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Lora & Dave's Garden Sperry Tent Wedding by Natalie Hewitt & Joseph Benjamin Marquees Images by Rebecca Carpenter Photography

Planning a Sperry Tent Garden Wedding

For many of us, planning a Sperry Tent garden wedding would be fraught with worry. However, with the help of a seasoned wedding planner and the support of an experienced Sperry Tent Partner, these concerns needn’t be a worry. Instead, you can sit back and bask in the glory of your very own stunning Sperry Tent, nestled amongst your idyllic garden setting – all you have to do is make sure your peonies are perfection and your begonias are blooming!

Since launching in 2012, Natalie Hewitt has become synonymous with beautiful showstopping weddings, often dressed to impress with the most stunning floral displays. Be it a wedding in Claridge’s ballroom, or at home in a Sperry Tent or marquee, garden weddings have become something of a signature style for Natalie Hewitt. Lora and Dave’s Sperry tent garden wedding by Joseph Benjamin Marquees was no exception. Featuring breath-taking florals throughout, the floral decor included a broken floral arch entrance, a tool that Natalie often employs to bring the design décor out and invite guests in with an impactful and enticing entrance.

Lora & Dave's Garden Sperry Tent Wedding drinks reception, by Natalie Hewitt & Joseph Benjamin Marquees Images by Rebecca Carpenter Photography
Lora & Dave’s Sperry Tent Garden Wedding drinks reception, by Natalie Hewitt & Joseph Benjamin Marquees Images by Rebecca Carpenter Photography

Natalie Hewitt Weddings – Wedding planning perfection for busy professionals

With the experience of over 60 Weddings behind her, depending on the size of the events she’s planning, Natalie now sets a limit of four or five weddings a year. This is primarily because of the type of clients and weddings Natalie plans, often being commissioned by busy business owners and entrepreneurs. This means that the ownness is solely on Natalie to deliver the wedding and the commission is often labour intensive with lots of moving parts to coordinate. Natalie is naturally attentive, giving her clients a personal service and ensuring she can be there to deliver their wedding planning needs at the drop of a hat.

Being business owners themselves, Natalie’s clients have a unique understanding of the importance and benefits of employing those with the expertise to deliver a professional and seamless service, leaving the couple to concentrate on their professions and field of expertise.

Sperry Tent Garden Weddings Galore

Natalie’s central UK location (she is based in the Midlands) allows her to deliver her exquisitely designed weddings nationwide. Predominantly working with couples in London, Surrey and Norfolk. Although, Natalie’s also available farther afield, with weddings booked in Scotland and the South of France for 2022.

60% of the Weddings Natalie plans are outdoor weddings. She often works in marquees and temporary structures to deliver her events and cites the main reason being that outdoor weddings lend themselves to having a wedding planner.

Sperry Tent Garden weddings especially benefit from Natalie’s services, as she is often called upon to be the go-between other suppliers and the homeowners, be that the couples themselves, or other family members. There is also more to plan with a garden wedding – variables such as access, power and other amenities all need careful planning and coordination for the smooth running of the day.

Lora & Dave's Garden Sperry Tent Wedding dining details, by Natalie Hewitt & Joseph Benjamin Marquees Images by Rebecca Carpenter Photography
Lora & Dave’s Sperry Tent Garden Wedding dining details, by Natalie Hewitt & Joseph Benjamin Marquees Images by Rebecca Carpenter Photography

Planning for the unexpected

As we all know only too well, the weather is always something to consider when planning an outdoor wedding. Thanks to the great British weather, we have all been caught short in an unexpected downpour! For this reason, Natalie advocates the ‘wet weather plan’. Rain will always impact a wedding day, so having a backup plan is essential. Be it an aesthetically pleasing array of umbrellas for your guests, or a covered area for reception drinks, a wet weather contingency will give you peace of mind whatever the weather.

The smooth running of your wedding day is often down to the flow of events and the order in which they happen. In a venue, you might move from one room to the next for the ceremony, drinks reception, dining and dancing. However, with a Sperry Tent garden wedding, events are not led by the changing of locations. For this reason, logistics and supplier timings are of the utmost importance when it comes to orchestrating the day for the optimal guest experience.

To ensure the day flows, Natalie breaks the space up into loosely zoned areas. For example, for Lora and Dave’s Sperry Wedding, guests were welcomed by the floral arch, entering the Sperry Tent via the open dancefloor where they enjoyed reception drinks, before being seated to the left on 5 long rows of banquet tables. Following the Wedding breakfast, guests proceeded to the bar area before hitting the dancefloor as the evening unfurled.

What to think about when planning your Sperry Tent Garden Wedding

For those planning a Sperry Tent Garden Wedding, Natalie encourages her couples to think about their dream wedding day and jot it down before finalising any of the details. This not only helps Natalie when it comes to designing and fulfilling their perfect wedding day wish list, but it also helps them to manage their expectations of what their garden location can deliver.

