By Erin Pittman
Sponsored by Sweeney Barn
When most people picture a barn, they don’t imagine gorgeous interiors, climate control, an elevator and the perfect place for elegant weddings and receptions. But at Sweeney Barn, that’s exactly what guests find.
Sweeney Barn was built in 1939 as a dairy barn. The life of a farmer was rough, eventually leaving the barn abandoned and Prince William County took over ownership.
“The county was trying to find someone to renovate the barn, but keep the unique architecture, and turn it into something that would bring economic development to Prince William,” said Andrea Van Wambeke, general manager of Sweeney Barn.
In came owners Noel and Alannah Sweeney, an Irish couple with a love for bringing new life to historic buildings. The couple kept the true flavor of the barn, minus the cows, but brought it into the 21st century.
The Barn Today
When stepping into Sweeney Barn today, guests are met with all the amenities — heat and air conditioning, indoor elegant bathrooms, an elevator and gorgeous lighting. Outside are paved walkways and a designated parking lot for guests.
“Our location is great and is what sets us apart,” said Van Wambeke. “We aren’t way out in the country. We’re easy to access from Arlington, Prince William County, Loudoun and Fairfax, with hotels only 10 minutes away, great cell service, Wi-Fi, and Uber and Lyft both service our area.”
Van Wambeke loves to say, “If the city and the country had a baby, it would be Sweeney Barn.”
With the compromise of a country-escape feel and the convenient location, it’s easy to please any couple. Old Town Manassas is only 15 minutes away, offering a variety of places for guests to hang out or for couples to take photos.
Sweeney Barn offers a preferred list of vendors, prioritizing those in Prince William. Choosing from their established list supports the local economy, something that’s very important to the owners and management.
“A great starting point for couples is a meeting with the caterer to get quotes and create a floor plan,” said Van Wambeke.
Each event is customized and not cookie cutter.
“Our example floor plans are just the starting point,” she said. “Couples can customize every aspect of their wedding day.”
Wedding day rentals include 10-hours of exclusive reserved time, with six hours for guests, exclusive access to the entire building, bridal suite, a variety of lanterns and décor, chairs, a projector and screen, and more.
Events During COVID-19
“We are open,” said Van Wambeke. “We’ve had more than 30 weddings since reopening this year and have many scheduled through the end of the year.”
Per state mandates, on wedding days, tables are arranged 6 feet apart. Guests wear masks inside the venue, except when participating in the ceremony, eating, drinking and dancing.
“The Great Hall is 3,240 square feet, so there is plenty of space to distance and celebrate together. We are accommodating up to 150 people right now, and we look forward to being back up to our regular 200-guest capacity soon,” said Van Wambeke. “We appreciate our couples being adaptable and realizing you can still have a beautiful wedding in 2020.”
The barn is offering in-person tours with masks for prospective couples and booking weddings for 2021 and 2022.
“We are so grateful to be able to see people celebrate and have beautiful weddings. Getting together to celebrate love is really important. The world is tough right now,” she said.
To schedule a tour or learn more about Sweeney Barn, visit sweeneybarn.com or call 703-282-3033.