Love on the Farm: The Beauty of a Barn Wedding
Even in the city, the barn wedding trend is on the rise.
Photos by Palermo Photo
Barn weddings have become an increasingly popular trend in the last few years, and even in an urban area such as Pittsburgh, many couples are searching for that rustic vibe for their wedding.
Formal weddings are on the decline as couples are looking for a more non-traditional venue for their wedding, according to a study from The Knot. That is the reason that Sarah Thomas and A.J. Owen chose to have their wedding at Bramblewood in McDonald.
“We weren’t necessarily targeting a barn wedding,” Sarah says. “As soon as we got to Bramblewood … it looked like a Pinterest board and I immediately fell in love with that.”
Bramblewood offers a lakeside ceremony and a barn for the reception area. Sarah says she used most of the decorations provided from Bramblewood for her ceremony and reception. “It was all stuff that I thought I was going to have to make, [but] they just already had.”
Sarah continuously complimented the Simmons family, who owns Bramblewood, for everything they did on her wedding day such as provide a day-of wedding coordinator who is meant to keep the timeline on track. However, Sarah says she used her for more than that.
On the day of the wedding, storms were predicted, and Sarah was asked to choose if she wanted to move the ceremony inside. “I was just like, well I don’t want to make that choice because I’m going to be a huge weiny and say, ‘Let’s just have it in the barn because I'm afraid of getting rained on.’”
She asked the Simmons family to choose where to have the ceremony, and in a last-minute decision they chose to have it outside, and luckily there was no rain.
“So I made no decisions the day of the wedding, if anything went wrong they didn’t tell me [and] I didn’t notice,” she says. “I had literally no stress [on] my wedding day and everything went absolutely perfectly.”
Photos by Elders Ridge Photography
While Sarah’s venue came completely stress-free, Lexi Stutzman and Sam Bequette decided to renovate their own barn for their wedding.
Lexi grew up on an old farm, which has been in her family since the 1940s, in Indiana Pa. that housed two barns. When her family left the farming business in the 1980s, the barns began to become rundown.
Despite the barn’s appearance, Lexi says she had dreamed of being married in it since she was 5 years old. “I just loved the barns,” she says.
It wasn’t until she began searching through Pinterest during college that she realized other people had barn venues.
“I thought this could be really pretty. There’s a lot of potential to make this barn into a beautiful backdrop for our wedding,” she says.
When she began dating Sam, she called her dad and said, “It’s time to start fixing up the barn.” The day Sam proposed was the day renovations began on the 14,000-square-foot barn for a one-year timeline before the wedding.
Lexi left her public relations job in Arkansas and moved home to begin fixing the barn with her dad full time. She says her dad had a vision for what the barn would look like that exceeded everything she envisioned.
The barn had begun leaning so the first thing they needed to do was tow it back up the hill. After that, the floor needed replaced and everything needed cleaned and painted inside and out.
Lexi says family and friends would stop by to help because of their tight schedule. “It was a community effort.” Three days before the wedding, the barn finally came together and was ready for the big day.
“[It] was really cool seeing my dad’s lifetime dream of finding a new purpose for these buildings that meant so much to our family,” she says.
After their wedding, Lexi and Sam began letting their friends use the barn as a wedding venue. While the renovations were still going on, Lexi says her friends and neighbors asked if they had thought about renting the space out as a potential venue.
“That kind of got the wheels turning of like, why wouldn’t we share this space with the neighborhood and community and any other brides looking for a space for their wedding,” she says.
Now, they have hosted five weddings at the Home Farm Barn and have multiple bookings through 2020. This new business became a reason for Lexi and Sam to stay in Pittsburgh.
“This is still my baby,” she says. “After each event, I love looking through the couple’s wedding photos. From the radiant smile on the bride’s face, I am reminded that another little girl’s dreams have come true.”