Your guide to getting hitched without a hitch at Monarch Valley Weddings.
We offer these resources and tips to help you with all your venue-side wedding plans. For additional assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact us!
To DIY or Not to DIY
The option to decline our Set-up, Take-down, & Cleaning Service (a.k.a. “Do It Yourself”) is for couples looking to keep costs down. Going this route boils down to a “leave it like you found it” policy.
Here are the differences between going DIY and taking our Set-up, Take-down, & Cleaning Service:
If you decline our service you (often with the help of your wedding party) would be responsible for:
- Unstacking and setting up tables and chairs and then re-stacking them
- Setting up and taking down the arbor
- Moving any outdoor furniture to your liking
- If you are renting your own chairs for your ceremony, you will be responsible for setting them up and returning them
- Wiping down surfaces in the banquet room, pool table room, and in the pavilion
- Mopping floors in the banquet room, pool table room, and in the pavilion
- Clearing grounds of cigarette butts, cans, and other garbage
- We will give direction when it’s time to clear and move tables to make room for your dance floor, but your group will be responsible for the labor involved.
If you accept our service, we’d work with you to develop a floor plan and will set-up tables, chairs, and furniture ahead of time. When you arrive, you’ll only need to decorate with what you bring in. After the wedding, you’d be able to relax more—only needing to take down the decorations you brought in, and leave the rest to us.
Regardless of whether or not you take the service:
- You would be responsible for decorating (tablecloths, tableware, personal effects, etc.).
- We will still be around to help out, monitor the facilities, start the outdoor fireplace, etc.
- Monarch Valley will thoroughly clean the upper lodge (where the bedrooms and living space are), we only ask that you wash dirty dishes.
- If you’re using our benches for your ceremony, we will set them up for you.
If you decide to go DIY, please note:
- The crew helping you – whether it’s your wedding party or your family – is expected to follow our venue rules on where and how to store our inventory, as well as follow the cleanliness standards we offer. We understand that those helping you are also here to have a good time, but drinking must not interfere with safety during set-up. We also recommend you set expectations around take-down and clean-up to ensure hangovers don’t get in the way of responsibilities.
- We will give you an orientation upon arrival and will be available to provide ladders, tools, advice, and instruction during your set-up.
- We will provide you with printed copies of our DIY Set-Up & Cleaning Checklist for all your responsibilities. We also provide all the towels and cleaning supplies you’ll need.
See our list of local vendors to help with your vendor research.
Sample Floor Plans
Check out our Sample Floor Plans (PDF).
Expand All / Collapse All
We do not have many restrictions on alcohol, just a few pieces of advice:
- If you serve alcohol, we strongly recommend you have a responsible adult hand it out. Choose someone who is able to say “no” to people who have had too much. Don’t let overserved guests ruin your night.
- Consider a shuttle service so guests can enjoy your reception without worrying about the drive home. School-bus type shuttles are a good budget option.
- Consider Event Liability Insurance.
Candles & Open Flame
We do not allow open flames. Candles must be electric.
Caterers Need to Know
We have a caterers bay (though you are not required to use it as such). It includes a three-part curtain for easy access; is wired separately from the rest of the venue to protect against power outages; and the barn door opens up into the bay so catering vehicles can be pulled right up to it.
Consider sharing our floorplan when you talk with your caterer.
You should discuss insurance and liability options with your caterer. If your caterer doesn’t have insurance, or if you have an out-of-the-box catering plan, we highly recommend Special Event Insurance.
We are rural—cell service can be spotty with some service providers. GPS is most often ok, but GPS may occasionally lose service up on the ridge. On your wedding day, we will place signs on both entrances of the ridge to help direct drivers to the wedding.
Check-In & Check-Out
For weekend packages, set-up can take place as early as 7 a.m. on Friday. Take-down should be finished by 3 p.m. on Sunday. We may be flexible upon request.
Weekday weddings should work with us to ensure proper set-up time, take-down time, and venue turnover time.
Confetti (Natural Only)
Natural confetti (petals, seeds, rice) is allowed. Confetti made from plastic or paper is not allowed. Confetti should be thrown over grass or concrete areas—not on gravel areas.
- Decide how many round dinner tables will be cleared, stacked, and removed—and how many will be reserved for non-dancers.
- Chairs are stacked properly on dollies then wheeled to the upstairs hallway by the bathrooms. Empty dollies are resting outside, near the caterer’s bay door for this moment.
NOTE: The tables used for head-tables are very heavy and must remain inside the Pavilion throughout the night. They can be slid out of the dance floor if necessary.
