Area wedding experts reveal new trends in bridal events
Couples are finding unique ways to tie the
knot these days
(February 2020) – As with any wedding, the overall atmosphere of the location is important when planning that special day. Many area venue owners strive to provide a stress-free environment for their clients, which often includes outdoor ceremonies.
A barn wedding is one way in which to achieve this goal. “With a barn wedding, the atmosphere is very stress-free and organized,” said Shelly Dews, owner of The White Barn wedding venue located at 501 Thomas Hill Rd. in Madison, Ind.
“Our goal is to make a memorable experience for the couple and their guests.” Dews and her husband, Brian, began their idea of a wedding venue in March 2016 when they purchased 49 areas of what was Brian’s family farm in Jefferson County, Ind.
Relying on Amish labor, the renovation work consisted of converting a barn built in the early 1800s into 3,300 square feet of usable rental space. The barn was originally constructed of hand-hewn beams that the Amish repaired to keep the authenticity of the barn.
The White Barn wedding venue is owned and operated in Madison, Ind., by Shelly and Brian Dews.
The historic barn is 30 feet from top to bottom and includes a large hayloft. It contains a grand chandelier, 7x6-foot white draping and massive 10-foot doors through which the bride can make a grand entrance. The venue can accommodate 170 guests inside, where receptions are mostly held, and up to a total of 300 outside on the tented grounds.
With barn weddings, “most couples do not want that traditional feel. Weddings used to be held in churches with a more formal feel. Now couples want their guests to have a neutral, relaxed feeling.”
Guests can also “come dressed up or dressed down,” in such a venue, Dews said. Most of the weddings at The White Barn are held “on the great lawn because it is so picturesque.”
The White Barn offers wedding packages “designed to help couples out.” Dews said she doesn’t want them to feel obligated to book services or extra amenities they do not need. She and her husband are on-site for the entire wedding, preparation and all, to make sure the day goes smoothly.
Dews said most people want a barn wedding, “because a barn makes a statement. They may have grown up in a rural area, may have moved away, or just simply want a small, more intimate wedding.” It’s a good option to “get away from the fast pace of a big city.”
Kelly Nichols, owner of Lazy Daisy Farm & Wedding Barn, agrees with Dews that couples want a “rustic, laid back feel” for their special day. This venue is located at 504 Mt. Carmel Rd. in Milton, Ky.
It’s the perfect spot for that not-so-traditional wedding or for couples who want the ambiance of a country setting for their special day. The barn at Lazy Daisy Farm was constructed from an old tobacco barn.
Another reason couples are choosing barn settings and outdoor weddings is because “a lot are not church-oriented anymore. They just want a unique space where the ceremony and reception can be held at the same place.”
In the past, “receptions were held in the basement of the church following the ceremony.” Barn weddings also provide that “outside element,” said Kelly, who has been an ordained minister for more than 30 years. Most of her weddings are held outside with the reception in the barn.
She has a large amount of décor that couples can borrow and several outside seating options for 160 guests. These include an arch and fire pit area. As with The White Barn, her barn has a concrete floor, which guests appreciate.
Another trend she sees on the rise is weddings with blended families. “So many weddings involve a blended family. I am in a blended family; both my husband and I were married before. Couples are getting away from the idea of having a whole table exclusively for the bridal party.”
Instead they are including a sweetheart table, she said, so everyone can sit with their spouse. For example, the maid of honor’s husband can sit with her and still intermingle with others.
In planning weddings, “couples are starting to become more aware of leaving less of a footprint on the planet,” said Colleen Sutton, owner of Richwood on the River, located at 1233 Hwy. 36 in Milton, Ky.
In an effort to go green with weddings, couples are using real rooted plants to decorate with and linen and china plates, she said. Among her amenities, Sutton offers antique china and glassware. An event planner also offers assistance to “take care of a couple from the moment they book with us.”
Another big trend she sees for 2020 is the use of dried or paper flowers. “It’s becoming a West Coast trend,” and one she feels will drift this way.
Sutton books weddings at her venue from people who are from all over the country and the world.” Last year she had a bride from South Korea and groom from Singapore, and this year she has a couple from Hawaii. “We’ve had them from almost every state.”
