A Evening Beneath the Stars

A summer evening spent indoors is a summer evening wasted. So why not bring the indoors out and dine beneath a starry sky? Our wonderful clients decided to celebrate in one of our clear top 50' wide Navitrac frame tents from Anchor Tents at the Round Hill Club in Greenwich, CT this past June. With the planning skills of Eloquence Events, the gorgeous flowers by Greenwich Orchids and draping by Social Decor, the tent was transformed into a gorgeous outdoor dining experience. 

Twinkle lights cascading throughout the canopy illuminated the guests as they danced the night away on our dark walnut hardwood floors. It was truly a sad moment when we had to break down this event, but we are so glad we were able to set the stage for our clients' most wonderful memories that evening. 

Other vendors who made the event a success are: 

Photography: Ann Billingsley
Video: Magic Flute Video
Linens: La Tavola Linen
Band: The Sultans
Music: Highline Quartet
Stationary: Fourteen-Forty Design Studio
Dessert: Palmers Bakery

Dark Walnut Hardwood
Greenwich Tent Clear Top 50W
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How to Write Your Vows

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Photograph by Justin & Mary

I tell every bride and groom that once they make it through the vows, the rest of the night is just a party. But getting to the vows is tricky. Especially if you're writing your own! But writing your own vows gives you the chance to tell you future spouse just how amazing they are and how much they mean to you. 

So before you begin I suggest sitting down, pouring a glass of wine and making a list of all the reasons you can't wait to say "I Do" and then use those bullet points to write your vows. 

Keep it pithy. This isn't the time to take your guests through every critical moment you two have shared over the course of your relationship. Hit the high points and try to keep the vows to a minute or so. Remember you will probably need a bit longer than the rehearsed time due to inevitable tears or laughter. If you want to include more details about your relationship in your ceremony, consider writing your ceremony. Your JP can give you some guidelines and check everything before the big day for you too. 

Cliches are ok. For years your teachers have told you to stay clear of cliches. But this is the time to use them. If a cliche is the best way for you to say what you feel, then go for it! These words aren't going to be graded. Speak your mind and if your mind keeps saying a cliche, then use it! 

Keep them close to your heart. This tip is two-fold because you should want to keep your vows a secret (although one proofreader is ok especially if that proofreader is your JP) and you want to keep them true to you. If you guys are a goofy couple, insert some humor. If you're loving and romantic, bring on the tissues. Follow your heart and speak from your soul and the vows will flow naturally onto the paper. 

Multiple drafts are key. You might write your vows and thing they are the best thing you've ever written and they just may well be, but be sure to take a step back and review them. Do you think your spouse would appreciate that embarrassing anecdote? Will your Nana care to know that bedroom detail? Write and review. And then review again. Which is why it's also important to write them early. Do not wait until the morning of. You want to alleviate stress of your wedding day and enjoy family and friends. You don't want to be rushing some of the most important words you will ever say just so you can get it done. 

So you have the tips and the tricks, but where to begin? Here is a general structure of how most vows are written

1. Begin your vows with a special moment or memory. Recount when you knew that you wanted to spend the rest of your life with your spouse (as long as it's appropriate).

2. Tell your spouse how much they mean to you. And how important they are to you. 

3. Say thank you. I have no doubt that your partner deserves a lot of thanks whether it was supporting you through a hard time, helping with the planning or agreeing to watch all of Gilmore Girls on Netflix. We both make sacrifices in relationships and this is the time to say thank you.

4. State what you promise - what you vow - to be and do for your spouse. 

And if you follow these simple rules and speak from your heart, you'll be golden. I promise! 

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Photograph by David E. Starke Photogrpahy
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DIY Child's Wedding Activity Giftbags

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Photograph by Jocelyn Filley Photography

Children make for some amazing photos at weddings. They are happy and carefree and usually adorably dressed to the nines. But come dinner time or even cocktail hour, they can get a little bored with the speeches and the eating and the dining table small talk. These DIY activity bags placed at their seats will surely keep them content and occupied.

Activity or coloring books are always a win/win since kids love to create and they are usually inexpensive. You can purchase different themed books at your local dollar store or you can print this adorable wedding-themed activity book from Lovely Indeed. You can include some blank pages for freehand drawing or even some tic-tac-toe. But children like things to have a goal, right? How about a little scavenger hunt? Martha Stewart has an adorable "I Spy" free download to keep your kiddos hunting around the reception. The first one to spy them all gets a free Shirley Temple or bag of candy. You can also create your own printable games customized to you and your beau or the venue location. Attach a small package of crayons to the printables and your kiddos will be entertained for sure. 

But what about the wee ones who maybe can't color just yet? Wikki Stix are the answer! A lot of high-end venues won't allow toys that could be potentially harmful to furniture and walls such as stickers or play doh. But wikki stix are a fun and mess-free toy that will allow the kids to be creative and build their own shapes. 

