Determining if a Tented Wedding is Right for You

Nearly any venue or combination of venues classified as off-site will involve a tent. Backyard weddings almost always necessitate tents. Sites such as estates and wineries often do too, and depending on their size, country clubs, hotels, and resorts might as well. There are all kinds of issues to think about when choosing a tent. What kind of tent will it be? A basic canopy or an elegant, peeked roof tent? Will there be a floor? The bottom line is that a tent wedding is a major production. Usually, the tent will be constructed the week before your wedding, with last-minute adjustments to accommodate the weather and your wishes. With that being said, here are some facts to consider when determining if a tent wedding is right for you.

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Tents require more decision making than any other wedding location. If you know what you want or at least what you like, you’ll be fine. If you’re not great at making choices about forks, portable toilets, or outdoor lighting, or just not interested in that level of detail, you’ll want to either leave it to the professionals or consider hosting your wedding in a simpler setting.

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Get a tent company representative involved as early as possible. These experts can evaluate your property, budget, details, and vendor recommendations, which may help you in your process. Many companies can also arrange for generators, lighting, and even bathroom facilities.

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Every city has a list of regulations for hosting a tent event. Your tent company will likely help you with some of these, but you’ll want to know yourself what forms needed to be filed, which inspections will take place once the tents are built, and what is not permitted.

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Know that there will likely be some damage to your lawn. When trucks, work crews, and lots of guests are using your property over the course of a week or so, it is inevitable that you’ll experience some wear and tear above and beyond what is normal.

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Have a rain plan. This may seem obvious, but make sure that your tent will allow for a covered ceremony in case of inclement weather. Discuss the flow of transitions with all pertinent service providers to minimize any impact on your guests’ comfort.

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Know that tent budgets are inclined to increase. If you decide at the last minute to add more tents, a floor, heaters, or fans, there will be a cost. Try to examine all the options up-front so you’ll be clear about what to expect in case you do decide to add or change the detail.

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Don’t try to turn your tent into a hotel ballroom. Let your natural surroundings inspire you and focus on color, pretty linens, and unique decorations, as well as a good caterer.

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Insist on a floor. Remember that if it rains, even a few days before the wedding, a soggy lawn under your tent can ruin tablecloths, guests’ shoes, and everyone’s comfort level. You might want to add walkways and canopies at key points to make it more comfortable for you and your guests.

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Create lounges. A cocktail or ceremony tent can be transformed into a great party space with a few minor adjustments. Lounge areas are great gathering spots throughout the evening and makes for a perfect, intimate place to continue the party when the majority of the guests’ have departed.

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Consider using lighting. Most tent companies provide basic lighting for safety and some have equipment or arrangements with vendors to provide more complex lighting. Because a tent is a blank, open space, lighting can be transformational.

Lanterns are a great lighting source for tents. Lanterns strung from the ceiling are dramatic, adding color and scale to your design, while spot lighting tables and buffets will enhance the look of your centerpieces and displays.

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Planning the Perfect Vineyard Wedding

There is something inherently festive about a vineyard wedding, and a connection to seasonal, modern celebrations.  Couples who choose to celebrate in a vineyard generally want a natural setting, with a sophisticated atmosphere. Vineyards are farms, after all, but they also have a certain reputation because of their association with fine wines, foods, and the finest sort of agriculture. If you’re contemplating a vineyard wedding, take a look through my favorite vineyard inspirations.

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 While you’re looking for a suitable vineyard, you’ll want to consider the layout and flow of your event from start to finish. Think of the logistics of where you’ll hold your ceremony, how will guests move between ceremony and reception, and what will be the back up plan if there’s bad weather.

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Stay passionate or at least natural, with your color palette. Avoid pastels and pop of colors in favor of muted, deep, or vibrant tones. Choose lines that feature a vine motif or grape inspired color.

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Instead of lots of flowers, fill dark metal urns and compotes with grapes and bread sticks, and tuck them next to pillar candles.

