The following is not a “how-to” guide on how to turn your rural property into a wedding venue business as it’s only a reflection of our experience. But, if my husband and I successfully turned our private property into a beautiful venue for weddings and other events, then you can too.
Our wedding venue property story
We did not purchase our property intending it to become a wedding venue. We were merely investors who happened upon a gorgeous piece of land that included a 3 bedroom farm house, rustic barn, and stage area. Before we bought it, the owner invited small bands to play there and guests would camp and enjoy weekend jams.
We had no intention of using the property for such entertainment. In fact, after the purchase, which included over 70 acres in Trade, Tennessee, we simply used the property to hang out with our family to play frisbee, enjoy small picnics with friends, and stay overnight in the cozy house, plus my husband loved the excuse to purchase a riding lawn mower to landscape and cut the grass.
One afternoon, I had invited a friend of mine to hike the trails around the property, trails that my husband manicured – another hobby of his and an additional excuse to purchase more yard machinery. It was this friend who said she knew a couple looking to get married on a farm, and wondered if we considered allowing people to use the space in this way. Honestly, it never crossed our mind, until that moment.
“It never crossed our mind, until that moment.”
My husband and I were not in event business and never dreamed of such an endeavor, but it did not take long for us to transition and open our doors to not only couples looking for a wedding venue but also those seeking a space to gather for retreats, family reunions, and other celebrations.
Following are the steps we took, and very quickly, our private property became our wedding venue, White Fence Farm Wedding & Event Venue. You can follow these steps to turn your rural property into a wedding venue business as well, but know each situation is going to be unique!
The steps you can take to turn your rural property into a wedding venue business:
Step 1: Attended a Wedding Expo
We attended a local Wedding Expo and walked around to meet the vendors, asking them what they thought about the idea and if there was currently a demand. We recommend this when you want to turn your rural property into a wedding venue business, so you know there’s a market for your venue.
Step 2: Invited Local Wedding Planner
We invited a local wedding planner to the property and took her suggestions on what couples want and how we can meet those needs (she loved it, by the way).
Step 3: Developed Branding
We did some brainstorming to come up with a name/brand. There was a small white fence around the property, and as is our style, we kept it simple, sticking to the name and painting a small sign to mark our spot. We also purchased a truck, reflective of the era, to serve as advertising throughout the area, entering it into parades, driving around town, and parking it outside our business office to help get the word out.
We also learned more about the property and its history to build our “story” and obtained the help of a graphic designer to create our logo. We then hired a website designer and put together our social media platforms complete with a digital marketing strategy.
Step 4: Property Adjustments
We took a very small pond, expanded it and stocked it with fish, adding a small wooden dock, providing a great spot for photos as well as created other scenic spaces for guests to enjoy. We created walking/hiking trails for guests to explore during their stay, with directional signage. We also built a big bonfire area (because who doesn’t like s’mores).
Step 5: Installed adequate utilities
The property, since it was a music venue, was already wired with plenty of electricity for guests to add lighting as well as amplification for musical entertainment. We started out with portable toilets but based on guest feedback, quickly hired a plumber and built two bathrooms, attached to the barn, one with a shower for guests who choose to camp overnight.
Step 6: Consulted
We consulted with our insurance agent and a local attorney to make sure we had adequate coverage and better understand the laws and policies in regard to events in the state of Tennessee. This is essential when you want to turn your rural property into a wedding venue business.
Step 7: Networked
We joined local wedding/event organizations and chambers to help us get the word out as well as continue to network with other wedding/event vendors in our market.
The wedding venue property adventure continues…
Over the next 10 years, we have added amenities, purchased furniture and tents that are available for rent, created additional lodging, and continued to make improvements. Yet, as we grow, we will always stay rustic and simple and most importantly, the property will keep its natural vibe that people seem to love. We hope this article helps you and your team turn your rural property into a wedding venue business.