By Lauren Brant
Rustic farm weddings have been popular for the last several years and The Barns at Galyen Farms will be the first wedding barn venue in northwestern Nebraska.
The Barns are located at Galyen Farms 7 mi. south of Hay Springs on the southwest corner of Highway 87 and 500th Rd. While the wedding venue has been constructed over the past year, the farms have been around for almost a century.
Galyen Farms is a fourth generation family farm and will turn 100 years old next year. The barns were built in 1930 and were used to house horses, cattle, pigs, and sheep. Larry Galyen was born and raised on the farm and his great-grandparents homesteaded the area in 1894. The family purchased the current farmland in 1919. Larry and his wife Deborah Galyen have focused on producing organic grains so the barns were unusable for their operations.
To make use of the buildings, Deborah Galyen had the vision to transform the barns into a rustic wedding venue, which required reframing the infrastructure, removing the posts and animal pens and pouring concrete. Galyen said the hardest part about renovating the space is finding help with construction tasks due to the limited labor force and the high demand for those skills.
Once the barn on the southern part of the property was structurally updated and the concrete was poured, Galyen began decorating with the help of her assistant Alexa Meeboer, a marketing student at Chadron State College. They met at a mutual friend’s bridal shower and discussed The Barns. Gaylen called her later about being a marketing assistant and Meeboer was excited to help.
Gaylen said she daydreams about what venues can look like and her vision for the space has become a reality. The barn is adorned with chandeliers, mirrors, a longhorn rack, and an old bicycle. The bicycle is 50 years old and was a gift from Larry’s grandfather. That same year, his father gave him a street motorcycle, so the bicycle was never used. “I feel like a lot of people these days are going toward a rustic, farm venue,” said Meeboer.
The barn can seat up to 200 people and also serves as a backup location if an outdoor wedding gets rained out. The barn is set up as a reception area and has a 7 ft. aisle down the middle if a couple wanted to have the ceremony inside.
Beyond the double doors are patios with outdoor seating. Gaylen also plans to install horseshoe pits and cornhole outside to the east of the barn. Then, to the south, there is a large field that will serve as parking for the guests. However, she is also working on transportation to help guests to get to and from their hotels. She is refinishing an old MIC bus that she calls MIC the big blue bus since there are limited lodging locations in Hay Springs.
With the reception wedding venue barn nearing completion, Gaylen is looking at renovating another barn. The multi-purpose chapel barn is to the northeast of the reception barn. It will be the location for catering services to set up food and beverages. Guests will be able to walk through and grab their refreshments before heading into the reception barn. Gaylen hopes to have the multi-purpose barn done by August to use for upcoming weddings.
Prior to the first wedding, there will be an open house and ribbon cutting on Friday, June 29 from 5 p.m. to midnight. The open house will have a cajun boil supper, hayrack rides, live music, and a barn dance.