Wedding Tents 201: How to Accessorize Your Wedding Tent

Now that you are familiar with the various types of tents from our previous post, Wedding Tents 101, let’s accessorize! There are plenty of additions that you can make to your event tent to change its look and feel, but today we will focus on two types: Draping and Lighting.

rustic-outdoor-wedding-tent-wedding-decor-ideas Tent drapingDana tent lighting

In the context of event tents, draping is typically broken into two categories, ceiling draping and side pole draping. Both styles serve similar purposes, hiding the structural components of the tents (think big aluminum support poles and guide wires) and creating a particular style and atmosphere. Draping the ceiling of the tent is a great way to cozy up the atmosphere, providing a more elegant and tailored style. This style provides distinct softness to the lighting and the additional benefit of warmer acoustics inside the tent. The style of side pole draping is a great technique for disguising the harsh looking side poles in a sophisticated and beautiful way and smoothing out the roughness of the tent’s outer perimeter. In both cases, ceiling and side pole draping can be customized in a variety of ways ranging from color and material choice to full or partial draping.

Tent draping 2Sperry-Tents-with-Bistros

When it comes to lighting, your options are nearly endless, bounded only by budget, available power, and imagination. A good place to start though is with a favorite throughout the times: chandeliers. Chandeliers can range in style from antique, to crystal, to an ultra-modern look and vary equally in price. Elegant yet functional, they provide both excellent lighting and beautiful decoration. Opposing the solitary light sources of chandeliers, many people are using LED rope lights or fairy lights for more distributed lighting that invokes a whimsical storybook feel. This style is perfect for less formal events that want to incorporate a “natural” feel. For customers that value practicality and versatility, floor or pole mounted spotlights are a great alternative because they throw off plenty of light, are directional, and can have their color variation selected to best match the style of the event. A more recent trend in tent lighting has been hanging lanterns from the ceiling of the tent as various heights. The natural candle light (or fake electric candles depending on local fire code) not only provides a warm, romantic, glimmering light to your event, but they create an interesting visual aspect too.

Sperry tent lighting

Wedding Tents 101: Everything you need to know about Tented Weddings

So you’ve found the perfect location for your wedding… but it is outdoors. Planning a tented wedding can be a daunting task. Thankfully we have produced many gorgeous tented events and can help you navigate through the process. The first part is determining the best type of tent for not only the look you want to achieve, but for the functionality of it.

There are primarily four different tent types~

Sperry Tents:

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Sperry Tents are constructed out of sailcloth canopies that have geometric support patches and sweeping seams.  These handmade tents have support poles within the tent that are built out of solid wood. The peaks of a Sperry Tent can also be topped with pennant flags. When you light the ceiling of a Sperry they have an amazing glow.  They are the most popular for beach and nautical theme events.

Century Tents

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Century tents offer a very high ceiling with sweeping curves, a sophisticated look.  This is also a pole and stake supported tent which minimized the amount of interior and perimeter poles.  This allows for greater flexibility for seating. The difference between the Century tent and the Sperry tent (aside from the material of the ceiling) is that the poles in the century tent are metal.  Therefore most clients want them to be draped or covered in some way.

Navi-Trac or Clearspan Tents –

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Navi-Trac Tents are similar to a conventional frame tent and does not have interior poles.  It is sturdier in construction than a frame tent and can withstand up to 60 mph winds.  These can be installed with a white vinyl top and optional ceiling liner or with a clear vinyl top.  The clear top is very visually appealing but not ideal in hot sunny weather.


Frame Tents:  A frame tent is a versatile and free standing structure that can be installed on about any surface. These tents are constructed with a heavy aluminum framework and are anchored down with weights. Frame tents do not have center poles which allows for a clear interior space. They are not very beautiful as the ceilings are quite low. If you can afford to do some draping to disguise the poles and beams that is ideal.  These are the most affordable tents. However, if the tent will be placed in an area with potentially strong winds, especially near the beach, we do not recommend them. They cannot withstand strong gusts of wind.

