Pictured above: Wrights Mill Farm in Canterbury (photo by Jennifer Cardinal Photography)

Connecticut brides love their barn board — and we can’t say we blame them. Posts and beams, centuries-old plank floors, twinkling white lights hung from ceilings that soar … the mixture of simplicity and shine, heritage and history is a heady combination, indeed. On the pages that follow you’ll find our most comprehensive look at rustic-chic Connecticut wedding venues to date. Some are brand-new, some are perfectly preserved. Some are on the farm, others by the shore, still others hidden in the midst of suburbia. The question is: Which one has your name on it? You tell us! Happy hunting, Connecticut brides-to-be. 

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Stonehurst, Hampton

Think big

StoneHurst at Hampton Valley, which opened in August 2018, is not only one of the state’s newest rustic-event venues, it’s one of the largest. In fact, the open and airy Barns at Stonehurst, built around an original barn from an alpaca farm once on the property, can seat a whopping 299 guests for weddings year-round. Think walls lined with tongue-and-groove pine and soaring posts and beams. Ceremonies can be held by a gazebo set along the Little River, which runs through the property’s 90-plus acres, while manicured lawns and covered porches by the barn are well-suited for cocktails. Late-night fun revolves around a fire pit and StoneHurst’s wood-fired pizza truck. 860-377-4816, stonehursthamptonvalley.com

Horsing around

The Events Barn at Folly Farm, the elegant, family-owned, 175-acre equestrian facility at the base of Talcott Mountain in Simsbury that is also home to the Simsbury Polo Club, was built circa 1890 from rough-hewn oak and Connecticut red stone. Originally used to house Folly’s International Grand Champion Jersey show cows, the barn remains almost entirely in its original form with massive exposed beams with wooden pegs, wide-plank floors, a tin roof and a spacious deck. The barn’s lower floor can comfortably seat up to 80 guests; adding use of the upper floor and surrounding green spaces makes it able to accommodate indoor/outdoor parties of up to 200 from the first Saturday in May (Kentucky Derby day!) to mid-October. 860-491-8037, follyfarmevents.com

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The Hickories, Ridgefield

Eat your veggies 

As a working farm raising certified organic fruits, vegetables and flowers as well as pastured sheep, and with a dedication to sustainability and responsible growing, The Hickories’ goal is to connect the celebration of each season’s bounty with each personalized wedding/event. Its rustic 1800s barn with twinkling lights and glowing lanterns is available for weddings. There’s also a newly restored 1-acre pond stocked with trout and surrounded by native plants. Better yet: The Hickories, which has been growing food for Ridgefielders for more than 250 years, offers wholesale pricing on its organic flowers and floral design for its farm brides, as well as wholesale pricing on its certified organic produce and pasture-raised meat for your caterer. 203-894-1851, thehickories.org

Center stage 

The arts and crafts-style Makeshift Theater at Farmington’s Hill-Stead Museum is set in a carriage barn from the early 1900s that pioneering female architect Theodate Pope Riddle and her family once used to show silent films and host rousing Christmas parties for the children of Farmington. The airy wood-paneled room with beamed ceiling, high hopper windows and sliding doors at each end can host up to 80 seated guests. An octagonal 1-acre sunken garden designed by celebrated landscape architect Beatrix Farrand can be used for ceremonies. Set in a natural depression and surrounded by stone walls, its ever-changing colors reflect the palette of the Impressionists found within Hill-Stead itself. 860-677-4787, hillstead.org

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Lion Rock Farm, Sharon

Grey matters

Lion Rock Farm in Sharon gets its name from the large natural rock formation resembling a lion that is on its grounds. A 600-acre working farm (non-GMO corn, rye, hay, oats and soybeans) surrounds the property’s lavish gardens, barns, main house and guest houses (yes, they are also available to rent). The handsome Grey Barn, which owner Elaine LaRoche built using wood reclaimed from a vintage barn, is at the center of most wedding festivities, boasts a massive stone fireplace and is available year-round to host seated receptions of up to 100 guests. If you’re dreaming bigger (or want to drink in more of those expansive views) a tent can be set up on the barn’s stone patio from May to October to seat up to 200 guests. 860-435-4006, lionrockfarm.com

Rosy tomorrows 

Woodstock native Henry Bowen spent his summers in a retreat he built on Woodstock Hill in 1846 and named Roseland Cottage. The influential New York merchant, publisher and philanthropist was known for the grand Fourth of July parties he hosted each year on property now known as Roseland Park, which opened in 1876. In Victorian days, the park, which could accommodate parking for 1,200 horses and buggies and was visited by three U.S. presidents, sported more than 1,000 rosebushes, gilded fountains, statuary, a windmill, a boat house and bungalows with maid service. The maids are long gone (sorry!), but the 62-acre park counts among its many attributes a recently renovated barn from the 1870s that can host weddings of up to 120 seated guests. Ceremonies, suggests park manager Rick Harless, can be held on a peninsula jutting into 94-acre Roseland Lake or in an amphitheater built into a hillside that forms what Harless calls “a green cathedral.” 860-963-9557, roselandpark.org

