It was a cold, icy winter day but this sturdy, well-built antique barn in a pastoral setting was an inviting sight after a 2 hour drive with good music and conversation with my husband. After spending a couple hours learning about this incredible wedding venue, I wish I could have planned my own wedding here at South Farms. There’s a unique kind of ambiance and availability of certain features that I might normally not find at many other farm weddings. I also love the fact that there’s a hops yard across the road. Pioneer Hops is a grower of hops for many craft breweries in Connecticut. Don’t be surprised that South Farms’ in-house bartending service probably carries your favorite craft beer!
If you’re planning a “green wedding” then you’’ll love how there’s nothing really artificial about this place, everything that’s there looks natural, like it belongs, such as antique farm equipment used as decor. The owner Ben Paletsky can point out where this building material or item originally came from, Ben knows this place inside and out! If you love anything vintage, rustic, industrial, this is your haven.
If you’re interested in visiting this venue to possibly rent this space for a wedding or large event, contact Sarah Worden, the events director (and also a florist at Sarah Worden Natural Design). Ben Paletsky is the owner of South Farms, and it was so great to meet his wife Stephanie (and their dogs!). Thanks Ben, and Sarah, for being available to show me this huge space!
A Country Space Designed for a Gorgeous, Relaxed Wedding
When your guests drive up, there’s plenty of space in the parking lot. If it wasn’t so icy and sleeting, I would have walked out to the road to take a wide angle photo for you…but for wide angle property photos you can go to the South Farms website. Although it’s a smart idea to rent a bus or shuttle for guests so that they can hop on it after the wedding, South Farms seems to have ample parking space. No need to worry about trying to park cars in a wet field yourself, or trying to figure out where to park. Once guests arrive, they’ll be guided by South Farms staff to head to the ceremony location in the back if that’s where your ceremony is. There’s a nice gravel path connected to the courtyard also. Remember that you’re at a farm, so hopefully you’ll already have informed your guests know that it’s less formal attire. Ditch your stilettos, girlfriends! This is the country, let’s relax!
Rustic Ceremony Locations
You could have your ceremony in the great outdoors at South Farms. However, one unique feature at South Farms is that there is a smaller barn/nice shed that was turned into a semi-outdoor option for ceremonies. This includes all the white chairs (which are only at this ceremony area), a birch “altar” and a birch tree branch that covers the ceiling. I love the natural light that shines through the windows and from the large entryway. Because this space already has the chairs and decor up front, luckily you won’t have to worry about decorating much in this space, which makes it easy to make the call to bring the ceremony inside in case of rain. However, some couples choose to have their ceremony here in this space because it’s a nice shady area in this wide open farmland space. This building is very close to the cocktail area, and the main barn where the reception will be held.
Enter into an Elegant Barn Reception Area
Enter into the main barn, or the “Parlor Room” where rustic meets elegance. You’re not going to find plastic tables nor cloth-covered chairs here. The large windows and simplicity of this space is inviting. Gaze across the concrete floor, across gorgeous, heavy duty farm tables surrounded by an eclectic collection of wood chairs. The center of the room has a higher ceiling, which is mostly metal, and cafe lights are draped across. I love how the clean metal reflects some light. Most barns have very dark wood ceilings, and I love how this adds an open air feel. Literally, the barn is also cool since there’s air conditioning, and if it’s a chilly day, then there’s heat!
The owner Ben pointed out that all of these dark wood farm tables were custom-made and were finished with a Japanese wood finishing technique that uses fire, called Shou Sugi Ban. These surfaces are SO smooth that you can rub your hand all over this and be splinter-free! Who wants a wedding with cheap farm tables that gives you splinters on your arm? Not me! These tables were not sanded down, but the wood finishing technique is really effective in creating a great surface. You can still even see the blade cut patterns across the grain. If you’re still searching for a venue, and considering a tented wedding, keep in mind that you’d likely have to rent tables like these, as well as chairs! At South Farms you don’t have to worry about the tables or chairs. There are 175 really cool chairs for your true, farm-to-table dinner! I can imagine a really awesome wedding with mismatched plates, silverware, and jars of flowers for centerpieces.
I love how this reception area, aka “The Parlor Room” is very roomy. It would be still cozy and warm on cold days, but also chill in warm months with plenty of space for dancing. Typically dancing occurs near the big staircase, but when I visited South Farms on this day, Powerstation Events was setting up a big stage for an event. (It was a concert featuring the musicians Soul Case & Becky Kessler, complete with beer from Two Roads Brewing Co, and grub from Birchwood Catering Co.). Next to the space where the stage was setting up, there is a staircase that leads to the Hayloft.
Hang Out in the Hayloft
The Hayloft is a neat space where you could do a bride & groom “first look” or maybe it could just be a place where you can chill out with your guests during your wedding. The staircase that leads up to this mezzanine is very sturdy, made out of steel and big wood beams, which is great because it’s important that any guest access to a loft is safe, secure, and lighted! Rest your arms on the railing with a mug of craft beer, or have a seat up here. The vintage furniture up here looks like it could belong in a quaint victorian or colonial house. That window light is gorgeous, and I can envision a moody, serene portrait of an elegant bride, from a different angle.
There’s a small little hideout room that extends from the hayloft that’s great spot to hide and touch up your hair or makeup in front of this huge vintage mirror. It’s a small, French-country inspired room that’s designed for just last minute getting ready things, or storage of personal belongings of the wedding party. Most brides just come here for that, after getting ready at a large room at a nearby inn or hotel.
- plethora of spots for photos around the property for outdoorsy couples (photos to come in spring/summer!)
- upgraded, real restrooms (no need to rent porta-potties!)
- country breezes, along with heating and air conditioning!!!
- one wedding a day!
- relationships with a variety of catering companies, including caterers that focus on locally-sourced, farm-to-table food
- no need to rent cafe lights, wine barrels, as a lot of rustic decor is there!
- a dedicated kitchen area available to caterers Summer of 2018
How to Book South Farms
Before visiting South Farms, make sure you scope out photos of South Farms on Google. You can also visit their website, or review more venue details about South Farms at the Venue Report. To schedule a tour, contact Sarah Worden at South Farms. Happy Venue Hunting!