Lyons Farmette & Riverbend Wedding Guide
Charming farm style venues nestled in Lyons, Colorado
Lyons is a magical little town just north of Boulder, Colorado that sits right at the base of the foothills. If you’ve ever driven to Estes Park, odds are you drove through Lyons, as hwy 36 is one of the only routes in and out of Estes. The St. Vrain River runs right through the center of town, and it’s home to some of the coolest rock quarries in Colorado. I love stopping at the coffee shop on Main St. on my way up to Estes, or when I’m heading to one of the awesome wedding venues in Lyons!
Riverbend & Lyons Farmette made getting married at a farm cool when they started their venues a few years ago. They are two different venues about 5 minutes from each other. The Farmette is just off the main highway before you hit the main Lyons town itself, while Riverbend is right off the St. Vrain river just to the west of the town. I absolutely adore these venues, and wanted to do a deep dive on their gorgeous properties so you know what to expect when you’re looking at these spots for your wedding!!
When you turn off the highway into the driveway of the Farmette, you’re instantly surrounded by huge cottonwood trees. Bumping along the little dirt drive you’ll see the main venue area on your left, and the famous farm animals (goats, chickens, and alpacas OH MY!) on your right. The brand new barn sits at the end of the driveway with the main catering house, the bar, and the getting ready cabin. Hidden behind the barn are the huge flower fields where the onsite florist will source your bouquets or boutonnieres. If you walk back down that road and head to your right, you’ll find the Airstream trailer that serves as the other getting ready space, along with the 50’s truck that you can use as part of your wedding decor! As of 2022, they’re also revamping their creekside flagstone patio to make it an additional ceremony site for a smaller, more causal ceremony.
The property is huge, and one of my favorite things about weddings there is how much space you have to play!! You can encourage your guests to wander through the grounds with giant jenga, cornhole, the firepit area, and the bar all scattered throughout. I’ve seen people do beautiful things with furniture rentals to encourage different seating areas. I love when the dinner is hosted outdoors on the lawn too, it’s just stunning!
How much does it cost to get married at the Farmette?
Fortunately, they keep some baseline pricing on their website for you to reference! Here’s what’s listed for 2022 and 2023. They also keep their availability calendar up to date, so you can go check it ASAP to see if your date is available.
The venue capacity for Lyons Farmette is 125 people.
**You get the space from 12pm to 11pm on the wedding day!**
What’s included in the Farmette venue rental?
Farmette Rules and Requirements
The Farmette does have preferred caterers and DJs. You have to choose the caterer from their group of approved caterers and food trucks, but they do say that they’ll work with a DJ who has great references if it is someone they don’t know. You can bring in any vendor outside of those two categories.
Both the Farmette and Riverbend are in residential areas, so they have noise limitations and rules about how late you can stay on the property. At the Farmette, the event must be over by 9pm so that all guests and vendors are off the property by 11pm. You can have amplified noise at the Farmette during certain times of day, but they are encouraging their guests to host their dance parties in the barn this year to minimize disruption to their neighbors!
Smoking isn’t allowed, except for in designated smoking areas on the property.
Farm Produce and Flowers
You can contact the Farmette to include produce and herbs from the farm in your catering, and the amazing team at Plume & Furrow work with the Farmette and Riverbend to provide flowers for your event from the farm! They also offer arbors that you can rent for your ceremony backdrop. The one in the photos featured above is the aspen chuppah.
Photography at Lyons Farmette
I absolutely LOVE photographing at the Lyons Farmette!! The flower fields are one of my favorite spots to take portraits of any venue in Colorado. Seriously!! The pops of color against a field of green are just gorgeous, and such a unique look. Apart from the botanic gardens venues, there aren’t many other places with epic flowers that you can play in. There are greenhouses and trailers scattered through the flower farm areas as well. From a photography perspective, they give you some framing to work with and a mix of structure and organic that is delightful.
Don’t forget to take some goofy photos with the animals too! The alpacas need some love, even if they stand there stubbornly NOT facing the camera while you’re trying to take a cute photo with them.
Family formal photos and wedding party photos are easy peasy at the Farmette too. They have a large area of greenery that backs up to the creek, and it’s perfectly placed so that you get afternoon shade. I always look for a good shady spot when I’m photographing a large group of people to make sure the skin tones are super even and consistent. It’s even right next to the ceremony site so no one (especially grandparents) have to walk too far during the wedding.
The tent and the barn both make for amazing spots for your dinner, toasts, and dancing. Both areas are super easy to light after the sun goes down! Once the firepit is lit, I totally suggest you take some s’mores eating photos, and walk around the property for some blue hour photos with the twinkle lights. The bridges make for a perfect spot to hang out for a late night snuggle!
The main ceremony site under the tree is in the perfect spot to catch the twinkles of afternoon sunlight through the trees, and keep your guests sitting mostly in the shade. As a photographer, a ceremony site where the sun us behind the couple is my favorite to shoot, so the Farmette placed theirs perfectly!
