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Planning An Outdoor Sperry Wedding With Katrina Otter Weddings & The Sail Tent Company

Planning an outdoor Sperry Wedding

Planning an outdoor Sperry Wedding can be as fun as the wedding itself. In this blog post, we’re exploring the dos and don’ts of outdoor wedding planning from one of the industry’s finest, and most seasoned Sperry Wedding planners.

Established over 10 years ago, Katrina Otter Weddings have beautifully curated over 150 celebrations. The latter of which were designed and planned by both Katrina herself and Cara.

Newly weds Ellie and Sam in front of their Sperry Tent, designed by Katrina Otter Weddings with The Sail Tent Company.
Newlyweds Ellie and Sam in front of their Sperry Tent, designed by Katrina Otter Weddings with The Sail Tent Company: Image by Hannah Duffy Photography

The Dream Team

Together, Katrina and Cara (who Katrina attributes to having the same carefully considered style and eye for detail) are able to deliver their exquisitely designed experiences to more couples, whilst, still retaining the stunningly executed styling that has become synonymous with the brand.

In order to ensure the day runs as beautifully as the design looks, Katrina and Cara attend the weddings they plan. Katrina Otter Weddings also employ Kate, who looks after the Wedding Day Management Service. This is separate to their Full Wedding Planning service. Kate is the Wedding Day / On the Day expert and ensures the celebrations run smoothly and the day goes without a hitch (no pun intended!).

Planning an Outdoor Sperry Wedding by Katrina Otter Weddings
Planning an Outdoor Sperry Wedding by Katrina Otter Weddings

UK Based Wedding Planning & Design

Katrina Otter Weddings cover the whole of the UK, having designed and planned weddings from Dorset to Scotland and many in between.

Whilst the Cotswolds and the surrounding home counties have become something of a spiritual home for the celebrations they design, Katrina and Cara are based in Cambridgeshire and Suffolk, respectively.

Katrina Otter Weddings also manage Holywell Hall in Lincolnshire. A majestic Georgian Hall that exemplifies Katrina and Cara’s elegant and timeless aesthetic.

Ellie and Sam's Sperry Tent interior, designed by Katrina Otter Weddings with The Sail Tent Company.
Ellie and Sam’s Sperry Tent interior, designed by Katrina Otter Weddings with The Sail Tent Company

Aficionados of Outdoor Weddings

Having clearly been inspired and led by the design duo’s light and airy visuals (take a look @Katrinaotterwed on Instagram to see why), over 60% of their couples opt for outdoor weddings, choosing a Sperry Tent, marquee or sailcloth tent as the backdrop to their natural and informal nuptials.

Interestingly, 2021 and 2022 planning has seen ¾ of their couples preferring an outdoor wedding ceremony. This could be owing to the implications of Covid and as a reflection of clients wanting to give their guests the space to celebrate with them in safety and comfort. Or, perhaps it is the desire to surround themselves with more guests after a year of being starved of social interaction.

Either way, with an average of 150 – 200 guests typically attending the weddings they design, it is clear to see why the Katrina Otter Wedding style lends itself to the natural, relaxed and timeless look that can be achieved in a Sperry Tent. Filled with contemporary flowers and fresh foliage, a Sperry Tent is perfectly suited to the green and white aesthetic that Katrina Otter Weddings have become renowned for.

Ellie and Sam's Sperry Tent entrance, designed by Katrina Otter Weddings with The Sail Tent Company
Ellie and Sam’s Sperry Tent entrance, designed by Katrina Otter Weddings with The Sail Tent Company

Planning an Outdoor Sperry Wedding – The Logistics

Despite the serene scenes of both Katrina and Cara’s seemingly perfect Instagram feeds, outdoor weddings rarely come without their challenges. From cliffside locations to sloping sites and hillside parking in Salcombe, Katrina Otter Weddings have come across their fair share of logistical challenges when planning outdoor weddings. However, through their vast experience and years of learning, they are heavyweights in wedding planning, ensuring the guest’s experience is as equally satisfying as the visually pleasing surroundings of their weddings.

Planning an outdoor Sperry Wedding by Katrina Otter Weddings with The Sail Tent Company
Planning an outdoor Sperry Wedding by Katrina Otter Weddings with The Sail Tent Company

Cara & Katrina’s Experience of Planning an Outdoor Sperry Wedding

Is this the first Sperry Tent Wedding you have done?

No, we have been lucky enough to plan 8 Sperry Tent weddings over the years.

What do you like about planning a Sperry Wedding?

A Sperry Tent gives us a beautiful blank canvas to work with. We often ask our couples what’s important to them in order to inject their personalities and personalise their day.  A Sperry Tent offers the perfect means by which to do this. Whatever the brief, the clean lines of a Sperry Tent can take it, all the time ensuring the look is elegant and timeless.

When you enter a Sperry Tent, there’s a real sense of craftsmanship and attention to detail. Everything is considered, from the elegant central poles to the canvas’s beautiful design details, the aesthetic is clean and consistent throughout.

3 words to describe a Sperry Tent?

Beautiful, elegant and timeless.

Can you share any Sperry Tent planning pearls of wisdom?

You can go all out when planning a Sperry Tent Wedding, but you don’t have to. You don’t need to work too hard on a Sperry Tent as it is an amazing blank canvas as it is.

Planning an outdoor Sperry Wedding, Sperry Tent canvas detailing. Planning by Katrina Otter Weddings with The Sail Tent Company
Planning an outdoor Sperry Wedding, Sperry Tent canvas detailing. Planning by Katrina Otter Weddings with The Sail Tent Company

The Sail Tent Company

Have you worked with The Sail Tent Company before – what was it like working with The Sail Tent Company?

