Outdoor Weddings: What Type of Tent is Right for Your Event?

Guest Post- Outdoor Weddings: What Type of Tent is Right for Your Event?

You’ve decided that an outdoor wedding and reception is perfect for your big day. What remains to be decided is what style of tent would work best. A lot depends on the kind of wedding you plan on holding. Here are some examples of what to look for in a tent based on the type of ceremony and reception you have in mind. 

Casual and Intimate

Perhaps you are thinking along the lines of a casual wedding and reception. The guest list is limited to a few close friends and relatives. With this type of affair, you may be thinking of having the ceremony under a grove of trees and following with a covered space for the reception. 
You’ll find that a smaller clear span tent works well for your casual reception. Since you want an open feel while creating a comfortable place for people to sit and dine on the foods you’ve chosen, consider going with an open tent design. This option does not include tent walls. Instead, you have curtains that can be slid open as much or as little as you like. That makes it easy to close the area behind the serving tables while letting in plenty of natural light and fresh air in the areas where you’ve set up the guest tables. 

When choosing a tent for your casual reception, it never hurts to allow for a little extra space. Should the weather decide not to cooperate, it won’t take a lot to move the ceremony under the tent, exchange your vows, and then start the reception. You and your guests will remain dry while looking through the open spaces and enjoying the sounds and scents of the falling rain. 

This flower arrangement was taken at a wedding of a friend and looked stunning in the large, white tent.

Formal Outdoor Affairs

Perhaps you want a formal outdoor wedding with a greater number of loved ones on hand. The nice thing about clear span tents is that they come in many different sizes. It’s easy to choose one that will provide space for several hundred people. 

Since you are going for a more formal look, an open tent may not be to your liking. Consider a design that includes side walls that slide easily in place on the side poles and framework. These can be weighted down at ground level so they stay in position with ease. 

The side panels can include fiberglass windows that allow plenty of natural light into the space. Since this tent design does not include any support poles in the middle, you will find it easy to arrange the covered space any way that you like. It’s even possible to bring in dividers or use curtains to section off one end of the tent for the reception and reserve the other end for the ceremony. 

As long as there is space to set up the tent, you can have all the room you want. That means if you want a formal sit-down style reception but also like the idea of having a dance floor and space set aside for a live band, there’s a clear span tent large enough to do the job. 

Whatever you have in mind for your wedding day, finding the right tent design will not be difficult. Talk with a professional who supplies tent rentals for all sorts of events and ask about the designs commonly used for weddings and receptions. With a little discussion about the number of guests and the theme for your special day, it will be easy to come up with the perfect solution.

The Times, They Are A Changin’

I promise there is good reason for my cliche blog post title. Well, maybe not good reason, but reason enough.  I have recently made the incredibly tough, but hopefully right, decision to take the leap from working full-time for someone else and only part-time for myself, to working full-time as a Wedding & Event Coordinator for Get-Christine! I have booked more than double the amount of couples I am working with this year compared to last year, and I’ve already started booking into next year.

Additionally, there have been some major changes at the office I work for in that, I was presented with the opportunity to take on more responsibilities and hours than I was already working. Though it would have been a great chance for me to grow and mature with the company, and get even more work experience, I did not feel that it would be fair to the brides and couples I am already working with to take on more responsibilities elsewhere that would keep me from giving my heart and soul to my business. And so, the time had come for me to make a decision that I had no idea would come so soon.  Instead of putting in more time for my day job, I am putting all my time in on me! I am having very mixed emotions about the journey I am about to embark on, but I know that there are great things to come in my future.

I am looking forward to what the future has in store for me and I am forever grateful for the opportunity that Talari Networks gave to me. I will never regret the two years I spent working there because I learned a whole lot about many different things, and I met lots of wonderful people and made incredible bonds that I don’t expect to lose anytime soon.

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In making this decision, I am opening up my schedule to have more time to blog, plan and schedule stylised photo-shoots, host DIY arts & crafts events for my brides, and meet with couples, brides and their vendors during the day and not just at night! I am more than excited to plan and execute more weddings and events and that I’ll have even more time to write about my journey along the way.

I still have a few open dates for 2016 and plenty in 2017! 🙂

My Fabulous Fall Wedding

I know it’s been quiet on the blog for a bit, but I promise I am back. 2015 was a whirlwind for me between working full-time as an office manager, coordinating weddings of my own, second shooting weddings with my awesome Raleigh photographer husband, and hosting my own ridiculously big wedding, the whole year went by in a flash.

I should begin this post by letting some of my newer readers know that Ryan (my husband) and I were engaged for three and a half years before getting married. While I certainly recommend starting your wedding planning at least one year in advance, because it makes securing vendors and venues easier, I will never suggest this long of an engagement to anyone. It gave me way too much time to think, and stress, and plan, and stress, and invite people, and oh did I say stress?

