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The Barn at Allen Acres a new, rustic wedding venue

ROCK FALLS – Country-minded brides-to-be, pay heed: There’s a new wedding venue in Rock Falls that’s right up your country lane.

The Barn at Allen Acres, 2206 Prophet Road off U.S. Route 30, offers a rustic, restored dairy barn and a country-themed farmhouse available for the rehearsal dinner, the wedding – and the wedding night.

The public is invited to check it out this weekend: There’s a craft and vendor show on site Saturday, and a bridal and bridal fashion show Sunday.

Owner Karen Rogers, a former American Airlines flight attendant, now lives in Crystal Lake, but the 3.5-acre farm was her family homestead for the last 80 years; It was farmed by her father and his father before him.

She restored the big red barn out of love for her childhood home, then looked around and thought, “Now what do I do?” she said.

“I do” proved to be the key to that question: A young Rock Falls couple approached her and asked if they could marry there, and The Barn at Allen Acres took on its romantic new role.

Dustin Cardwell and Molly Benters, both 27, tied the knot on Sept. 21.

“Molly,” Dustin said, “was dead set in her mind that she was going to get married in a barn. I blame it on Pinterest.”

“It was perfect,” said the new Mrs. Cardwell. “It was everything that I’d hoped for. A lot of people doubted me, and said you can’t make this ugly barn beautiful, but I did.”

Rogers was a big help, they said.

“She’s the nicest lady,” Dustin said. “She helped us in every way possible, and she was just great to work with.”

Rogers’ two-story barn has a 26-foot ceiling, exposed beams, original wood siding and original barn doors, and seats 150 comfortably upstairs, where the ceremony is held. (The second floor is not handicapped-accessible.)

The house has dressing rooms for the bride, the bridesmaids, the groom and his groomsmen, and bedrooms, including a child’s room, all decorated with country antiques.

The rental fee, which starts at $2,000, gets you the farm Thursday through Sunday, so you have plenty of time to decorate, like Molly did, and hang out with the wedding party.

For now, it’s open year-round, and Rogers does have a December wedding booked, but the barn is not heated or air-conditioned.

It’s all a work in progress, she said. At some point, she plans to have chairs and other wedding accessories available. But for now, she’s offering the venue only (and hay bales for seats, if you like).

The couple are responsible for their own food, drinks, decorations and entertainment, but Rogers will help find vendors and hotel accommodations for out-of-town guests.

The barn does have lights and electricity, and Rogers also has an antique carriage perfect for wedding photos. Couples also can get married outside, if they prefer.

Molly’s not the only bride happy to have a marriage born in a barn – Rogers already has 12 weddings booked, and more pending, she said.

Free craft and bridal show this weekend

The Barn at Allen Acres, 2206 Prophet Road off U.S. Route 30 in rural Rock Falls, is having a craft and vendor show with 30 to 35 local dealers on hand from noon to 5 p..m. Saturday.

A bridal show is planned for noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, with at least 36 wedding vendors on site, and a bridal fashion show at 2 p.m.

Admission both days is free.

Brides-to-be who plan to attend the bridal show are encouraged to find The Barn at Allen Acres on Facebook or email to register for a prize drawing.

Contact owner Karen Rogers at the email above or at 847-687-3348 for more information on either event, or on her new wedding venue.

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