Brand Your Bar or Bat Mitzvah

As an event planner, I feel strongly that every party has its own unique identity.  When we work with our Bar and Bat Mitzvah clients, we want to ensure that the child’s personality is reflected throughout the event. One of the ways we achieve this is by creating a custom logo and possibly a tag line that brands the party.  It can set the tone for the entire occasion.
These Bar Mitzvah logos are incorporated into many aspects of the event, from the invitation to the décor as well as the swag that the guests take away at the end of the party.  The logo ties together the many details and provides a cohesive look.

A Bar and Bat Mitzvah logo usually incorporates the colors palette of the part, the name of the person being honored, the date and the theme, if there is one.

Here are a few fun examples that our creative graphic designers have

daniel logo

Kristen Green of Greenbean Designs,


Chairman of the “Board” is a reference to Daniel’s love of skateboarding and snowboarding.  We carried the theme throughout the event.





Kristen Green of Greenbean Designs,

Kristen Green of Greenbean Designs,

Noah’s party theme was Cirque du Soleil with an emphasis black, red and the white. This logo was used on the invitations and on the sweatshirts that were in the favor bags. We also used different iterations of this logo on the food station menus, the cake and other signage throughout the party.





Sheri Finver of Sfinver Design,

Sheri Finver of Sfinver Design,

Ayla, a lovely 12 year old with an old soul wanted to have an old fashioned ice cream parlor theme for her party.  But for her logo, she wanted to have something very feminine and age appropriate, using the color palette of the party.  We carried both the logo and the coral and lime color theme throughout the event.




Here are some more Bar Mitzvah Logos for inspiration:

Untitled design

Technology at Weddings

There is a great deal of debate about technology at weddings. The average wedding guest owns a smart phone with a camera and is ready to take pictures at the wedding. The question becomes, do you let guests take images at the ceremony, at the reception, or do you encourage them to be in the moment? This is a point of discussion with many brides and grooms who are planning their big day in 2016 and beyond.

From my perspective, I always encourage the couple to keep the ceremony sacred and let guests know this. Guests should partake in the ceremony, be present in the moment, and let the professional photographer do what they are paid to do, take pictures.

There are lots of creative ways to let guests know that you appreciate them putting down the phone and leave the picture taking to the photographer. Here are a few examples.




When it comes to the reception, more and more brides and grooms are encouraging guests to take photos and then post them to instagram with a particular hashtag. By leveraging a hashtag it will allow the bride and groom to see all the images from the special day in one place rather than searching different social media accounts to find all the images. Here are some great examples:

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katie instagram sign


Some couples continue the theme of having guests keep their phones away and refrain from posting images onto social media accounts. Many times the couple wants to keep the day private from the social media world and allow guests to enjoy the moment with them.

This conversation about allowing photos or not comes up frequently with a colleague of mine, Berit Bizjak, owner of Images by Berit. Here is her take from the perspective of a professional photographer:

“There are two elements that are missing when everyone who’s attending a wedding ceremony is trying to take photos. One is the loss of truly being present and mindful of what is taking place. Invited guests are there to partake and witness the marriage – not to provide photos to the couple.  The second element is that there are many lost opportunities for the professional photographer to get key moments and to do her job because of being blocked, background intrusions (when people enter the aisle or stand to take their photo) and sometimes having guests’ flashes blow out the photos that the professional is trying to take.”

Ultimately, the choice is up to the bride and groom for their big day, but create a plan. It is important to set expectations for guests on the day of the wedding and that starts with having a plan. What is your opinion?

2016 Wedding Dress Trends for the New York Bride

As a New York and New Jersey Wedding planner, it is essential for me to stay on top of wedding dress trends for my brides! The 2016 wedding dress trends are elaborate, elegant, and embellished. Brides are saying goodbye to the traditional strapless wedding gowns and saying hello to elegant A-lines, open backs, and lots of details. Let’s take a look at some of the hottest trends for the 2016 Bride.


Flattering & elegant A-lines are becoming increasingly popular for the bride-to-be. These redesigned A-lines flatter the figure in all the right places without being too clingy.


Zuhair Murad gown via Wedding Inspirasi


Naomi Neoh wedding dress via One Fab Day


Open back and cutouts. Brides are showing a bit more skin in a tasteful way by bearing their beautiful open back or back cutout dresses. This trend offers a fresh take on what would normally be a strapless dress.

