COLUMBUS, Ind. — Weddings typically are associated with
white churches and fancy banquet halls. But for many brides, a countryside barn
is the new hotspot to be wed.
The trend has taken Indiana and the country by storm.
Whether it is on reality TV wedding shows or in bridal magazines, barn weddings
can be found just about anywhere a person looks.
One example is the old wooden barn at the historic Henry
Breeding Farm in Columbus. Located between a green pasture and rows of corn, the
farm is peaceful and still easily accessible from the highway.
Its history is rich in farm heritage. The former landowners
donated the farm to the Bartholomew County Historical Society in the early
“It was a working farm,” said Julie Hughes, executive
director of the historical society. “They raised cattle. The lot immediately
below the barn was the feedlot.”
Hughes said that the barn has been a wedding venue for about
10 years. The wedding space started out with just a few people who had heard
about it by word of mouth.
Today, it has grown and is booked April through November.
Although the barn has no heating or air conditioning, it remains a popular
“I get at least three phone calls per day for weddings,”
said Kellie Todd, public relations coordinator for the historical society. “Barn
weddings have that classic, old-time feel. You’re with your family. You’re out
on the farm. You’re in the barn or you can get married in the meadow. You can
have a classic celebration. It looks fantastic.”
Barns weddings provide more than just a vintage venue for
couples, however. They also hold opportunities for farmers with barns looking to
make extra money.
Todd and Hughes both agreed that farmers interested in
opening a barn for weddings have some hard work in store. They also said that it
is a profitable venture and high in demand.
In fact, the barn in Columbus is so popular that spots fill
up a year ahead of time. Members of the historical society reached out to other
farms to see if they would want to open up their doors for weddings to help meet
“We’ve talked to a couple of local farmers because we’re so
busy,” Hughes said. “It is a lot of work. Parking is the biggest consideration,
and also facilities like catering. Most barns do not have catering
“When you take all things into consideration, you have 200
people coming to your barn. That’s 75 to 150 cars you have to find room for. But
barns make a great wedding facility. There’s room for dancing, and a barn
wedding here in the Midwest is somewhat quintessential.”
Hughes advised interested farmers to do their homework and
learn about insurance policies and liabilities. She said to also consider
whether hosts want to invest in chairs and tables, decorations and more.
“I would say if you want to start out and open a barn for
weddings, contact somebody locally who already does weddings outside in a barn,
whether it’s a neighbor or historical society,” she said. “After the first
couple weddings, word of mouth will just spread.”
As for couples who are looking into a barn wedding, Todd
encouraged them to do research in order to find the most suitable venue.
“Visit the location,” Todd said. “I strongly encourage that.
Always call in advance and know when they book, because barn weddings are
growing in popularity. The sooner you call, the better. Also, expect that each
barn has its own eccentricities. One woman visited and said, “It smells like a
barn!” With the quaintness come some quirks.”
For those looking to get married in a comfortable, cozy
environment, barns such as the one at the Henry Breeding Farm are a good
“Somebody called in today that had been at a wedding here
last weekend,” Hughes said. “They said it was the most relaxed wedding they have
been to. They found having a wedding that was a little less formal and more
relaxed was just exactly what they wanted.”