Thursday, April 19, 2012

Today I thought we'd share an article in our new Spring Insert about tents for your celebration. 

Image provided by Raj Tents, LLC

Hollywood Glamour:
Styling Your Big Day with Tents

By: Kristen Castillo

When you think “tent” you may think camping in the mountains or a county fair, but tents can be so much more glamorous. Just ask some of the famous people who’ve gotten hitched under a tent, like Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky; Reese Witherspoon and Jim Toth; and Caroline Kennedy and Edwin Schlossberg.

Consider a tent for your wedding too. After all, you don’t have to be a celebrity to celebrate in style!

Host the festivities under a tent and your guests will definitely remember your big day.

“People want their wedding to be personal, so a tent that’s personalized to the bride and groom makes it feel more special,” says Dominic Mitchell, CEO and co-founder of Raj Tents, LLC.

Richard Palmer-Jeffrey, director of sales at Raphael’sParty Rentals agrees, saying tents are growing in popularity as more weddings are happening outside of traditional venues like ballrooms and popping up at private estates.

“It just changes the whole atmosphere of an event,” says Palmer-Jeffrey. “It’s so much more ambiance.”

Kristen Elgo of WhiteWeddingDay Events, who handles sales and design for Pacific Event Productions finds, “couples want to transform the space into an extension of the house and create an elegant and unique dinning experience for their friends and extended family.”

Tents can makeover a variety of venues like parks, golf courses and even a family estate from charming to “wow.”

“With a tent, you can transform the space from a lawn or tennis court to your own private, one of a kind event space.”  explains Elgo, who is 2011 Event Professional of the Year for San Diego’s chapter of NACE, the National Association of Catering Executives.

Not Just for Bad Weather
One of the biggest misconceptions about tents is that they’re only something to consider in case of rain or cold weather.

“Tenting is not purely a means of covering from the elements,” says Mitchell, whose famous clients include David Beckham, Goldie Hawn, Hugh Hefner, Richard Branson and Salma Hayek. “It’s a décor element in itself. It frames the view and provides luxury.”

Tents can be amazing in any kind of weather. They can shade you on a hot day, create a cozy feeling at night and really turn your party into something magical.

“Tenting is functional, but it can be so much more,” says Mitchell, a member of the Set Decorators Society of America too, with Raj tents appearing in movies like “Bridesmaids,” “Friends With Benefits,” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” as well as TV shows including “Weeds,” “Royal Pains,” and “Private Practice.”

Tents can be open or closed on the sides. Usually in the summer, there’s no need to do walls or doors for a tent since the temperature is so comfortable. Still, if you’re worried about a chilly night, you can ask your rental company to set up some heat lamps.

Your rental designer will help you choose a location at your venue that best showcases the tent. Many times tents are placed on the beach, the lawn, or even poolside to provide gorgeous views of the ocean, the mountains or neighboring greenery.

It’s not always easy to picture what your party will look like, but rental companies can really help create a vision. “We have a vast album of pictures to see the previous events,” says Palmer-Jeffrey whose designers Raphael’s can create a video “walk-through” of the tent at the location, using a Google Earth picture of the venue with a 3-D view of the location.

Colors & Styles
Tents are handcrafted to be both durable and beautiful. Many have embroidery and designs to enhance their look.

 “A tent makes everyone feel at home,” says Mitchell who knows a tent’s color scheme and overall design creates an event theme.

“We cover from neutral to the very colorful,” he says explaining that while clear or white tents are typical for most weddings, where “ivory and cream” signify “understated elegance,” some weddings can be very colorful.

Indian and Moroccan themes for example can have very bold colors like hot pink, gold, purple, bright blue and orange. In contrast, a “beach chic” theme may have “washed-out aqua tones,” accented with “sea spray colored drapes.”

Fabrics can be draped along the walls and from the ceiling to add interest and drama to the area.

Lighting & Extras
A tent is a great party rental, but it’s not the only rental to consider. Setting up the right lighting for example can create an inviting and cozy space.

“Lighting is an important element of any event for your photographer and your guest experience,” says Elgo.  “With a tent you have more options than many other venues to use the roof of the tent to rig pin spots on the tables, illuminate the dance floor, perimeter and exterior lighting effects the list goes on.”

Hang chandeliers and lanterns from the tent’s ceiling; decorate the interior with reflective elements like mirror balls and glass fixtures; and use lots of flowers for accents and pops of color.

Use lighting to change the mood during the event. You can choose a variety of colors and intensities to set the stage for your party’s big moments from the cocktail hour to dinner to dancing.

You can also use rentals to designate different spaces within the tent, such as setting up lounge seating on colorful rugs on the lawn. Raphael’s has a decking system they install to create a lounge area, complete with fabrics, lounge furniture and faux shrub walls.

They can also tent the roof of a hotel too. “It closes it in and defines the area,” says Palmer-Jeffrey.

While the tent design process is a lot of work, it’s rewarding too. “It’s not a product,” says Mitchell. “It’s a service. We want to please customers.”

Elgo agrees: “As a design company, we thrive on this and love working with clients to incorporate lighting, fabric treatments, custom flooring and event custom built features unique to that space and that event.”

Get creative in your wedding design with cool rentals like lights, lounges and tents. Then prepare to celebrate in style!

Tenting Tips:
Be patient. The tenting process can be long and involved, since it includes choosing a tent, creating the design and implementing the plan. Closer to the wedding day, tent set-up typically starts three to four days before the wedding.

Hire a wedding planner. They can help you coordinate your tent plans with your rental company designers and other vendors including your caterer, venue staff, photographer and videographer.

Make tenting a priority. If you know you really want a tent for your wedding, don’t book your venue until you’re sure tenting is allowed on site. Try to first meet with a tent designer who can help you find a venue that’s suitable for tenting. “By using a tent on private residence, you have the design freedom to do whatever you want,” says Elgo.

Go big or stay small. Whether your guest list tops out at 50 people or 500, you can easily host the party under a size-appropriate tent.

Consider multiple tents. One big tent can cover your whole event, but you can add more event excitement with a few tents, such as small tents for food and bar service, and tenting on a patio, as well as separate tents for the cocktail party and the dinner reception. “Tents are admired from the outside and the inside,” notes Mitchell.

Don’t Forget the Paperwork. Tenting typically requires permits and insurance, but the good news? Your tent designers can handle all these details for you – ensuring safety and peace of mind! “We’ll take care of everything,” says Palmer-Jeffrey.

Smile. The wedding day goes fast so savor the moments and smile for the camera. “All people have left is memories and photos,” explains Mitchell.

Image provided by Raj Tents, LLC

Image provided by Raj Tents, LLC

Image provided by Raj Tents, LLC