Choosing the right Barn/Farm venue

Below is a list of questions that you need to ask and consider before booking a wedding at a barn/farm venue.

Barn Wedding at Natural Gardens Photo 109

Catskills Barn Weddings

Catskills Barn Weddings hold infinite possibilities for breathtaking photos, views and unlimited choices. Although Catskills Barn Weddings are an incredible wedding choice, there are many things to consider that may not be apparent when you start looking. There’s usually more to planning catskills barn weddings than meets the eye.

Remember, your are in the elements and subject to the weather. Mud, portable restrooms and uninvited bugs along with rain and other factors may effect your big day. Putting that aside, a catskills barn wedding can be a memorable beautiful affair that you and your guests will remember for a lifetime.

Anyone who has visited a venue can leave a review not just brides and grooms. When reviewing a Catskills Barn Weddings venue, you need to consider the following:

1. Pricing

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Is the pricing fair for what the venue is offering

This is the most important criteria for rating a venue. It encompasses all the considerations listed below and then some. What is included? What are the extras? How much are the extras? How many hours of venue rental time?  Are you restricted to 4 hours, 6 hours or is the venue yours to use all day or weekend. Condition of the venue, is it clean and kept up. A fair price is based on many factors because the venue may have a lower price but when all the extras are added up, the total cost might be significantly higher.

Is the venue a full service or just a rental venue

There is a big difference between a venue that provides full time staff and a venue that does not. How many staff will be present during your events? What are their responsibilities?

Is there a payment schedule

Does the venue allow for a payment plan and is the payment plan reasonable? Does the venue offer discounts for paying rental fee in full? Are there any seasonal discounts? Are weekday rentals less? Do they accept credit cards?

Is the refund policy fair

Is there a refund policy. What is it? Some venues require as much as 50% down payment and this payment may be or may not be refundable. Do they refund if the date you chose was rented to another wedding party? If so, is it a full or partial refund.

Is there a per person fee and is it reasonable

Some venues charge a per person fee on top of the venue rental fee. Do they charge the per person for each and every guest or is it for the guest total over a set limit? What is this per person fee actually for. If the venue is not providing any additional services, this charge may be excessive.

What is included and what additional costs are there

You need to get a list of all things included in the venue rental fee. Find out what items are extra and price them out. Some venues provide tables and chairs, some do not. Some venues have real bathrooms, while others require you to rent port-a-johns. Once you have this information and price out those things not included, you will then have a true cost to hold a wedding at that venue. At this point you can now compare apples to apples.

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2. Management

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Responsiveness

Did the owners/management provide prompt courteous replies when emailed or called. This is very important because if they are not responsive during the pre-wedding time, chances are they will not be responsive during your wedding either.

Quality of assistance

Was the assistance helpful? Is the management willing to provide good and prompt assistance to your vendors, answering questions and taking the time to help them provide you the best service? If not, that will put more things on your plate. Remember, the less you have to do or worry about will make your special day even better.

Hands On

Are the owners/management there to assist you or did they do a disappearing act after they received your money? Management should be there from the point you tour the property through your wedding day and even beyond.

Knowledgeable

How knowledgeable are the owners/management. Are they providing good information to assist you in preparing for your wedding.
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3. Staff

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Courteous

Was the staff courteous and respectful when you call, email and visit the venue? If not, this can not only effect you on your big day but can also make your guests very uncomfortable.

Helpful

Was the staff quick to assist you and your guests with any questions or needs when you toured the venue?

Knowledgeable

Was the staff well informed on your needs and desires for your wedding day? Is the staff quick and well suited to provide the services you require?

Attire

How will the staff be dressed? They should be well dressed and wearing attire that lets you and your guests know who they are.

 

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4. Handicap/Elderly Accessibility

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Parking

Is there handicap parking available? If not, you will have to make arrangements to provide a service to move handicap/elderly to the ceremony/reception areas.

Bathrooms

Are there handicap bathrooms? This may be a real problem for you if not. You will then have to rent handicap port a jons.

Reception area

Is the reception/barn handicap accessible? If the venue is not handicap accessible, you will need to provide a service to assist getting these guests into the reception building. Once in, they also may need be seated in a specific location as the barn may not be well suited to handicap/elderly guests.

