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While attending the most recent Engage wedding industry conference, I had the pleasure of hearing the fabulous Lynn Easton speak. She and her team create magnificent events all around the country (and world!), but we’re proud that’s she’s based in the Southeast and that her work has graced our pages many times. (Most recently, in our new issue!)

During Lynn’s talk, she referred to herself as “the queen of Sperry Tents,” and it’s true, they pop up over and again in her design plans. Of course, my ears immediately perked up, because I’m a Sperry connoisseur, as well! :) I asked her to share her best tips from years of working with these beauties, and she graciously obliged. Here they are, along with photos from a few of Easton’s Sperry events!

Photos by Christian Oth Studio

What do you love most about using Sperry tents in your design plans?
Our favorite thing about Sperry Tents is that they assimilate into the great outdoors so beautifully. Their artisan construction, delicate profile, and organic elements allow them to blend beautifully and seamlessly into the great outdoors. The combination of the translucent sailcloth with hand-hewn wood poles, the lyrical lines of the tent, and the flags tossing in the wind creates a welcoming and whimsical backdrop for our design aesthetic.

Photos by Eric Kelley. See more from this wedding in Southern Weddings V9!

Why do you choose a Sperry over other types of tents for your clients?
We love the way a Sperry looks at night when you light the top of the tent. The ceiling of a Sperry tent will glow making them as beautiful from the outside as the inside. We also love how they look from a distance. Their natural beauty stirs anticipation as guests make their way to enter the tent!

Photo by Eric Kelley

Do you have any money-saving or design-maximizing tips to share when working with a Sperry tent?
Unlike a frame or structure tent, Sperry tents are beautiful without a stitch of “clothing” – a.k.a. draping! We do tend to drape the side poles to add a bit of luxury, but it is not necessary. The natural amber wood poles of a Sperry are beautiful on their own, and we use them as a design element of the wedding décor.

Photos by Jose Villa

What are a few little-known tips or tricks from your experience working with dozens of tented events?
— It is very important to consider your historical temps when selecting your tent! When the temperatures rise, the coolest tents will be a white vinyl pole or a white vinyl frame tent as the solid vinyl does the best job of blocking the heat from the sun.
— Sperry tents, while beautiful, are light porous, so you will need to be mindful of how your florals will handle the heat during set up if it’s a very warm day.
— It is also important to remember that a clear top tent acts like a greenhouse, so we never use them during the warm months without AC.
— Ask your tent vendor if they have 10′ poles available for your selected tent. Lifting the side pole height tends to cost a bit more but the extra lift on the sidewalls is worth it!
— If you are working with Sperry tents, remember they come in all shapes and sizes! If you need back of house tents for catering, the band, or restroom facilities, utilizing matching Sperry tents may be more visually appealing. They also make fantastic rain back-up plan tents for ceremonies or cocktail, because they require little to no décor to be aesthetically pleasing.

Photo by Jose Villa

What is the number one thing readers should know about throwing a tented event?
Tented events are expensive! You have to remember you are essentially building a room that needs to have lighting, power, and some temperature control, and that gets expensive. If you need to floor the tent, do not be surprised when the cost of the flooring is typically more expensive than the entire tent itself.

Photo by Patricia Lyons

Thank you so much to Lynn for offering her expertise! If you’re considering a Sperry Tent for your wedding, here are a few other posts you might find useful…
Tented Weddings 101
How to Plan an Outdoor Wedding
Planning a Reception Lounge
7 Ideas for a Tent at Your Wedding

This post is brought to you by Sperry Tents. Thank you so much for your support of the brands who make Southern Weddings possible!

emily Written with love by Emily
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    Tented weddings are extremely popular, and for good reason! Like many brides, I chose to hold our reception under a tent to embrace the beauty of our location, to ensure a lovely backdrop for our design ideas, and to create a certain “feel” for our event. Because Southern Weddings is dedicated to bringing you the practical as well as the pretty, we wanted to take a few minutes today to offer some tips before you settle on this route for your own event. We’re doing it with the help of Sperry Tents, a total stand-out in the world of rentals!

