By JEANNIE WILEY WOLF
The Barn at Walnut Creek combines rustic with a touch of glam.
“We wanted to appeal to both,” said Minette Evans who, along with her husband, Dave, owns the new venue north of Findlay.
“I know that rustic isn’t going to be in style forever. But the brick wall is timeless, and wooden beams aren’t necessarily rustic, they’re just ageless. And the crystal chandelier — you can’t not have a chandelier,” she laughed.
The venue at 5445 County Road 18 can accommodate up to 250 guests. Since opening in May, it has hosted 18 weddings, with another 81 events already on the books.
“Two years ago, if you’d have said, ‘Hey, we have 12 weddings booked for the future’, I’d be like, ‘That’s awesome,'” said Dave. “Saying 81, I just can’t believe it. We feel so blessed.”
The couple started thinking about a new business when they came across this parcel of land that was available for sale.
“But it was pretty big — 7½ acres — so we thought about different things we could do here,” Dave said. “And we thought that this would be the most rewarding thing because we’re part of most people’s most important day of their life.”
“And the most fun,” added Minette.
Another building on the property will serve as the couple’s new home and Dave’s shop, as he works as a contractor. Minette works at home as a quality control analyst for a mortgage company out of Indiana.
Once the couple settled on an idea and began formulating a building plan, they considered their own experiences. They had been guests at a few barn weddings that lacked air conditioning and indoor restrooms, so they made these creature comforts a priority. Another friend mentioned she had attended a May barn wedding and had to keep her coat on the whole time.
“So you can go from one extreme to the other,” Minette said. “Those were the kind of things we were like, ‘OK, we want to make sure we offer these things to people.'”
The hall took about three years to build, and the couple had about 20 weddings booked before the drywall even went up. Dave said they appreciated the fact that people could imagine and place their trust in what the couple had planned.
“We want to say thank you so much for trusting us, because we would have pictures on iPads and say, ‘This is what we want to do upstairs, this is what we want to do here’. … And we thank them so much that they trusted us that we were going to do that,” he said. “And probably everyone has said you kind of delivered over and above what you said you were going to do, so that makes us feel good.”
The venue’s name came from the walnut trees that grow on the property. A swale runs through the grassy area out back and into a field, and that inspired “Walnut Creek.”
The barn provides chairs, round tables, table linens and a bar area. A bridal suite upstairs provides space for the bridal party to prepare. There’s also a prep kitchen with a nearby caterer’s entrance, and brides and grooms are free to choose their own caterer.
“We don’t actually do the planning part, but we try to give as much information as we can and help out in whatever way we can, meaning set the tables and chairs up,” said Minette. “We put the linens on so they don’t have to do anything with that at all. And that really takes a lot of burden off, because it takes a lot of time to set those tables and chairs all up.”
A special price is offered for couples who want to book the hall for two days so they can decorate the day before their event.
Couples have gotten married both inside the hall and outside in a grassy area. There’s no extra charge, said Minette, but the couple must provide their own chairs for an outdoor ceremony.
Electrical outlets on the wooden ceiling beams can be used to string strands of lights if desired. Couples are free to do as much or as little decorating as they wish.
“It’s cool to see how everybody decorates. That’s a lot of fun because everybody does it a little bit different,” said Minette.
The Barn at Walnut Creek is already booking events into 2019 and 2020, and Dave and Minette say they are definitely enjoying their new venture.
“We’ve met so many wonderful people,” said Minette. “It’s fun to be part of the day and to know that we have at least a small hand in making it a great day.”
For more information, call 419-348-3593 or search The Barn at Walnut Creek on Facebook.