Gallagher barn hosts first wedding today

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 July 2016 at 12:00 am

Jenna and Martin Bruning turn iconic barn into events center

MEDINA – After more than a year of hard work with lots of imagination, Jenna and Martin Bruning hosted their first wedding today at The Gallagher, one of the area’s most iconic barns.

The barn on North Gravel Road has been transformed into an events center. Today Alex Shuknecht married Kate Eberlin in an outside ceremony next to the barn. The couple is having the reception inside the barn, which has room for 250 people.

Alex Shuknecht and the his wife, the former Kate Eberlin of Holley, walk down the aisle after getting married today in a service outside the Gallagher barn on North Gravel Road.

The Shuknechts looked at the barn about a year ago. It was in rough shape then, but the Brunings assured them they would have the barn repainted, and redone inside in time for the wedding.

“It looked pretty rough a year ago,” Mr. Shuknecht said today before the wedding. “Kate and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. We wanted a rustic look. I love this place. I wish them all the success in the world.”

The barn has been a landmark on Route 63 since the 1880s. The Brunings had the barn repainted to its original colors last year, with large painted letters, WM J. GALLAGHER STOCK FARMS.

The Brunings each grew up on dairy farms. Jenna’s parents, Mike and Cyndi Van LieShout, own a dairy farm in Barre. Martin grew up on a dairy in Waterport. The couple was married in a barn at the Van Lieshhout farm on Route 98.

Barns have become popular as wedding venues in recent years. Kate Eberlin grew up in Clarendon. She was a student in GCC’s vet tech program with Shuknecht’s brother, who introduced Kate to Alex. That was in December 2011.

Kate now works as a vet tech at the Brockport Animal Hospital. Alex owns a dairy farm in Pavilion with his brothers, Eric and Adam.

They looked at barns for their wedding in Rochester, but those sites were booked two years in advance, and they didn’t give the couples options for catering and DJ services.

The Brunings say they are fortunate several friends and family helped create “The Gallagher,” including Tyler Palmer of Lyndonville who made the tables using reclaimed wood from three other barns that had fallen down due to neglect. Palmer also used wood from rotted fence posts for some of the table legs.

The Brunings allow people to pick their own caterer, DJ, photographer and anyone else they want to provide services at the wedding.

David Barone, a wedding photographer from Buffalo, said barns are becoming popular as wedding venues. He has taken wedding pictures at barns before. The Gallagher is much bigger than other barn venues he has been in for weddings.

“This is one of the biggest barns I have seen,” he said. “I like the rustic look. I like the light inside.”

He expects The Gallagher will be very popular for weddings.

“People like the originality,” he said. “They want to step out of the box.”

Alex Shuknecht holds his daughter Avery, who served as a flower girl at her parent’s wedding today.

The Brunings worked diligently on the property while juggling their own full-time jobs and raising three young children. Mrs. Bruning is a district manager for Aldi and Mr. Bruning is a  milk truck driver.

They cleared brush, redid masonry work, installed new support poles, put in bathrooms and a bar, and redid a third of the wooden floor, as well as numerous other projects.

The Gallagher has new bathrooms and other modern features while preserving a rustic look. James Kyle put in the bathrooms, a bar, a dance floor and back doors.

“We had a lot of great people help with this,” Mrs. Bruning said.

The new Mrs. Shuknecht said the barn setting exceeded her expectations.

“I’m beyond happy,” she said. “It’s gorgeous in here.”

The table is set for guests at today’s wedding at The Gallagher. The table is made from reclaimed wood from another barn on the property.

The Shuknechts are the first of 10 weddings already set for this year at The Gallagher. Three more are booked for 2017.

Mr. Bruning said he sometimes questioned if the project was too much for the young couple. But Medina residents always seemed to stop by at the right time, offering encouraging words. Family and friends also stepped up to help get the barn ready for its first wedding.

Mr. Bruning went without a haircut from October until early this afternoon. He said he wasn’t go to get it cut until the barn was ready. He showed up at the wedding with much shorter hair.

Martin and Jenna Bruning turned a dilapidated barn into an events venue. They are pictured inside the barn before today’s wedding.

“Everything that we wanted it turned out better than we expected,” said Mr. Bruning, 31. “There is more to do. The wish-list goes on.”

The Brunings have church pews outside the barn for people to sit during the weddings. The pews were acquired less than two months ago from a Lutheran church in Wolcottsville, which Mr. Bruning attended as a kid.

The Brunings also added a barn door and wrought-iron gates as a backdrop for the weddings.

“We’ve been able to make a lot of things beautiful that originally had a utilitarian purpose,” Mrs. Bruning said.

The ring bearers, Camden and Norah Eberlin, make their way down the aisle during today’s wedding.

The wedding as pictured through one of the side barn doors.

The Gallagher property includes 14 acres, including space next to the barn for weddings.

Alex and Kate Shuknecht kiss after being pronounced as husband and wife.