What Makes For a True Bucket List Venue?









Weaving together the powerful stories that make a venue magical

Shauna Altes


What makes for a true bucket list venue


Excitement in your heart, relief, joy; these are all really good indicators that you have come across a bucket list moment.  But what makes for a true bucket list venue?  Experience expert Shauna Altes gives some of her insight into what it means to book your forever venue. 


Shauna Altes


History is what anchors us into the present and inspires us into the future.  When finding your forever venue it is important to ask these questions: When was the property built?  What was it historically used for?  Any historical figures of note a part of its story?  What city is it located in? Anything special about the city? If you dig a little bit you might find stories that you and your fiancee identify with in meaningful ways.  

At The Grand Ol' Barn here in New Smyrna Beach a big part of our historical identity  is that we are the ONLY citrus packing barn wedding venue in the WORLD and we are one of the last standing vintage citrus packing barns left on the east coast.  We were built by some of the first settlers to the sunshine state of Florida in the quaint beach town of New Smyrna Beach to pack oranges and send them all over the country.   

Many of our booked couples and their families are descendants of the old Florida citrus families.  All the history of the barn really resonates with them and they want it a part of their story 

The Grand Ol' Barn is a true "old Florida" icon.  It is as iconic as sweet tea, southern magnolias and Publix subs and it feels good to connect with that.  Getting married in a historical Florida citrus barn is a really proud moment for so many.  On the flip side even if you do not come from citrus, the story still resonates with so many. Find that history.  





What extraordinary triumphs has the property or the caretakers endured?  What over-the-top special touches were added? What lengths did various owners go to to ensure an incredible experience for their brides and past clients? Why was the property started?  Who owns the business now and what is their story? 

Connecting with the heart of the stories and the people behind them also creates space for booking a true bucket list venue.  Some owners are rather shy and don't realize the power that their story has on their future couples so they do not share.  Feel free to ask about the owners and why they started their venue.  I am sure they would love to share with you. 

The Grand Ol' Barns story can be found HERE but the number of extraordinary touches are numerous.  Almost all of the feature of the barn like the hand built vanities and bathroom partitions were all touched, designed and created by myself (Shauna) and my carpenter brothers.  We are family owned and operated and all have diverse skill sets that we mesh together to create magical things. 





One-Of-A-Kind Amenities 


The business owners, the properties past history, and the location and story of a property will inevitably lead to the creation of one-of-a-kind amenities that can only be found on that one bucket list venue.  These are amenities that make that property special and unique and can't be found anywhere else.  

Sometimes that amenity might be a service or a physical item.    At the Grand Ol' Barn we have many unique amenities that set us apart that can't be found anywhere else.  Our 90 foot history wall in the cocktail hour hall is one example of a really special physical amenity.  Miniature train tracks, real pieces of hand carved coal and many other historical items create a gallery that guests rave about and gives them something to do while cocktail hour is happening and photos are being taken of your family.  

Photos with Thor our resident water buffalo in the groomsmen suite is another rare amenity that can't be found anywhere else.  Thor has a 50 year history and is one of the only Asian water buffaloes in the United States.  Thor's story can be found HERE. 



Services like sweet tea bars and flower crown bars are all a part of a venues brand and personality (BTW both of those are exclusive amenities of the Grand Ol' Barn) and create a whole experience that really creates incredible memories for both you and your guests. 




Bucket list venues are easily accessible, and located in areas that are meaningful to you and your family.  Wether it is a vineyard (perhaps you come from a family that loves good wine) maybe its in the city  where you had your first date, perhaps its at the country club that your parents are members of.  The location can really launch a venue into bucket list status.  

The Grand Ol' Barn is located in a gorgeous beach town that many of our couples have been coming to since they were little.  They have memories of their first date at the local iconic restaurants like The Garlic and Norwoods.  They remember playing hooky during college and going to the beach with their friend, they remember getting ice cream as a little one on Flagler Ave, their first jobs were often the local stores and restaurants.  These all make for monumental moments. 

Easy access to a lot of photo opportunities so that your money is well spent on your photographer is another good indicator of a bucket list venue.   The natural surroundings like the river, beach, gardens and more as well the photo opportunities that the owners took the time to create are really important to the ambiance and feel of your wedding day. 

We are close to all of the above and have beautiful ambient areas for intrigue and photos. 


The Look & Feel


Finally, the LOOk of the venue makes for huge bucket list venue status.  The look of the venue is going to play a huge part in how your story is told on your wedding day.  Some like really rustic (big gap weathered boards, all natural non-painted or treated wood, dark interior) design.  Others love a more Venetian feel with Italian stone and marble.  

The Grand Ol' Barn is known for its fresh and beautiful white washed walls and dark stained cedar beams and ceiling.  Battens on the walls make for a timeless farmhouse style design that goes so well with any pallet you can dream of.  True barn red exterior is our way of paying homage to its roots and original color when it was first built. 


Wrapping up


Bucket list venues are special, they are worth their weight in gold and will help you tell the story of you and your fiancé for many years to come.  

Download our bride guide to see all the ways The Grand Ol' Barn is a true bucket list venue and a solid resource to you and your planning.