Red Shed brings dairy barns back to life

Demand for barn weddings has not run its course and one farm family in Michigan says it’s infused new life and revenue into their business.

Ashley Lubbers tells Brownfield her wedding eight years ago was the start of the Red Shed and converting old dairy farm outbuildings, including a 140-year-old barn, into event spaces.

“Barns had been sitting here sort of forgotten, neglected, and it was amazing to be able to give them new life and bring new life and new purpose to the farm through the events,” she shares.

Within two miles of the Hudsonville crop farm, Lubbers says there are four barn venues and she’s still booked for the next 18 months.

“And we see it as a positive because I do think there’s high demand, we can’t service everybody that’s looking for it,” she says.  “Each barn is so unique so just because our barn is a perfect fit for one bride, the next bride, it might not be.”

While a different venture for the farm, she says weather, logistics, and safety issues persist.

“It is a lot of work and it does add complexities to your business model that’s a lot different than farming,” she explains.   “You have to be cautious protecting yourself with liabilities and ensuring that your guests are protecting themselves.”

Lubbers says she also enjoys that every event provides opportunities for education in farming from crop rotation to agricultural careers.

Brownfield interviewed Lubbers while the Red Shed hosted a Michigan Ag Council’s Down on MI Farm event.

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