ATTENTION: We have resumed tours at Lakeside Occasions! Our staff will be wearing masks during tours and appreciate your efforts to maintain social distancing as much as possible.

Lakeside Occasions FAQs

I’m ready to book my wedding at Lakeside Occasions!

Yay! We’re so grateful you chose our venue for your special day! I promise, you won’t be disappointed! I will need to send you a Rental Agreement and initial invoice by email. You can sign the Rental Agreement electronically, and either mail in your down payment or set up a time to bring it by. If you’d like to pay by credit card, let me know and I will make that an option on your initial invoice. Once your Rental Agreement is completed and your down payment confirmed, I will mark the date RESERVED on our calendar!


OK, I’ve booked my wedding at Lakeside Occasions. Now what?

Let the fun begin! Time for dress shopping, food & cake tasting, and long nights on Pinterest dreaming up décor and the perfect invitations! Lakeside Occasions will be in touch with any important information regarding the venue, and as we get closer to your big day, you will receive invoices by email for any outstanding balances and forms to fill out regarding Bar Services, etc. We will schedule a planning session at the barn, once your RSVPs are in. This is the time to discuss the layout of tables and chairs (you will need a solid guest count for this meeting) and other specifics of the wedding day. You will get a diagram of your seating plan afterwards to help with seating arrangements and linen needs.


Do we have to buy wedding insurance?

No, but it’s highly recommended that you do. Sites like Event Helper, WedSure, Eventsured, and WedSafe offer insurance in case of damage, injury, weather, or even cancellation/postponements.


Do you rent table linens?

No, but you may be able to rent them from your caterer or check out R Etc. Events. Our round tables are 60” and rectangles are 8’. Each table seats 8 people. For your head tables, you will need 1-8’ for every 4-6 people in your wedding party. We can use 6’ or rounds too, and/or set up a sweetheart table in the center for the couple.


I want to visit to plan my decorations/show my parents the venue/show a caterer, photographer, decorator, etc… When can we come?

Just call or email ([email protected]) to schedule an appointment. Two scheduled visits for planning purposes are included in the rental. Additional visits are $15 each. Please try to keep these visits to 30 minutes or less. (These 2 visits are in addition to your hour-long planning session once your RSVPs come in.)


Do you allow a unity candle for the ceremony?

WE DO NOT ALLOW ANY REAL CANDLES INSIDE THE BARN – NO EXCEPTIONS! However, if you’re getting married in the gazebo, you can light a unity candle. You may want to bring hurricane glass to shield it from the wind, and make sure you have a Plan B in case your ceremony is moved inside (i.e. unity knot, sand, etc.)


What about fireworks?

We don’t allow sky lanterns or fireworks, per say, but you can bring sparklers for a send-off. We just need to know beforehand if you’re using them and an estimated time.


Any other decorating restrictions?

  • It bears repeating – no real candles in the barn! But LED/battery powered candles and string lights are fine.
  • We don’t allow staples, nails, screws, or anything that leaves a permanent hole. You can use command hooks, twine, wire, fishing line, or zip ties to hang things – just make sure you remove them before you leave.
  • We have ladders to use at your own risk.
  • We require REAL flower petals on the lawn for processions. If you use fake flower petals outside, you will be asked to pick them up after the ceremony. If you use straw bales, all straw must be raked up and removed at the end of your event, as well as any outdoor décor or lawn stakes.
  • Please do not use loose glitter, bird seed, rice, confetti, or small beads that will get stuck in the floorboards. You may be docked on your damage deposit if this or other decorating policies are violated.
  • Do not park (or allow allow guests or vendors) on the concrete ramp leading to the French doors. Over time, the weight of vehicles will crack the concrete. You may back up to the edge of the concrete where it meets the asphalt to unload.


Can/should I rent a tent?

You can, but it’s usually unnecessary. We have plenty of space inside for a ceremony if the weather doesn’t cooperate, and we have shelter back behind the barn where guests can stay dry. Also keep in mind, most tents need to be set up on a Friday and can’t be retrieved until Monday, which may interfere with other events on the property.


How many people can fit in the barn?

300 maximum can be seated inside the barn, both for your safety and for the comfort of your guests. 250 or less gives you lots more elbow room during dinner and a larger dance floor.


Is the barn handicap accessible?

Yes. The barn is wheelchair accessible via the concrete ramp leading up to the French doors. The coop is also equipped with a family/handicap accessible restroom. We have handicap parking located next to the big white pole barn, wrapped with red barn wood and will have a golf cart available (weather permitting) if guests need shuttling to the ceremony site.


Do I need to rent tables and chairs?

No. We have plenty of round and rectangle tables and white wooden padded chairs. We also have matching outdoor chairs specifically for the ceremony. Our staff will set them up so you won’t have to move furniture on your wedding day. *Starting in 2021, there will be a small surcharge for 201-300 guests. 


How many rows of chairs will I have for the ceremony?

