Agritourism, weddings increase in popularity, provide options for farmers 

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It could be a visit to a local winery or a tour of a nearby farm, but agritourism is on the rise in Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (ODAFF) has recently seen a great increase in people wanting to experience what goes on outside major cities.

“Agritourism is defined as inviting the public onto a working farm or ranch to purchase products, learn, have fun, participate in farm activities or just relax,” according to the ODAFF.

There are wineries to tour, “you pick ’em” farms, corn mazes and year-round attractions where you can choose your own adventure. One of the fastest growing attractions is destination weddings — and we’re not talking about the faraway getaway type. Instead of sandy beaches, imagine waving fields of wheat or bright-red barns in the Oklahoma countryside.

Jamie Cummings is the coordinator for ODAFF’s Agritourism Program. She helps connect Oklahoma producers who would like their farms and ranches to become tourist destinations. Lately, she has been working with producers who want to host weddings.

“We were just getting so many questions about ‘Where can I have a rustic wedding?’ and then we have clients that were opening up. We decided to do a survey to see how many were actually doing weddings because of that,” Cummings said.

The result of those informal surveys led to the first wedding workshop for those who wanted their destination to become part of the wedding industry. It took place last fall, and the response was almost overwhelming. What impressed Cummings the most was the cooperation between the producers. Those who had been doing weddings for a while were more than willing to share their knowledge with those just getting started.

Two major factors — finances and a renewed love of all things local — play a role in the popularity of destination weddings in Oklahoma, Cummings said. You can search oklahomaagritourism.com with different criteria in mind, including region of the state and who provides what services.

“For the first time, last spring, we did our first wedding show as a program. Obviously, being a state program, we don’t promote any particular venue; we direct people to the [website] icon (it’s a ring) and then show them the wealth of choices they have,” she said.

Whatever your dream wedding consists of, there is probably a rustic locale to host it. Depending on how much work you want to do or how much you want done for you, many of the locations offer full-service packages or à la carte options. Many partner with other providers to take the guesswork out of every detail.

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And if you would rather make a weekend out of it, that’s a choice, too.

“There are definitely some destinations that can accommodate a whole weekend of activities for the couple or the whole wedding party,” Cummings said.

To find out more about what Oklahoma has to offer in the way of destinations for weddings or simply a daylong getaway, visit oklahomaagritourism.com. You might find that the perfect destination is right around the corner.


Print headline: Boots and bells, Destination weddings take on a new meaning thanks to Oklahoma agritourism.

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