Are Rustic Barn Weddings on a Downward Trend?

Are Rustic Barn Weddings on a Downward Trend?

Barn weddings and rustic wedding venues have been in vogue for several years now, with the trend skyrocketing between 2008 and 2013.  But are rustic weddings and New England wedding barns on a downward trend?  (If you’re not too familiar with barn weddings, here is a comparison of barn weddings and traditional weddings.)

I’m not much of a trendy person.  “Trend” is now, but now is so short.   Instead of fads, I believe in timelessness and originality.

The Agora Grand Event Center was created when I fell in love with a beautiful historic landmark – the former St. Patrick’s Church, Maine’s tallest building – and then applied an almost blasphemous coat of creative repurposing.  (For example, the bar, where we serve top-shelf 100% agave tequila anejo, was created from elements of a $2 million church pipe organ that the Portland Diocese had disassembled.)

On the flip side, my wife, Annie, can be quite trendy.  There’s nothing wrong with knowing and applying the latest fashion, knowledge, and know-how.

Except when it comes to your wedding.

There’s nothing wrong with keeping up with the latest clothing fashion, knowing that you’ll be sending a few boxes to Goodwill in the next couple years.  Nothing wrong with furnishing your kitchen with stainless steel appliances, even if they’ll be out of vogue in 5 or 10 years.

But when it comes to your wedding, all you’ll have are your pictures.  Do you really want to look at them in 20 years – or even 5 years – and cringe at how horribly out of date they are?  According to some recent sources, rustic barn weddings, such as barn wedding venues in Maine, may be on a downward trend.

In December, Vogue Magazine’s 14 Wedding Trends to Avoid in 2017 said this: “Rustic has become an almost taboo word.”  Instead, “timeless” was its lovely antithesis.

A month later, said in What’s In and What’s Out for Weddings in 2017 that “Barnyard Bashes” are out, while “Refined and Regal Venues” are in:  “We are hearing from our clients that they are over the ‘barn’ wedding,” [Event Planner Shannon] Rosenbaum shares. “They’re looking at more elegant, timeless properties like historical buildings, ballrooms and manicured gardens for 2017.”

A month after that, Refinery29, calling barn weddings one of the worst trends of 2017, made this pronouncement: “If you’ve never so much as stepped foot on a farm, [a barn wedding is] probably not the right setting for you.”

A couple months later, The Chicago Tribune jumped on the bandwagon of hating barn weddings (Isn’t it funny how denouncing a trend is itself trendy?) and instructed brides to “[j]ust look over the contract carefully to make sure farm animals are not included.”

Setting aside the subjective views of wedding experts, we can look at objective data on the search trending of “barn weddings,” thanks to Google Trends, shown below.  Searches have stopped increasing and have been dropping over the past couple years.  To use the mathematical term, the search volume is “concave down,” which is another way of saying that search volume is not just decreasing, it is decreasing at a progressively faster rate.  In other words, according to this chart, the barn wedding fad may be on a downward trend.


wedding trends barn weddings traditional


However, to be fair, we should also look at trends of competing wedding concepts, including beach weddings, hotel weddings, church weddings, and destination weddings.  What we see from this is that searches for all of these popular concepts have been decreasing.  In fact, “barn weddings” is the only search whose volume has increased since 2008, although it is has been dropping since around 2013.


wedding trends fads beach church destination hotel barn


We might have chalked up the decrease in search volume, starting around 2008, to the housing bust and recession, but it has continued to fall long after that.  Also, more importantly, the number of weddings per year has not been decreasing — so why has the search volume systematically dropped across all major search terms?

I don’t know!  Perhaps brides are relying more on word of mouth, magazine descriptions, blogs, and reviews on such websites as  Perhaps brides are just better informed now and are less trusting of whatever search results pop up in Google.

The question posed by this blog post was: Are Rustic Barn Weddings on a Downward Trend?

The answer?  It doesn’t matter!

Every wedding is individual

A rustic Maine barn wedding venue might fit you and your partner like a glove.  By all means, if you’re looking for great country wedding ideas, Maine (and New England in general) are the ideal places for barn weddings.  In fact, several barn venues are listed in our post on the Best Wedding Venues in Maine.  Or maybe you’ve always dreamed of being a princess in a castle-inspired wedding venue.  Again, New England is full of regal, classic wedding venues.  Or maybe all you’ve ever wanted was a cozy backyard wedding like in Father of the Bride.

So instead of considering what’s popular, I’d encourage you to follow your heart, forget the trends, and pursue the wedding of your dreams.  This is your special day; all that matters is how you feel when you’re surrounded by family and friends as you commit your love and life to your partner.

Still, if you happen to be searching for a classic and luxurious wedding venue, here is a photo of a Maine landmark that I hold in high regard, the Agora Grand Event Center.


large elegant wedding inside Agora Grand Wedding Castle Maine

Agora Grand Wedding Castle