Branding

How We Launched a Barn Wedding Venue

1508-HPFsunflowers-154.JPG

photo by Heart & Dash

Non-profit Delaware Greenways hired Heart & Dash to help them transform the barn at Historic Penn Farm into an event space. The barn sits on a 112-acre farm in New Castle, Delaware that has been operating for 200+ years. Delaware Greenways — which manages the farm — decided to open the barn as a venue for weddings, non-profit events, and community programming. Though they're experts in the non-profit world, they were new to the world of events, so they enlisted Heart & Dash for our knowledge about the weddings and events industries.

photo by Heart & Das

We began our 12-month holistic approach to launching the venue by establishing the vision for the property and goals for the venue. Because Delaware Greenways is responsible for managing the farm itself, creating educational programming, and maintaining its other projects throughout the state, we knew the next most important to-do was to establish clear processes, roles, and responsibilities. For example, the outdoor ceremony space is maintained by the tenant farmer, who also maintains the corn and soy fields, so it was essential to establish a system to keep him in the loop (so he knows when machinery needs to be stored away in time for weddings, for example). We also provided a list of recommended priorities for construction and venue amenities to boost the value of the space.

photo by Heart & Das

Delaware Greenways also enlisted our help in creating a brand identity that would appeal to their ideal clients — for both weddings and other types of events. We designed a logo that incorporated a nod to the past (corn) and the future (a meadow lined with sunflowers). In addition to the logo, we created a color palette, letterhead, a sales kit, and a special favor to give all who visited the barn for a tour. You can read more about the brand launch here

photo by Heart & Dash

Next, we focused on paperwork for clients and vendors. This included everything from establishing the first draft of the rental agreement and walking through policy decisions, to vetting a list of approved caterers, to double-checking who needs to provide what forms of insurance. Having been in the industry for 15+ years and working with all types of venues, we were able to anticipate questions and proactively craft answers prior to launch.

Sharyn Frenkel Photography

Sharyn Frenkel Photography

photo by Sharyn Frenkel

To drum up buzz for the venue launch, we planned and styled a photo shoot of a faux wedding (also known as a "styled shoot"), wrote press releases, and got the shoot published on a national wedding blog as well as a top local blog. Read more about the shoot here.

Sharyn Frenkel Photography

Sharyn Frenkel Photography

photo by Sharyn Frenkel

Lastly, we worked with Delaware Greenways to host a bridal show at the barn so that couples could begin seeing the progress and the potential for weddings and events. We carefully documented all questions and delivered feedback and recommendations to Delaware Greenways to help them continue to improve the venue.

Brittney Raine Photography

Brittney Raine Photography

photo by Brittney Raine Photography

We are happy to say that the venue opened this past fall, had an average of five booking inquiries a week, booked six weddings, and hosted its first two! We look forward to hearing stories about weddings at events at Historic Penn Farm for years to come.

Brittney Raine Photography

Brittney Raine Photography

photo by Brittney Raine Photography

Heart & Dash's First Year

Valentine's Day marked Heart & Dash's first birthday, and we want to take a moment to celebrate everything we've accomplished! First and foremost, we are most proud of the relationships we've built with the businesses owners we've had the opportunity to help, the couples whose weddings we got to play a role in, and the talented vendors we have gotten to collaborate with. You've made all of the hard work enjoyable by being your fun goofy selves. These relationships inspired us to come up with a little phrase that sums up how we feel about everyone we've gotten to work with: We're endeared by your weird. ♥ 

Heart-And-Dash-Endeared-By-Your-Weird.png

(Letterpress prints custom made for Heart & Dash by Gingerly Press)

By the numbers, our first year consisted of designing SEVEN brand identities, planning and designing EIGHT weddings, launching ONE amazing new wedding venue, planning a killer dance party on a bridge for over a THOUSAND people, TRIPLING business for our very first retainer client, planning and designing TWO styled shoots, and launching Lady Boss — which now has over a HUNDRED members (and we've expanded into Baltimore)! But enough with the numbers for now — we know you're here to see pictures!

Heart-And-Dash-Branding-For-Wedding-Pros.jpg

Hand-Painted Brand Identity

We kicked off with our own brand identity. We hand painted everything, and then digitized. The ampersand in our logo contains a hidden heart (a subtle nod to SZ's former business, "Jackalope Heart"). And the pattern is made up of Juniper branches (a secret reference to SK's former business, "Juniper & Dash"). We added these secret touches to honor where we started and celebrate the two of us merging together to form something new, but rich in history.

Spring Wedding at Terrain

Stefanie and Eric called on Heart & Dash to plan and style their beautifully elegant wedding at Terrain. We also designed their wedding stationery, including save the dates, invitations, programs, reception signage, and hotel welcome bags — which pulled every last detail together just the way they'd envisioned. Photo by Svetlana Photography.

