Stan, the manager, was a little gruff, but otherwise, this was the perfect location for our wedding. We got so many compliments on the barn, and the price was right for Chicago area locations.
The barn is beautiful, and a wonderful place to get married (or just have your reception) as long as you're up to the task of coming up with a plan and executing it on the day of. The vendors that work with the barn (Just Press Play, the iPod DJ; O'Tarpey Rentals; Nancy Rolison, the florist, who is Stan's assistant; the Doubletree Hotel, etc.) are great. As long as you're okay with taking on the job, it's a great value for such a beautiful venue.
Anyone whose visited the barn has met Stan, the coordinator, and everyone has an opinion about him...he knows everything there is to know about the barn, and obviously cares a great deal about preserving its qualities. I did find it annoying that he doesn't do any email, but more or less, he returned phone calls quickly when I left a message (about half the time, he is available and answers the call, though), and during the planning process, he was okay to deal with. Don't be offended if, up until the last 6 weeks before your wedding, he doesn't remember you by name- I think he can only keep track of so much, and prior to those 6 weeks or so, whenever you call him, you're going to have to tell him your name and when your event is. He has a lot of good ideas and for the most part knows what is feasible and not feasible, but don't be afraid to have your own ideas, and as long as it's not destructive to the barn, it's usually okay. I can definitely see where Stan would rub some people the wrong way- he has a very dry sense of humor, and has some strong opinions about how to set up the barn, but I think most of it comes from being so familiar with the barn and from seeing what hasn't worked well with other weddings in the past.
Do make sure- *double-check* that your date is on his calendar, and that all meeting dates that you set up with Stan or other vendors to meet at the barn are on Stan's calendar, and there's no conflicts. We were scheduled to meet our florist there one weekday evening to go over ideas for floral arrangements. Our florist was Stan's assistant and she set up the with Stan and was told no one was using the barn that evening. We all got there and someone was using it for a fundraising event, so we had to haul all the flower samples back to the florist's house and do the meeting there.
One thing to make sure of with the barn itself- if you use the loft for guest seating, make sure they've fixed or replaced the shade that was on the window up there. They had one, but it broke and my guests upstairs were very warm, even with the air conditioning on.
Our only other issue was that it was nearly two weeks after the wedding before Stan deposited the check. You pay a security deposit when you sign the contract to hold the date. Then, I think 10 days before the event, you're supposed to pay the fee. Once that check clears and the event is over and there's no damage or clean-up required at the barn, he sends back your security deposit. It wasn't a big deal, just a little weird since we could have stopped payment on the check and they'd have no real recourse.
Anyway, to sum up- great place to get married, Stan is okay to work with as long as you follow the rules of the barn, and double-confirm things with him.
It is such a beautiful building. In order to feature the natural beauty of the wood, we only used simple decorations. Stan, who manages the barn, gave us several good ideas during the planning process. He also knew when to let us just go with what we wanted. It was a pleasure working with him.
Byron Colby Barn. Very affordable and in a very nice neighborhood. Very willing to accomodate. I'm into horses and this was a beautiful location. Upscale Barn atmosphere. Beautiful Gazebo for Ceremony and you can have a Horse and Carriage! I did not prefer to use the chairs provide at this location. They only have 40 wooden chairs and the rest are black platic folding chairs. I chose to rent all new ballroom wooden chairs. My catering company helped organize the delivery and setup of the chairs.
Click on each tool to see a sample.