Wisconsin Liquor Laws Threatening Wedding Barns

Photo Credit:  Elizabeth Haase Photography

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Haase Photography

Hosting a wedding in a beautiful Wisconsin barn has been an up-swinging trend for the past 5 years. We believe that barn weddings are so popular because setting a tone for your wedding day is just as important as selecting a theme. The atmosphere that surrounds a barn wedding is comforting and inviting. With all the stress that goes into planning a wedding to begin with, couples see a barn as a kind of sanctuary where they can embrace their roots, showcase their creativity and encompass all the beauty that Wisconsin has to offer into their big day. 

But recent legislative discussions surrounding whether wedding barns fall under the category as a “Public Place” has many barn venue owners and couples planning a barn wedding very concerned. The debate stems from the idea that any “public place” must have a liquor license or permit in order to serve alcoholic beverages. Many wedding barns came about almost by accident, as “mom and pop” farms began offering underutilized barns to couples dreaming of a rustic barn wedding.

Rustic Manor 1848 is unique in the sense that we're not your average Wisconsin barn. We may look like an 1848 barn on the inside but we're fully equipped with all of today modern amenities such as heating, cooling, 3 indoor restrooms, bridal quarters, AV equipment and a full Class B Liquor Licence. Our property features indoor and outdoor ceremony locations allowing couples to spend the entire day with us with no need to commute from ceremony to reception. 12 acres of country grounds offer endless photography backdrops where guests enjoy strolling along our walking paths that wind from wooded hideaways to a private area along the Bark River. What truly makes us stand out is that couples enjoy the evening of their wedding in our on-site Bed & Breakfast, eliminating the need for travel after a long day of celebrating. My husband and I met in Culinary School so breakfast is pretty delicious; or so we've been told. 

But not all wedding barns were designed in such a unique way. Unlike Rustic Manor 1848, many barns do not have a license to serve alcohol (beer, wine or even liquor) so many couples can currently bring their own alcohol to be served to guests on their wedding day. Legislation wants to change that, requiring all wedding barns to obtain a licence in order for alcoholic beverages to be served on their grounds. Passing of this law would certainly change wedding plans for couples across Wisconsin. If laws change it would force the venue to obtain a liquor licence before continuing operation. If they cannot afford a licence or if none are available in that municipality, all scheduled events would be prohibited to serve alcohol. Essentially, couples would be forced to host a “dry” wedding. Thankfully, Rustic Manor 1848 couples have nothing to worry about as we’ve been fully licensed since opening in 2015.

Couples want to feel taken care of, not just on their wedding day, but during the entire planning process. I believe that couples value our knowledge and attention to their details the most; the beautiful backdrop is an added bonus. If couples don't feel at ease with the team they've hired to bring their wedding to life, then it'll be impossible for them to truly enjoy their big day. Handling the safe service of alcoholic beverages is an important part of how we care for our guests. That's where Rustic Manor 1848 stands out among the rest. 

To review Wisconsin Alcohol Polices in relation to our beverage services, please click HERE.
To read a recent article on this topic published by the Journal Sentinel, please click HERE.