Despite the years of planning and stress, I managed to put together what I like to think of as THE Wedding of the year.  Ryan and I carefully selected some of the best Triangle area wedding vendors and it absolutely shows in the images and my memory of our wedding day. Everything was perfect. Continue reading

Christy & Stephen – August, 28th 2015

I had a whirlwind of a Fall and I’ve been using it as an excuse not to update the blog. Now that I’m on some kind of miracle of a Christmas break, given to me by the amazing company I work for during the day, I have no more excuses.

In August, I revisited the Stockroom to coordinate an incredibly soft and romantic wedding for an adorable couple named Christy & Stephen. Christy was hosting a simple yet elegant event with many beautiful details. Her ceremony was to be held by the windows in the front of The Stockroom, with her aisle being a path through her reception tables to a large white linen draping for an altar.

The Stockroom Venue

Linen Altar Drapes

Continue reading

2015 Color Of The Year – Marsala

There are two posts that I write every year, and they have easily become my favorite ones to write. One is a Wedding Trends of the Year post, in which I reveal the years trendiest wedding patterns, gown styles, themes, venues, etc. The other is a Color of the Year post, which is reserved for my thoughts about Pantone’s Color of the year as well as how to incorporate into your wedding. Continue reading

Vendor responses – How long should I wait?

It’s been an incredibly long time since I contributed to the blog and for that I am very sorry. I’ve been spending my time working with a few new brides, as well as finally planning my wedding so I have a ton to talk about! I am nine months out from my wedding at this point so the planning process has really begun. Since I started contacting vendors for myself, I’ve been experiencing first hand what brides go through in their process of interviewing and hiring vendors. I’ve obviously played the phone/email tag game with vendors in the past while working events, but I had no idea how much emotion I could possibly invest when it came to hearing back from vendors while planning my wedding.

The most important vendors to look for and book at the beginning of the wedding planning process are the photographer, the ceremony and reception venue, the caterer (if it isn’t included with the venue), the florist, and a wedding coordinator (if you’re hiring one, AND YOU SHOULD!). Researching, interviewing, and booking vendors early is beneficial for multiple reasons, but what happens if the vendor stops responding? How long should you wait for a response before you say something nasty or eventually move on to a find another vendor? Continue reading

Weekends are for Wedding Activities

It’s been a crazy busy Summer, but I am back to tell you all about the fun weddings I’ve been shooting with my fiancé, the fabulous bridal shows I’ve been attending and participating in, and the lovely weddings I’ve been planning (one of which is mine!). I do all of these things on the weekends, in my “free time”.

Shooting Weddings

Over Labor Day Weekend my fiancé, Ryan and I shot an incredibly gorgeous wedding in Durham, NC. The Ceremony took place in the breathtakingly beautiful Immaculate Conception Church and as usual, I was moved to tears watching it. After the ceremony we took a quick stop by the Sarah P. Duke Gardens for some family portraits and shots of the newly married couple. It was a pretty warm day but luckily for us there was just enough of a small breeze to keep us sane.

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Cynthia and Antonio in Sarah P. Duke Gardens

 

This coming weekend, Ryan and I are shooting another wedding at Elodie Farms in Rougemont, NC. I am beyond excited to help shoot a wedding that’s a little more rustic themed with a farm venue.

Bridal Shows

Back in July I dragged my Mom and Maid of Honor to the Brides Against Breast Cancer Original Nationwide Tour of Gowns at the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club and had an amazing time! The Inn was the most beautiful venue and a perfect setting for a Sunday afternoon with my Mother and Best girl friend. Once inside we entered a large ballroom and were greeted by a room full of vendors and wedding gowns. At check in the brides were given a list of the vendors and were encouraged to stop by every booth. Checking in with vendors and giving them contact information placed brides into drawings for various gifts and prizes.  I was hesitant to handout my email address to so many vendors at once for fear of an overflowing inbox, and because I so rarely win drawings and raffles, but I did end up winning at least one fun gift and met some really great vendors that I hope to work with in the future.

Get-Christine Event Planning Bridal Show Booth

Get-Christine Event Planning Bridal Show Booth

On Sunday September, 14th I participated in the Elegantly Yours Bridal Show at the Southern Star Ballroom Center in Raleigh, NC. It was a fast but fun experience and I am very much looking forward to my next bridal show with Elegantly Yours and the ladies of Lynn & Nicole who hosted the event. I met a bunch of great local vendors and tasted some delicious samples. I also had the wonderful experience of experiencing the beautiful space that is the Southern Star Ballroom Center. This lovely venue can host weddings and events as well as private and group dance and fitness activities. I am thinking about taking some dance classes here in the near future to get some practice before my big day! Hopefully I can get my fiance on board to join.

OH! And, speaking of dance classes… at the end of the bridal show the featured DJ cranked up the tunes and let the vendors get a little wild to wind down the night. It was a lot of fun watching the vendors get to enjoy themselves for a change.