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Photo Courtsey of markingrambride on Instagram

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Photo Courtsey of markingrambride on Instagram


Details, details, details. Details play a front and center role in these 2016 Wedding dresses.

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Photo Courtsey of markingrambride on Instagram

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Photo Courtsey of priveatelabelweddingdresses on Instagram


High-low dresses are making the wedding dress modern again. This reimagined wedding dress of 2016 is all over the runways and will surely be a hit with brides looking for something fresh.

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Photo Courtsey of markingrambride on Instagram



Naked lace is hot this season. The key to wearing this edgier style, find a dress that fits your shape and have it tailored. Many brides are stunned at how beautiful and elegant this 2016 trend can be.



Photo Courtsey of Vera Wang


Pretty colors. Pinks, greys, and champagnes are all over the runway. Brides are passing on the white gowns, mixing it up with some colors.



10 Ways to Shake up the Traditional Wedding Fare. Foodie Inspired Weddings.

Are you looking to shake up traditional wedding fare? Couples across the U.S., but especially here in New York City and New Jersey, are showcasing their love for food during their big day. Foodie Weddings are for sure starting to trend in 2016 and well into 2017. Instead of the traditional passed apps and plated chicken or steak dinners we are seeing an emergence of fresh twists on favorites, farm to table inspired dishes,raw bars, sushi,  and more.

Here are some of my favorites:Showcase locally made and sourced cheeses

Showcase locally made and sourced cheeses

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Offer guests a fresh take on a classic, in bite-size form of course.Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 2.37.54 PM

Tantalize the senses with a Raw bar and showcase oysters from the east coast. Shrimp and clams are also a great addition!

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A gorgeous assortment of sushi is one way to brighten up the appetizers at any wedding.

A gorgeous assortment of sushi is one way to brighten up the appetizers at any wedding. Photography by: Christian Oth Studios

Photography by: Christian Oth Studios

Hold the salmon. Instead, try scallops instead. A fresh twist on the traditional sea food fare.

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Stimulate the senses with craft cocktails topped off with a beautiful locally sourced garnish.

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The appetizers are equally as important as the drink, so why not pair them together? Pair a signature cocktail together with an app guests will love.

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Skip the traditional cake and offer up a sorbet bar, made with fresh ingredients and perfectly sized.

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For the bride and groom with a sweet tooth, showcase artisan donuts.

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For favors, leave guests with flavors of your wedding by saying “Thank you” with custom flavored olive oil bottles.

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6 Degrees of Celebration Real Wedding Published in The Knot

The Knot Red Bank WeddingWe are thrilled to have one of our real weddings featured in a recent issue of The Knot NJ. Our happy couple, Liz and Adam, chose the oh so talented Allan Zepeda to capture the beauty of their wedding and amazing 80 acre property.  The quaint town of Red Bank, NJ is where Liz and Adam call home and have designed the most stunning landscape.  Initially they were unsure that a wedding of 180 guests could be planned and executed with paying particular attention and care to their home and grounds.  Kate Duffy partnered with Joan to design an event that was rustic, romantic and lush, all without using one cut flower.  It was of utmost importance to Liz and Adam that the everything surrounding the plans be sustainable.  Kate also designed and built the natural wood chandeliers used in the dining tent.  Several guests have asked where they could purchase these!

Liz and Adam brought us onboard for our full-service wedding and design planning package, which, as part of, we also provided oversight into the many food and beverage details.  Adam is a co-owner of the popular Triumph Brewery in Princeton, NJ and we made sure to incorporate a few of their craft beers into specialty cocktails as well as menu items.  The chickens they raise did their job by providing all of the eggs the caterer required.  We hand-plucked leaves from their majestic magnolia trees to hand write the guest seating arrangements.

One of the main reasons I love to plan tented weddings at private estates is that we have the luxury of truly having a customizable palette.  And what a tent it was, thank you to Sperry Tents.

Many thanks again to all of our vendors who assisted in making this day exactly what Liz and Adam had dream about.  And thank you as always to The Knot for choosing this gorgeous tented wedding to be highlighted!

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