Updated: Mar 22
It has been a few years in the making, but we are finally licensed to hold events on our farm. Whew, what a ride it has been! Our farm is the first to obtain an assembly permit under the agricultural code in our county of Kitsap in Washington State.
While group line dances goes out of style, guests never tire of getting to meet farm animals and tour gardens.
Starting a venue requires a check-in with your local community development department. You do not want to get shut down by your local governing agency once you have committed to your customer.
Are you on a well? Your local health department may want to ensure the events will be catered and only bottle water used for consumption.
What about your neighbors? Be sure to consider parking, noise, traffic. A good rule of thumb is you will need one parking space per 3-4 guests in attendance. If parking is limited, be sure to encourage car pooling.
Speaking of neighbors...maybe they would like to get involved. Do they have teenagers who may want to valet park cars, help with catering, set-up, tear down?
Do you need to hire additional staff? Decide how much of the event you want to manage and then secure help for the rest.
While a beautiful barn is sure to draw in the crowds and excitement, you may wish to begin with minimal start-up costs. Guests can rent tents, chairs and tables from a local party rental store.
Don't forget to obtain insurance for your new business. Meet with a commercial insurance vendor and openly discuss your plans. We suggest requiring guests to obtain event insurance for your protection and theirs. This is easily obtained through companies like wedsafe.
We have partnered with a few local caterers to offer farm to reception table menus. Look up the best caterers in town and invite them out to your farm. We have the privilege of working with Ambrosia, Essence of the Thymes, and a local barbecue caterer Bubba's Country Cue. By partnering with them, we are increasing our exposure and offering an amazing value to our guests while forming reciprocating relationships in our community.
Do your homework and take tours of other venues. Ask recent newly weds what they liked about their venue and what they wish would have gone smoother. Starting any new business is work. You must devote time to making it thrive. But, if you can stay focused, having a farm wedding venue can have big pay-offs both financially and by creating ever-lasting memories for those who choose to use your farm for their event.