Featured Vendor: Ryan Design

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Photograph by Timothy Burke Mannle

When it comes to designing any event whether that be a birthday party, non profit event or our favorite, tented weddings, creating a welcoming atmosphere that is both functional and beautiful is the perfect way to describe the decor/lighting that Ryan Designs offers their clients.

We have had the amazing chance to work with them on so many of our events that you should get inspired and see what they can do too!

 How long they have been in the events industry/what made them choose this career:

Ryan Designs is celebrating their 10th Year!!! It all started because both Erik and Christen are third generation entrepreneurs - when they got together they knew they wanted to do their own thing. He was working for an event company in Newport while he was finishing his degree at URI. Simultaneously she was going back to school for fashion design - and occasionally would help out at the event company if they needed an extra set of hands. It became clear that with their combined skills, would be good at events. Erik is logistically gifted. Christen loves people and the creative process and more recently has really come to love business strategy and focusing on their long term goals. But ultimately it was planning their own wedding 11 years ago that really showed them that not only they could be good at it - but there was also a need for it. So they made a plan and got to work!

What they like most about working in the wedding/events industry:

 Hands down, the people she says. The Ryan Design team is everything - they are fun, creative and driven - and they would truly would not be here without them. They also love all of the relationships that they have developed in this industry. Christen and Erik wouldn’t be here without them either. Being surrounded by so many hard working and talented vendors is pretty amazing! The best events are those ones where it is a true collaboration between all the vendors and the clients - when everyone is bringing it - it's a thrill to know they have built something together. 

Photograph by Leila Brewster
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Photograph by Robert Norman

Some of the most requested items that clients are looking for for their events:

  • Seeing lots of brides focusing in on ambiance - comfort, individuality, spaces that feel like their home. Sofas, end tables, chairs - the lounge is getting a big upgrade and they are here for it.
  • Personalization is everywhere - custom neon signs, wood signs, and ceremony touches are in full swing for 2020. 
  • Mood lighting. LOTS of mood lighting.  They are seeing a shift in brides being gutsier when it comes to lighting. They are getting many proposals for chandelier groupings - which is a really fun and fresh idea when it comes to lighting. Love the boldness of 9 crystal chandeliers in a group. Also, let’s not forget about the Rattan pendants - those are not going away any time soon and we are okay with that. 
  • Ceremony Arbors & Backdrops -> lots of fun ideas circulating around the internet.  Who doesn’t love a unique focal point behind the "I do’s”? They are working on a few custom arbors for the 2020 season that we can’t wait to share!

What they like about  designing an event under one of our tents versus an indoor space:

Tents are a blank canvas! You can create anything! And when you get to work with a team like Greenwich Tent you know you are working in a beautiful, clean, well-maintained product, with a team that is committed to the success of whole event. It’s simply the best. (So kind of them!)

Geographic areas they service:

They will go anywhere! But primarily cover the whole Northeast! 

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Photograph by Brigham and Co

Feel like you want to see more and get inspired!? Check out their awesome Instagram!!

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Featured Photographer: Melani Lust

Melani Lust has captured some beautifully touching moments through her many years of being a photographer, and she has seen some wondrous events under our Sperry Sailcloth Tents that we think are amazing! Get to know Melani and get a little peak into some of these weddings!

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How long she has been a photographer: 

Since 2006 when she began learning in high school where she had her first film and dark room classes.

How she got started/ what made her choose to photographer:

 Growing up in California, her photographic ambitions led her to become the international documentarian for her large extended family. Capturing her family's most exciting events on film, she recognized the beauty and significance of preserving moments in time. After high school she immersed herself in another passion, the performing arts, moving to New York to study modern dance at the Alvin Ailey School. Working for a period as a professional dancer gave her an experience which deepened her understanding and appreciation of the human form in composition and line, an inherent elegance which is manifested in her photography. She subsequently returned to her first love, continuing her formal photographic studies at the ICP in NY. She continues to stay professionally inspired by taking on photojournalistic and editorial assignments worldwide. 

