Lakeside Occasions FAQs

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 an invoice by email for your final balance. It is due 30 days before your event, and you can pay by cash, credit card (3% processing fee), or check. 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 guest count for this meeting), tally up any rentals or extras you may need, and make your bar selections. You will get a diagram of your seating plan afterwards to help with seating arrangements and an exact count on tablecloths.


Do you have tablecloths for rent?

No, but you can usually rent them from your caterer. 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’ too, if need be or set up a sweetheart table in the center, and have your wedding party sit at rounds out to the sides.


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 FLAMES 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?

No 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 also 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. Also, please do not allow guests or vendors to park 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 ample space indoors 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 more elbow room during dinner.


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 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 250 matching outdoor chairs for the ceremony. Above 200 chairs and 26 tables, the fee is $2/chair and $10/table. You can pay for any extras at your planning session. Our staff will set up the tables and chairs so you won’t have to move furniture on your wedding day.


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.


Should I use an aisle runner?

That’s up to you, but in our experience, they’re more hassle than they’re worth. You will need to bring lawn stakes or something else to weight them down or it may fly into the lake! Plus, it’s just another thing to pick up at the end of the night.


What if it rains?

We will decide on a Plan B at your planning session. We can seat a max 215 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. 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 – we will politely inform them, but we will also confiscate any outside alcohol and hold until the event is over. Repeat offenders may be asked to leave the premises.


What brands of beer & wine do you offer?

Our stock includes: Bud Light and Miller Lite draft and CK Mondavi and Jacob’s Creek wines. 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. Payment is due in cash the day of the event – or you can bring the night before if reserved for decorating. Please hand it to a Lakeside Occasions staff member instead of paying the officer directly. 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 DD if drinking.


Do we have to use your bartenders?

Yes. We have a number of staff members who are licensed to serve alcohol. The fee will be $100 per bartender. One bartender per 100 guests. Minimum of 2 per event.


Do you accept credit cards for a cash bar?

No. Cash only, please.


Do we have to use a specific caterer?

We have 3 preferred caterers, but you can bring in an outside catering service or bring your own food for a $200 fee. Outside caterers will be asked to provide proof of insurance and sign off on our house rules before they’ll be allowed to cater at Lakeside Occasions. We do not guarantee quality of service for outside caterers. For cake/desserts, and appetizers, you are welcome to use whomever you choose. If you aren’t having a catered meal (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 ice.


What about music and photography?

Alomar Entertainment out of Ft. Wayne provides excellent services, however you are welcome to use the DJ of your choice. Or you can use our sound equipment for a nominal setup fee of $75. We have speakers, audio board, and microphones for indoors and out. We also have preferred photographers, florists/decorators, and bakeries listed on our website, but you are not obligated to use these preferred vendors.


Will staff be on site for 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 (if rented), to replace toilet paper in the restrooms, and to take out the trash.


Do you offer a military discount?

Not at this time, however, we can negotiate something extra – such as the fireplace, or a rental (drapes or uplighting) for no additional fee.


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. And please note, the overhead fans in the barn are only used to PUSH HEAT DOWN. They do not help circulate cool air – so turning them on when the A/C is on will only make it more difficult to cool the space.


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 2-8 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. If you haven’t reserved the barn for day-before decorating, you can come as early as 8-10 AM the day of the wedding and/or reception (depending on the day of the week.) We will do our best to accommodate any special requests!


Are there catering restrictions for the rehearsal dinner?

No, you can cater in or bring your own food. Emma Café & Nelson’s offer some wonderful rehearsal dinner options. You may also purchase beer and/or wine for the rehearsal dinner from Lakeside Occasions – meaning you can’t bring in your own. (Please ask for a menu.) PS: The stove in the Coop does not work! 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 men 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. We don’t usually lock the feed room/silo, but you may if you’d like. We have a key for that room as well.


Can our dog be part of the ceremony?

Yes! But do so at your own risk, and please pick up after your pets (i.e. clean up any accidents.) Some animals get nervous around big crowds, so you may bring a kennel for the reception.


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?

All we ask is that you throw your trash away in the trash bins (we provide the trash bags and take the trash 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 technically required to sweep or mop. If you moved any of our plants or décor, please make sure it’s returned where you found it. 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. We also have a link to other Accommodations in Shipshewana. If need be, you can explore shuttle services at the Shipshewana Visitors Center.


Do you offer shuttle services?

We do not, but you may check with the Visitors Center in Shipshewana. They may have leads on shuttle buses or vans, or a quick Google search may help if you’re looking for limo services. Just type in our zip code: 46571.


What does the Day-Of Wedding Coordinator do?

The service is $300 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.


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, 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 deposit back?

We hate to hear when things don’t work out, but we understand life happens. We do require that you submit a cancellation in writing (email works). Please keep in mind that the down payment you paid to reserve your date is 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, we will need to rebook your original date before we can apply your deposit to the new date.


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

There’s no penalty for paying early, so feel free to send in payments along the way. Please note the wedding date on your checks. If there’s a balance, it is due 30 days before the wedding, along with a $500 refundable damage deposit. (Please write separate checks for the balance and the damage deposit.) You will receive an email invoice when the balance is due. If it’s late, there will be a $30 – $50 late fee. Any outstanding charges, such as extra tables & chairs, décor rental, and bar services, will be due at your planning session 2-3 weeks before the wedding.


Our No. 1 goal is to make sure your experience at Lakeside Occasions is fun and memorable. That said, if you have a question that is not addressed here or in the contract, 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