Bridal Show Vendors Getting Down

Bridal Show Vendors Getting Down

Wedding Planning

I’ve been working with this adorable and hilarious couple that is planning a movie themed wedding. And as an added bonus, my Photographer fiancé is shooting their wedding. Needless to say I’ve spent a lot of time working with these two and I’m loving every minute of it. During one of my crazy jam packed weekend of wedding duties, I went to a cake tasting with these two and the experience was both memorable and delicious!  We got to try both chocolate and vanilla cakes with a whole variety of different potential fillings and frostings. Chef Megan Campbell of I Do Wedding Cakes hosted us and as her desserts always are, the cakes were moist and flavorful. Cody and Danielle were so overwhelmed by how delicious all the flavor options were that they had a hard time deciding on just what combinations to use!

Cake Tasting

Cake Tasting

In addition to fabulous cake tastings, I’ve also recently had the absolute pleasure of assisting my fiancé with this fun loving couple’s engagement shoot. Because they are planning a movie themed wedding we decided to take them down to the Raleigh Little Theater and Rose Garden, to get a little mix of romance and stage time. We had a great time goofing off and taking pictures in the garden and ended up with some really nice shots of Cody and Danielle. I am really looking forward to working for this couple on their wedding day. They are incredibly laid back and genuinely enjoy being around one another. They laugh and smile and make being around them purely delightful. Danielle is going to be a beautiful bride and I can tell because I can see the love she has for Cody all over her face.

Cody & Danielle

Cody & Danielle

 

Selecting A Venue

Planning a wedding can be an overwhelming and complicated process because of the many different details involved. You can, however, make the process easier on yourself by accomplishing certain tasks right away and checking them off your list. One of those things is selecting a venue.

Selecting a venue early on in the planning process is important because there are many factors to consider when choosing your venue. Before you even start looking at venues or putting down deposits, sit down with your significant other and discuss priorities. Make some lists (I love making lists), and call one “Must Have” and one “Can Live Without”. Be sure to keep this with you while visiting your venues.

After you’ve decided on priorities, be sure to really discuss what you and your husband or wife-to-be both envision. There are many venues out there, and more and more as time goes on. You don’t need to settle for anything, but you also don’t need to go into debt just because you fell in love with one particular location.  There will always be others!

Next, you should begin scheduling site visits to check out all the different venues you are interested in. Some venues will be so busy that they are unable to book private tours, in which case they typically host an open house. You can usually find this information on their website or on other bridal forums. Be sure to mark all of your appointments and important dates (bridal shows, open houses, tastings, etc.) on the calendar so as not to forget! If you have to add multiple reminders for yourself, do it. You will be glad you took the time to check out each place in person because pictures can be deceiving.RehearsalatGreystone

Visit your venue during the appropriate time of year. If you are getting married in the fall because you love foliage and want to feature it in your wedding photos, you should schedule your site visits during the fall a year or two before your wedding. This will help you to envision what your wedding would look like if you hosted it at that venue during that time of year. It will also allow you to note the most vibrant colors that surround the venue which will assist you in choosing your colors. Additionally, it will be easier to know what will match and what will clash your surroundings if you select your venue before you decide on your wedding colors.

Pick a place that really represents you as a couple and that brings your theme to life. By selecting a place that you love and dressing it up with your colors and decoration, you are creating a night that your attendees will always remember. Do you have a favorite place to watch the sunset, or maybe a specific mountain that you have hiked up together? If you’re not planning to get married in a church, there are tons of non-traditional options to choose from just by remembering intimate spots you’ve visited with your honey.

Don’t forget to compare prices and packages of all the venues you visit and be sure you select the one that gives the most value for what you are spending. This is where that list of priorities will help you out. If you know what specific details you are looking for in advance it will be easier to make a decision later when you are torn between two venues. Some venues have equipment on site and will include the use of things like tables, chairs, linens, and sometimes tents within their packages. Rental inclusions can make what seems like a more expensive venue a much more reasonable deal once you know total costs.

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Lastly, enjoy yourself. Looking at venues can be fun, but it can also be exhausting and disappointing. I know this first hand from experience. I recently visited some local venues and though they were beautiful, neither were exactly what I had expected. Pictures can be deceptive, as venues only display the best possible photos on their websites so as not to show any sort of minor flaws. Stand where your ceremony is going to be, look around and observe everything. These are the surroundings you will be seeing on your big day. If it seems too crowded or to have too much distracting or unattractive background, note that. Pay attention to whether there will be room for your photograph to move gracefully. If your camera man does not have access to you from many angles, you may miss out on tons of different shots you initially hoped for.

Don’t give up!! I know visiting venues is tiresome, especially when you’ve been to a bunch and still haven’t found what you were looking for.  But when you finally find the right one, you will be more than happy and ready to book it. And if you need any help, I’m here.

