What is it about a big red barn, silos, rustic fences and acres of tilled fields that’s mesmerizing to brides and grooms right now? While many event planners say this leading bridal trend is a complete departure from formal, marble-accented reception halls, others point to countless Pinterest boards (like our own, here) of rustic barns “dressed up” with formal décor including chandeliers, fine china, linens and flowers that introduce delicate femininity down on the farm.
The architecture of a barn, from vaulted ceilings showcasing exposed beams, to classic barn doors and rustic wood fences, has its own vintage elegance, but becomes even more so when glamorous wedding touches brighten the setting.
What makes this style of wedding appealing is the laid-back experience you’ll offer your guests, juxtaposing elegant fun with the bucolic landscape: Play horseshoes and cornhole during cocktail hour and visit the farm’s friendly horses, goats, sheep, cows and even alpacas before cutting the cake. Couples in the Garden State are lucky to have so many beautiful barns and fabulous farms to choose from. The natural setting will simplify your wedding day.
“You can feel love more in a homegrown setting than in a stale marble hall,” says wedding planner Danielle Rothweiler of Rothweiler Event Design in Verona. Here are some of Jersey’s best barn and farm settings: Chimney Hill Inn A beautiful blend of rustic charm and upscale elegance, Chimney Hill Inn offers a quintessential pastoral wedding backdrop on eight and a half rolling hilly acres in Lambertville. “We can bring in tenting, flooring, lighting and more to create celebrations suiting your guest list,” says Rothweiler, Chimney Hill Inn’s event designer, noting that the farm is ideal for hosting 150 to 200 guests. The bed-and-breakfast’s upscale atmosphere adorns the luxury barn suites, featuring sophisticated fireplaces and rustic-chic décor, perfect for a bride and her bridesmaids, a groom and his groomsmen and parents of the happy couple to prepare. If an outdoor spring or summer wedding is your wish, your ceremony can be tented or open-air in the beautiful farm garden. “We use local, New Jersey-grown food in our wedding menus,” Rothweiler says, adding that for the cocktail hour, reception or after-party enjoyment, lawn games can be set up on the property that also features resident alpacas (very popular among wedding guests for photo ops). Chimney Hill offers a laid-back, intimate vibe for any couple’s dream outdoor farm wedding celebration.
The Barn at Perona Farms, Andover. In April of 2013, this 1930s barn was renovated with a beautiful new floor and woodwork, a red elm bar, a black walnut bar and uplighting to add modern elegance to this rustic former dairy farm. Situated on 260 gorgeous acres in Andover, Perona Farms was converted to a hotel for Old Hollywood elite, hosting a rich history of celebrity guests, among them Joe DiMaggio, Eva Gabor, Groucho Marx, Ethel Merman, Errol Flynn and Artie Shaw. Steeped in Old-Hollywood charm, Perona Farms offers arcadian elegance in its fully air-conditioned and heated barn, which is not easy to find. Perona Farms accommodates 30 to 300 guests, and offers tables and chairs—so no need for the rentals that many barn locations require—and their catering staff is onsite as well. They also have a huge fire pit at the barn.
Stone Rows Farm, Stockton. Stone Rows Farm was established in 1743, but only recently came onto the bridal scene. “We’ve done several weddings for friends, and now we’re available to all wedding groups,” says Stone Rows manager, Carter Olcott. The farm offers a 3,200-square-foot reception barn that can accommodate up to 180 people, in addition to their famed Motorcycle Barn, perfect for a rehearsal dinner and reception after-party with its bar, laser lighting and Coke machine that dispenses bottles of beer. They’ll even set up a vintage farm wagon to serve as a stage for bands or deejays. Your caterer will get their own 1,500- square-foot barn for food prep, and you can also set up a tent for your ceremony almost anywhere on the farm’s sprawling 218 acres. Guests can visit the resident cows, goats and sheep, and the farm’s fabulous location provides the perfect setting for a photo opportunity of the bride and groom at sunset. The front steps of the beautiful stone main house, with its view of the pool and the farm fields, can be made idyllic with rustic accents like hay bales for seating in an open-air or tented ceremony. You needn’t even worry about a muddy field if it rains before your wedding day. “The farm has excellent drainage,” says Olcott. “We had a wedding where it rained several inches on the day before the event, and by the five p.m. ceremony, everything had dried out.” The main house offers four bedrooms, four bathrooms and two half-baths; an in-law suite with two queen beds a full bath and kitchen; and a three-bedroom cottage house where your wedding party can stay, eliminating the need for transportation and directions to the nearest hotel. Staying on the property lets your guests party ‘til the rooster crows, since this site has no time or noise restrictions. Stone Rows Farm is available from May to November.
Sterlingbrook Farm, Pittstown. Recently open to the public, this brand-new wedding and event venue originally opened in 1979 as an equine veterinary clinic and racing stable. The newly renovated their barn set on 175 acres and is the perfect rustic setting for your wedding. Ceremonies and receptions can be held either inside the barn or out in the field. The rental fee is $3,200, and it holds a maximum of 100 guests.
The Loft at Jack’s Barn, Oxford. Jack’s Barn is a turn-of-the-century feed-mill barn located on four acres in beautiful Warren County that combines the rustic with the refined to create a unique setting for your guests that is simply elegant.
The Prallsville Mills, Stockton. Located in the D&R Canal State Park, the Prallsville Mills, which are on the National Register of Historic sites, overlook the Delaware River, the Delaware-Raritan canal and Wickecheoke Creek. The main building, a 1711 grist mill, can be used for 10 hours for up to 135 guests. Stockton; 215-860-7600; prallsvillemills.
Other farm and barn locations:
Brookmill Farm, Lambertville. Brookmill Farm provides privacy and luxury on 13+ gorgeous acres. Surrounded by lush woodlands, this property offers an estate home, a guest house, a heated pool, original mill footings, a tranquil brook, a covered bridge, and more. Rates start at $15,000, which includes lodging for two nights for up to 16 guests, parking and shuttle services and a luxury restroom trailer.
Hageman Farm and Horse Barn, Somerset. The Hageman Farm house is perfect for your small wedding, with a maximum capacity of 40 people. It’s a registered historic place in New Jersey. The Hageman Horse Barn capacity is 80.
Rode’s Barn, Swedesboro. This casual and rustic barn built in the 1940s is used today for casual weddings and parties. It holds up to 100. On-site catering is available through Rode’s, and the rental fee varies according to the season. Closed in July and August.
Parsonage Barn, Cranbury. during the spring, summer, and fall, this barn has been the setting for wedding ceremonies for up to 80 and wedding photos. It is not available for wedding receptions. The Parsonage Barn does not have electricity, heat, water or restroom facilities, and no alcoholic beverages or smoking is allowed.
Bayonet Farm, Holmdel Township Department of Park and Recreation, 732-946-2820; bayonetfarm.org
Hageman Farm, 209 South Middlebush Road, Somerset, 732-828-7418.
Unionville Vineyards, 9 Rocktown Road, Ringoes, 908-788-0400; unionvillevineyards.com
Windmill Acres Farm, Atlantic Highlands, 732-291-0011
FOR MORE RUSTIC LOCATIONS IN NEW JERSEY, CLICK HERE.