Pink & Gold Brand Identity

Angela dreamed about launching a boutique event rental company for years, but needed input on getting started — like what to charge and how to structure the rental process. We got together for multiple sessions to iron out the details with her. Simultaneously, we designed her brand identity so she could finally launch her dream business! We thoroughly enjoy helping companies build their brand — from processes to visuals — for a totally cohesive experience.

Summer Camp Wedding Retreat

Kristen and Jay decided they wanted Heart & Dash to take care of the logistics for their weekend-long camp retreat wedding — and we could not have been more excited about our role as Camp Counselors for the weekend. We are eager to do more weekend-long retreat weddings — summer camps, lodges, mountains in the woods, family ranch — you name it. Photo by Jessica Osber Photography.

Barn Wedding Venue Launch

Non-profit Delaware Greenways manages Historic Penn Farm in New Castle, Delaware, and they had a vision to turn its 50 year-old unused barn into a wedding venue. Everyone on the board was new to the wedding industry, so they enlisted Heart & Dash's expertise in what's needed to launch a successful venue. We worked with them on a long-term basis to develop a brand identity, construction plans, policies, rental agreements, pricing, open houses, tours, and more. They hosted their very first wedding in the Fall of 2015. Now we're ready to help launch more venues in the Mid-Atlantic!

Cucumber-Centric Dinner Party

Heart & Dash planned the second year of Harvest Dinners at Faunbrook Bed & Breakfast (we actually started the series two years ago — it was our first collaboration, and it inspired us to start Heart & Dash). We kicked off the second year with a cucumber-centric menu — which we're proud to say was a sell-out event. Photo by Redfield Photography.

Sweet DIY Barn Wedding

Lori and Paul had Heart & Dash plan and design their elegant-yet-rustic barn wedding. It makes us so dang happy when we see that couples are truly relaxed, laughing, and enjoying their day with their friends and family. These two laughed all day long! Photo by Lauren Fletcher Photography.

Papercut Brand Identity

Annie had done everything she could on her own to build her papercut business, and decided it was time to invest in professional branding. The tricky part (or so she thought) was to make sure that her new look would reflect her artistic style — since, after all, she is an artist. We learned as much as we could about what makes her style unique, which resulted in her fully trusting us to incorporate her style into the identity. We were beyond excited to hear she made a return on her investment right away! We're looking forward to helping more artists showcase the value of their work.

Layered & Patterned Brand Identity

Anne — who already has a super successful wedding blog — had this fun idea to start an alternative clothing line for wedding parties. She asked for help with four big things: 1) A business name; 2) A brand identity; 3) Packaging; and 4) A product photo shoot. Because She Riot is an online business, she and her business partner (who also happens to be her husband) knew it was especially important that the unboxing experience was special — so they enlisted our help in designing the box and contents. For the photo shoot, we saved Anne from overwhelm by helping her create a vision board, sourcing the models, developing a shot list, organizing products and props, styling the models, and collaborating on the vision with the photographer throughout the day of the shoot. Photo shoots are some of our favorite days and they can really help build a brand.

Blackberry-Centric Dinner Party

The second Harvest Dinner at Faunbrook of the year was inspired by blackberries — another sold-out event! Photo by M2 Photography.

Heart-And-Dash-Philadelphia-Event-Stylist-Bok.jpg

Back to School Wedding Styled Shoot

Heart & Dash teamed up with a dream team of vendors for an inspirational styled shoot at the Bok Building in Philadelphia. The shoot was featured on Ruffled! We have some exciting news to share about Bok to kick off our second year — stay tuned! Photo by Danfredo Photos + Films.

Bed & Breakfast Brand Identity

As part of our ongoing retainer marketing for Faunbrook Bed & Breakfast, we redesigned their brand identity to reflect the historic elegance of the property and appeal to the types of clients who book events and stay there. We used the brand identity along with the photos from the Harvest Dinner series to design and launch their new website. Since the brand identity and website launch, Faunbrook's business has tripled. We hope work with more B&Bs and Inns (perhaps in Delaware and Maryland) in the future.

Client Appreciation Garden Party

We could not contain ourselves when The Knot approached us as their first choice to plan and design their annual market event, which is an appreciation networking event for Philadelphia area wedding vendors. Like seriously, we were jumping up and down when the initial email about this event popped up in SK's inbox. We had a great time bringing this one to life — and making sure it had a relaxed and fun vibe. Photo by Emily Wren Photography.

Dance on the Falls Bridge

A year of meeting and planning paid off on the night of the 5th annual Dance on the Falls Bridge in Philly. The non-profit East Falls Development corporation had been doing this fundraiser event on its own for the first four years and decided it was ready for an upgrade, so they hired Heart & Dash to help with the 10 months of planning. The result? We maxed out bridge capacity with a sold-out event and brought in 40x more profit than any previous year of the event. They hired us again for their sixth year! Save the date: September 17, 2016. Photo by BG Productions.

Heart-And-Dash-Philadelphia-Wedding-Planner.jpg

Tented Backyard Wedding

Planning a tented backyard wedding seemed like a simple DIY option to Sarah and Troy, but once all of the vendors started coming together they were overwhelmed. So they reached out to Heart & Dash! The grand finale for their wedding was a huge bonfire built by the bride's father. So much fun! Photo by Nate Heckenberger.