Come fly with me

When Carl Dunham Jr.’s parents purchased what is now known as Candlelight Farms Inn, there was no electricity on the 640-acre property atop Candlewood Mountain in New Milford. They signed the papers by candlelight … and the rest, as they say, is history. The rustic barn-board Hangar at Candlelight Farms, once a working hangar for prop planes that land and take off from adjacent Candlelight Farms Airport’s turf runway, is available from May through mid-October for weddings of up to 200 seated guests. A helipad next to the open hangar is available for ceremonies. 860-210-0594, candlelightfarmsinn.com/the-hangar

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The Inn at Mount Pleasant, Torrington

Farm to table

When Bob Bombardieri purchased what is now the Inn at Mount Pleasant there were three barns on the former farm’s acreage: a dairy barn from the 1850s and two rather dilapidated accessory barns. In readying the Torrington property to host weddings (and turning its classic 18th-century farmhouse into a handsome bed-and-breakfast), Bombardieri used wood reclaimed from the accessory barns to make authentic-as-it-gets farm tables for the carefully preserved main barn, which is now available to host weddings of up to 150 seated guests between April and October.  845-546-2553, theinnatmountpleasant.com/weddings 

Invention convention

Celebrated American inventor Eli Whitney completed his barn on the grounds of what is now the Eli Whitney Museum in 1816. He had contemplated its design during a year that was full of transitions. The War of 1812 had ended. His armory had won a new federal contract. He had turned 50. “The barn,” says Sally Hill, principal designer for the Hamden museum, “is our largest artifact of Whitney’s mind at work,” and its “square-rule” construction “an early application of precision and interchangeability practices to barn construction.” The barn housed the draft animals that moved materials and products back and forth from this site to the harbor. Its New England-style end-gable orientation even allowed farmers to drive their wagons right on through. The barn, which is used for some of the museum’s cultural programs, underwent a major restoration in 2012 and plans are currently in the works to begin hosting summer weddings in 2020 — hurrah! 203-777-1833, eliwhitney.org

Meet me in the middle

Middletown’s turn-of-the-century Barns at Wesleyan Hills, part of a 288-acre planned residential development called Wesleyan Hills, are catered exclusively by the Connecticut Wedding Group. The three renovated barns at the heart of the 288-acre community can be rented from March to December for wedding receptions of up to 225; most of the activity, however, centers around the Big Barn, which boasts soaring 40-foot ceilings, exposed wooden beams, plank flooring and a “hayloft” balcony. Outdoors, expect rolling green lawns, a little ol’ wooden bridge and a picture-perfect pond edged with weeping willows. 860-347-7171, ctweddinggroup.com

White wedding gown

An antique Louden hay carrier serves as a chandelier at the center of the Hayloft Room at The White Barn at South Farms. The massive room with the 50-foot ceilings from which it hangs also features reclaimed lumber from the original horse stalls and a heavy wood beam-and-steel staircase trimmed out with accents from the grain auger. We’ve decided to call the overall look “industrial farm-chic” — Ben Paletsky, whose family has been farming these 150 acres in Morris for four generations, simply calls it “home.” Weddings of up to 175 guests can be accommodated year-round; new additions include a ceremony barn, lounge and commercial kitchen. 860-567-9847, southfarms.org  

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Allen Hill Farm, Brooklyn

Peace, love and Christmas trees

Allen Hill Farm boasts 100 acres of cut-your-own Christmas trees on its historic acreage along the Quinepaug River in Brooklyn. The circa-1891 farm’s main post-and-beam barn (a former equipment barn built in 1995) is available from May through October for weddings of up to 160 seated guests, and offers seating on multiple levels, an outdoor deck, a covered porch and a new dedicated catering area. Fifth-generation farmer Aimee Anderson, who manages weddings, recommends a ceremony by “The Big Rock” — a massive boulder that serves as what Anderson calls a “natural altar” and overlooks far-reaching fields of Christmas trees. 860-779-0762, allenhillfarm.com

Country roads

Joyce and Ken Wood of Wood Acres Farm in Terryville know a thing or two about weddings. After all, they established their horse-drawn carriage company in 1972 and have offered use of their carriages to brides ever since. Wood Acres Farm itself, set on 25 acres of wooded trails, tranquil ponds and meandering country lanes, has been in the family for more than 175 years. What was once a carriage barn has been converted into a climate-controlled, year-round reception space for up to 140 seated guests — think wide-plank floors, natural wood beams, plenty of windows to let in the light and a big ol’ wraparound porch. And, yes, horse-drawn carriage rides can be arranged — sleigh rides, too! 860-583-8670, woodacresfarm.com

