Lucy Nott: Farms are popular places to tie the knot

A couple of statistics in the latest National Wedding Survey caught my eye.

In 2023, 26% of wedding receptions took place in barn and farm wedding venues – and this figure has increased by 11% in the past two years.

See also: Lucy Nott – bring on the female combine drivers

About the author

Lucy Nott
Farmlife opinion writer
Lucy lives with her husband, a sixth-generation farmer, and their two children on a 100ha (250 acre) arable farm in Worcestershire. On the farm they have a passion for regenerative agriculture and aspire to transition to a regenerative system. They are also part of the Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot and are trialling lots of new things on the farm. They hosted their first LEAF Open Farm Sunday (LOFS) this year and Lucy is now the LOFS Ambassador for the West Midlands.
Read more articles by Lucy Nott

Why does this interest me? Well, I spend a lot of my time running my wedding planning business – which, curiously, means I spend a lot of time on other people’s farms.

Whether they are in converted barns, tipi venues or marquees, farms still seem to be the place to be for a wedding.

Most venue owners have the same story to tell. They loved their family farm, but needed something extra to make it a sustainable business.

It’s a labour of love to take on a conversion and I’ve worked in some beautiful venues that have diversified sympathetically while maintaining their farming heritage.

The UK wedding industry is worth £14.7bn a year. That’s quite a juicy figure and a luring headline to pull you in.

But, if you are tempted, think carefully. Weddings are all-consuming and not something that can be done half-heartedly on the side.

They require precise marketing, a top-quality client experience and a strong supplier network.

Plus, the industry has a very slow sales cycle (a standard engagement length is 18-24 months), meaning it will likely be a few years until you see a return on investment.

Besides wedding venues, I often encounter many other farms through the supplier team – whether it be ice-cream makers, hog roast providers, or a local cider or a food supplier to the caterers.

Weddings offer a lot of opportunities for direct-to-consumer products.

The wedding industry is hard work, but anything worthwhile requires effort and because the majority of work is done before the day itself, it’s by no means a big pay cheque for a single day’s work.

So, if you are considering this as a diversification, go for it. It really is magical seeing couples celebrating their love in the place that you love.

Too cheesy? Oh well, you’ll get used to it!