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When searching for a wedding or reception venue, facilities must meet Minnesota safety and accessibility requirements. This includes barns and similar buildings converted for weddings and events. While a renovated barn may look like the perfect spot for your wedding, there are a few things to check to make sure it’s safe and accessible for you and your guests.

Certificate of occupancy

Wedding barn

One way to ensure the location was renovated to meet minimum safety requirements is to ask to see a certificate of occupancy. If it was renovated after July 1, 2017 and is rated for 200 or more guests (generally at least 3,000 square feet), a certificate of occupancy should be available, even if located in a non-code enforced area. This certificate ensures the building was inspected and meets the safety and accessibility requirements of the State Building Code, including:

  • fire protection systems like fire sprinklers,

  • emergency exits,

  • sanitary restrooms and food-service areas,

  • structural integrity, and

  • accessible accommodations such as parking, entrances and access to primary areas of the venue for those with limited mobility.

Older or smaller venues

Venues renovated prior to July 1, 2017, or that are smaller than 3,000 square feet, may not have a certificate of occupancy. However, there are safety requirements to ask about prior to reserving the venue for your wedding or event.

  • Fire sprinklers:  Beginning in 2008, wedding and event venues, including barns, rated for 100 or more guests (1,500 square feet) must have a fire sprinkler system.  

  • Emergency exits:  Venues rated for 50 or more guests (750 square feet) must include emergency exits and back-up lighting.

  • Food-service safety:  The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reviews and approves food-service areas and issues safety certificates. MDH delegates their authority to local enforcement in some parts of the state.

  • Structural integrity:  Not all barns are built alike. State law requires that venues, including barns, be certified by a structural engineer.

Convert your venue for events

Interested in hosting events like weddings and receptions at your venue? Here are a few resources to get you started:


Contact Greg Metz at 651-284-5884.