- To remove round tables, your party may stack tables on the floor of the pavilion -OR- you can prearrange to have Monarch Valley staff remove them from the building.
- Once tables and chairs are removed, any post-dinner debris must be mopped before the party starts—also mop any liquid spills that may occur during the dance.
Decorations & Decorating
Check out our inventory or schedule a planning visit to see the decorations we offer. You are free to bring in any additional decorations.
We do not provide tablecloths or tableware for the reception dinner. Check with your caterer—they may have their own options. Or, check out Facebook Marketplace or other sites to buy used items at a discount. It’s often cheaper to buy tablecloths new or used than it is to rent. If you choose to forgo a rental service, build in a significant time for you to iron tablecloths.
We do not sell, purchase, or save decorations from weddings that take place at Monarch Valley. When you leave, you must take everything with you that you brought in.
Our Set-Up, Take-Down, & Cleaning Service is limited to what Monarch Valley owns—you will still be responsible for handling all the decorations you bring in. We provide ladders. We allow staples as long as you take them back out. If you want help decorating, ask us about hiring Monarch Valley staff.
DJ's Need to Know
We are a rural venue with satellite internet. DJ’s must arrive with all music pre-downloaded to ensure proper playback. They should not rely on wi-fi for any of their DJ needs. We have a variety of extension cords, but if your DJ will need them then it is a good idea for you to bring extra cords.
Consider sharing our floorplan when you talk with your DJ.
Fireplaces & Firewood
We have one outdoor fireplace, one fireplace in the upper lodge, and one fireplace in the pool-table room. All fireplaces are woodburning and we supply all the wood needed. Monarch Valley staff will start all fires. Unless otherwise requested, we’ll start the outdoor fireplace just before dusk each night of your rental. The indoor fireplaces are only started upon request, when outdoor temperatures reach 60 degrees or cooler, or on rainy and snowy days.
Guests are allowed to carefully add logs to keep the fire going for as long as they wish—but all other fire-starting and fire-maintaining MUST be done by staff.
No excessive cooking is allowed over the fireplaces—please use the grills we provide instead.
Insurance (Special Event Insurance)
Special Event Insurance is not required but can help limit your liability in the event of an incident. If you choose a vendor who is unlicensed (especially a food or liquor vendor) we highly recommend you get a special event insurance policy for each day of your rental. Oftentimes homeowners or renters insurance will offer special event insurance, so it’s good to start your search there.
Inclement Weather & Temperature Control
We have heating and air conditioning in our lodge and banquet room. However, our pavilion does not have insulation, forced heating, or central air.
In the pavilion, we can make it cooler by opening up all four corners of the barn—we’re located up on a ridge, so there is almost always a perfect breeze. If it’s really hot, we have high-powered fans to help keep things cool. If it’s on the colder side, we can close up the doors and add our temporary heaters.
We have plenty of indoor space to accommodate 300+ people indoors, flat areas for outdoor tents, additional rooms for guest overflow, and 50 umbrellas. With any of our wedding packages, there is extra flexibility to postpone outdoor ceremonies until a brief shower clears—or to move ceremonies inside our pavilion.
Ice for Drinks
Monarch Valley Weddings does not provide bulk ice. If you’d like to purchase ice nearby, we recommend Kwik Trip in either Blair (5 miles) or Whitehall (7 miles). It’s a good idea to arrange for ice with Kwik Trip in advance.
We do not provide industrial storage space for ice—only a few coolers/ice chests. If you are having a beer trailer, that can be a great place to store ice over the weekend.
There is lots of natural light and various LED lighting, track lighting, and string lighting in the Pavilion. Lights are divided across many switches so you can light as desired. Some wedding couples choose to add additional, decorative lighting.
Our decorative string lights hang on the railing that separates the upper and lower pavilion and on the barn’s support posts that run along the rail. Additional string lighting found in pictures are what couples have brought in themselves or via a vendor. You may use staples to hang string lighting, but you must pull them out afterward. We have ladders that you may use.
We keep areas around the buildings well lit. However, there is almost no light-pollution on the ridge, so it gets dark when you are away from immediate light. The dark sky provides an amazing view of the stars—so don’t forget to look up!
You decide who stays at the lodge. There are 5 bedrooms, each with two beds and a private bathroom. For guests staying off-site, offering a shuttle service is a nice touch.
Sound System (Speakers & Microphones)
Most DJs will bring their own sound equipment. If you don’t have a DJ, or if you need extra sound, we have you covered.
Our sound system consists of two speakers and two wireless microphones. Typically, we set the speakers up by the outdoor fireplace (up above the pond) and they have enough range to work while mics are being used down on the stage by the officiant.
