• Shannon K. Wendt-Heath

10 Things to Think About Before Planning Your Destination Barn Wedding in Northern Michigan

First of all, thank you SO much if you are considering a destination wedding in our beautiful state, especially this northern area I call home! Living here is absolutely glorious (if you like seasons that change). So with that being said, be sure to PLAN, PLAN, and PLAN again for your destination wedding here in northern Michigan.


10) Barn locations in northern Michigan are typically pretty rural (for the REAL barns especially)! Often, these remote locations can be hard to find and GPS may not always be reliable. Ensure no one gets lost by adding in a little map from your guests' locations to your venue in their invitations. Will the area be dark and poorly lit at the time of the wedding? Also add in markers that can help point their way to the barn (turn right at the flagpole for example).


9) Is the barn located on an actual working farm? Think about the odors (animal droppings!), bugs and noises from these, especially during the hot summers here. This may be off-putting to some of your guests. Also, allergies can be a concern as well. A note to your guests about your venue being an actual working farm might be a good idea. Add it to the Save the Date!



8) Safety issues abound on the grounds of some barn venues. You might be looking at rough terrain as well, so keep that in mind for older guests. A note here might be a good idea (especially if you have any guests in a wheelchair or that use a cane/walker). Children and others may also need to be advised of splintery boards and/or surfaces.


7) What are the rules and regulations as far as noise in concerned? Are there neighborhood ordinances that require "Quiet Time" at 10pm? This means the music typically stops around 9:30pm. That's early! You may want to consider an earlier ceremony start time.


6) What's your guest count? Some "genuine" barns are not super comfortable for guests to move around due to posts or other structures. If your venue says it fits 150, ask about the layout or get a diagram showing how tables and even the dance floor would be set up. Dance floors need more room than you think and they should always be centrally located. Chairs are going to be pushed in and out often. Make sure guests have plenty of space.


5) What is the heating, cooling and even the roofing situation? Most barns do not have AC or heat. Keep in mind that even in the summer, it can get cold at night. And our summers can be HOT. Plan accordingly for both. And real barns can be leaky if it rains. Ask if your barn leaks!


4) What are the electrical needs? Will a generator be needed? This is an expense that needs budgeting for if one is required at your venue.


3) What is the restroom situation? Are they easily accessible for older (and even pregnant) guests? If restrooms are in a separate building are there signs to point the way, and plenty of lighting? If not, is it your responsibility to rent signage and lighting? Ask! This also needs to be planned into your budget if they are to be provided by the two of you.


2) Get a comprehensive list of the decor items your venue provides or does not provide! Ask to see what table linens look like. Many venues supply white linens, however they may not be floor length. No one wants to see table legs! And a HUGE point here: if your venue provides decor items, check out the photos of prior weddings to see if they all look the same. You don't want your wedding to look like every other that was held at your venue, or perhap what they supply is overly rustic (burlap, hay bales and mason jars) and you are going for a feeling of rustic elegance (charger plates, candles, linen runners on handmade farm tables). Ask if you can bring in other rentals and make sure there isn't a fee for that! You want your wedding to be unique and personalized to the two of you and we here at #HeartWeddingDecor can work with you to make it happen.


1) Seasonality! Summers in Michigan can be HOT (but the nights can also be chilly). The fall can also be hot or very cold. And then there's winter, which can be very unpredictable. Advise guests who have never been here in Michigan and experienced our seasons, to plan accordingly. They may need to pack a sweater or jacket even in the summer. And plan that fall can be warm OR chilly and that winter is typically darn COLD.



With that being said, Michigan is absolutely gorgeous and the perfect place for your destination wedding. I hope these tips help with your planning! Shoot me a message if you have ANY questions or comments.


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