Barns, wineries and orchards are trendy wedding venues
• Bridal couples looking for non-traditional, unique settings find their place in outdoor spaces
Ever since you were a little girl, you have dreamed about your perfect wedding. For some brides-to-be, that venue is a church and reception hall. For others, it's a more casual, rustic barn/farm wedding, or another non-traditional site, like an orchard or winery. Rustic barn weddings and other unique sites are trendy venues right now, providing the bridal couple with an opportunity to hold their wedding in a very personable and unique location. Your barn/non-traditional wedding site will provide you with a chance to step out of the cookie-cutter wedding venues you see all around you. You can customize your wedding, either all dressed up or dressed down to match the style and décor of your dreams. From bling-y chandeliers to homespun mason jars, your wedding décor can be what you want it to be, as long as it complies with the facility's rules and regulations. Local couples have several unique options, including Fenton Winery & Brewery, with over an acre of outdoor space for up to 300 people, plus an outdoor patio/stone fireplace area for seating up to 150 guests. "We've got several dates still open in 2017," said Matt Sherrow, owner of Fenton Winery. "We've had over 30 weddings so far this year." Broadview Christmas Tree Farm, off M-59 in Highland, offers "A Pond" and "In the Meadow" wedding packages, sold out already this year and 2017, with bookings available for 2018. Other unique wedding sites include Zingerman's Cornman Farms in Dexter, the Ellis Barn in Springfield Township, Cobblestone Farms in Ann Arbor, plus a variety of orchard sites in western and northern Michigan, including Black Star Farms and Chanteau Chantel. Before you sign on the dotted line for a non-traditional wedding in a unique venue, especially barns, here are some things to think about: • Are there bathrooms available? You'll likely have to rent bathroom trailers, since most barns don't come equipped with the plumbing or septic fields to handle a large guest count. These can add a significant cost to your wedding budget. • While you might think that a barn wedding is less expensive because of its casual nature, you have to remember that in most cases, you're paying for the location and not the basics, like chairs, tables, plates, etc. Make sure and check what is included in your barn rental, if anything (but the barn). • You'll have to coordinate the delivery and pick-up of the rental items, as well, because you likely will not be on-site when they arrive. • It takes lot of flowers to complement the space, and these can be expensive. • Make sure there's enough electricity to power all the lights you want to hang, the DJ, photo booth, etc. • Find out about noise restrictions that might result in an early "the party is over." • Check on nearby hotel accommodations for your guests who have to travel more than an hour or two to get there. • Keep your guest count on the lower side, because barns are deceptively small. Even though they have super high ceilings, the room itself is small, by the time you include tables, chairs, music and a dance floor. • Hire people to do the decorating, especially because of danger of extremely high spaces. • Keep in mind the amount of walking you and your guests will have to do. Where will they park? Will there be wagons to transport them from area to area? What are options for those guests who aren't able to walk?