When you’re outside, we typically do rows of 20 – so 10 chairs on each side of the aisle – unless you have a special request, which we will handle at your planning session. Remember to subtract the wedding party from your total # of seats.


Should I use an aisle runner?

That’s up to you, but you will need to bring lawn stakes or something else to weight them down or it may fly into the lake!


What if it rains?

We will decide on a Plan B at your planning session. We can seat a max 200 downstairs. If the weather is questionable the day of, we will give you a cutoff time to make a decision on whether you’ll be inside or outside. Lakeside Occasions reserves the right to make this decision if there’s a threat of lightning, heavy rain, or hail.


Can we bring our own alcohol?

NO. Per Indiana law, all alcohol must be provided and served by Lakeside Occasions. We have a variety of beer and wine offerings, as well as a signature drink add-on option. We do not allow shots (or hard liquor) or beer shotguns. For your guests – who may not be aware of our policy on outside alcohol – our off-duty sheriff’s deputy will politely inform them, but we will also confiscate and hold it until the event is over. Repeat offenders may be asked to leave the premises. Excessive warnings & violations may result in the loss of your $500 Security Deposit.


What brands of beer & wine do you offer?

Our house menu includes CK Mondavi wines, as well as domestic canned beer, including Bud Light, Miller/Coors, and Yuengling, as well as a selection of Premium pre-mixed cocktails. We also can get local/regional wines – possibly at the same price. If you want us to order something off-menu, such as craft or bottled beer or a specific brand of wine or champagne, there may be an additional cost.


We know a police officer. Can he/she handle security?

Sorry, but no. LaGrange County Sheriff’s Office arranges security for all events where alcohol is served. Please understand that the officer is here for your safety and ours – it is private property and our home. They DO NOT arrest guests for DUI, but for the benefit of all, please make sure guests have arranged for a sober driver. If you need leads on shuttle services, see our suggestions below!


Do we have to use your bartenders?

Yes. We have a number of staff members who are licensed to serve alcohol responsibly.


Do you accept credit cards for a cash bar?

No. Cash only at this time.


Do we have to use a specific caterer?

We have several partnering caterers (check our Wedding Pros list), but you can bring in an outside catering service for a $200 fee. Outside caterers will be asked to provide proof of licensing and insurance, and sign our Facility Use Agreement before they’ll be allowed to cater at Lakeside Occasions. In our experience, using one of our partnering Wedding Pros usually results in a smoother, less chaotic event. However, we do not guarantee quality of service for any vendor that’s not associated with Lakeside Occasions. For cake/desserts, you are welcome to use the bakery of your choice. If you aren’t having a catered meal (i.e. just finger foods and/or desserts), a $200 fee will still apply.


Can we bring soda and/or bottled water?

Yes, in fact you should – especially if it’s hot outside! We have a trough you can put them in, but you will need to supply the drinks and the ice.


Are we allowed to use the DJ, Photographer, Bakery of our choice?

Yes! Alomar Entertainment out of Ft. Wayne & other vendors on our list provide excellent services, however you are welcome to use the DJ and photographer of your choice – or a band for that matter. Or you can forego the DJ altogether and use our sound equipment for a nominal fee of $75. We have speakers, audio board, and microphones for indoors and out. We also have recommended florists, decorators, and bakeries listed on our Wedding Pros page, but you are not obligated to use them.


Will staff be on site the entire day?

Usually, we’re in and out during the day to set up chairs, etc. but our staff generally arrives one hour before the ceremony to help with parking. You will have two staff members on site for the remainder of the event for assistance with the facility, to turn on outdoor lights and fireplace, to replace toilet paper in the restrooms, and to take out the trash. Our staff is instructed to check in with you the morning of the event and you are welcome to exchange contact info then.


Do you offer a military discount?

Not at this time, however, we can negotiate something “extra”, such as a free rental.


Do you have heat and air conditioning?

Yes! We have heat and air conditioning in all of our indoor facilities. We do our best to keep it at a comfortable temperature for all guests, but please keep in mind, the walls of the barn are not insulated – therefore, it can be difficult to control the temperature when guests are coming and going to the restrooms, etc. We will keep an eye on the temperature throughout the evening. If you have an urgent request, don’t hesitate to ask our staff, but we are generally not liable for the weather.


When can we come decorate and rehearse?

If you have reserved the barn for day-before decorating for the $500 fee, you will have from 3-8 PM to decorate, rehearse, and have dinner in the coop. If you have not reserved the barn for day-before decorating, you will have 1 hour to rehearse, but we will have to coordinate a day & time with other scheduled events. Decorating may begin at the contracted rental time or you may purchase additional setup time at a rate of $100/hour, subject to availability.


Are there catering restrictions for the rehearsal dinner?

No, you can cater in or bring your own food. You may also purchase beer and/or wine for the rehearsal dinner from Lakeside Occasions, but no BYOB. (Please ask for a menu.) PS: There is no working stove on site, however, if you need to refrigerate anything, you are welcome to use the refrigerator in the milk house prep kitchen.


