Starting A Barn Wedding Venue: Complete Guide
When it comes to starting a barn wedding venue, there’s a lot you need to know. Things like where to locate your venue, how to renovate and decorate at it, and how much to charge for barn wedding events. As someone interested in having my own barn wedding venue someday, I put together this guide to summarizing everything you should know about starting one for yourself.
So, how do you start a barn wedding venue? Here are the steps you’ll need to take:
- Come up with a financial plan for building or attaining a barn.
- Determine the barn wedding venue competition where you live.
- Investigate the wedding venue market where you live.
- Choose the perfect location for a barn wedding venue.
- Research the business licenses and insurance you’ll need.
- Develop a brand for your barn wedding venue.
- Come up with a daily operations plan.
Now that you’re clear on the basic steps for starting a barn wedding venue, let’s look at each one in more detail.
Come Up With A Financial Plan for Building or Attaining a Barn
One of the most important things to consider when it comes to starting a barn wedding venue is how much money it will take to get started.
The price of the barn you plan to purchase and the cost of renovating a barn will vary greatly depending upon where you live. To begin with, you should do a few searches in your area to see how much barns in your area are selling for.
Once you have an idea of how much your barn will be, you can then start to think about the costs of renovating the interior. Here are just a few of the things you might need to pay for when renovating a barn to be a wedding venue:
- Plumbing. Wherever your wedding venue might be, one thing is certain. People will need to go to the bathroom! Check with contractors in your area to see how much getting plumbing connected to your barn is going to cost.
- Heating & Cooling. If you want to be able to market your barn wedding venue all year long as opposed to just the warmer months of the year, then you’ll need a plan for keeping everyone comfortable in all types of seasons. Do research on insulating your barn, and the type of heating and cooling system that will work best for your situation.
- Accessibility & Parking. Depending on the size of your barn wedding venue, you might need a lot of parking in order to accommodate the wedding guests. If you want to maintain the rustic feel of your barn, a gravel or dirt parking lot will do fine. Just make sure there’s enough room for everyone, and plan on paying to clear more space if there isn’t.
- Decor. What’s a barn wedding venue without beautiful rustic decorations to go along with it? A few of the pricier decor items you should research are seating and tables. If you can’t hire a professional decorator to help you, then Pinterest will be your best friend as you’re developing the look and feel of your venue.
Determine the Barn Wedding Venue Competition Where You Live
The next thing you’ll want to consider is the level of wedding venue competition in your area. If there are already 6 other barn wedding venues in your area then you’ll need to make sure that you can make yours the best.
I recommend asking your friends and family members about the wedding venues they’ve been to in the area to get a feel for who your main competitors are. Once you’re aware of your main competitors, find out what people like about their venues so that you can be certain to include those features in your venue as well.
At this point, it’s also a good idea to think about how much you plan on charging for your barn wedding venue. Again, it’s best to create your pricing structure with at least some idea of what your competitors are charging. As far as pricing structures, there are a lot of ways to make your venue more attractive by adding in free features that people might need to pay extra for elsewhere. Things like sound systems and microphones, projectors for playing slideshows and videos, and special lighting.
Investigate the Wedding Venue Market Where You Live
Location, location, location! I can’t stress enough how important the physical location is of your barn wedding venue. If you live in a small rural town, there might be plenty of cheap barns around to renovate, but not enough people living in the area to keep your venue busy.
Before purchasing a barn or property for a barn, examine the market where you live. The two most important things to look for are the population density for the area you’re considering, as well as the age demographics of people in the area.
The prime marrying age for most people ranges from twenty to thirty, so a densely populated area with a large majority falling in this age range is likely to be a good market for a successful barn wedding venue.
In addition to making sure that there are enough people in the area, you should build your barn wedding venue in the right part of town. Ideally, your barn wedding venue should have plenty of beautiful rural photo opportunities, while not being so far removed from society that it’s difficult for people to get to.
Something else to remember when choosing a location for your barn wedding venue is the local zoning laws in your area. It would be a shame to purchase a beautiful patch of land only to find that it’s not approved for the type of structure that you want to build. Do thorough research before making any big purchasing decisions to ensure that you won’t run into any problems later down the line.
Research the Business Licenses and Insurance You’ll Need
One of the least romantic aspects of starting a barn wedding venue or any business for that matter is finding out about the types of business licenses and insurance that you’ll need in order to legally operate your business.
If you’ve never started a business before, there’s a lot you’ll need to learn about handling your taxes, paying employees, and acquiring building, food handling, and liquor permits. If the thought of figuring all of this out on your own seems overwhelming, then we suggest working with a business consultant in your area to help set you up for success.
It’s important to note that the requirements for businesses will vary greatly depending on where you live. Because of this, I don’t suggest trusting online recommendations in this department unless you’re reading them on the official website for your city.
When it comes to insurance, not only will you need insurance, but you should also require that each of your guests has event liability insurance. Ask for proof of this insurance BEFORE entering into any type of verbal or written agreement with them.
Develop a Brand for Your Barn Wedding Venue
Now it’s time to talk about developing a brand for your barn wedding venue and marketing that brand. A strong brand for your venue helps you in several ways:
- It makes your venue appear established and professional.
- It can create a memorable good impression on potential guests.
- It can encourage word of mouth marketing.
As you’re developing your brand, it’s important that you keep in mind what you want to project to potential guests. If your goal is to be known as an elegant and rustic barn wedding venue, choose a business name, logo, and colors that accentuate that.
If you’re not a graphic designer and you have trouble coming up with creative names, it’s time to call on the creatives in your life for some help! Send out a message to the creative people in your life that you trust and start to brainstorm some branding and name ideas.
Once you’ve come up with a name for your barn wedding venue business, the next thing you need to do is make certain that name isn’t already taken or registered.
When you’ve got your brand and business name, it’s time to get that name out there. One of the best ways to spend your marketing dollars is on local Search Engine Optimization. At times, SEO can be even more effective than a strong social media presence, so either learn and implement the basics of SEO on your own or hire someone who can do it for you.
Come Up With a Daily Operations Plan for Your Barn Wedding Venue
Last but not least, once you have your barn wedding venue set up and ready to go, you’ll need a gameplan in place for managing the day to day operations of the venue. Depending on your budget, you might even want to hire a few people to help out. A clear daily operations plan will ensure that the venue is set up and ready to every time it’s time for an event, so it’s well worth the time and effort of developing a strong plan.
Thank you for reading our guide on how to start a barn wedding venue and the best of luck with your new business venture!
This article was sponsored by Stokely Event Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. They specialize in hosting Tulsa wedding receptions and have a long track record of throwing the best party in town. You can visit their website here to learn more.