Other fun additions are mini games, puzzles and small toys. Package them up in a cute brown bag with some ribbon and the kids will be thrilled to find them at their seats. 

Don't have the time to put together your own bags? There are places like Kids Wedding Fun who will put together and ship kids bags for you. All you have to do is place them at their seats. 

Cheers to children at weddings! 

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Photograph by Christian Oth Studio
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Prepping for a Tented Backyard Wedding

This is it - your big day is finally only a month away and you are ecstatic knowing in only 30 days you will be marrying your best friend. And best of all, you'll be celebrating at a place that is near and dear to your heart. Having a tented wedding in a backyard has many perks - like you don't have a crazy venue fee to pay and at the end of the night, you can just stumble into a familiar home mere steps from the celebration. But if this is your first tented rodeo, then there are a few things you need to do to ensure that on tent installation day, it's all smooth sailing.

4 Weeks Away

If the tent location is a little wonky, then this is the time to call in those landscapers to level out the space. That gives you enough time to ensure that if the material you use to fill the space begins to level and sink, you have time to fix it. We can shim a full floor up to 5-6'', but anything over that makes for an unstable floor and if you aren't using a full floor, it's even more important to have the location relatively flat. Unstable tables lead to shaky tables and tipsy guests (and this is even before the open bar is up and running.)

Depino Photography Depino Photography

3 Weeks Away

If you're planning on landscaping the area around the tent, then this is the time to plant those flowers and bushes. The beauty of a Sperry is with our 10' eaves, your guests can still have a gorgeous view of the landscape from inside the tent. So take advantage of the natural frame created by Sperry poles and eaves and make your backyard a setting to remember. Planting bushes and flowers now gives them time to fill in a bit and if you have any duds, you have time to replace them.

Jennifer Skog Photography Jennifer Skog Photography

2 Weeks Away!

It's almost go time! And this is when things start to get crazy, but you can't forget the important steps that need to be taken with regards to the tent. Within 2 weeks of your wedding, your tent company should confirm with you the install date, estimated length of install, breakdown date and estimate length of breakdown. This will give you enough time to coordinate the drop-off, set-up, break-down and pick-up of all those gorgeous rentals. We can't break-down a tent when it is full of all those gorgeous linens and farm tables. If you aren't able to be on site for the installation, please make sure the tent company knows exactly where you want to tent to be on property. It's really difficult to move a tent that is already installed. If need be, create an aerial of the tent location or mark the space with those little lawn flags.

At this time, the tent company will call DigSafe in your area to be sure that there are no public lines where the tent is being installed. However, it is up to you to mark any private lines (septic, sprinklers, geothermal) with flags so that we don't break any lines upon installation. DigSafe generally doesn't set-up an exact appointment time, but a general span when they will be on-site. If your property is gated or difficult to enter, the tent company will coordinate with you so that entry is possible.

Mark Davidson Photographer Mark Davidson Photographer

Mark Davidson Photographer Mark Davidson Photographer

1 Week Away!!!

This is the most exciting time! Once the install time is coordinated, be sure to mow the lawn the morning of install (if you're using a full floor) to mitigate any damage to the lawn or the day before the drop-off of rentals if you are just using a tent. If there are any restrictions on accessing the property, please let the tent company know. That way we can map the best route in and out and can budget any extra time if needed. During installation, it's best to be on property. At the end of the installation, the crew leader will do a final inspection and speak with you to discuss any discrepancies you may find in the order.

Many cities and towns require tent permits to be pulled for safety reasons. We try to coordinate inspections while we are still on site so please be patient if we are walking the property with the inspector. This allows us to fix any issues that may arise. In some cases, inspections can't be scheduled, but, like DigSafe, general time windows are given. If the inspector arrives when we are not on property, please provide him/her access. All inspectors have our contact information so if for some reason a guideline or requirement isn't met, they can contact us directly so we can immediately rectify the issue. This can sometimes be a bit alarming for the home owner, especially if an inspector insinuates that an event cannot go forward due to a violation. Please don't panic or worry - in all our years we have had extensive experience with meeting these requirements and take every precaution to ensure a smooth inspection. And we have never had an event cancelled due to an inspection!

Mark Davidson Photographer Mark Davidson Photographer

The Big Day :)

Well, it's finally here. The day you have been preparing for over a year. And if you've hired a Sperry - you have nothing to worry about on the day of! One of our experienced crew leaders will arrive on-site a few hours before the event. Dressed in a polo and khakis, the Sperry On-Site will do a final inspection to ensure all lines are tight, sidewalls are rolled up, lights are properly working and that everything looks perfect. All you have to do is relax, take some photos and enjoy your big day. You did it! You hosted a tented wedding like a pro.

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