Both getting ready areas photograph beautifully!! Lots of window light, mirrors, and cute furniture make for adorable getting ready photos and super pretty detail shots. Just keep in mind you might not be able to cram 15 people into the airstream AND get good photos. It’s more of a 3-5 person space than a 10-15 person space.
Farmette Wedding Tips & Tricks
You learn things photographing at venues that usually isn’t listed on a website or shown on an Instagram page. Here’s some things I’ve picked up when working at the Lyons Farmette that might be helpful as you plan your wedding!
Tell guests not to wear narrow heels! Most of the grounds are made up of lawn or gravel paths, so lower heels, wedges, or block heels are much better for guests (and you, come to think of it) than skinny heels.
If you’re inviting kids to your wedding, they are going to have SO much fun running around the Farmette! But, there are unprotected edges that drop off into the creek, animals that are easily accessible, and old tractors to climb on. Make sure parents are expecting to closely supervise their younglings, or hire in a group babysitter to make sure the kiddos stay safe!
There’s not much protection from the elements at the Farmette. The open air property is part of the fun and magic of the Farmette, but it also leaves you exposed to the 95 degree heat in the summer, rainstorms in the spring afternoons, or smoke from the wildfire season. Make sure you and your guests are prepared, and you have lots of water available for folks during the hot days. Have sunscreen available, give out fans or paper umbrellas for the ceremony, and maybe keep some clear waterproof umbrellas on hand as a rain insurance policy.
The only area that has air conditioning is the getting ready cottage, so that can be a safe haven for you to retreat to when you need, but the guests won’t have the same luxury!
Boy, is it hard to pick a favorite between these two venues!! I worked at the Farmette first, so it will always have a special place in my heart. And, I love the flower fields so much, but Riverbend has a magical character all of it’s own that I just adore. Riverbend is just north of the main Lyons town, and right next to the WeeCasas of Lyons (a great spot for your guests and wedding party to stay). The St. Vrain runs right through the property, and the red rock granite wall next to the river serves as a backdrop for all the parts of your wedding day! The property at Riverbend is bigger and more sprawling than the Farmette, with more area for lawn games, gathering around the bar at the massive Spruce tree, and areas for guests to play in the river during cocktail hour. There’s a large sailcloth tent on a concrete pad for your dinner portion, and most parties choose to have the dancefloor on the flagstone patio down by the river. Like the Farmette, there are two getting ready spaces included in the rental: a glamping tent (with chandeliers) and a house near the back end of the property. The ceremony area at Riverbend is nestled under some thick leafy trees that make a great shady canopy over the guests, and you’re standing right in front of the canyon wall! It’s pretty breathtaking.
Riverbend only allows amplified sound up to a certain point in the evening (including microphones for toasts, etc.) and they encourage silent discos for evening dance parties if you want to include music. I have to admit, I had some reservations going into my first silent disco there, but it was actually super fun. Giving the guests different music channels to choose from resulted in an int sweet older couple slow dancing while a group of rowdy wedding party folks rapped along to Biggie. I’ve never heard people say that they regretted or really didn’t like the silent disco after the fact! So, I say embrace it, and bring some glow sticks to liven up the party even more.
How much does it cost to get married at Riverbend?
Fortunately, they keep some baseline pricing on their website for you to reference! Here’s what’s listed for Riverbend in 2022 and 2023. They also have an online availability calendar, so you can go check it ASAP to see if your date is available.
The venue capacity for Riverbend is 200 people.
**You get the space from 12pm to 11pm on the wedding day!**
What’s included in the Riverbend venue rental?
Riverbend Rules and Requirements
The biggest Riverbend rule to keep in mind is their “no amplified sound” policy. You can only use their provided PA system for toasts and the ceremony, and if you do them early, music can be played for your first dance. But, any dancing music after that has to be via a silent disco setup. There are lots of DJs that provide this, and usually it gives you the chance to have a couple different playlists going on different channels so people can always find music they want to dance to! Riverbend does also require that you work with one of their preferred DJs (or another DJ with good recommendations).
You have your pick of any other vendors except catering, which also needs to come from their preferred list. But, they have 23 companies and 8 food trucks on the list, so you hardly are restricted on choice!!
Like the Farmette, smoking is only allowed in designated areas on the property, even though it is an open air venue.
Farm Produce and Flowers
You can contact Riverbend to include produce and herbs from the nearby Lyons Farmette in your catering! It’s so cool to incorporate this, and is one of the pros of having your wedding at a farm venue! Plume & Furrow work with the Farmette to give you flowers for decor! From the tables, to the ceremony arch, and bouquets. If you want a ceremony arbor, they provide that as well. The one in the Riverbend photos is their hexagonal arch!
Photography at Riverbend
Photographing weddings at Riverbend is a dream!! There is so much area to explore even just for your portraits. From the river, to the trails on the lookout above the property, to the WeeCasas, and the grassy field to the back of the parking lot. You can have about a hundred different backdrops and so many different vibes!
