Ever remember hearing this: “Close the door, were you born in a barn?” Or maybe those words came out of your mouth when someone left your house and left the door open. This saying was based on the fact that barn doors were left open by farmers to let animals in or out.
Now the old barn is used in other ways than housing the farm animals. Today, it can be a beautiful wedding destination.
So, you want to get married in a barn? The trend of hosting your wedding on a farm, complete with a barn for your reception, is not going anywhere anytime soon. And for a couple of former Nevada residents, they invested in just that…an old barn to hold weddings and receptions in.
Brother and sister duo of Nick and Andrea Uhlenhopp and David and Pam Uhlenhopp Karkosh, are now the proud owners of The Old Fifty-Six, located west of Grundy Center on Highway 175.
The Old Fifty-Six is a historical barn, built in 1907. The two couples decided to purchase the venue, partially as an investment for their futures.
Nick and Pam grew up in Nevada, the children of the late Darwin and Mary Uhlenhopp. They both married and now they each have two daughters. Nick is the assistant athletic direction of football operations at Western Kentucky University and his wife, Andrea, is a senior account executive with Hulafrog. Nick and Andrea handle the bills, contracts and other business operations of the Old Fifty-Six venue.
Pam is a labor and delivery nurse at The University of Iowa Hospital and her husband, David, is a farmer with Interstate Swine. Pam and David handle the day-to-day operations at the barn, tours and wedding preparations.
According to Andrea, the Old Barn is mainly used for weddings.
“We are mainly a wedding venue,” she said. “However, we can accommodate receptions, parties, family reunions, holiday gatherings, company parties, dinners and family reunions. This past April, we hosted a concert featuring Cody Hicks after the Grundy Center Fun Run.”
Many couple getting married today see their wedding as an expression of their identity. Deciding to get married in a barn could express their love of being connected, not only to each other, but to nature.
“When I was getting married, my mom was sick and didn’t feel well,” explained Pam. “I couldn’t have gotten everything ready without my family and our amazing friends stepping up and helping. Each week I get to be that person for the couples that get married here at the Old Fifty-Six.”
On the business end of things, Andrea gave a brief overall view of the property.
“We specialize in weddings by offering an all-inclusive price,” she tells. “Included is options for both an indoor and outdoor ceremony, a large reception area featuring tons of historic charm with visible rafters in the upper level of the barn. A separate bridal suite and grooms’ space round out the ultimate wedding venue. The price includes the barn from Friday until Sunday, tables and chairs for reception space and wooden benches and church pews for ceremony seating. We are happy to now offer the house on the property as a rental option year-round. The fully furnished farmhouse features five bedrooms and 3.5 baths. It’s a charming spot for special memories with your family and friends.”
Often couples holding their wedding and reception at The Old Fifty-Six live in urban areas and want to celebrate in a calmer, less complicated situation, removed from the big city. Sometimes, the bride and groom will bring a favorite animal to be part of the experience with them.
“A couple weeks ago, we had a couple have their prize bull in their wedding,” tells Pam. “You never know what people are going to do and what is important to them.”
The Old Fifty-Six offers several wedding packages to fit the desire and needs of the bride and groom. Couples can arrange their own decorations, food options and entertainment, as well as rent them on site of The Old Fifty-Six.
Andrea explained that there are many options to the planning and what the couple want to do with their wedding. A time to meet with those interested in holding an event at The Old Fifty-Six can be arranged by contacting them for a tour. They can be reached through the Facebook page “The Old Fifty-Six: barn weddings and events” to arrange for a private tour.
“Overall, it’s been really fun,” commented Pam. “Last fall, I was helping put batteries in candles and decorating the ceremony area as guests were arriving. I love meeting new people, hearing their stories and being a part of their special day.”
And don’t worry, you will not hear anyone yelling to shut the door, even if you were born in a barn.