Branding

How We Launched a Barn Wedding Venue

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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

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?

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  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.

How We Designed a Brand Identity for a Barn Wedding Venue

About a year ago, we were hired to turn Historic Penn Farm into a wedding venue. It has been a dream for us. We've been working closely with the team at Delaware Greenways, who manages the farm, to draft up rental policies, establish processes, write answers to FAQs, create template emails, and book their first year of weddings — tons of logistical stuff that we totally geek out over. However, we know that stuff doesn't exactly make the prettiest blog posts to share... but now we get to share the new logo! Check it out:

Historic Penn Farm Logo

ABOUT THE CLIENT: Delaware Greenways, Inc. is a local non-profit committed to promoting outdoor connections for healthy, vibrant, sustainable communities throughout the First State. They manage Historic Penn Farm, which means that when a couple chooses to have their wedding there, their money benefits a great cause. The Historic Penn Farm mission is to be a sustainable, bio-diverse, productive farm that inspires and educates the community towards healthier lifestyles, demonstrates good environmental stewardship through best practices, and provides a unique gathering place for community events.

Historic Penn Farm Logo Drafting

BRAND AUDIENCE & FEELING: The team at Delaware Greenways asked that the branding have a friendly, welcoming feeling without feeling too youthful or childish. Because the farm will also be used for community-based events as well as educational workshops, it needs to appeal to potential wedding clients as well as the rest of the community — families, youth, and farmers. We hand-drew the corn and flowers for a more earthy, natural feeling, but added in a touch of formality with symmetry and elegant typography.

Historic Penn Farm Logo Creation

LOGO SUBSTANCE & STYLE: It was important to Delaware Greenways that the new look honored the history of the land while looking forward to the future — we did this with the imagery and the typography. Corn has been the primary crop on the land since the farm was established, while sunflowers were just recently planted last year for the first time — and they're quite popular with couples who plan to get married there. The use of Adobe Garamond, a more formal-looking serif typeface, is a nod to the historic time period, which is balanced out with the modern, simple sans-serif Montserrat.

Historic Penn Farm Logo Drafting Heart & Dash

BUDGET: Since Delaware Greenways is a non-profit, limiting the use of color {using different values of the same color} was a strategic choice we made to save them printing costs in the future. They've decided to roll out their new brand over time as they book more weddings — we'll be sure to share examples as the new brand gets implemented across their materials! Here's a sneak peek at how their simple sunflower brand pattern could be used to dress up their marketing materials:

Historic Penn Farm Business Card Logo

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Interested in seeing more work we've done for Historic Penn Farm? Check out the styled shoot we did last fall. Want to book your wedding or event at Historic Penn Farm? Visit their site! It's pretty awesome that the profit from your wedding will support Delaware Greenways!