The White Barn is dream of
Madison, Ind., couple
New wedding venue offers a taste of the country
(February 2017) – When Brian and Shelly Dews were considering something they could one day do in their retirement years, they thought of the perfect business. The idea for The White Barn Venue was created, and the couple knew they had something special they could share with others.
The White Barn Venue sits on Brian’s’ family farm in Jefferson County, Ind. “We purchased 49 acres in March 2016,” said Shelly. “We brought in an Amish team and started renovations” from March through November.
Renovation work consisted of converting a barn built in the early 1800s into 3,300 square feet of usable rental space. The barn had hand-hewn beams that the Amish were able to repair, and in doing so “stay true to the authenticity of the barn,” said Shelly.
The barn is 30 feet from top to bottom and includes a large hayloft. The venue can accommodate 170 guests inside and up to a total of 300 because of wedding tents that can also be set up.
“I had always wanted to purchase my family farm,” said Brian. He knew the barn was already in place because he had grown up raising cattle on the farm. He also knew he wanted to buy it but wasn’t sure what to do with the farm.
So together they came up with the concept of The White Barn Venue. “It was a great barn to convert into a wedding venue,” he said.
Photo by Helen E. McKinney
Brian and Shelly Dews pose for a picture in front of the sign for their new business.
Shelly described the atmosphere as “rustic, elegant and shabby chic.” The historic barn now contains a grand chandelier, seven by six foot white draping and 10-foot doors. “It’s the picture perfect place to get married,” she said.
• For more information, contact The White Barn Venue at (812) 599-7922 or visit their Facebook page.
When it came to converting the barn and beginning a new business, they put their heads together to work out all of the details. “Brian thought about it for five years. He thought it all the way through,” she said.
Shelly is in her 18th year in marketing. “I have developed a lot of great relationships in surrounding counties,” which has helped spread word of their business.
She also has a friend who is a wedding coordinator. Shelly gained valuable experience by helping her friend plan the different aspects of a wedding.
Brian’s background is in quality engineering, which he said gave him the edge in the “detail planning” part of the business.
Even though the official grand opening won’t be until June 1, the couple has already booked some weddings for their venue. Shelly encourages couples to come out and schedule a tour to see what they have to offer.
“We have over 40 items to choose from,” to customize a wedding, she said. Options include a fire pit and a 150-inch converter screen for videos. She can also suggest local vendors for certain details that she might not provide.
The renovation actually consists of two phases. Now that Phase 1 is complete (the renovation of the main barn) the Dews’ are beginning work on Phase 2.
This consists of a new construction in the form of a carriage house with restrooms and an area for the bridal party to get dressed for the big day.
“Eventually, the carriage house will contain a honeymoon suite upstairs,” said Shelly. The couple wanted to try and have the carriage house completed before booking a lot of events, so they would have more amenities to offer couples.
Shelly said the setting is part of what makes the venue so appealing. “It’s attractive because its five minutes from downtown Madison. It’s also unique because of the barn, the year it was built and what the Amish have done to it.” A lot of people drive by, but once you step foot inside, you will be amazed, she said.
The couple has definitely found something to do in their retirement and “leave for our children and grandchildren,” said Shelly. “Brian’s parents would be thrilled to know how the property will touch others’ lives.”
The White Barn Venue is currently open for business and located at 501 Thomas Hill Rd. in Madison.
Beginning in 2018, it will operate on a seasonal schedule from April through Nov. 1 each year.
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