Natalie suggests thinking about the ceremony and reception and asking these questions – will the ceremony be in a local church or a celebrant ceremony at home? Do you want fireworks? Which views do you want to incorporate into the day? How can suppliers access the site? And, as is often one of the most important variables to consider when planning a Garden Wedding, are there any overhanging trees or permanent features that need to be incorporated into the design scheme?

Lora & Dave with their Sperry Tent, by Natalie Hewitt & Joseph Benjamin Marquees Images by Rebecca Carpenter Photography
Lora & Dave with their Sperry Tent, by Natalie Hewitt & Joseph Benjamin Marquees Images by Rebecca Carpenter Photography

Natalie Hewitt’s experience of planning a Sperry Tent Garden Wedding

Is this the first Sperry Tent Wedding you have done?

No, I really do feel at home in a Sperry Tent, having planned over 6 Sperry Weddings and consulted on Sperry Tent Open Weekends over the years.

What do you like about planning a Sperry Wedding?

Sperry Tents and Sailcloth Tents are beautiful. They’re completely different and more streamlined than other outdoor structures. As they’re so elegant, they lend themselves to being dressed down for a relaxed wedding reception. But equally, can be dressed up for a more elevated look. The beautiful warmth of the canvas creates the perfect backdrop. I love the challenge of making each design scheme unique and different within a Sperry Tent.

Lora & Dave's Garden Sperry Tent Wedding: Images by Rebecca Carpenter Photography
Lora & Dave’s Sperry Tent Garden Wedding: Images by Rebecca Carpenter Photography

3 words to describe a Sperry Tent?

Elegant, beautiful and versatile.

Is there anything you would do differently?

I would love to have the opportunity to hang chandeliers in a Sperry Tent. Along with exposed beautifully boarded wooden floors and soft drapes on the outer poles. It’s a look I’ve seen in Sperry Tents in the US and I would love to adopt this Hamptons-style for my clients here in the UK. It’s all budget dependent, but with the means to go above and beyond on the finishing touches, the possibilities in a Sperry Tent are endless.

Joseph Benjamin Marquees

Have you worked with Joseph Benjamin Marquees before and what was it like working with the Joseph Benjamin team?

Yes, I have worked in Joseph Benjamin’s Clear Span Marquees before and am planning a Sperry Tent garden wedding with them next year. They are a fantastic company to work with and their expertise and knowledge is second to none. Now that they have added Sperry Tents to their portfolio, they have the leading edge when it comes to luxury temporary structures. The drawings and Cad plans they provide are so valuable when it comes to helping my clients visualise their day.

As well as being professional in the planning and design stage, the Joseph Benjamin onsite team are also super-efficient. With a large, but well organised and professional crew to ensure their structures go up in the minimum amount of time and with the optimum finish. The added benefit of providing an Onsite Supervisor ensures the smooth running of the day. This gives both myself and the client the peace of mind that should there be any unexpected eventualities, they are dealt with discreetly and professionally.

I would advise all those planning a Sperry Tent garden wedding to understand the value of these ‘hidden services’. They may not be as visually pleasing as the flowers or the resulting photographs, but they will make for a more streamlined day and give you peace of mind.

Lora & Daves Garden Sperry Tent Wedding: Images by Rebecca Carpenter Photography
Lora & Dave’s Sperry Tent Garden Wedding: Images by Rebecca Carpenter Photography

Sperry Tent Style & Design

What design details would you suggest using to make a Sperry Tent wedding memorable and stand out for all the right reasons? 

A nice floral budget can help to dress and soften a space. Also, little touches such as coloured water glasses, for example, can set a wedding apart and make an event truly unique.

Entertainment and the flow of the day are other aspects of a wedding that make a difference. The best way to decide what these might be is to put yourself in your guests’ shoes. How will they feel and what can you do to look after your guests and ensure their comfort and enjoyment of the day? Streamlining your day and ensuring it runs smoothly will ensure you and your guests have a really lovely time.

Lora & Daves Garden Sperry Tent Wedding: Images by Rebecca Carpenter Photography
Lora & Dave’s Sperry Tent Garden Wedding: Images by Rebecca Carpenter Photography

It’s all in the detail

What are the most effective and impactful design details and floral installations in a Sperry Tent? Did you use any for Lora and Dave?

Yes, for Lora and Dave, we included a beautiful broken floral arch into the design scheme. This highlighted the entrance and was especially important on the day. As Lora and Dave were lucky enough to have beautiful weather, all of the Sperry sides could be raised, but this meant denoting the entrance was all the more important to help with the flow of the day and to draw the guests inside.

It’s important to ensure the guest’s gaze moves around the Sperry Tent when they enter, rather than just resting on the tables. To do this, I would suggest florals of varying heights. In the case of Lora and Dave’s wedding, we had florals on the table, a showstopping urn of flowers on the bar and a hanging beam. Having the flowers at varying heights helps to lead the gaze around the tent and link the zones inside. In the past, I have also created a floral meadow at the foot of the stage, this not only hides any unsightly rigging but, also acts as a visual tool, linking the floor to the tables and up into the magnificent Sperry canopy above.