If “lookout above the property” piqued your interest, here’s the deal. There is a park to the south of Riverbend behind the ridge, and if you’re up for a short hike, the views are unmatched! You can get photos looking down on top of the venue, and some views out to the foothills around the property, too. It does take some extra time to get there, but if those epic views are worth it to you, I say go for it! To get there, you need to hop in a car, head out of the Riverbend property and turn right. Then, turn right again on Railroad Ave. following signs for LaVern Johnson/Meadow Park. Park at the end of the parking lot, then head up the trails that start at the star icon on the map here. The spots that I like to photograph from are near the green flags that I added on the map.
IMPORTANT!!! Obey ALL signs in the area, and be aware that you are hiking in a spot that has a lot of rattlesnakes (they love the rocks). There are larger formations at the top that you are NOT ALLOWED to climb up to (there are big signs). Don’t be tempted by the views and set a bad precedent for other weddings, or this spot might get closed!!
If you’re not feeling that level of adventure, don’t worry!! There are amazing spots “on property” as well. If you’re up for getting your feet wet, the river is low enough to cross on foot during September (and probably other late summer dates too) and you can easily walk a little way up the front side of the ridge. There are often exposed “beach” areas in the river too! You can hop on the rocks to get to them or wade through the water.
The ceremony site at Riverbend makes a great spot for your family photos since it’s shaded and usually you can keep some chairs handy for grandparents or folks who can’t stand for long. I like that area for wedding party photos too, but if you want some river in the background, you can head down to the edge of the water, too! The light comes from behind the ridge in the afternoon, so it’s easy to get some nice backlight down by the river for those photos. It also works well for the first dances over on the patio as well!!
Getting ready photos are a breeze in both locations since they are so well lit by natural light. The house has big windows, and the tent is open at the front and under a tree so no issues there. I love the styling in both locations! The velvet chairs and couch in the house are awesome for detail photos, and the tent has really nice furniture, too. Both venues really have done a great job styling all the areas you would use and have in photos!!
The dance floor can be a challenge for “natural light only” photographers, as it is only lit by string lights and whatever lights the DJ brings. I personally prefer to bring lighting with me to light up the dance floor from different angles, but some photographers will use direct flash and “shutter drag” which gives you a sharp image with blurry lines from movement of lights in the background. I actually photographed the reception featured here using that method, since I loved the way it emphasized the silent disco headphones! The point of all this is just to ask your photographer how they normally deal with a dance floor that’s open to the sky, and look at samples so you know you’ll be happy with the way the photos turn out from it. I’ve dropped an example for both below. The photo on the right is with multiple lights brought in, versus the photo on the left is flash with “shutter drag.”
Here’s a bunch of other photos from a wedding at Riverbend so you get a sense of what all parts of the wedding day look like there. This couple didn’t go up onto the back side of the ridge, but were all about climbing in the river and doing some barefoot scrambling up the side of the canyon wall. It made for some super cool shots, especially from the opposite side of the riverbank!
Riverbend Wedding Tips & Tricks
Here’s some of what I’ve learned photographing at Riverbend that you might not think of after just seeing some photos or checking out their Instagram page! Most of it is similar to the Farmette, and the biggest hurdles just come from the fact that the venue is fully outdoors.
Tell guests not to wear narrow heels! Most of the grounds are made up of lawn, gravel, or flagstone, skinny heels will sink into the grass, get stuck in between flagstones, or get full of gravel, OUCH. If you’re planning on going in the creek, bring some other footwear (the bride above got some wedding day Chacos) that you are okay rock hopping in.
Mobility is a concern as well, since moving around the property requires a lot of walking and there aren’t paved paths between the various areas. This isn’t a good spot for anyone with a mobility disability to move around in. Though, there are some wheelchairs I’ve seen that would be capable of doing some “off-roading” that’s not something everyone is comfortable with.
The kids at this wedding had so much fun playing cornhole and sitting in the grass! But, there’s a big body of water that’s easily accessible from most of the property!! Warn your guests with little ones that keeping a close eye on them is very important. Also make sure they bring sunscreen, hats, and extra water for the kiddos so they don’t get cranky from being out in the sun too long.
Riverbend is even more open air than the Farmette since they don’t have the barn for dancing. The only portion of the day that is covered is the dinner tent (they move dancing there if there is rain), so there isn’t much by way of cover from the elements. You can mitigate some of the summer heat by making sure there’s always lots of water to drink, handing out fans as favors, or including cute paper umbrellas for guests as part of your ceremony! I recommend large white or clear umbrellas if you want a rain insurance policy. Usually those colors work well if you need to take any of your photos with an umbrella to protect your hair and makeup.
Well, I hope this guide gave you MORE than enough stuff to think about if you’re looking at Lyons Farmette and Riverbend for your wedding. If you have any other questions that I didn’t answer, just hit me up! I’d be happy to answer them. If you’re looking at hiring a photographer for your wedding, I love the Boulder area (Lyons included) and have a ton of experience at all sorts of venues nearby. If you’re at the Farmette or Riverbend already, HECK YES!! Let’s chat if you’re looking for a photographer who’s worked there before. My 6 hour package is just under $3k, and that’s a really popular time frame for weddings there.