Home port

Coastal Gourmet Group is the exclusive caterer for Mystic Seaport’s Boat Shed at Lighthouse Point on the Mystic River. The open-air wooden shed, which has open rafters as its ceiling and crushed shells as its floor, is available from June to Columbus Day for receptions of up to 200 guests. Ceremonies can be held next to a lighthouse with views of downtown Mystic and its trademark drawbridge in the distance, while cocktails are served right on a riverfront dock. Clam bake, anyone? 860-572-5305, mysticseaport.org/weddings-events

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Ellie Mitchell Pavilion at Rocky Neck, Niantic

On the rocks

The handsome cobblestone Pavilion at Rocky Neck State Park in Niantic is the largest single structure in the state-park system. It’s perched atop a bluff overlooking the 710-acre park and some 90 percent of the materials used to build it between 1934 and 1937, right down to the tree trunks used as support pillars taken from every state park in the system at the time, were sourced from state-owned lands. The second floor of the sprawling enclosed pavilion (capped at each end by a massive fieldstone fireplace) can accommodate up to 300 guests for receptions held between Memorial Day and Columbus Day. Better yet? “Rustic” here includes bluesy views of the Long Island Sound. 860-739-5471, ct.gov/deep

Once upon a time

Wrights Mill Farm, a sprawling 250-acre property whose roots date back to 1738, is spread across the rolling hills and valleys of Canterbury. Think silos and stone walls, vintage barns, a covered bridge, a tranquil mill pond, a waterfall beneath a canopy of trees, horse-and-carriage rides and bushels of storybook charm to spare. Its wildly popular open-air pavilion is available to host weddings of up to 180 guests from May through October. Plans are also underway for a year-round indoor venue scheduled to open in the spring of 2020. The Lodge at Wrights Mill Farm will be able to host up to 250 guests and include a covered deck as well as a 2,500-square-foot patio with fire pits. 860-774-1455, wrightsmillfarm.com

All in the family​

Bunnell Farm is an 108-acre family-owned and -operated farm in Litchfield that specializes in family-friendly fun: i.e. pick-your-own pumpkins, hayrides, a corn maze (try it by flashlight!) and farm-fresh turkeys for Thanksgiving. After repeated requests from brides, a little more than 10 years ago fifth-generation farmer Rick Bunnell built a new barn in the footprint of what was once the cow barn and opened up his family’s farm to couples ready to begin their own. The rustic post-and-beam barn, which is available from April through early October, can seat up to 125 guests. 860-567-9576, bunnellfarm.org

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Audubon Greenwich

For the birds

Audubon Greenwich, which opened its doors in 1943, was the National Audubon Society’s first environmental-education center. Its 285-acre main sanctuary includes 7 miles of trails that lead to hardwood forests, open fields, successional thickets, streams and vernal pools, not to mention a recently restored barn dating from the 1800s that is available to rent for weddings of up to 80 seated guests. The four-season charmer set among wildflowers and meadows offers exposed hand-hewn beams, a lofted wood ceiling, an oversize stone fireplace and a patio that overlooks a pond and apple orchards. Stamford-based OnTheMarc is the exclusive caterer. 203-869-5272, greenwich.audubon.org/facility-rental

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The Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum, Wethersfield

George who?

Dubious claims that “George Washington slept here” have become somewhat of a running joke over the centuries since ol’ G.W. wandered these parts. In the case of Wethersfield’s Joseph Webb House, one of three 18th-century houses that make up the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum, “claim” is actually documented fact. A circa-1840 barn at the rear of the property can seat up to 135 guests for April-through-November receptions. (If you add a tent, up to 170 can be accommodated.) Ceremonies are held beneath an ancient honeylocust tree on a sweep of lawn between the barn itself and old-fashioned garden; a stone patio beside the massive barn doors is the preferred spot for cocktails. 860-529-0612, ext. 16, webb-deane-stevens.org

Green acres

Pomfret’s Tyrone Farm is a fourth-generation family-owned country estate whose roots in the Quinebaug River Valley date back to 1742. Weddings include use of the farmhouse drawing room as well as a sun porch that leads to a bluestone terrace with far-reaching views of all the 170-acre property has to offer. A mid-19th-century Chestnut Barn with its original hand-hewn beams and wide-plank floors (not to mention heat and A/C powered by the farm’s own photovoltaic system) can seat up to 135 guests from May through October. 860-928-3647, tyronefarm.com