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By far one of the most popular and memorable details at my wedding was the lounge spaces we set up in our reception tent. Yes, people remember the ceremony and the music, but what people bring up most two years later is how much fun they had catching up with friends and family on comfy couches in a beautiful space (with the ability to pop back and forth to the dance floor!). It’s a great example of what’s true about weddings: people may not remember what you said or what you fed them, but they will remember how you made them feel. A feeling of inclusion and hospitality is a major wedding do, and a reception lounge can be a big step toward that!

Photo by Abby Jiu via Elizabeth Anne Designs

While lounges can be set up in many locations, we happen to think that Sperry Tents make the absolute perfect back-drop. And we’re not alone! In one of my earliest conversations with our florist (who had a Sperry Tent for her own wedding), she said, you know, the nice thing about a Sperry is that they are so beautiful, and create such an experience on their own, that you don’t really need much in the way of extra decor. Not needing the smaller details frees your budget up to include more substantial details, like a lounge space!

Photo by Orchard Cove Photography

As you can see, Sperry Tents are a classic, neutral backdrop that works with every aesthetic and location, from a field to a beach to a manicured backyard. The tents are handcrafted by sailmakers in coastal Massachusetts and are made from genuine sailcloth, and the wooden support poles are hand-milled at a historic 1930s sawmill. All of their design decisions prioritize craftsmanship – you can really feel the love that went into each one when you’re standing inside!

Photo by Docuvitae via Style Me Pretty

In case you’re wondering, in my experience, Sperry Tents are more expensive than a standard frame tent (though obviously with good reason). If you start to add anything to the tent like a liner, draping or pole covers, however, the price will usually exceed a Sperry!

Photos by Leila Brewster Photography

A few tips for those of you thinking of adding a lounge space to your wedding reception:

Search out rental options. Vintage rental companies are popping up left and right (we have several stellar options in the Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!) and traditional rental companies are adding more lounge options as their popularity grows. There are options to fit every aesthetic, from shabby chic to ultra modern.
Plan carefully if using your own pieces. For my wedding, we decided it was more cost-effective to purchase pieces to supplement our rental couches rather than buying everything. We bought several Ikea Lack tables and white ottomans and then were able to either sell them after the wedding (on Craigslist!) or give them away. If you go this route, however, make sure that you have the vehicle necessary to transport your items to your venue, and that someone is assigned to pick them up post-wedding!
Make a diagram. I don’t know about y’all, but spatial issues are not my forte, and when faced with trying to figure out how to fit our couches and our tables and our bar AND our dance floor in our tent, I was baffled. Enter: Sperry’s AMAZING space planning tool. After selecting your tent size and shape on their website, you can add and play around with a ton of different decor options to come up with the perfect arrangement, including lots of different lounge configurations! SO helpful.

Photo by Tanja Lippert from Southern Weddings

Interested? Sperry Tents are only available through a network of licensed providers and are available for rent throughout the South. You can find out much more on their website here!

Photo by Jen Fariello via Southern Weddings

This post is brought to you by Sperry Tents–thanks for your support of the brands that make Southern Weddings possible!

emily Written with love by Emily

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