Neighbors Say Barn WEDDINGS Raise a Rumpus
By Julie Bosman
For legions of young couples, there is no wedding venue more desirable than a barn in the country, with its unfussy vibe, picturesque setting and rural authenticity.
For neighbors of the wedding barns, it is a summer-long agony.
“They blare music all night long, they have college students out there screaming, and everyone’s drinking,” said Laurie Tulchin, who lives in a rural part of Iowa City next door to a wedding barn. “Rural residents have quiet lifestyles. Sometimes I just think, ‘What the heck happened out here?’ ”
In rural areas across the country, residents have protested that some barn owners flout zoning rules requiring that they operate only as agricultural enterprises. Unlike other businesses, the barns are often not inspected to ensure that they are up to code, and many lack proper sanitation, fire doors and sprinklers, accommodations for people with disabilities and licenses to serve liquor.
The Omaha Barn – Pinterest
In the Midwest, century-ld wooden dairy barns in shades of red and chocolate brown are ubiquitous, but they typically have little purpose on a modern farm: They are expensive to maintain, and their doors are too small for 21st-century equipment. Transforming them into cavernous event spaces with banquet tables, dance floors and lofts for mingling has become a new way for their owners to make money.
Wedding flowers – http://www.dutchcrafters.com
Grooms and brides say the barns are part of a cultural shift away from traditional weddings. At a typical barn wedding, formal china and glassware are out, in favor of carefully mismatched plates and Mason jars for sipping cocktails.
7 COCTAILS TO SERVE YOUR GUESTS AT BARN WEDDUNG
This refreshing cocktail is delicious at any time of year. Because of the lemonade component, summer and early fall are wonderful times to have this beverage. Cold River Vodka in Freeport makes a Blueberry Vodka that is just perfect for this drink. It’s very easy to make your own lemonade, too. This will cut down on the processed sugars that are in store-bought lemonade. But, if making it isn’t an option, we highly suggest using Simply Lemonade. For the Cold River’s recipe for “The Maine Squeeze” click on the link and enjoy with friends and family during your wedding day.
courtest of VeggieBelly
The martini is a true American classic cocktail dating back to the late 1800’s. There is a variety of ways to order a martini- shaken, stirred, dry or wet, dirty, with a twist. Now, thanks to the amazing skills of talented bartenders, you can have your own martini any way you like. Matching the flavors and colors to your wedding cocktail hour and reception can add a beautiful added detail.
Utilizing Maine blueberries is always a fabulous detail to different parts of your Maine wedding, whether it be in your centerpieces, bouquet and boutonierres, or the cake. Click on the link below to make this tasty custom cocktail from OneMartini.com and you can use Maine-made Cold River Blueberry Vodka.
Photos courtesy of One Martini, – Contemporary Bride and Drinked In
For the addition of warm colors with a tropical twist, try the Pineapple Upside Down Cake Martini from Contemporary Bride.
Do you LOVE cake?! The wedding cake and/or desserts are a big part of the event. How to get more cake into the wedding, besides having the wedding cake? Put it in a glass! Find out from Drinked Inprofessionals how to get your wedding cake flavor into your custom cocktail.
Country Buffet Brunch ForcA BarnvWedding – Pinterest
Guests nibble casual fare like grilled corn on the cob and barbecued pork. If the weather cooperates, the evening often ends with people gathering around a bonfire and toasting s’mores under the stars.
Resources helping engaged couples dream up decorating ideas have proliferated in recent years. Pinterest boards and rusticweddingchic.com suggest adding touches like sofas made of hay bales and wine bottles repurposed as candle holders. Websites recommend out-of-the-way venues, as the shopping blog Racked did last year in “The Most Beautiful Spots Around Chicago for a Barn Wedding.”
The barn owners say they are responding to a demand in the market. Scott Jordan, who owns 50 acres here in Grant, a quiet hamlet outside St. Paul, spent more than $300,000 to restore a barn on his property so that he could rent it out for weddings, charging $4,800 per event.
His neighbors, he said with a grimace, did everything they could to stop him.
“They ganged up on me,” said Mr. Jordan, a ruddy-faced, muscular 53-year-old in work boots and a red Harley-Davidson T-shirt, as he surveyed his barn, which was being busily prepared for its first wedding of the season. “They’re putting up the biggest stink.”
Mr. Jordan said that he had installed fire doors, handicapped-accessible parking spaces and a modern septic system to appease his neighbors, but that they were still threatening to sue the township over the wedding barn.
“We’ve spent an awful lot of money,” he said. “I’m a good neighbor. And they’re still mad.”
Indeed, city council meetings have become stages for disputes in areas where friendly relations are the norm. Some small townships with ambiguous zoning laws have been forced to examine their regulations to figure out whether the wedding barns are legal.
Tom Windisch, one of Mr. Jordan’s neighbors, said he and other residents had been shocked that running a wedding venue in the country was legal.
“We moved out here for the rural nature, the quiet aspects of it, the open space,” Mr. Windisch, 47, said as he stood on his front porch on a bluff near Mr. Jordan’s property. “So do I want a band cranking music out of that building several times a week? No, I do not. Anybody would have reacted the way we did.”
Some neighbors insist that their concerns are for the safety of the guests. “All these people want to have this rustic outdoor wedding in the country so they can get closer to nature, but that barn was built for storing hay,” said Jeff Hettmann, whose next-door neighbor operates a wedding barn in Glenmore, Wis., outside Green Bay. “It’s not designed to have 200 people jumping up and down and dancing in it.”
The operator of the barn, Steve Corrigan, said that it is more than 1,000 feet from Mr. Hettmann’s house, and that there was no way Mr. Hettmann could hear noise from the weddings.
“The people who have these barns have a passion to protect the history of the land,” Mr. Corrigan said. “When you drive through the countryside, you’ll see deteriorated barns that have fallen into disrepair. When they’re gone, it destroys the skyline.”
In some towns, judges have intervened, leaving trails of anguished soon-to-be-married couples. Last summer, a judge in St. Louis County, Mo., ruled that a historic barn on a property with a view of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers was a potential fire hazard, leaving a bride and groom who had scheduled a wedding reception there only days to make other plans.
“It was a debacle,” said the bride, Hannah Oberle, who recently completed graduate school at the University of Missouri. “In our minds, we were like, ‘Man, this did not turn out how we expected.’ ”
The operators of the barns say their businesses should be considered a form of agritourism, a use of farmland not unlike petting zoos, hayrides and other ventures that have become popular in an era when family farming is difficult to sustain.
The boom shows no sign of slowing down. Last year, there were 44 wedding barns in Wisconsin, and about eight more are expected to open this year, said Steve Peterson, the president of the Wisconsin Agricultural Tourism Association.
“There’s some real growing pains with the wedding barns,” Mr. Peterson said. “They exploded onto the scene before a lot of issues could be worked out. Most of these barns are in townships, and it’s tough to rely on these small township boards to solve complicated zoning issues.”
Some towns are scrambling to change zoning laws to allow more landowners to cash in. The planning commission in Hinesburg, Vt., voted to change its zoning — which allowed mainly farming and forestry — to a more generous definition including weddings, day camps and cafes.
Bill Bruentrup, the chairman of Friends of Minnesota Barns, said that while he was generally positive about the trend of barn weddings, he had some mixed feelings.
“As a preservationist, I feel it’s been a godsend for some of these barns to be saved like this,” Mr. Bruentrup said. “Some of them were beautiful old barns, and if it wasn’t for this to generate some income, they wouldn’t exist. But I’m not the neighbor who moved out to the country for peace and quiet and has to hear a band playing till 12 o’clock at night.”