Let me start with a little background. Dave and I had been together for 9 years prior to getting engaged in February 2013. We had always wanted to eventually get married in the fall, so despite it only being 8 months away we decided to aim for an October 5th wedding. The first step was knowing someone with an appropriately rustic property with a barn to turn into a venue in the time we had, and luckily Dave’s brother owned property in upstate New York and agreed to allow us to use his place, and thus we started spending many of our weekends leading up to the event traveling 4 and a half hours northwest to make this happen!
When we first arrived to get to work on the barn we discovered that the wind had some how manipulated the back side’s door off the tread.
Next stop, the barn interior.
Yep, sure looks like a barn alright.
The property had once been a horse farm, so the barn had 6 stalls inside. But seeing as we wanted an open space, those had to come down.
Connor couldn’t have been more in heaven than when he helped us demo the barn.
Mostly things were handled with the claw side of a hammer and a crowbar, a few stubborn pieces got the sawzall treatment.
The stall doors were a bit tricky as they couldn’t be just lifted off the track, you had pull the door entirely to the side. The problem with that was the track for the next door was pretty well in the way of making it easy.
Rickety wood ladders!
All told, everything came down relatively easy, so 5ish hours later the barn now looked like this
Still incredibly dirty, but significantly more space! (Giant projects like this require a fair amount of positive thinking during their undertaking I find. Also much easier when the project is complete and things turned out well but I’m getting ahead of myself.) All in all a good amount of progress for a weekend.
Once we had cleared out the barn, we discovered that the barn had been flooding a decent amount. That’ll happen when you construct a barn at the bottom of 2 hills. Dave decided it would be best to dig out a trench to try to start diverting the flow of water away from the barn, allowing the dirt floor to start drying out.
Its hard to tell from this prospective but it certainly helped to keep the barn dry from this side.
Next we abandoned the barn, which at this point had all the junk wood sorted to the back left third and all the wood worth using on the back right third, to deal with the corral.
A good deal of the posts had rotted enough at ground level that they were already severed and either nearly knocked over or already laying flat. We started out the day kicking over the fence portions that were close to falling (which was fun as all get out) before turning our attention to the posts that seemed still sturdy and solid. After pulling up a few, we discovered that there was 4 feet of post exposed above ground, and 4 feet of post sunk downwards, so we quickly reassessed and the boys ended up taking a hand saw to them at ground level. It naturally became a competition of who could cut down the post the quickest.
With that out of the way we could return our attention to the barn during our next trip.
After removing the junky wood and storing the good stuff outside of the barn, we dealt with the barn floor. Since the barn had been flooding, there were deep ditches and very uneven floors in there. I don’t have a picture that does it justice, but just know 6 Cubic yards of dirt is a giant mound about as tall as I am, and with Connor, a few buddies of his and our friend GT we were able to get a level surface in there.
Which brings us to the tables! I’d like to mention that each board is a 14 foot x 1 foot x 3 inches board. And then we attached 3 together and added legs. Those things are so so so so heavy Dave and I together can’t move them, we had to farm that work out to GT and Connor.
Here’s Dave using his weight to try to keep the boards aligned while our buddy Todd drills the tables secure.
NEXT UP, DECORATING!
We ordered a boatload of these 50 foot long string lights to string up in the barn, and burlap galore. 120 pounds of burlap, shipped by UPS freight.
Luckily Katy, Anthony and Bryant were able to donate their time for a weekend to come help us hang things. Which I’m super appreciative of as it really did take all of us to make the burlap draping happen. At any point there was 1 person in the loft, 2 people on the ladder, one person with a stick to help keep the burlap up before it was stapled into place and another person on the ground to get perspective and make sure things were even. It was a process for sure.
Time to address the dance floor. We took those stall doors we had saved and sawed off the tops.
And then butted them together in the middle of the barn at the far end under where all the string lights spread out and dipped.
Also seen in this picture are the serving tables, which where much simpler and MUCH lighter than the other tables let me tell you. Dave made simple sawhorse legs out of pine boards and then attached 2 thinner and shorter reclaimed oak boards atop them.
Meanwhile, (and bare with me here, I know you want to see the big payoff, and its coming soon) lets talk craft projects. During the week when we were forced back to Jersey away from the barn I kept busy with some small projects. First up, personalized mason jars to be used as a placeholder and favor.
I found this tutorial about using a product called Armour Etch and got busy. Using masking tape and vinyl letter stickers I was able to set up the glasses.
And then after slathering the appropriate area in etching cream…
70 personalized mason jars!
(not all 70 pictured, I was in the process of running them in the dishwasher in batches)
Since I was on an etching roll, I grabbed 6 glass pitchers to etch a J on. After looking around at different craft shops and deciding that too many of the old english Js looked more like Is, I took a plain vinyl sticker and used a razor to trace a font I did like.
And the finished product…
With those pitchers, these lanterns, gourds, pumpkins and Indian corn we ordered from autumnharvestpumpkins.com already prewaxed and shipped directly to the farm plus a disc of wood cut from lumber for each table, we were pretty set in the way of center pieces.
Last thing I swear, painted signs for the evening.
Some wood from the barn.
Printed out words and carbon paper to transfer an outline to then paint onto the wood, as described by this tutorial here. Additionally used a sharpie and outlined the letters to make them pop.
I then took a small grit sandpaper to it to make it look more weathered. (in this picture I had only just done the S for comparison)
All signs done. I didn’t distress the Wedding sign as I wanted that to be as visible as possible coming up the hill to the property.
And finally, how it all turned out. All photos from here on out were taking by my lovely friend Brett of BCexposures!