    Now, I used Sperry Tents for my own wedding, so I may be a little biased — but I was a fan of their graceful, classic sailcloth tents, hand-milled tent poles, and cheerful pennant flags long before I was engaged! Sperry Tents are handcrafted by sailmakers in coastal Massachusetts. They have a classic aesthetic that celebrates casual elegance, and as such, they pair effortlessly with any landscape, from a field to a beach to a sculptured backyard. They are simply gorgeous!

    Gayle Brooker

    Working with the folks at Sperry, we came up with a list of suggestions for those interested in holding a tented wedding:

    1. Assess your bad weather tolerance. Before you sign on the dotted line, honestly ask yourself how you would feel if it rained on your big day. No one wants to imagine a gloomy wedding, but are you the type to roll with the punches and embrace a muddy hem? Or would you rather not add the stress of weather-watching to your final wedding to-do list? There’s no right answer, but it is important to be honest with yourself.

    2. Make a bad weather plan. If you’ve decided you’re hardy enough for a tented wedding, come up with a back-up plan. If you’re marrying at a vineyard, your back-up plan might be an indoor event space on site. If you’re marrying in a field, however, your back-up plan might be rain flaps. My rain plan was one reason I was so happy to go with Sperry – most rental companies’ rain flaps are REALLY ugly, but Sperry’s are made from the same materials as the rest of their tent and are, if not ideal, still lovely. They’re also included in the standard rental package, so you don’t have to worry about an add-on expense!

    The Sperry tent from my own wedding!

    3. Be realistic about the rental needs that come with a tent. Some folks assume a tented wedding will be less expensive than renting a ballroom or other venue, but that’s generally not the case. If you’re pitching your tent near an existing structure, you might only need to rent tables and chairs. If, however, you’re not near a fully-equipped venue, your rental list might run considerably longer, from a generator to portable restrooms to flatware, glassware, china, and a complete bar set up!

    4. Communicate with your vendors about their needs. As you draw up your rental list, be sure to work closely with your caterer and other vendors to make sure their needs are met. For instance, your caterer might require a separate cook tent for food preparation. Likewise, the space needs of a band or a DJ might influence the size tent you need to reserve.

    Gayle Brooker

    5. Plan your space carefully. I don’t know about y’all, but spatial issues are not my forte, and when faced with trying to figure out how many ___ foot tables could fit in our ___ foot 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. I can’t emphasize enough how helpful this was to me!! Here’s the layout we finally settled on:

    6. Reserve add-ons for the weather. Have your heart set on a tented wedding in July in the South? Bless your heart! Consider renting fans to cool guests off at dinner and on the dance floor. Getting married in the cooler months? Portable heaters can make a world of difference.

    7. Make a pick-up plan. If you’re organizing things without a wedding planner, remember that you’ll be responsible for organizing pick-up of your rentals post-event. Most tent and rental companies will want to disassemble and pick up their items the next morning, so coordinate with your venue to make sure this is okay.

    Tanja Lippert via Southern Weddings

    Sperry Tents are available for rent through their network of licensed providers throughout the South. For much more information and to reserve yours, head to their website!

    emily Written with love by Emily
    3 Comments
    1. avatar Lisa reply

      I failed on number one and knew I therefore needed an indoor venue, but I would LOVE to attend a wedding under a Sperry tent!

    2. avatar Sarah reply

      I totally fell hard for Sperry tents long before I got even got engaged, but with all the additional rental costs described above (plus the stage and dance floor, oy!), a regular Sperry at the size we needed was out of reach. The gal we’re working with at the tent company offered us a great compromise- we’re having the wooden Sperry poles but with a plain vinyl top. This ends up being only a little bit more than a regular tent with the metal poles! Totally worth it! Plus we’re getting all the benefits you mentioned (layout planning, pretty sidewalls, etc) since we’re going with a company that carries Sperry tents! I’m still a little sad we won’t be able to stare up at those hand stitched lines though…

    3. avatar Southern Weddings Weekly Round-Up – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

      […] We tried to ignore our growling stomachs in the latest Southern Delicacy post. We shared our best tips for tented weddings, with the help of our friends from Sperry Tents. We were inspired by a dreamy, pastel anniversary […]

    Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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