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Photograph by Melani Lust
Photograph by Melani Lust
Melani Lust
Photograph by Melani Lust

The geographic areas she services:

Mostly NYC, Westchester, Hamptons, Greenwich, Fairfield County and Litchfield County. She has photographed all over the world - India, Cuba, California and each year has a destination wedding in the Bahamas, Jamaica or some other island,  hoping to have a wedding in France soon since she is near fluent and a huge Francophile. 

What she likes about photographing under our tents versus an indoor space: 

Aesthetically they are magic and loves them for many reasons, but here are her top two:

1) The tent immediately makes the wedding an outdoor/indoor experience, you are protected and still have the feeling of being set within nature, this is fabulous for flow, guest circulation and enjoyment 

2) the tent is a blank canvas and couples are able to execute their vision in its totality. Every tent decor is unique and couples have the option to be very creative with their florists and designers to create magic that will reflect their personalities and style. 

Photograph by Melani Lust
Photograph by Melani Lust

Her favorite style of tent, Sperry or Clear top to photograph: 

Melani love the classics, and so Sperry it is! She love that no matter where you photograph in the tent you will have a great backdrop. She finds that many couples don't realize how much of the ceiling gets into the compositions as backgrounds in the photos. This is especially true during the horah, any crowd surfing, large dance scenes, and any full room atmospheric photos. Not too many venues have pretty ceilings, but a tent has that soft white backdrop, that is often enhanced by floral, lighting and chandeliers, this creates a great backdrop for all of the memories we document. The white tents provides a nice bounce for our flashes and the existing atmospheric light. One of Melani's specialties is freezing the moment, while preserving the background atmosphere, so that the photo isn't overly bright, but you can still see the candid moment very clearly, as well as the mood, a tent allows her to facilitate this easier and with truer colors than a ballroom would.

Some events she have photographed under one of our tents that has created a lasting memory: 

Here are a few beautiful moments she has captured through out this post! 

Check out her Instagram for more stunning photos!

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Photograph by Melani Lust
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Featured Photographer: Iris Photography

We got the chance to reach out to Mike and Jane, a husband and wife duo that are the founders of Iris Photography. Jane focuses on the family and corporate clients while Mike is the lead on weddings. We asked Mike a little bit about his journey being a photographer and his experiences photographing weddings under our tents.

How long he has been a photographer: 11 years

How he got started/ what made him choose to photograph weddings:

Photography is a second career for him--he got an MBA in the late 90s and was in marketing roles for Fortune 500 companies. His wife Jane left the corporate world before him and started a wedding photography business in metro Detroit. They started having children and made a plan for him to leave the corporate world too and to join the photo business with Jane.  In September of 2008, just before the financial crisis hit, he gave his notice and they started working together.  They've grown the business steadily since then, opening a physical studio in West Hartford, CT.  Their business is split between weddings and events, family portraits, and commercial work.  On the commercial side, they have photographed the NY Mets at Spring Training for 10 years!

Mike leads the wedding and event segment. What he loves about it is the emotional impact and importance of the day and all the opportunities weddings present for taking honest, real photos that people value.

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Photograph by Iris Photography

The geographic areas Iris Photography services:

They are based in West Hartford CT, but photograph most weddings in Fairfield County CT, Westchester County NY and Litchfield County CT.  They have shot weddings from NJ to Martha's Vineyard to Vermont as well.

What he likes about photographing under our tents versus an indoor space: 

Many things...first, a tent is inherently more festive than a ballroom--it adds a youthful, fun element to the celebration.  A tent allows for people to come and go from the grassy areas easily for a relaxed, outdoor experience.

For photography, there are several advantages. First, a translucent canopy like the Sperry Tent sailcloth has a beautiful amber glow that looks great against the cobalt sky at dusk.  Then, inside the canopy allows for bouncing flash behind or to the side to soften the light falling on people. He mentions that even if it rains, a tent concentrates the wedding energy in one place--many of the most memorable weddings he's photographed were tented weddings in the rain.

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Photograph by Iris Photography
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Photograph by Iris Photography
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Photograph by Iris Photography

His favorite style of tent to photograph and why:

He really likes Sperry's sailcloth series with open sides. The amber glow, the wooden poles, and graceful lines are a beautiful backdrop to a celebration. The ochre sailcloth is close enough to a white to allow the bouncing of light as well. Clear tents really make a statement and are very cool too though.

