How to Decorate and Cater a Barn Wedding Reception

How to Decorate and Cater a Barn Wedding Reception

If you're looking for a wedding reception that has a rustic-yet-elegant feel, consider hosting it in a rural country barn. One of our partner venues is the Prickel Barn, which features more than 7000-square-feet of space, exposed wood walls, stained concrete floors, and an open-rafter ceiling accented by sparkling chandeliers. The recently renovated barn combines both casual and contemporary features to create an unforgettable event space for your special day.

When decorating and catering a barn reception, take the features that make the space unique into consideration. Use design and decor elements that complement the tall, wood walls, high ceilings, rafters, and exposed beams. Just because the event is taking place in the country doesn't mean that you can't use refined pieces and textiles such as crystal and lace. At the same time, be sure to provide plenty of comfortable seating arrangements for guests to keep with the relaxed feel. 

If you're having the reception professionally catered, a service that we also provide, your menu can also reflect the event's casually elegant style. You can serve a combination of down-home comfort foods and gourmet treats and drinks made with locally-sourced ingredients. 

Following are some ideas for decorating and catering a rustic-yet-refined barn wedding reception:

Decorating Tips 

1. Seating Arrangements 

When it comes to furnishing the barn, comfort should be key. The space will have sweeping windows and wide doors, allowing the indoors and outdoors to blend seamlessly, so provide seating arrangements that reflect that casual feel.

For instance, you can set up a groupings of hale bales throughout the space to create an authentic barn atmosphere, as well as provide plenty of photo backdrops. Choose long tables made out of reclaimed barn wood if possible, and use mismatched chairs for a shabby chic look. Add both comfort and interest to the chairs with plush white or floral-printed cushions, which you can also reuse at home after the event is over.

As an alternative to long tables, you can set up small, cozy round tables to encourage conversation among guests and to create a warm atmosphere. As a rustic touch, use wooden picnic tables instead. 

2. Table Decor

Once the seating arrangements are set up, it's time to decorate the tables. Use vintage lace tablecloths or runners for a country-inspired look, or go with classic red-and-white checked tablecloths for a charming farmhouse appeal. 

Keep centerpieces simple-yet-beautiful with vintage crystal vases filled with wildflowers in the summer, or white blooms, such as roses or hydrangeas, throughout the rest of the year. Wrought iron lanterns filled with LED tealight will provide soft illumination on the tables. 

Mason jars filled with vibrantly hued vintage-style candies will give the tables pops of color and will double as favors when set next to each guests' place setting.

3. Lighting Elements

You can infuse the barn with a romantic vibe by wrapping strings of small white lights around rafters, beams and railings. If the event is also taking place outdoors, wrap the lights around trees as well. The elegant chandeliers at the Prickel Barn will also light up the barn at night, while looking just as decorative during the day.

Other lighting ideas include white, spherical paper lanterns suspended from the ceiling and mason jars filled with LED tea lights. 

Catering Tips 

1. Farm-Fresh Foods

In keeping with the rustic, down-to-earth feel of the event, consider serving trays filled with seasonal produce and cheeses from local farms. Provide plenty of comfort foods, such as macaroni and cheese, fried chicken and mashed potatoes and gravy as well. You can also serve grilled foods, such as hamburgers and steaks, if you want to prepare part of the meal outdoors.

2. Gourmet Desserts and Beverages

One way to add elegance to a mostly casual menu is with gourmet beverages, such a punches made with fresh, seasonal fruits, and coffee dessert drinks prepared with high-end syrups. Serve desserts that reflect the region, such as red velvet cupcakes in the South, or decadent chocolate and peanut butter candies here in Ohio, to keep with the indigenous feel of the event. 

 

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With multiple exquisite venues in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, a reputation for providing delectable cuisine and unparalleled service, and more than 50 years experience in the food and catering industry, the future of McHale’s Events and Catering is unlimited.

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