Brides can trace specific wedding trends over the past few decades. The ’80s were all about having over-the-top bridal hairstyles with lots of volume. The ’90s loved a wedding gown with shoulder pads. Now, brides think more about the venue for their wedding and look to modern trends to make their decision.

Most recently, brides have been choosing barns and farmland for their weddings. It’s possible to dress up barns for a chic event, or go rustic for a more casual wedding. Their flexibility makes them an ideal choice for any bride, but what happens if the barn hasn’t hosted a wedding yet?

Don’t fret if you’re turning a barn into a wedding venue. Read on to learn everything you need to know about how to make it happen, so you can get back to planning the other parts of your dream wedding.

Check Your Town’s Ordinances

Turning a Barn Into a Wedding Venue

Sometimes, wedding planning is romantic. You and your spouse-to-be get to taste cake samples together and pick out decor that makes your hearts sing. Other times, you’ll have to get down to business, like checking your town’s ordinances.

Ordinances are the little sibling to laws. After a municipal government passes them, they keep order in towns to provide more specific guidelines than general state laws.

Read about the ordinances for the town you’ll get married in. Make sure you know when you’ll need to quiet down at night or when the city won’t allow high traffic volumes. If you have any questions, contact your local governing body for answers. Otherwise, you may be liable for fines if someone calls the police out to a wedding that breaks the town’s ordinances.

Review Zoning Codes

Turning a Barn Into a Wedding Venue

Zoning codes are another crucial step in deciding how and where you can have your wedding. They determine the appropriate uses for each plot of land. Farms are typically zoned for agricultural purposes only, meaning if you host your wedding on that zoned land, you could end up paying more fines.

If you have questions about the zoning of your barn’s land or need to apply for a different zoning allowance, contact your local government. They can explain what’s compliant with the current zone and what’s not.

Inspect the Barn

Turning a Barn Into a Wedding Venue

After you’ve read the town ordinances and determined the correct zoning for your wedding, you’ll need to properly inspect the barn from top to bottom. A thorough inspection will prevent accidents from happening before or during your wedding.

Check for things like broken hinges, unstable fixtures and especially leaks. Barns with old shingles increase the chance for leaks with each passing day. Have a professional roofer come out to inspect the roof as a precaution for your wedding day.

Read Farmland Preservation Laws

Turning a Barn Into a Wedding Venue

Another law to be aware of is the Farmland Preservation Act. Legislators passed it to protect farms from getting converted into land and programs that were not agricultural. It saved the decline of farms at the time, but today, it can sometimes prevent people from using farms as venues.

Look into the farmland preservation laws of your state and call your local government if you have questions. Farms are a protected resource, which is why there are so many laws to be aware of even for a one-day event.

Ask Questions Now

Turning a Barn Into a Wedding Venue

A barn that doesn’t already operate as an official wedding venue will give you more hoops to jump through, but you’re not in this alone. You can call your local or state officials with any questions. They’re there to guide you through the process, so you don’t have to deal with police or fines on your wedding day. It’s better to ask questions now than cross your fingers and hope your wedding isn’t breaking any laws when using the barn.

Turning a Barn Into a Wedding Venue