hornbaker gardens barn patio groundsThe Barn at Hornbaker Gardens is located just a few miles south of Princeton, IL.   Having just opened its doors in the summer of 2015, we were pleased to be making our 2nd trip to this rustic, yet elegant venue.  I’ll tell you right off the bat, I love barn weddings.  They are my favorite.  I live in the country of Western Illinois (in fact, not too far from Princeton.) The outdoor, relaxing country vibes have always appealed to me.  If you can imagine your guests overlooking a pond from beautifully manicured meadows or an onsite gazebo, nestled among lush gardens, then you’re on the right track to envisioning the picture perfect opportunity that exists at Hornbaker Gardens.

hornbaker gardens outdoor wedding ceremony doorsFor this wedding, we provided music for both the ceremony and the reception.  After the outdoor ceremony, guests moved either inside the barn for cocktails, or remained outdoors on the covered patio for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres before dinner.   Some of the guests enjoyed games of bags (bean bag toss) in the yard.  It was during this time that I tried the bacon-wrapped jalapenos and cheese.  I love anything spicy.  I’m a jalapeno junkie and these did not disappoint in any way – in fact, they were at the top of my list.  They were smoked and they were smokin’ hot!  Honestly, my mouth is watering as I type.  I took much gratification knowing that my piano partner (Mike Sherman) was not able to have one due to a strict diet he was following.  Believe me, I taunted him in every possible way I knew how.

As the night progressed, guests moved into the barn to enjoy dinner.  The Barn At Hornbaker Gardens is not your typical barn.  First of all, it’s huge with available seating for up to 350 guests.  Rough-hewn, exposed beams outline the barn space complete with lots of glass windows looking out onto the gardens.  The Barn also features separate bride and groom rooms, modern bathrooms, and a large kitchen.  It is an all season wedding venue that offers air conditioning and heating throughout the entire facility.  As modernized as it may be, however, it IS a barn (and slightly red, maintaining a classic, rustic feel.)  The first thing you’ll notice when you walk in is the fresh smell of cedar.

hornbaker gardens barn wedding with dueling pianos

Barn Wedding For Wedding Planner

The bride who hired us, used to work as a wedding planner, so it’s possible that the barn was more decorated that night than your typical wedding.  Or maybe the setting is designed to impress no matter what.  One thing was for certain, she had been around a lot of weddings, and we wanted to impress!  There were only 3 priorities: Develop a good rapport with her guests, keep people dancing, and don’t suck!  By the end of the night, I felt very confident that we not only delivered a great show but surpassed expectations.  The guests never left the dance floor, I saw smiles all night, and there was a great barrage of compliments that followed at the end of the night.

hornbaker gardens wedding party in barnIt was a truly enjoyable experience at an unforgettable venue.  We also enjoyed working with the very helpful venue coordinators, photographers, and others, to ensure that we were all prepared and aware of the time schedule and order of events.  Thank you for having us, newlyweds!  Thank you for referring us, Hornbaker Gardens!

We hope to be performing there again as soon as possible!

 

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