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Most vineyards that host weddings are associated with a caterer, or even a variety of catering companies. Many vineyards will work with only the best vendors in the business, which can increase your cost, but will generally also increase the quality of the food.

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Most vineyards will provide details like no other.  Barrels, vines, pretty glasses, bottles, and architectural details, are already in place making it less cut costs on extra décor details.

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Many vineyards and wineries are open to the public for daily tastings and tours. Make sure to find out whether this will be the case on your wedding day.

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Consider the season when you set a date. A vineyard looks very different in April than it does in early September, when the grapes are full-frown and the vines are full of leaves.

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I would recommend providing, or at least organizing transportation for any guests who may have had too much to drink.

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Layer your celebration with details that relate to the winery, or to wine and grapes. Use grapes motif or an witching of the winery as an accent on your invitations, cocktail napkins, programs, or place cards.

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Instead of the traditional cocktail hour, host a tasting hour.

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Match your wines to your menu, and list the wines served next to or under each dish. Your guest might fall in love with one of your great pairings and want to order some to take home.

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Choose a fun party favor such as, a mini wine bottle, a wine tasting book, a corkscrew, or some other related wine item will surely be a hit.

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Ask the winemaker to create a special wedding wine just for you. Serve it with dinner or for a special toast, and give a bottle to each of your bridal party as a favor.

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Design welcome baskets from the winery for each of your guests hotel rooms. Include a bottle of wine, cheese and crackers, a corkscrew, tasting book, or t-shirt.

Deciding where you want your vineyard wedding to take place will be determined by you preference, the size of your guest list, and your budget. Chances are if there are vineyards in your area, you already know of some. Whether you’ll celebrate close to home or in another part of the world, you can use the internet and some great wine and travel magazines to conduct a more in depth research on what will be the best fit for you.

Best of Wishes,

Stacey B.

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The Merging of Clans

Everyone experiences some degree of culture shock upon getting married.  It happens when you visit your fiancés family home, when your families meet for the first, second, or third time, and when you begin to blend customs and traditions into the new family you’re about to start. Through the potential for misunderstandings and conflict is definitely higher if you’re marrying someone of a different religion, race, social background, or even region of the country, no one is immune to culture clashes. Because what is family if not a little country of its own, complete with customs, rituals, and taboos? Here are a few tips for every first meeting, no matter how different or similar the families seem.

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If you and your fiancé live together and have the space to entertain comfortably, host the first meeting. If you’re serving food, consider offering something that’s representative of each side of the family.

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If you can’t host, have the first meeting on neutral territory, such as a restaurant, and pick up the tab to save your parents the awkwardness of fighting over the bill. Choose a place you know and like that comfortable, unpretentious, reasonably priced, and quiet enough for conversations.

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If both parties are traveling into town for the meeting, don’t feel that everyone needs to spend the entire weekend together. One or two group events would be fine.

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When you’re not spending time together each of you should spend the rest of the time hanging out with your individual family. It’s amazing how far a little one-on-one attention goes at a time when parents are bound to be feeling sadness and loss about you growing up and moving on.

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Keep conversations to neural topics. If there’s something that you know shouldn’t be discussed, warn each party separately beforehand. Prepare a few funny, endearing stories to tell if there’s a lull, it’s always good to remind everyone why the people at the table are special.

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Arm your families with some positive, interesting information about the people they’ll be meeting. The further apart your families are culturally, the more education each side will need, and you two are the teachers.

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Write a gracious note afterwards to both sets of parents, thanking them for coming and mentioning how much fun you had, and how much fun the other parents told you they had.

In short, summon all the rules of social savvy that you’d employ while hosting a dinner party for people who don’t know one another well, blend them with what you know about your families, and trust your gut on how to proceed. And whatever you do, do it with grace. Be enthusiastic, and take the lead. You’re the reason for these families coming together, and it’s up to you to set the tone for a harmonious wedding and a successful, loving future.

Best of Wishes,

Stacey B.

