The Shugren family transformed their 1920s farm into a wedding venue with a variety of options for those tying the knot, from a private pond area to a rustic barn to host the ceremony as well as a variety of games to keep guest entertained.
Pete and Jen Shugren came up with the idea to transform their family’s property into a wedding venue when their daughter Kara was planning her wedding and decided to look into a barn-style wedding, and from there the farm began its transformation.
To introduce the community to their new wedding venue, the Shugrens will be hosting an open house featuring a variety of vendors from 1-4 p.m. Aug. 24. The farm is located at 2800 County Road 6 NW, Cambridge.
The event is free, and there will be a cash bar, prizes and giveaways throughout the event, including a gift basket and gift cards.
“Originally, the whole story is, Kara got engaged in July of 2014 and she said she wanted to get married in a barn,” Jen said. “I said, ‘really, in a barn?’ I didn’t know that was a big thing. Back when we got married, it was in a church, and since she was our first to get married, this was a new thing for us.”
“When I wanted to get married, we started to look at barn venues and realized we had the space here,” Kara said.
Kara’s 2014 engagement, with a wedding date planned for 2016, gave the family two years to work on the farm.
“We started looking at venues and I thought, ‘We have this barn; it just needs some work. Maybe we should look into doing something with our barn,’ so that’s what we did,” Jen added.
The new venue is an old dairy barn.
“It was rough; it needed work,” Jen said. “Basically what we did was we started tearing out the cement and pressure washed all the walls and ceiling and kind of went to town.”
“It was after her wedding that everyone started saying that we should start doing weddings here,” Pete said.
After talking to the county, the Shugrens were told there was a moratorium on wedding venues and the conditional use permits, so they needed to wait.
“It was almost two years before they got that resolved,” Jen said. “We got our permit September of 2016, and then there were a lot of requirements we had to do to the barn to get it ready. It’s not just a little process, it was a lot of work, and we are in the sixth year of getting it ready right now.”
Improvements and additions have been made to both the barn as well as the outdoor space on the property.
A 1-mile walking trail around a private pond offers the perfect backdrop for photos of the special day, according to Kara, with the additional option of the raised ceremony area with an arbor and a woodside background.
“The path takes you through the woods, you walk through the field, it’s kind of a little bit of everything,” Jen said. “It’s kept mowed and the bed of it is clover, it’s a really nice walk.”
“We also have a lot of repurposed things that we have here that I make things out of,” Pete said.
From a tic-tac-toe board constructed out of a tree that has been cut down, which uses old tractor parts as the X’s and O’s, to corn hole boards, a spin-the-wheel activity, tetherball, yard Yahtzee and much more, the farm offers an evening full of fun for guests in attendance.
In addition to all of the repurposed things throughout the farm, as a carpenter by trade Pete has also hand crafted all of the tables in the barn, as well as added on a bar area and lean-to for additional space.
Most recently added to the property are the customized outdoor port-a-potties for men and women.
“We’ve been adding things here and there, and have done a lot this summer,” Jen said. “As time goes on too we will be adding more things. Our goal is to make the farm a place for people who want a country wedding without going broke.”
The Shugrens explained that the bridal party has the entire weekend in the space and are given access beginning at 4 p.m. on Friday so they don’t feel rushed, as well as Sunday until noon for clean up.
“It’s their day and we don’t want anyone to feel overwhelmed or rushed,” Jen said. “We want people to have a special day full of memories on our farm, and if they need anything, we want them to know that we will do everything within reason to make their day perfect.”
Not only do the Shugrens want to make a couple’s day the best it can be, but they also want the couple to be able to make the day their own.
“I think our vision is for somebody to take the property and make it however they want to make it, make it their own space on their special day,” Kara said.