The whole barn phenomenon for weddings is one that is most shared in the current Pinterest/DIY world. It is hot and very popular with today’s generation of brides. It’s classic with a hint of charm. However, don’t be completely blinded by these fairytale settings.
As an owner of a wedding venue going into our 10th year, I have to admit that the thought of a smaller barn type venue has crossed my mind several times. In fact, it only boiled down to if we’re going to do it, we have to do it right. So, I chose not to wing it. Either I do it right or not at all, end of story. For some though, it’s just the thought of “Let’s build a barn on our family’s land, everyone is doing it” and that’s where the thought process tends to end. A few factors played into Briscoe Manor’s early and well maintained success. Simply put, we did it all the way and we did it the right way. We also were able to put a phenomenal team together with systems and procedures that work.
Having gone through all of the motions of building a venue, here are some things to consider when looking at these barn venues and questions you should have when making this large investment. I can’t tell you how many people have come back to Briscoe Manor after choosing another venue due to pricing and then tell us that at the end of the day, they ended up spending the same or more at the other venue. It’s true, so pay attention to all of the details and little things, because they add up!
Things you should ask when looking at barn venues and other venues as well:1
- First and probably the #1 question should be: what is plan B should the ceremony or reception is scheduled to be held outside and it either rains or a cold front blows in; which happens often in Texas? What is the backup plan? Is there a room flip and is that something you are comfortable with? Make sure they completely explain this to you. Where are your guests moved to during the room flip even if it’s raining?
- Is there another event going on at the same venue while your living out your dream wedding? What is the access to your event like for your guests to find if there are multiple events going on at the same time? Can people from other events access your event throughout the night?
- Do you have a true coordinator who is in control of the whole night and not one that leaves after cake cutting? This is very important. You need someone to lead the event and this doesn’t mean some aunt down the line steps in. You will need a coordinator. Whatever venue that you do decide to book should come with a coordinator. This is huge value and shouldn’t be discounted. They should be the first person you see when you arrive on site and the last person your parents hug before leaving.
- How is parking handled? Some of these venues aren’t spending the money on paved parking areas. It’s not a huge deal and it kind of goes with the whole country setting, but again, we are in Texas where it can rain at any moment. If there is valet, is that an extra charge and where are they parking your car? In the back pasture in the mud? Is there a lot of walking involved for guests and if so, again, what are those walking areas made out of (think of ladies in high heeled shoes and mud)?
- Are Security officers included with the building rental?
- Is there outdoor lighting for all of the areas your guests are having to walk if the event will go into the night hours?
- Are any of the buildings/common areas covered by an emergency backup Generator should the building lose electrical power for any reason?
- How are the restrooms? What is the capacity? Do they have restrooms onsite or are you forced to pay for mobile restroom trailers to be brought in?
- Are the common areas easy to move around if any of your guests are confined to a wheelchair?
- Is there adequate air conditioning or heat for all areas?
- Are the tables, chairs and simple linens included or are they an extra cost? What do you get with the building rental? This is very important to ask. Some venues look great on price until you start to take a pencil to it and everything that you will need to rent outside of just the venue cost. Are they set up for you or do you have to come in and do the set up?
- Does the venue have great relationships and preferred vendors for your convenience? Briscoe Manor’s preferred vendor list somewhat evolves but for the most part, most of our preferred vendors have been a part of Briscoe Manor since the beginning. Relationships with vendors is important. You need vendors to be excited to come to the venue you’ve chosen which, in turn, will make everything run smoother. They also typically know the venue inside and out including all the rules and restrictions that may come with the venue rental.
- Are there areas dedicated to the Bride and her bridesmaids and the Groom and his groomsmen? These could be known as Bridal Suite and Groom’s Lounge. Do they have these rooms? If not, where do you get dressed?
- With catering and bar, are the plates, silverware and glassware included or also an additional cost?
- With the bar service, are guests under 18 years old backed out of the catering bill or is everyone charged the same?
- Does catering offer a “kids menu” at a lower cost than what would be charge for an adult plate?
Opinion by: Jorden Briscoe Mahler
Owner/Operator – Briscoe Manor
Briscoe Manor is a customizable full-service wedding venue located only minutes from Houston. Learn more about our wedding services, view wedding photos and videos or contact us for availability and pricing.