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Real Wedding: Deanna & Paul – Crooked Willow Farms

Deanna and Paul exchanged vows late October at Crooked Willow Farms in Larkspur, Colorado. The Farm is an ideal landscape to create a warm, rustic and romantic setting.  The décor defined the Crooked Willow Farm landscape and gave fit to the great rustic elegance of the surroundings. The gorgeous ceremony took place on the farms main lawn. Following the ceremony guests were directed into Lola’s Loft where Epicurean Catering greeted the guests with hors d’oeuvres and cocktails.  The reception followed cocktail hour in the Carriage House Ballroom, where guests danced the night away.

The gentlemen got ready in the Crooked Willow Farms “dedicated grooms’ area”, which delivers every amenity, a groom and his guys would need!

Deanna and her Bridesmaids got ready in the Brides suite, which is designed to accommodate all bridal party needs and is steps away from many ceremony locations.

Following the ceremony guests were directed into Lola’s Loft where Epicurean Catering greeted the guests with hors d’oeuvres and cocktails.

We truly enjoyed the opportunity to help create the wedding that Deanna and Paul had envisioned. You could see that each of their guests were enjoying every aspect of their special night and didn’t want to leave the celebration! We wish these two nothing but happiness.

Photography: Beauty by MB-Maribeth Ley

Floral: Alexan Events

Rentals: Alexan Events

Hair and Makeup: Laura at The Parlour

Wedding Dress: Anna Be

Ceremony & Cocktail Hour Entertainment: Mick Drybread

Reception Entertainment: The Party Band

Catering: Epicurean

Stacey B.

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Friday Floral – Hyacinth

This beautiful flower is Hyacinth! It is an extremely fragrant flower and also comes in another form known as Grape Hyacinth which is slightly smaller. This is a bulb flower with long narrow leaves that curl vertically. The bloom consists of dense clusters of flowers covering approximately 6-12 inches of the stem. It can be grown in Mediterranean climates all year round but can also be found blooming in gardens around Colorado during the spring months! Take a look below at both variations of this flower and their lovely effect on floral arrangements.

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If you live in Colorado, plant Hyacinth bulbs in your garden during the fall and they will fully bloom around May!

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This is the Grape Hyacinth, which will reach approximately 6-8 inches tall. You can also plant this variation in your garden during the fall months and you will see leaves starting to sprout in fall, but they won’t bloom fully until the spring time.

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Hyacinth is available in many colors including, white, peach, orange, salmon, yellow, pink, red, purple, lavender, and blue.

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Hyacinth is approximately $2.98 per stem. Their prices can be a bit more expensive because blub flowers tend to be a bit more pricy.

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The longer the Hyacinth blooms the more fragrant it becomes! If you have guests who are highly allergic this might not be the best option.

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The bouquet to the left is an example of how this flower can be placed to stand tall with the other flowers. The bouquet to the right is an example of how the Hyacinth can be used to fill pockets of a bouquet for small detail.

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I enjoy the dark accents of this bouquet, I also see Celosia peaking out which we discussed last week!

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At the end of the blooming season you may cut off the dead flower blooms but do not cut back the leaves as they will continue to collect energy before heading back into the ground.

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The Grape Hyacinth does not bloom until mid spring, they take a bit longer to grow. It is also a little less expensive, it is $1.59 per stem due to the smaller size.

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Grape Hyacinth takes little pruning to look beautiful in a garden. Be careful not to plant in an area that it cannot spread out, it will sprout over a large area.

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My favorite bouquet of the week! This inspired me to learn more about the Hyacinth. The colors and flower combination is absolute perfection for a spring wedding.

The Hyacinth can be purchased all year around. Due to the fact that it is a bulb flower it is easy to control the growing conditions needed for it to bloom. The price is different based on the fact you are receiving one stem per order versus, for example the Lisanthus, which is purchased by the bundle with multiple stems of flowers. Explore your floral selects carefully and if this beautiful flower fits into your big day you won’t be dissapointed!

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