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Barn Settings For A Rustic Wedding

by Charissa Hipp

Barn Wedding

The area's assortment of barns offer versatile backdrops for couples to create the wedding they desire.

Some brides envision their perfect wedding day with burlap table runners over white table linens, lace doilies beneath mason jars with sprigs of baby’s breath and wildflowers, chalkboard table numbers and the warm glow of white lights and paper lanterns illuminating the natural wood of a rustic barn.

In a historically agricultural region like ours, barns dot the local landscape. Some are still in use as part of working farms, others are dilapidated and in desperate need of repair, and a handful have been converted to serve a new purpose far beyond what they were originally intended for. The popularity of barn weddings is soaring as rustic wedding chic and country weddings have become a trend that is here to stay.

Unlike most venues, a barn can be dressed up or dressed down. Decorations set the tone for the wedding and can transform a barn in many different ways. Chandeliers, strings of white lights, large centerpieces and dramatically draped fabric can turn any barn into an incredibly formal wedding venue with a classic feel. The same barn can take on a completely different, comfortable and cozy dressed-down feel. Décor like mason jars, washtubs with bottled beverages, wildflowers and baby’s breath centerpieces and homemade favors tend to create a very laidback, homespun feel.

The Barn at Springfield Farm in Williamsport, Md., has topped Hagerstown magazine’s Hot List category for Reception/Event Site for the past two years. Owned by the town of Williamsport, the Springfield Barn was built around 1755 by Williamsport founder Otho Holland Williams and was renovated by the town in recent years. The town began using the barn as an event venue in 2009 and the first wedding was held there in July of 2010.

“That year there were 6 weddings at the barn,” says Joan Knode, vice mayor and event manager of the Barn at Springfield Farm. “Last year there were 33 weddings at the barn in the same span of time.” With just two Fridays available during the 2015 wedding season, Joan is already booking into 2016 and has had a few inquiries for 2017 already.

Over the past several years, Joan has seen couples decorate the barn in many different ways. Some of the most memorable decorations have been fabric draped through the rafters and chandeliers made out of mason jars. “The space is really a blank canvas,” she says. It seats up to 200 guests and has an elevated stage with white lights strung throughout to help light the interior. The spacious white barn, which overlooks the town park, can be used for weddings seasonally, from April through October. It has no air conditioning or heating, which makes it too cold for use in the late fall and winter months.

The barnyard is the perfect open space for outdoor ceremonies. Bordered by a stone wall, it provides a beautiful view of the barn and its stone foundation. Many couples choose to get married outside in the barnyard and move inside for the wedding reception. Oftentimes couples bring the vintage feel of the barn outside by setting up creative altars in the barnyard.

In nearby Frederick County, the Mathwig Estate Event Barn has also become a popular wedding venue. The original barn burned down and was rebuilt in 1980, according to Taylor Huffman, event coordinator at the barn. Then her father purchased the property in 1995. The future of the barn came to light about 14 years ago when cleaning up the barn for a family Christmas party. “Then family and friends wanted to borrow it,” Taylor says. “My uncle had the first wedding there.”

These days the barn is used solely as a wedding venue. It can accommodate 150 to 175 people and remains fairly rustic with no air conditioning or heating. The natural wood of the barn stands out against the strands of white lights used to light it. The area surrounding the barn is a lovely backdrop for outdoor country weddings.

Taylor and her husband Brandon were married in August of 2013 at the Mathwig Event Barn. They exchanged vows just outside the barn under a grapevine arch in front of guests sitting on hay bales draped with quilts. She wore an elegant lace dress with a corset back, a long lace veil and brown cowgirl boots. Brandon wore a white button down shirt with dark blue jeans. It was the perfect combination for a country barn wedding.

Often times the outdoor space around a barn is great for wedding photographs and the Mathwig Event Barn is no exception. The hills of Thurmont, Maryland, provide a scenic backdrop and a nearby vineyard and covered bridge are great settings for wedding photographs.

To the east is Linganore Winecellars in Mount Airy, Maryland -- a 230-acre estate with 70 acres of vineyards. The winery hosts between 75 and 100 weddings each year, from small intimate weddings with 10 guests to large weddings with up to 180 guests. The Abisso Banquet Hall at Linganore Winecellars is located inside a restored 19th century peg barn. It provides 4,000 square feet of space and can seat up to 150 guests.

Abisso Hall has the appeal of a rustic barn with the added modern amenities of heating and air conditioning. The barn is done in natural wood and showcases its striking 23-foot ceilings and exposed chestnut post-and-beam construction.

“Besides the beauty of the venue itself, our brides enjoy the convenience of being able to have their ceremony and reception both onsite,” says Mary Beth Davis, Private Event Sales Coordinator at Linganore Winecellars. “Our secluded setting, surrounded by beautiful vistas, rolling hills and a serene pond, lends itself to romantic weddings year round.”

Pinterest is a great resource for wedding inspiration, especially barn weddings. Linganore Winecellars has its own Pinterest board called Weddings at the Winery where brides can see how other couples have decorated Abisso Hall for their big day: www.pinterest.com/linganoreevents/weddings-at-the-winery.

Barn weddings are extremely versatile, which is probably another reason they are so appealing. The same barn can be elegant one day and casual the next, depending on the preference and personal style of the couple getting married and the décor they choose to create the look of their special day. There are no rules of etiquette to follow and a certain sense of “anything goes.” Where else can the bride wear cowgirl boots with a fancy wedding dress and the groom go without a suit jacket or sport jeans for the entire wedding day?