Heart-And-Dash-Terrain-Wedding-Planner.jpg

Styled Shoot for an Indoor Wedding at Terrain

We teamed up with photographer Pat Robinson for this killer inspirational styled shoot at Terrain with the goal of getting published on Green Wedding Shoes for the first time. Success! It was published the first week of January! Photo by Pat Robinson Photography.

Heart-And-Dash-Maryland-Event-Planner-Private-Estate.JPG

Private Party at a Maryland Estate

Heart & Dash was hired for a private event at a beautiful horse farm in Maryland this past October. Oh, how we wish we were allowed to take more pictures at this one — but some things have to live inside our heads! Now that we've had a taste of it, we'd love to do more. We're envisioning backyard weddings, sailcloth tents, and collaborative vendor dream teams in the Mid-Atlantic!

Apple-Inspired Dinner Party

The third and final 2015 Harvest Dinner at Faunbrook was inspired by apples. Another sold-out event! Photo by Amy Tucker Photography.

Napa-Inspired Vineyard Wedding in Pennsylvania

Thomas and David wanted to work with Heart & Dash because they loved SK's event design skills! Collaborating with these two on their vision was absolutely dreamy because these gents have some serious style. We also enjoyed the opportunity to work at a venue that was completely new to us. Cheers, Thomas and David — can't wait to share more photos from your wedding soon! Photo by M2 Photography.

Elegant Wedding Photographer Brand Identity

Aly from Wild Cotton Photography has a modern southern style, and though she had designed a pretty good logo for herself — she decided it was time for a cohesive upgrade. She wanted the quality of her brand identity to be as strong as her photography portfolio. She wanted all visual aspects of her brand to communicate the level of talent and service she provides her clients. So we worked with her (via phone, FaceTime, and email since she's down in Nashville) to create this elegant look. We hope to work with clients from all over the country in the future!

Our final project in our first year was to update our services, allowing us to hone in on the most effective ways we help businesses in the wedding industry. (Psst! It's worth noting that we don't limit ourselves exclusively to working with wedding industry businesses; if you are drawn to our mindset and/or you think your dream clients would be into our design aesthetic, we could be a good fit!)

Thanks again for your support (and for reading this doozy of a blog post). And with that, we better get back to work on some exciting new projects for year two!

How We Tripled Business for a Bed & Breakfast

While all of our clients are truly our dream clients, Faunbrook holds a special place in our hearts as it was our first. The Strawberry Dinner in 2014 was the first project we collaborated on and was the segue into the overall brand refresh of the bed & breakfast.

M2 Photography

M2 Photography

When we first started working with Lori, the innkeeper of Faunbrook, we asked her what her why she got into the B&B business and what her dream was when she took the leap. She explained that she loved being an innkeeper — making breakfast for her guests, helping to make their visits special and memorable. However, she knew she had been spending so much time in her business that she didn't have time to work on her business — so people didn't know about Faunbrook. The stress of not being booked up began to overshadow what she loved about being an innkeeper. So first up, we asked her to tell us what success looked like — what were her top goals?

FaunbrookBedBreakfastBranding.jpg
  1. Host more weddings. Lori wanted to double the number of weddings booked at Faunbrook. We knew this meant we needed to zero in on showcasing the type of weddings Faunbrook could do better than anyone else in the area: intimate, weekend-long weddings.

  2. Make more time. Sounds impossible, but it's not! We can help a small business owner like Lori find more time by creating systems and processes for repeated tasks, like tracking and responding to inquiries with things like customizable email templates — rather than reinventing the wheel every time an email comes in.

Here’s how Heart & Dash helped:

When looking at the goals as a whole, we realized that we could begin to overcome some of the hurdles by showcasing how to best use the property and increasing the quality of Faunbrook's photography. Our solution was to create an elaborate, yet intimate al fresco dining experience — a ticketed event that showcased talented local chefs, cheesemakers, florists, and musicians. We began with one, and to our delight, people wanted more. The Harvest Dinner Series at Faunbrook was born.

We submitted the images and video from these Harvest Dinners to local and national blogs for publish and then shared the published stories across the most effective social media platforms for Faunbrook. The dinners continue to sell out, and Faunbrook's inquiry database began buzzing.

The growing portfolio paved the way for us to refresh Faunbrook's brand identity (logo, colors, marketing materials) and design Faunbrook’s new website. Since launching the new site with optimized keywords, and creating clear wedding and event packages to simplify the process, inquiries and bookings at Faunbrook have tripled.

Alexandra Whitney Photography

Alexandra Whitney Photography

We pride ourselves in working with businesses that have the desire to grow, to work alongside us, and have a product they are proud of. That is Lori. By allowing us to work holistically and therefore efficiently, she essentially got the most bang for her buck.

Read more about some of the harvest dinners here — Strawberry, Peach, Pumpkin, Cucumber.