Lora & Daves Garden Sperry Tent Wedding florals: Images by Rebecca Carpenter Photography
Lora & Dave’s Sperry Tent Garden Wedding flowers by Liberty Lane Flowers: Images by Rebecca Carpenter Photography

Table plans & Layout

Tables, round tables or long tables? What are you seeing more of and what do you prefer?

For Lora and Dave’s Sperry Tent garden wedding, we had 5 long runs of rustic farmhouse tables. Lora and Dave were seated on the first run, allowing them to be amongst the wedding party, whilst still looking out over their friends and family.

I love the look of both round and long tables, with rounds being a different look and offering more intimate guest groupings, and long tables giving a more relaxed and informal space.

Lora & Dave's Garden Sperry Tent Wedding dining decor, by Natalie Hewitt & Joseph Benjamin Marquees Images by Rebecca Carpenter Photography
Lora & Dave’s Sperry Tent Garden Wedding dining decor by Natalie Hewitt & Joseph Benjamin Marquees Images by Rebecca Carpenter Photography

Post-Covid Wedding Planning

It’s early days, but what are the biggest post Covid planning changes you have seen?

I think that as wedding planners we need to adapt quickly and be flexible to the changing circumstance, this is especially true of the last few years. For example, last summer I requested guests contact details as part of the RSVP process. This meant that I could contact guests quickly should government guidelines change. Many of my couples also suggested their guests took lateral flow tests before the wedding. This gave each guest peace of mind and protected the more vulnerable guests who were attending.

Have you seen any emerging trends and what would you like to see more of?

I don’t follow trends, preferring to listen to my couples and create something that represents them. My couples are often looking for something timeless. Although, I do think that people have seen the importance of creating an experience for their guests and celebrating with family and friends whilst letting their hair down.

As a result of the limit set on wedding guests’ numbers during the height of the pandemic, couples had larger budgets to spend on florals. As a result, we’ve seen bigger, grandeur floral schemes becoming more prevalent, influencing floral budgets and more elaborate design schemes for the future.

My advice would be, don’t plan a wedding in line with a trend, but instead do what you like. Something that’s unique to you and sets your wedding apart from the other two or three weddings your guests may be attending that year.

Lora & Dave's Garden Sperry Tent Wedding floral beam, by Natalie Hewitt & Joseph Benjamin Marquees Images by Rebecca Carpenter Photography
Lora & Dave’s Sperry Tent Garden Wedding floral beam by Liberty Lane Flowers, with Natalie Hewitt & Joseph Benjamin Marquees Images by Rebecca Carpenter Photography

Top tips for planning your Sperry Tent Garden Wedding

When to start planning the wedding and get in touch with a planner?

It’s never too early to start planning, especially when planning a Sperry Tent garden wedding. Although, I often plan my couples weddings with less than a year to go. Budget allowing, this is more than doable. However, post lockdown, and with suppliers catching up with postponed weddings, you may not get the suppliers you’re hoping for, for another 12 months.

How to choose your suppliers?

Use your available budget and prioritise what’s important to you. Photography may be a priority over catering. Or, vice versa if you’re a foodie and want to share your love of food with your guests. The same can be said for entertainment, choreographed fireworks may say more about you and the experience you want to create for your guests than a live band for example.

I always recommend reaching out to a handful of suppliers in each area, and so you have a range of styles and price points to choose from. Look at portfolios and speak to the suppliers over the phone or zoom, build a rapport and ensure they’re going to offer you a professional service.

Lora & Daves Garden Sperry Tent Wedding: Images by Rebecca Carpenter Photography
Lora & Dave’s Garden Sperry Tent Wedding flowers by Liberty Lane Flowers: Images by Rebecca Carpenter Photography

Sustainable wedding planning

Best wedding party favour ideas?

As a rule, wedding favours don’t tend to be very environmentally friendly. They often get left behind. Those that stand out as being both thoughtful and environmentally friendly include personalised embroidered napkins and homemade items that couples have made or grown with their guests in mind.

I strongly believe that luxury, high-end weddings with the potential to create lots of waste can be environmentally conscious. For example, a sustainable favour one of my couples are having next year – menus printed on paper with seeds in them, and so that guests can grow them. Not only does this recycle the paper used for the menus, but it gives the guests something beautiful to grow and remember the couple by.

And finally, if you’re not sure what favour to have, invest in an experience you and your guests will enjoy, failing that more canapes, everyone loves canapes!

Lora & Dave's Garden Sperry Tent Wedding at night, by Natalie Hewitt & Joseph Benjamin Marquees Images by Rebecca Carpenter Photography
Lora & Dave’s Sperry Tent Garden Wedding at night, by Natalie Hewitt & Joseph Benjamin Marquees Images by Rebecca Carpenter Photography

LORA & DAVE’S SPERRY TENT WEDDING PROFILE:

With huge thanks to Natalie Hewitt for being a part of this blog and sharing her experience of planning a Sperry Tent Garden Wedding. And, to Lora and Dave and Rebecca Carpenter for kindly sharing images from this stunning Sperry Wedding by Joseph Benjamin Marquees.

Visit our Gallery for more stunning Sperry Tent events like this one.

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