The speakers also have input for laptops, phones, ipads, etc. So, you could also play music at the ceremony or inside the pavilion.
Monarch Valley staff will set up our sound equipment at your requested times. However, someone from your group would be responsible for managing the mics and music. We’ll provide instruction to whomever is the mic and music manager.
Payments & Payment Schedule
We will reach out to you about your guest count and additional services in the weeks before your wedding, then we will provide you with an invoice. Your final balance will be due two weeks before your wedding. We will refund your Cleaning and Damages deposit within 14 days after your wedding.
Your guest count should include your total RSVPs plus the wedding party. Kids ages 10 and under are complementary and do not need to be counted toward your guest count.
Payments may be made via cash delivery, check, or credit card. Credit card transaction fees apply.
Make checks payable to Daniel Gallagher and mail to:
N33864 Shelly Ridge Road, Blair, WI 54616
There is plenty of gravel parking for up to 300 vehicles. We will provide parking signs. It is recommended (though not required) that you have someone from your group direct the parking in the hour leading up to the wedding. If you would like to hire Monarch Valley as your parking attendant, please let us know.
RV Payments & Parking
We welcome up to five RV parking spaces for extra guest capacity. We have electrical hook-ups for each RV. We do not have water or allow on-site waste disposal. Bathrooms in our nearby pavilion will be open to guests at all times.
We charge $50 per RV, per weekend to park an RV. Guests can pay upon arrival or the cost can be invoiced to the couple.
All RVs and tent campers MUST SCHEDULE A CHECK-IN TIME with Monarch Valley in advance. Upon arrival, RVs and tent campers will make their payment and receive parking/camping assignments from Monarch Valley staff.
We are rural and so is our wireless internet. You will have access to wi-fi in the upper lodge (the residential area). You will not have reliable wi-fi in the banquet room, pavilion, or on the lawns—so plan to download any music ahead of time.
Streaming video and music using wi-fi in the lodge is also not recommended due to satellite internet data caps—use your cell service or a hotspot.
The capacity varies within all the buildings, where you choose to do your outdoor ceremony, and on how you design your guest flow. Check out this section of our website to see the capacity of each room/building.
You can see our inventory to learn about each table and chair option. Here are the highlights:
- We have 250 white chairs for our 25 round tables in the pavilion. We recommend seating 10 to a table.
- Our outdoor benches for ceremonies seat 135 people. Those needing seating for more can mix in other chairs and benches from our inventory, or rent chairs (see our vendor list).
Our staff will give guests who request it a ride to and from the ceremony area.
Some couples choose to hire nearby shuttle or bus services to transport guests to and from hotels. This is an excellent way to treat your guests and keep them safe after serving alcohol. See our list of vendors for shuttle ideas. School-bus style shuttles are an excellent budget option.
We provide parking signs and place wedding signs at the last turn onto Shelly Ridge Road. We have one large chalkboard often used for your day-of schedule. Some couples choose to bring in additional, personal signage.
Site Visits for Photography
We welcome you to schedule a photography visit on the farm in the months leading up to your wedding. Use your session to take engagement or other wedding-related pictures with your photographer. This is complementary and limited to one visit per couple.
Site Visits for Planning
We couldn’t possibly expect you to remember everything from your tour—if you need to come back for a second visit, please schedule a walk-through with us. You are welcome to bring along vendors or other helpers who would benefit from seeing the space beforehand. This is complimentary.
Smoking is not allowed indoors or within 10 feet of any building. Receptacles are placed around the grounds.
We allow standard sparklers to be used outdoors. No other fireworks or fires are allowed.
We are happy to have guests camp in their own tents on our lawns. Tent campers are not allowed to have campfires—they should use our outdoor fireplace instead. Access to the pavilion bathrooms (which do not have showers) will be open to tent campers. In the event of rain, tent campers may move in the pavilion or banquet room.
To tent camp, we charge $5 per tent, per night. Guests can pay upon arrival or the cost can be invoiced to the couple.
All tent campers and RVs MUST SCHEDULE A CHECK-IN TIME with Monarch Valley in advance. Upon arrival, tent campers and RVs will make their payment and receive parking/camping assignments from Monarch Valley staff.
Trash & Recycling
Monarch Valley provides all the trash receptacles and liners/bags you should need. Our staff will help change full trash cans during your reception on a timed schedule. Throughout the rest of your rental, you should take out full trash bags to the bucket of our red tractor, which we park near the pavilion for this purpose. We will dispose of the bags from there.
At this time, we do not offer recycling. However, if recycling or zero waste is something you want to prioritize for your wedding, please talk with us.
Expand All / Collapse All