BARN WEDDINGS ARE BRINGING THE WEDDING INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX TO FARM COUNTRY
By Annaliese Griffin August 19, 2018
When I got married in 2009, I walked down an aisle flanked not by church pews, but by long tables covered in simple white tablecloths, burlap runners, and napkins in harvest hues of russet, gold, and plum. Instead of floral centerpieces, local apples filled wooden bowls. I carried a bouquet my sister fashioned out of brightly hued Indian corn. Our guests drank water from mason jars and sipped wine during the ceremony, which was in the backyard of a hundred-year-old house built over a creek. There was technically no barn, but it was a barn wedding.
At the time, I thought we were bucking the consumerist circus of the wedding industry and being rather original—and maybe in some small ways we were. But since then “barn wedding” has become something of a cliché, as images of burlap, chalkboards, flower crowns, barrels, and hay bales clog wedding Pinterest.
The popularity of barns, and the low-key, rustic aesthetic that goes along with them, has grown dramatically since I said my vows standing on a bed of locally collected autumn leaves—and it shows no sign of slowing down. In its most recent annual report about wedding industry trends, the wedding-planning website the Knot found that “farm, barn and ranch reception venues increased from 2% in 2009 to 15% in 2017.” Those numbers are based on a self-selecting survey of the relatively well-off couples (mostly brides) who read The Knot, so they’re to be taken with a grain of salt. But if you’ve been to a barn wedding lately (and you probably have), then you know that its aesthetic has arrived in America’s farm country.
Barn weddings are appealing as a more casual alternative to formalbanquet hall or hotel celebrations. They take the green setting of the country club, and leave behind the bourgeois aesthetic. A barn is a rough-hewn, empty slate for you to fill with the full force of your love and design savvy.