Will our guests have access to the pool table and diner in The Coop?

The men’s changing room and 50s diner will be locked once the wedding begins. However, the wedding party can keep their clothing and other belongings locked inside, as well as any valuables for safekeeping. If you need access to your belongings, you will need to locate a staff member to unlock the room for you. It will be unlocked at the end of the evening so you can retrieve your belongings and tidy up.


Can our pet be part of the ceremony?

Yes, but we may require additional liability insurance & they must be kenneled during the reception. And please pick up after them (i.e. clean up any accidents)!


Do we have to remove everything the night of the reception?

Yes, we ask that you remove all decorations and personal belongings, as well as leftover food and cake (anything in the fridge) before the contracted end time.


Do we have to clean?

Not really, but please throw trash away (we will provide trash bags and take them to the dumpster), and pick up food & trash off the floors. When you’re removing tablecloths, please fold them to reduce crumb spillage onto the floor. (You may need to return your tablecloths – please ask your caterer!) If there’s a major spill, we’d appreciate if you mopped, but you are not required to vacuum or mop. If you moved or borrowed any of our decor, please make sure they are returned where you found them. We have cleanup instructions posted in the kitchen and on the back of the storage room door. We also leave printed “Checkout Checklists” in the storage room for your convenience.


What if I left something behind?

We typically clean the barn on Mondays or Tuesdays, so if we find any items that have been left behind, we will leave them in the milk house kitchen until they’re claimed. If nobody claims the item in a timely manner, it may be thrown away. Lakeside Occasions is not responsible for any damaged, lost, or stolen property.


Is there lodging on site?

We don’t have lodging on site, but there are plenty of hotel rooms in nearby Shipshewana- less than a 10 minute drive. We do have a partnership with the Farmstead Inn & Conference Center – if you book with us you can get a discount on rooms there. There are many other Accommodations in Shipshewana to consider as well.


Do you offer shuttle services?

We do not, but Cardinal Bus in Middlebury has tour buses – (574) 825-9405. AAA Fort Wayne Connection has chauffeured passenger vans – 260-436-5466. You may also check with the Shipshewana Visitors Center (800-254-8090) to see if they have leads on drivers for the Amish.


What does the Day-Of Wedding Coordinator do?

The service is $500 for 6 hours (+$40/additional hour) – and the coordinator will do whatever you need them to: assist with setup, coordinating deliveries and guests, executing wedding day timeline, or troubleshooting any issues that arise. There will be a one-hour meeting beforehand to discuss expectations for the day & she will also attend and help direct your rehearsal if it’s on site.


What if I have questions about my wedding day timeline?

If you don’t have a wedding planner, please ask if you have questions! Of course, everyone has access to Google – and it can be a great resource, but I can speak to experience at our specific venue – and I have no problems doing so. I would rather you ask for suggestions than have you be disappointed because your guests got bored or “hangry” and left before you cut the cake!


When should I schedule an RSVP deadline?

This is up to you & your caterer’s requirements, but we typically schedule our planning sessions about 2-3 weeks before the wedding, and we need a somewhat solid headcount for that, so 4 weeks is usually a good rule. We will need a detailed headcount if you’re having an open bar, since we’re only charging per guest who’s 21+.


What if I need to cancel? Will we get our money back?

We hate to hear when things don’t work out, but we understand life happens. Unfortunately, your initial down payment and any other monies paid are non refundable. If you’d like to reschedule, we will do our best to accommodate you based on availability. If you are rescheduling for the next calendar year, a new down payment or date change fee may be required, but will be applied as a credit to your new date IF we are able to rebook your original date. You must also sign a new contract and will be liable for the full amount of the rental, even if it’s more than your original date. These are great reasons to consider wedding insurance!


When are payments due? Can I make payments along the way?

We require 50% of the total rental 6 months before the wedding, and the final 10% + refundable Security Deposit are due 60 days before the wedding. You will receive invoices by email when balances are due. Late payments will incur a $30 – $50 late fee. Any outstanding charges, including those for bar services are due at least one week prior to your event. There’s no penalty for paying early, and we’re happy to arrange a payment plan.


Our No. 1 goal is to make sure your experience at Lakeside Occasions is fun and memorable! If you have a question that is not addressed here or in the Rental Agreement, please feel free to email, call, or text Kara at [email protected] or 260-585-3211.

Check Availability

Have a date in mind for your event?

The barn is available for weddings Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from April through November.

Schedule a Tour

Ready to see us in person?

If the barn is available on your event date, then contact us to schedule a tour of the property!

Words of Endearment

Brides, grooms, and guests share their experiences at Lakeside Occasions

Taylor & Wesley White

Our day could not have been any more perfect.

Taylor & Wesley


Thanks for helping make our special day extraordinary.

Liz & Les