An event he has photographed under one of our tents that has created a lasting memory:

They photographed a really nice couple's wedding in Darien CT a few years back, held on her parent's yard. (By the way - this is one of GTC's all time favorite weddings too!!) He loved the iconic image of everyone celebrating in the tent at dusk, with the bride's childhood home in the distance...kind of says it all for launching your children into the world. (Photos throughout post)

If you want to see more amazing moments captured by Iris Photography follow them on Instagram!!

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Photograph by Iris Photography
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Photograph by Iris Photography
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Featured Planner: Ashley Douglass Events

Event Planners, or as I like to call them - the fairy Godmothers of all things wedding and special events - are really the glue to every single aspect of your wedding day/event. They help piece together your dream vision while giving you ideas and feedback about each decision from the catering and floral designs to the guest experience.

Ashley Douglass Events is the total package with the motto of "seamless planning for luxury events." We have worked with her and her team for the past few years and the work that they have done is stunning. We have shared the final images of numerous we have worked with her in the past, but we thought it would be fun to learn about the process of making those events a reality. So grab a cup of coffee and enjoy some one-on-one time with the one and only Ashley Douglass. 

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Her experience in this industry:

Before event planner, Ashley was involved in professional theatre both in NYC and regionally. She grew up in a professional theatre family and was a serious ballet student all throughout childhood so “production time” was just part of her life. While still in the theater, she worked as a staff trainer for a larger NYC restaurant group. For her it was ideal because when she needed a job, be it for a month or four, she always had a restaurant to be placed into and sometimes was helping to open a new restaurant too. She moved to LA in her late 20s and did the same work on the side and eventually her name started circulating as a subcontracted wedding or event coordinator. That was when she first got the wedding bug. Ashley shadowed some designers as well, laying the groundwork for a future job, all the while still treading the boards. She then went back to school to become a therapist and in tandem started to book her own weddings. (Is there a more perfect pairing of professions? Planner and therapist? She can make your event beautiful AND help you through the inevitable meltdowns!) Without planning it, a new career emerged and picked up speed prior to completing her training hours as a therapist so she went for it as a full time wedding/event planner. That was about 9 years ago.

How she got started and what made her choose this career:

Ashley always wanted to work for herself. That was a must. She says she is for sure right brained but also loves detail and a hard challenge. The harder the job, the better she will do. With weddings and events, you see the final outcome which is the ideal reward. Ashley also has a few other business ideas up her sleeve, but we will get back to her on that!

What geographic areas she services:

She works in NYC, Hamptons, Hudson Valley to the Berkshires, Vermont and Fairfield County CT. But really she works wherever her clients take her. They have also planned in CA, CO, FL, TX and Mexico.

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Photograph by Nathan Smith
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Photograph by Nathan Smith
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Photograph by Nathan Smith

Her favorite part about being an event planner:

Happy clients make a happy planner. Ashley feels good to be in a job in which she excels, as silly as that may sound. She is good with people (thanks therapy degree), detail and an absolute pro design.

What Ashley likes about working with a tent for a wedding reception versus an indoor space:

She finds that its important to have a tented event even if you are in a location that does not get much rain. Having a main structure calls for guests to focus and gather in one space and you are able to do what you want aesthetically. You can be anywhere - a patio, a field or even outside in the woods - and have a formal event. She loves lighting and a barren tent gives you options! 

How she discovered Greenwich Tent and why she enjoys working with us:

She began working with us back when we were first Sperry Tents Greenwich. We're a growing company that still feels and operates like a small family company and she and her clients value that.

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Photograph by Sarma + Co
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Photograph by Sarma + Co

Some of her favorite events she has done with us!

A New Canaan wedding the night after the Supreme Court ruled same sex marriage as legal. Click Here to see the full story! (No big deal - Justin Timberlake showed up...)

A wedding at Glenmere Mansion where the bride actually let her mother do a majority of the planning since she was busy with her career and wanted her mom to have some fun with it! 

And a wedding at The Country Club of Fairfield where her parents got married sixty two years before. Click Here to see the full story!

If you are equally as happy seeing her gorgeous events, then pop on over to their Instagram!

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Photograph by Christian Oath
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Photograph by Christian Oath
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