county Assessor might increase your property tax forever. Even in areas zoned 'Agriculture', any business, other than agriculture, might put you into violation.

Please, read your county's regulations before investing in any such business ideas.
 
Jacq Miller
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Does anyone know of any land available for a wedding in August 2016 in the Calgary, AB region?

We are looking for a DIY wedding. The thought of renting a inner-city venue that specializes in weddings makes us ill! We need our space! We need to get back to the country!

Anyone, let us know!
 
Gary Lewis
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This idea has been on my mind..and we are a few steps down the pathway.

My business model is simple. We can't provide a fancy barn etc for the 'high end' weddings...but we can provide a field and a 'forest wall' as a backdrop for a wedding ceremony. The basic fee is to hire the field. Then the wedding party can arrange all the rest. Or I can do that for them, for the cost of the rentals (tents, porta-potties etc) plus a 'arranging fee' of 20%.

My wife is a cake decorator - so thats another add on if they wish. A family member is a photographer. A friend does musics...etc

So at the basic level, its a set fee (and almost no work by me other than mowing the field spaces. Then the sky is the limit if they want to go that way

Insurance? There are companies that offer 'wedding insurance' that you can insist they take out...and they must show you the policy before they can sign the place.


 
allen lumley
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- These people have been doing this for years, note their '' Wedding Thing" is in there under Events

If you are not wildly an extrovert that likes people - don't even consider this as an option

For the good of the Crafts ! Big AL
 
Ann Torrence
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I will admit to placing a pond in a sightline for a nice bridal shot
 
John Wolfram
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It seems like most of these venues focus on being a picturesque farm rather than a functional farm. In some regards, these are mutually exclusive. For example, spring is a good time for fertilization, but on a picturesque farm you certainly wouldn't want to be applying manure during the height of the wedding season. Chickens or any animal that makes a racket would also be out.
 
Gary Lewis
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I don't know if all of that is true John. People WANT to feel like its real...the manure I understand...but people want o hear ambient farm noises...

 
Heather A. Downs
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