Who doesn’t love some real-wedding inspiration? I certainly do. Here’s a southern-
hemisphere shindig that we went to last week celebrating the marriage of our friends
Matt and Claudia (how gorgeous are they?).
They got married at a venue called “The Red Barn” in Matamata. Take note all you kiwi brides. If we were getting married in New Zealand, this is where I would go. It was amazing. A huge outdoor fireplace, and beautiful indoor/outdoor reception area.
Claudia’s parents rode a bus 22 hours to get to Buenos Aires from their home town of Barriloche and then had to board a plane for 13 hours. Matt worked hard to practice his vows en español and all of the speeches were translated so that her parents didn’t miss a beat.
The ceremony was outside under a huge beautiful oak tree.
Late night party hats, masks, boas, and whistles.
It was such a fun and beautiful wedding. And, an added bonus was that seeing a wedding unfold suddenly inspired Mr. Veggie to have a wealth of wedding ideas. He’s been all wedding talk for the past three days. He’s made unprompted suggestions about favors, table settings, and center-pieces. I’m starting to worry about him.
Another bonus: The wedding was in Matamata, a.k.a. Hobbiton, where the Lord of The Rings Hobbit Village was located during filming. No, we didn’t go on a tour. Who needs to with photo opportunities like this right in the center of town?
*All photos by me.
Remember my Camp v. Farm dilemma? Well, the more farms I looked into, the more wise to the “farm wedding” industry I became.
Most of the farms that I found that hosted weddings were not working farms any more (of course there are exceptions). While many of them used to be farms, they now exclusively do events. Some have a small veggie garden, and a few are actually working farms, but many don’t grow any food at all.
I asked one of the owners about this. He had been farming for 40 years and just started doing weddings 5 years ago. “The truth of it is, I can make more money on a wedding weekend than I can in practically a whole season of growing food. It’s a better investment for me to keep renovating for events than to put money into growing food”. Huh? Wow.
So, if the food wasn’t going to be grown on the farm (in most cases), what were we getting for our money? A beautiful venue. A finely catered meal (generally organic, some local). Great service. All this for a fairly high price tag.
Sigh. Buh bye beautiful farms.
I love your refurbished barns and picturesque settings. I love your waiters and your matching dinnerware. I will dream about being one of the beautiful brides on your website enjoying her elegant wedding. You host gorgeous weddings that I swoon over, but I think we are just too rustic and hippy for you.
Too rustic and hippy for a farm? Go figure.
Of course, this is just our experience. I know that there are some great farms out there that do wedding events. And when you choose to host your wedding at places like these, you are helping to support local farmers (of the produce, not wedding variety). One that I came across is Broadturn Farm.
Any others out there that you know of? I would love to restore my faith in the farm wedding industry by finding other food-producing venues. Or did anyone have a really great experience at a non-food-producing farm venue that might help change my mind?
So, thinking about our wedding venue wishlist, I began to do some intensive googling. My keywords? “farm wedding”, “organic wedding”, “thrifty wedding”, “eco wedding”, “barn wedding”, “cheap wedding”. This was one of the first venues I stumbled upon. Organic local food? Absolutely stunning? I’m in love.
Mama Veggie: Umm… that looks kind of expensive.
Me: How expensive could it be? They’re farmers.
The answer: out of our price range for sure. Not just minimally, but way out. Onwards. Maybe I should emphasize the “cheap” keyword. Hmm… this looks interesting. “A Practical Wedding: Creative, Thrifty, Sane”. I like it. I especially like this one:
Mama Veggie: Ooh let’s call them right now.
Me: I’m already on the phone with them. Oh. They have a no alcohol policy. Thanks anyway, bye.
Not that we are big drinkers, but we like to have a good time. And I think Mr. Veggie might need a shot of something to get down the aisle. Onwards.
My search led me to many beautiful farms. Gorgeous farms. Stunning farms.
And that’s just three of them. I must have found dozens of gorgeous farms with gorgeous people willing to host our wedding.
But…I just kept going back to that great camp wedding. Camps have big beautiful lodges, right? Camps aren’t used much after summer, right? We might even be able to find a camp that has a farm! Let’s see what we can find.
Ooh check out this $2,000 wedding!
Or how great is this lodge?
Ugh, decisions decisions. Let’s make a list.
-Used to doing weddings so better service.
– Generally no need to rent things like linens, chairs, etc.
-More likely to have connections to local growers even if they don’t grow food themselves any more.
– Everyone could stay there all weekend. Fun!
– Looks like it would be a lot cheaper.
– May be more flexible since they don’t do weddings as often.
Which would you choose?
At the beginning of our relationship (many moons ago… well about 44 moons ago) Mr. Veggie and I lived on his farm in Andover, New Hampshire. He had a 200 year old farm house on 36 acres of land. The property was at the end of a dirt road and butted up against a few thousand acres of forest. We lived off the grid, with a well for water, composting toilet, and photovoltaic power. We had an acre of cleared land around the house where we would grow veggies while Bruce the dog lazed in the sun and ate raspberries from the bushes.
During this sun-drenched summer we lived in a bubble of new love. We talked about our future plans, our future babies, and even our future wedding. Funny how the wedding conversations tailed off as the prospect of actually getting married started to cross Mr. Veggie’s mind. Hmmm.
But anyway, we had decided that our house would be the perfect spot for a wedding. We could do the ceremony at a nearby lake and the reception at home. We could have people park at the log landing. We could rent out the Inn at the top of the hill. We could plant flowers in the spring that would be ready for late summer. Our best plan was that we would grow all of the food for the wedding ourselves. Heck, maybe even raise some animals for the big day. What better way to spend an engagement than working the land together in preparation for a marriage?
But plans changed. We quit our jobs. Mr. Veggie enrolled in a PhD program. Bruce the dog moved in with an auntie. We sold the farm and moved to New Zealand. Maybe the new owners will still let us have the wedding there? Probably not. We certainly can’t grow all the food anymore.
So, as I started looking for venues I had a rough idea of what I was looking for:
– A beautiful space for an outdoor ceremony.
– Willing to work with our desire for local organic food. Maybe some place that can grow the food, or has contact with a local farmer.
– Since we don’t get to see our family and friends very often, why not make this a full-weekend event. Let’s try to find a place where everyone can hang out all weekend.
– A relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
– A place that would work within our small budget.
What did I find? Stay tuned.