Wedding consultant, coordinator, planner, what?!

There are many different names for professionals who plan weddings and many different responsibilities and obligations they take on. Whether the person you hire to plan your wedding refers to themselves as a planner, a coordinator, or a consultant one thing is for certain: They are helping you put together one of the most important days of your life. So what does this mean for you? It means you need to do a little planning to plan.

Before you start interviewing for the best candidate, make sure you know what you want them to do for you. Most wedding consultants will provide a few options of services to select from. You can hire a wedding planner who comes in and does everything for you; booking venues, coordinating with vendors throughout the year, and managing wedding day events. Or you can simply hire a “Day Of” Coordinator, who would come in later and do more last-minute details such as manage the rehearsal and coordinate with the bridal party and vendors on the day of the wedding. Either way, it will be much easier for you to find the help you need if you know what you are looking for. You should also make sure to have a really good idea of what kind of wedding you want to have. The more thoroughly you explain what you are looking for, the easier it will be for your planner to execute your vision.

But how do you know what you want? With many choices to choose from, how do you decide which is the best option for you? You should first consider what you are working with. Do you have an excellent Maid of Honor? Someone who is naturally organized and responsible? Or a relatively large and helpful family and a bunch of great bridesmaids? You may decide you don’t even want or need professional assistance.

Are you someone who is really excited about the concept of putting together your wedding because, hey this is the day you have been dreaming of since you were a little girl right?! But, at the same time someone who just can’t seem to keep organized and are completely daunted by the idea of calling multiple different contacts for multiple different things? If this sounds like you, consider hiring a wedding planner; someone who you trust to do all the work for you. Remember what I said before about explaining to them exactly what you want though. Allowing someone complete trust to plan your entire wedding can be pretty nerve-wracking, but if you know you have given them all the details they could possibly need and feel absolutely confident in that, then you should be able to relax and allow them to take care of your needs.

What if it’s not necessarily that you’re overwhelmed by planning the wedding, but that you have a crazy aunt, in-law, mother, or relative that you think you just might need the help of a professional to reign in? A good wedding coordinator can be both organized and charming enough to have everything in order AND keep frustrating relatives from driving you completely batty on your big day. If you think this might be what you need, you should consider hiring a “Day of” coordinator and make sure you let them know up front about those “specific” relatives.

Have you considered your budget? You should have by now. If you are at the point of interviewing for wedding planner, you probably have a pretty good idea of what your finances look like. If not, sit down and figure it out before you go any further. If you know how tight your budget is, staying within the constraints of it will be that much easier. This may be your most important detail and you might even consider hiring your planner based on their ability to help you stay within your budget. I have mentioned before that before you even start the process of planning your wedding you should make a list of your wants and needs for the wedding and rank them in order of importance. If your budget is your number one priority, you may want a wedding planner there for you helping you every step of the way, pointing out small costs which most people forget about but that end up adding up, and helping you find ways to save. And if you haven’t made that list of wedding day priorities a good wedding planner would be able to help you with that too.

Whatever you decide, make sure you are happy with your decision and remind yourself to relax. While it can be extremely hectic to put together a wedding, you should always try to remember that you are doing it because of love!

You got engaged!! Now what?

First things first, CONGRATULATIONS! Getting engaged is one of the most thrilling events of your life, and words can hardly describe just how thrilling it is! But, now what? You’ve anticipated this moment for a long time, and it has finally come and gone. All the excitement from telling your friends and family calms at last, what do you do?

Before you begin planning the wedding, sit down with your with your significant other and just brainstorm. While planning a wedding can be fun and exciting for some, it can also be extremely nerve-wracking and overwhelming for others. Getting all your ideas on paper and out in the open is a good place to start, and should be a nice easy way to approach the process together. Have fun with it! The most important thing to remember is that you’re planning a day to celebrate your love.

Now ladies, there are going to be some men out there who won’t want anything to do with the planning. Try not to let this get to you, and remember that he loves you! Odds are he just doesn’t want to get in your way. But that doesn’t mean you should exclude him from all of it.  Don’t forget to ask for his opinion on anything you think will be important to him. You should definitely clear the date and location with one another to ensure that all family members have an opportunity to attend.

Once you finish writing out all your thoughts and ideas, try to arrange them into a list in order of importance. This can help immensely in the money-saving portion of the planning. If you decide early on that helping pay for bridesmaid dresses is more important than flowers, you can get a handle on what percentage of the budget you need for this and save the money for it in an appropriate amount of time.

After your first brainstorming session, you should decide how you want to stay organized. You can go out and buy yourself a nice wedding planning book like this one, or put together your own. Whatever you choose, just be sure to have one central, safe location for all your vendor business cards, magazines, color swatches and anything else you collect on your journey to your big day.