Converting agricultural buildings such as barns into idyllic countryside wedding venues is a trend that has been picking up momentum. Diversification continues to be a hot topic in the farming community, as experts continue to emphasise its economic potential ahead of the CAP subsidy changes post-Brexit.

Wedding venue business consultant Kelly Chandler spoke to Farmer’s Guardian last month outlining what farmers need to consider before embarking on this kind of diversification project:

“Today, the UK wedding market is a £10 billion industry and with more and more imaginative couples looking to make their special day just that little bit different, the thought of tying the knot in a countryside barn or in an independent rural location that houses a marquee is not exactly what you would call ordinary,” says Kelly.

“During the last 18 months, I’ve advised and helped farm owners who have large barns over 300 years old to convert them into stylish wedding venues, which offer unique and picturesque settings for the bride and groom’s big day.”

“Farm weddings can be fun and they can be stylish, with couples being able to choose a converted livestock barn, beautifully restored, or a historic farmhouse dating back to the 15th century for the ceremony.”

“And without a doubt some of the interiors of the converted barns are as stylish as you will find anywhere – with their rustic charm contributing to a truly romantic atmosphere (and ability to transform itself into a party setting for the evening entertainment).”

“Change of use and legal requirements such as public liability insurance, health and safety and the granting of an alcohol licence are all part of the process. Don’t rush into anything or make rash decisions – far better to begin slowly and let the business develop organically.”

“Whilst there’s no guarantee that diversification will boost a farming business, such a course of action can be very rewarding. And, in addition to commercial business consultants, there’s always government advisers and your bank or accountant ready to give you advice on how best to set about tackling a new venture.”

“Currently, half of all UK farms use some form of diversified activity, bringing in an average of £10,400 extra revenue per farm.”

“Remember, however, that diversification will not work for every farm business so talk finances with your advisers before making any decision.”

Source: FG Insight

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