Barn weddings are a huge part of the wedding and event industry, and the main draw is getting away from the traditional hotel ballroom event that we’ve all been to a million times. Because of this increase in popularity, there are a large amount of these barn venues popping up all over the place, but not all barn venues are created equally. Some venues have evolved into amazing and luxurious buildings and other barns rely on their customers to provide some of those amenities themselves.
When you’re deciding on your dream venue, be sure to ask each barn venue some important questions to help you identify where the hidden costs may be for your wedding, and what you have to consider when trying to calculate the final price tag on your big day. The following article with go through the questions you should be asking when touring various barn venues, and the possible rentals that you may need to order. You’ll also be able to download our rental checklist for barn weddings at the end of the article.
Deciding on the Perfect Barn Venue
Of course the venue is the first thing that you’ll have to secure before moving onto your other decisions. So let’s say you found the barn venue of your dreams, and amazingly it’s within your price range. Sure the upfront cost of renting the barn may sound good, but it may be too good to be true. You’ll have to ask the venue manager some general questions such as:
- Do you have preferred caterers that I have to use when I reserve the venue?
- If I hire a caterer, is there a kitchen where they can prepare the food?
- Do I need to hire a certified bartender for the event?
- What are the rules on open bar vs. cash bar?
- Are there chairs, tables, etc. included with the cost of the venue?
- Are there restrooms or access to fresh water on the property?
- Is the barn wired for electricity?
- Is there air conditioning or heating available in the barn?
Picking Your Catering and Staff
You’ll want to talk to your potential barn venues about catering options for the big day. You may run into a situation where a venue has a “preferred caterer” list. This will mean that your catering options can be really limited. Having your caterer chosen fore you could mean that you meal plan will put you over your budget, or they could possibly not offer the kinds of entrées that you were looking to serve.
If you’re looking for absolute freedom in your catering decision making, you’ll want to zero in on venues that don’t have any of these catering restrictions. So when you’re thinking about what caterer to go with, you’ll want to factor in the cost of the food, as well as the cooking and serving staff that will have to be hired for the meal.
You’ll also want to inquire with the venue manager about any kitchen space or prep space that is available for the caterers. If there’s no kitchen on site, your staff may have to make other arrangements for food prep and this could cause increase costs down the line such as additional equipment or tent rental.
Also, inquire with the venue manager about their rules on bartenders. For most venues, if you would like a cash bar, you’ll have to get a registered bartender and possibly even an off duty police officer to manage it. On the other hand, if you’re planning on doing an open bar, you may have to either buy all of the alcohol yourself, or talk with a bartending agency about the costs of them bringing their own alcohol and beverages with them.
Table, Chairs and Décor Rental
When plotting out the costs of your venue, you’ll have to inquire in advance with the venue on what rentals are included and what will have to be brought in. These rentals could include:
- Table Linens
- Sound Equipment
- General Decor
Some venues will come with standard table and chairs for, but if they don’t you’ll have to price these out and include with in your venue cost. For a wedding of roughly 150 people, it could cost anywhere from $1,800-$4,000 for just your chairs, tables, linens, and place settings. So if you find a venue that seems really expensive but includes these items, consider the cost of renting them from a third party supplier before making your final decision.
You’ll also want to consider the lighting, sound equipment and general décor of the space when calculating final costs. If the space lacks any of these factors, the rentals can quickly increase, and you will also want to ask about the access to electrical supply as well. If you start taxing the electricity of the venue, you may have to bring in generators to supply additional power for all of your rentals.
Restrooms On Site or Renting Portable Restrooms
Even the most elaborate barn locations may not come with adequate restroom facilities. They may not have enough restrooms to accommodate the size of your event, or they may not have any at all. There are several options available for your wedding, and it all depends on how many people you are inviting to your event, and how technical you want to get.
Standard portable restrooms, usually referred to as porta-potties, have a lower cost per unit and each restroom usually can accommodate 100 guests. However, you may want to get something a little more luxurious when you’re wearing a dress that costs thousands of dollars. So if you’re looking for some upscale portable restrooms, you could consider a luxury restroom trailer. A luxury restroom trailer is pretty much a portable real bathroom. These trailers come have flushing toilets, running water sinks, with soap and paper towels, and even have heating and air conditioning to control the climate within. They are well lit and have all the luxury that a real bathroom has.
There are usually several different options that can fit any sized event. These trailers are a great alternative to standard portable restrooms, but you’ll also have to consider the power and water situation that the venue provides. All of On Site’s luxury restroom trailers do require a power supply and a water source to run. If these things aren’t provided at the venue, you may have to rent generators to provide the power and may also have to rent separate water tanks to provide the water source for the trailers to operate on. The value you are getting, however, is well worth the extra money on your big day. Your guests will appreciate the enhanced facilities without a doubt.
Heating and Air Conditioning the Barn Venue
You must take into consideration that most of these barn venues may need either temporary air conditioning or heating brought in. Climate control equipment varies by the size of the space that you’re trying to heat or cool, and its really up to a professional to determine what types of equipment your space require.
You could consider renting air conditioners or large fans to help keep the barn cool if central air conditioning isn’t available at the venue. These portable air conditioners cost and size depend on the space that you’re trying to cool, how many people you plan on hosting and several other factors. For more information on renting air conditioners for your event, read our blog on deciding which air conditioner to rent.
If you’re hosting a winter wedding, you may want to have portable space heaters brought in if your venue doesn’t have standardized heating at their location. Temporary heat options also vary by the size of the space you’re trying to heat, and come in several different sizes and heating options. Its best to discuss heating options with the venue and a professional, since you may need permits and permissions before setting these heaters up.
Barn weddings are an amazing opportunity to bring some character and personality to your big day, but there are some hidden costs that you’ll have to keep in mind when determining which barn venue will stay within your budget. Our checklist is provides you with a list of questions and rental possibilities for you to bring to your venue tours. To download a copy of our Rental Checklist for Barn Weddings, simply click the icon below.
Here at On Site Companies, we provide standard portable restrooms, luxury restroom trailers and portable heating and cooling equipment for rent for all outdoor events. We have locations in St. Paul, Rochester and Mankato MN, Omaha Nebraska, and St. Louis MO. If you have any further questions about planning for restrooms or heating and air conditioning for your outdoor wedding, we would be happy to help answer your questions, and help you find the equipment you need at a pricing you’re comfortable with. You can give us a call us at 1.800.210.8407, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out our quote request form to start the conversation today!