Ease of moving to different locations within the venue

Does the venue provide service to move handicap/elderly persons around the venue? What is the fee for this service? If they do not provide this service, you will need to price this service out.

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5. Venue Requirements & Restrictions

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Permits and Licensing

Does the venue have the proper permits and license to operate a wedding venue. Believe it or not, a lot of barn venues do not! Nothing would be worse than to find out that your venue has been shut down one month before your big day.

Insurance

Is the venue insured? If not, do not book at that venue….plain and simple.

Pre-Wedding visits

Does the venue allow additional visits to tour the property so you can better plan your wedding? Does the management assist you on return visits? Can you bring your photographer, caterer or other vendors you have hired to see the venue and make plans for your wedding day?

Ceremony sites

How many ceremony sites does the venue have and do they restrict you to certain locations. The barn maybe a great place for your reception but the venue may not offer any real good location for a ceremony. Do the various locations offer different settings for you to choose from. A ceremony site could be in a pasture, in a garden, in the woods or overlooking a pond.

Curfews

This is a big one. Is there a curfew and what time is it. Is the curfew just for the music or does the wedding reception have to end by that time.

Noise

Are there any local noise ordinances that may affect your event. Nothing worse than police showing up because you are in violation of a zoning ordinance. Always ask and get in writing from the venue that no noise ordinances effect their venue. And if they do, get the details of those ordinances.

Alcohol

Can you bring and serve your own alcohol if you get the appropriate permits and insurance. If the answer is no, who holds the liquor license, what will be the cost and will your service time be limited? Also, remember BYOB is illegal in the State of New York. Any venue allowing BYOB is at risk of being banned from having alcohol served at their venue by the New York State Liquor Authority.

Bonfires

Does the venue allow for bonfires? If so, will you need a permit? Does the fire department need to be present? Does having a bonfire violate the terms of the event liability insurance policy you will have to purchase?

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6. Convenience

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Ease of moving around

This includes all areas of the venue. Is there easy access to all areas or are there fences, buildings and restrictions preventing you and your guests from accessing certain areas of the venue.

Is the barn too small or poorly designed for wedding receptions

If the barn, regardless of its size, has poor design, it may make your reception uncomfortable and difficult. Remember, some of these barns are 100 years old or more. They were built for animals, not humans! Are they insect and rodent proof? Nothing worse than seeing mice or maybe a rat running around. Old barns are usually not sealed from the elements which allows the elements, insects such as mosquito, flies and other insects to enter at will. More important than anything else, does the barn have sound structure and do the owners have the appropriate permits and inspections to hold events in it? Nothing would be worse, than to find out your venue has been shut down because they do not have a permit to operate a wedding venue.

Caterer setup area

Were will the caterer set-up? Is there electricity? Is there a sink with running water? Is there easy access to the reception area? These things are very important for the following reasons. Most weddings do not see the servers as part of their wedding. They are! If they are happy, they provide better service to your guests. If they are not happy with the conditions, they can be grumpy and not so friendly to your guests. Things to look for: Do the servers have to go up or down stairs to serve? Will the bathroom traffic intersect the servers path to the tables? Is the bar located in the path of the servers? Do the servers have cover outside if it rains? Is the venue too cramped with tables and chairs? How close is the caterer prep area to the reception area?

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7. Layout

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Does it have a farm/country feel

If you are paying for a barn/farm wedding, it should look and feel like a farm. If the setting does not give you that feeling, then the venue is not for you.

Does it have a good design

Does the venue have a good design or will you have to improvise to accommodate your needs. Is the barn tight on space. Some barns are big but the layout is smaller sections and a big space is not available. Does it provide easy access for your caterer? Is the space large enough and functional enough to allow your caterer to work efficiently? Is there an area for a dance floor and is there enough space for a band? You need to know these things in advance to avoid disappointment later.

Farming, Livestock & Other Animals

Is the venue a working farm? Will they be cutting hay at the time of your wedding? Some guests may have allergies.  Do they have livestock on the farm? If yes, how are those animals contained? How close are they to the ceremony and reception areas? Do they give off an odor that is not inviting? Are they noisy? Will guests have access to them?

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8. Amenities

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Parking

Is there enough parking spaces? Do guests have to park on the road? Do they have to park on grass in a field? Is there valet parking? Does the venue offer golf carts to move guests from parking area to ceremony/reception areas? Remember, grass can get slick and if it rains, it can get muddy! Is parking on the road allowed or will cars be ticketed?