Couples who book Richwood on the River are looking “for a central location and a place where their guests can stay. This may be for an extended period of time.” She can provide lodging for up to 40 guests, and clients can rent the facility for a weekend or week.
Sutton said that 99 percent of the ceremonies at Richwood on the River are outdoor ceremonies. Receptions are held in a special reception room or tented on the grounds. “I see more couples having open-air receptions.” Many couples comment on the photos of open-air receptions on her website.
When booking her venue, couples are welcome to walk the property. “We can set chairs up anywhere on the property. There is a large tree in the back, set against a fence line that is the most popular spot.”
The view is one of the most important things for a wedding. For couples who choose to marry at Clifty Inn at Clifty Falls State Park, 1650 Clifty Hollow Rd. in Madison, Ind., “most choose the patio area because it overlooks the Ohio River,” said Tina Mitchell, Director of Sales.
Of the Inn’s three banquet rooms, the most popular reception spot is the Overlook Room, she said. The Overlook is the largest and most spacious conference room, seating up to 400 guests. It offers state-of-the-art features and a breathtaking view of the Ohio River and the natural beauty of Clifty Falls State Park.
‘We do have bar service, offer appetizers and cocktail hour,” said Mitchell. “We don’t allow catering because we cater.”
She said Clifty Inn is “definitely a destination wedding spot for couples. We have people from all over southern Indiana and Ohio and Kentucky.”
It is similar to Richwood on the River in that it can accommodate overnight guests on site. “We can block off a section of the inn for guests.”
A trend that she sees for future weddings is that the bride and groom are not waiting until the ceremony to see each other at the alter on their wedding day, as has been a tradition in the past. Some even go down the aisle together or see one another if photos are taken before the ceremony.
Another trend that couples are getting away from, she said, is having guests sign the traditional wedding guest book. Instead they are encouraging guests to sign wine bottles or wooden corks.
Janice Morgan, Retail & Event Assistant at Yew Dell Botanical Gardens in Crestwood, Ky., said “several couples are interested in having garden-themed weddings,” this year. “Most of our weddings are held on our Event Lawn with the reception held under the covered pavilion.”
Photo courtesy of Drake and Eliza
A wedding couple stroll through the Holly Allee at Yew Dell Gardens in Crestwood, Ky.
Located at 6220 Old La Grange Rd. in Crestwood, Yew Dell offers a variety of different settings from small, intimate spaces to large areas that can accommodate 400 guests. Yew Dell affords couples a variety of unique spaces that are a perfect blend of old world charm and cutting edge architecture, in which to exchange vows.
Wedding rental spaces include the Mary F. Rounsavall Pavilion, a 60x100-foot pavilion equipped with up-lighting, fans, roll down sides, 40 60-inch tables, two designated receptacles for chandeliers and space to accommodate 400 guests. The Castle is a 19x31-foot space built by Yew Dell owner Theodore Klein to serve as a pool house for his family. A Walled Garden is a smaller space for about 50 guests. A second pavilion, the Peyton Samuel Head Trust Pavilion, is a 20x50-foot space that can hold up to 80 guests. One larger venue is the Rock House area, which can accommodate between 220-320 guests.
“The Event Lawn and Holly Allee are the most popular settings at Yew Dell. We have the Gheens Barn for indoor events,” said Morgan. The Event Lawn contains the Holly Allee, a row of holly trees that guides guests and the bridal party to the ceremony. The 30x50-foot Gheens Barn can seat up to 135 guests.
As to distinctive weddings at Yew Dell, Morgan said, “We’ve had fairy-themed weddings with barefoot couples. Couples will bury a bottle of bourbon in the gardens a month before the wedding to assure good weather for their wedding day. We’ve had culturally diverse weddings including Hindu, Indian and Korean weddings. During the Indian wedding, a groom came in on a horse. For a Japanese wedding, the bride and her mother made 1,000 origami paper cranes for health and good luck. Last year, a bride and groom had a donut cake for their wedding cake. We had a brunch wedding last May, and the couple had their cake made from a large stack of pancakes.”
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