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Get Out of Town, | May 16, 2016

Rustic weddings


Decorations sit on display in the 100 year old barn of White Creek Acres. Wedding planner Morgan Banks says barn wedding themes range all over from country inspired to classy elegance. /Photo by Liz Meuser

The growing trend of country-inspired weddings has couples trading in china and chandeliers for string lights and mason jars, shifting away from the traditional big white wedding. 

A Southern Indiana staple, old wooden barns have found new life as destination wedding venues. While many are no longer suitable for modern farm life and equipment, their weathered planks and cavernous lofts make a charming backdrop for special events.

Morgan Banks, wedding planner and owner of Ashley Wedding & Events, says barn weddings first became popular about five or six years ago. Today, they continue to be favorites among couples looking to have relaxed and nature-inspired receptions. 

“I feel like couples personalize their wedding a little bit more when it’s a barn venue,” Banks says.

Personal touches might include family photos, cute signs and chalkboards or dessert buffets and pie bars instead of traditional wedding cakes. 

812 found three rustic retreats for picturesque celebrations. 

White Creek Acres 

6120 W. 930 South, Columbus



Season: May, June, September, October  

This quaint farm dates back to 1840 and is tucked in the rolling hills of Bartholomew County. It's a place where Pinterest dreams come true, says owner and wedding planner Juli Bartells. The property boasts a gazebo, pond and bride’s cottage, but the main centerpiece is the 100-year-old wedding barn. The family-run business works hard to create weddings that are “country-chic” -rustic with an elegant flair. The Bartells say comfort is key. They want the bride and groom to feel like “guests at their own wedding.”

Most memorable theme: “Bee Happy,” a nod to the groom’s parents’ beekeeping business with take-away jars of honey. 

Montgomery Farms 

1122 Radio Tower Road, Underwood 



Season: April to the end of October 

Owners Dallas and Janine Montgomery have owned this family-run farm business for over 14 years. It began as an agri-entertainment site that specialized in fall activities before opening exclusively for weddings and events in 2013. A couple can hold their reception and ceremony in the 150-year-old barn or on the great lawn. Mandi Bieda, daughter of Dallas and Janine, works as the venue coordinator. She wants to give others the experience of “having that wonderful day where it’s all about you and your love.”

Most memorable theme: Accent decorations of burlap and lace that matches the barn. Details of gold, champagne and cream. 

Sycamore Farm  

1720 W. That Road, Bloomington



Season: May through October

Horses grazed on this 20-acre wildlife habitat, located a few minutes from downtown Bloomington, before owners Ted and Diann Lock began hosting weddings in 2012. The farmstead includes two renovated horse barns with the original stall fronts in black and white trim. Although the farm no longer breeds horses, visitors can meet current dwellers, two Standardbred Pacers and mini-donkeys Alice and baby Liberty. The Locks say meeting and hosting families from all over the country is a joy.

Most memorable theme: Pastels, including groomsmen in pastel-hued Bermuda shorts.

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