Dressing and Changing Rooms/Suites

Are there facilities for the wedding party to get ready at the venue. If not, you will have to get dressed at your hotel and drive to the venue hoping you and your dress are not soiled. If there is a place to prepare, How big is it? What amenities does it have? Bathroom, mirrors, dressing room, make-up area, steamer, iron & board, sitting room. The bigger the space and the more amenities the better!

Real Bathrooms

Does the venue have real bathrooms? If not, you will have to rent port-a-jons. How large are the bathrooms and are they easy to access? Do you and your guest have to go up or down stairs to access them?

Electricity & Water

Remember, some of these barns are old and were never meant to be used for wedding receptions. They may not have electricity and you may have to rent a generator. They may not have water or it may be supplied by a hose. Check for permits. If a barn does have electricity, has it been inspected and does it have the appropriate permits?

Internet, WiFi, or Cellular Availability

Is internet and wireless services available?

Ceremony Chairs

Are the ceremony chairs included. If yes, how many? If you need additional chairs, what is the fee? Can you rent my own ceremony chairs and what would be the setup fee for these chairs?

Reception Tables and Chairs

Are tables and chairs included in the rental fee? If yes, how many? If you need additional tables and chairs, what is the fee? If they are not provided, you need to factor in this additional cost. Can I rent my own tables and chairs?

Dance Floor

Is the dance floor included? If not, you will have to rent one. How big is the dance floor? Is the dance floor portable if you want it in a different location?

Camping

Is camping allowed? Can guests bring camping trailers? If camping is allowed, what is the cost? What are the restrictions? Where at the venue can my guests camp?

Outside Structures (Gazebo, Benches, Lawn Games…)

What else is included in the venue rental fee? Are there benches, chairs, gazebo, coolers, etc. Does the venue supply any lawn games or can you bring and setup your own?

Alterations

Can you decorate the venue with your props and flower arrangements? Can you add additional lighting? What other restrictions are there?

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9. Location

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How private is the venue

Is the venue in a private secluded area or is it in a more residential area with homes nearby? This is important because neighbors complain! They do not like the traffic, they do not like the noise. Ask the venue, do you have any arrangements with your neighbors that restricts my use of the venue? If they do, you need to ask yourself, will these restrictions effect my wedding?

Is it exclusively yours or are other events and services being offered

Does the venue hold more than one event at the same time? If you want a private intimate wedding, having other people there will ruin your vision.

Is it near a road

If the venue is close to a busy road, noise from traffic may be an issue. When visiting a venue, pay close attention to any noise created by cars and trucks passing by.

Is it near neighbors

If there are homes nearby, they may be visible. If you want a private secluded location, neighbors and homes may be an issue. Look over the view from many locations of the venue and take special note of the location of homes around the venue.

Are there any unsightly electrical poles and wires

Many farms have electrical poles and high voltage lines running across the property. They can be very visible and can be an eyesore. You will be restricted in your photos as some shots might contain these eyesores.

Are there any unsightly structures or views

What can you see from different locations on the venue. There may be an old building that is falling down. Maybe there is a neighbor with an unsightly yard. Or a business next door with a construction yard. It could be almost anything. Make sure to note these things when making your decision.

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10. Overall Charm

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Does it have the WOW factor

Does the venue have the Wow Factor! Take note of your initial reaction. If it is not Wow! Maybe this venue is not for you. If that Wow Factor is still there after your tour of the venue is over, that is what you are looking for. Different things effect people in different ways. Just because someone likes something, doesn’t mean you will like it also.

How does it match up against other venues

This is where you do your comparison. Not every venue will satisfy 100% of your desires. Each one will have its pluses and its minuses. Pick the one that has the most Wow Factor for the money because a venue that has the most Wow Factor may also be out of your budget range.

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Venue Overall Value

If you have visited, booked a catskills barn wedding, had a wedding or were a guest at a wedding held at any of these venues, we would like your feedback. Please click on the venue and rate their services.  Remember, after considering all the above and other factors not listed here, rate the venue on an overall basis of your experience and if you would recommend this venue to others as a Catskills Barn Wedding.

 

About the Author
When you enter Natural Gardens you will find an exclusive, unique, totally private and beautiful destination wedding venue in the Catskills!

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