Big Red Barn Dance – Part 3

cherry and apple blossom centrepiece Finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for…

Today, Lee & Katelynn show off the beautiful results of all their hard work and creative use of “treasures” in the conclusion of this 3-part series.

You can catch up on the back story here in Part 1.

Enjoy! – Rick

Decorating to suit the venue

With the walls and ceiling white and the floor poured, we were just days away from the big day. All that was left was the setup!

clawfoot bath tub and washing machineLuckily, after our big cleanout, we had an eclectic collection of old farm stuff. A tub that had been hauled out of the barn for my sister’s wedding was recommissioned to hold a couple kegs from the local brewery. An old washing machine was used to hold extra bottles and cups. (I was surprised to find that there were no leaks from either of these despite their decades of being forgotten).

view of decorated barn interiorSetting up the tables in a manner that accommodated everyone and didn’t exclude anyone was a challenge. We began with a CAD drawing of the reception area of the barn, then added tables with chair and people buffers and arranged until we found an acceptable floor plan. In practice, it took a little more effort and problem solving before everything was in a suitable spot.

Once the layout was complete, tables were covered with gingham table cloths in various colours, my grandmother created apple and cherry blossom centre pieces in old pickle jars and milk bottles and jars of jam were placed at each setting as a take-away favour.

At every table, we placed cards and pushpins and our guests were asked to write their best wishes and advice on the cards, then post each somewhere on the barn wall.

In the corner, we setup an apple ladder (which we still use in the orchard to this day) and hung wedding photos of our relatives.  My grandfather (who is now 90 years old) had long ago rescued a 4 foot wide saw blade from my great grandfather’s mill and hung it as a backdrop for the gift table.
apple ladder holds family photos the kelvinator ice box holds extra wine

Wine was placed on each table, but there were extra bottles that needed a home. My soon-to-be mother-in-law found “The Kelvinator”, an old icebox, in the corner and gave it a nice white paint job. The extra bottles of wine were cleverly hidden away in the Kelvinator until they were needed.  Accompanying the Kelvinator was an old apple barrel, another piece of history we still use on the farm to this day.

Square dancing and fiddling

fiddlers and square dance caller Gordon StobbeFollowing the dinner and dessert, the night’s entertainment was a square dance.  My father-in-law became interested in playing the fiddle after my wife left home (to fill the hole in his heart, she claims), and has attended several Gordon Stobbe fiddle camps in the past few years.  Gordon is an excellent square dance caller, especially for the beginner square dancers, so we were very pleased when he agreed to call for us.

square dancing newlyweds The fiddle music was provided by a group of young fiddlers from the Fredericton area, who requested as payment a donation to help fund their fiddling trip to France.

The square dance area was next to the mow, and almost a foot lower. My father-in-law provided some salvaged wrought-iron railing to separate the two areas and to act as a barrier in case the dancing got out-of-hand.

As the evening drew near, lanterns were lit to illuminate the path from the barnyard.

On reflection

lantern lighting path to the barnNow that nearly a year has passed since the cleaning process began, we’ve had some time to reflect.  Was it worth it? Yes, definitely.

We had a fantastic venue for our wedding that provided the welcoming farm-y atmosphere that we were aiming for.  We’ve received many compliments since; the best comment being that the whole affair was kind of like being in Alice in Wonderland, without the whole Queen of Hearts drama.

The weather, although cold and somewhat rainy at the beginning of the day, gave an ethereal atmosphere that we couldn’t have planned or executed better.  And now, almost a year later, the barn is an excellent place for gatherings, apple cider making, and storage for the orchard’s u-pick (don’t worry, we keep it organized and clean!).

And if this process has moved anyone to want to do a similar thing,
there’s a whole second level of the barn waiting to be purged!

To read more about the Big Red Barn Dance:

Big Red Barn Dance – Part 1

Big Red Barn Dance – Part 2

For more (and larger) pictures on Lee and Katelynn’s barnstorming adventure check out their “Time to clean out the barn!” forum thread at Old House Web.
Wedding photos: Chantal Arseneau

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