3 of the Sperry Weddings we’ve designed and planned have been in Sperry Tents by The Sail Tent Company. For us, we feel that it’s the perfect marriage of planner and supplier. The relaxed and informal vibe of a Sperry Tent perfectly echoes our own sense of style and epitomises the weddings that we plan.

Sperry Tent table-scapes by Katrina Otter Weddings with The Sail Tent Company
Sperry Tent table-scapes by Katrina Otter Weddings with The Sail Tent Company

Sperry Tent Style & Design

How to make a Sperry Tent wedding memorable and stand out (for all the right reasons)

A Sperry Tent transitions beautifully from the day, through to evening. And, with the right lighting, can really come to life at night. Think about how to light your event and make the most of the space inside, whilst enjoying the mesmerising effect of twinkling lights on the exterior Sperry canvas at night.

What are the most effective and impactful design details and floral installations in a Sperry Tent? Did you use any for Ellie and Sam’s?

Tables first and foremost for flowers. You can also dress the poles, but in a Sperry Tent, they look so beautiful as they are, this it’s an optional extra based on budget as opposed to a necessity.

For Ellie and Sam’s Sperry Wedding with The Sail Tent Company, we did however include an asymmetric arch, beautifully created by Aelisabet Flowers. It really did make for a majestic arrival and elevated the entrance, adding further anticipation to the Sperry Tent’s interior.

Sperry Tent florals by Aelisabet Flowers, planned Katrina Otter Weddings with The Sail Tent Company
Sperry Tent florals by Aelisabet Flowers, planned Katrina Otter Weddings with The Sail Tent Company: Image by Hannah Duffy Photography

Table Plans and Layout

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

Cara: I am being more and more creative with the floorplan and changing up the different table layouts for the best use of space and to reflect the optimal seating plan for the guest’s list. At a recent wedding, we opted for square and long tables. It looked visually interesting and worked really well as a sociable and informal dining space.

For Ellie and Sam’s Sperry Tent Wedding, we designed a T-shape design, with two long banquet tables, flanked either side by 4 round tables and the top table central to the Sperry Tent.

Katrina: My preferred choice is long tables in rows for visual impact and to create a sense of wow when guests enter the Sperry Tent. Regardless of the table layout though, the tables have to have beautifully considered tablescapes with pristine linens that hit the floor. Investing in table linen really pays off when it comes to the details of the day.

Sperry Tent table layout, planned Katrina Otter Weddings with The Sail Tent Company
Sperry Tent table layout, planned Katrina Otter Weddings with The Sail Tent Company: Image by Hannah Duffy Photography

Planning an Outdoor Wedding Post-Covid

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

Hand sanitiser! At a recent wedding, guests were treated to individual bottles of sanitiser by Salcombe Gin. They made for a thoughtful and surprisingly visually pleasing favour that the guests really appreciated.

The Sperry Tents lend themselves well to post Covid planning as they allow for more space, with couples requesting fewer guests per table to ensure comfort and safety. As well as the flexibility to raise the sides for maximum ventilation, whilst also allowing panoramas of the chosen venue.

And happily, the emphasis seems to have moved from the less important details and more onto the guest’s overall experience. Couples are putting emphasis on this as precious time spent with family and friends, as opposed to worrying about the details.

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

We don’t tend to be led by trends, instead opting for a more classic and timeless aesthetic.

Planning an outdoor Sperry Wedding, Sperry Tent design decor by Katrina Otter Weddings, with Aelisabet Flowers & The Sail Tent Company
Planning an outdoor Sperry Wedding, Sperry Tent design decor by Katrina Otter Weddings, with Aelisabet Flowers & The Sail Tent Company

Katrina Otter Weddings Top Tips for planning an Outdoor Wedding

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

Whilst Katrina Otter Weddings are fully booked for 2022, ordinarily, we would recommend booking a wedding planner a year to 18 months in advance of the wedding date. This allows time to plan the design of your day and secure the all-important suppliers.

How to choose your suppliers?

We love working with new suppliers, it’s always great to build relationships and collaborate with other creatives. It’s also necessary to work with new suppliers as it allows us to work in new locations and have access to the best available contacts. We do however always vet our suppliers via recommendations. Our advice to anyone would be to do the same and don’t rush into anything. Cheaper is not always better, although you can find the odd hidden gem to which this doesn’t apply!

Sperry Tent Exterior, planned by Katrina Otter Weddings, with Aelisabet Flowers & The Sail Tent Company
Sperry Tent Exterior, planned by Katrina Otter Weddings, with Aelisabet Flowers & The Sail Tent Company

It’s all in the Details

Which details make all the difference?

Both Cara and I have a keen eye for detail. Attention to detail is key to the overall aesthetic of the day, starting with the table linens – they must must must hit the floor, nobody wants to see a table leg poking out from underneath. This is closely followed by beautifully designed tablescapes, with carefully curated fresh flowers. And, finished with a personal touch, something unique to the couple that sets their day apart.

Best ever wedding party favour ideas?

On the whole, we’re not really fans of a favour. Unless they’ve been carefully thought through, they can just be something that gets left at the end of the night. However, if you have something in mind that you think your guests will really appreciate and that’s unique to you then go for it – if you’re lucky enough to have a family tartan, then bespoke scarves to keep your guests cosy as the night gets nippy are one of the best we’ve seen. If like most of us a family tartan isn’t appropriate or easily obtainable, then a considered goody bag reigns supreme as one of the most thoughtful favours we’ve seen.

Sperry Tent Exterior at night, planned by Katrina Otter Weddings, with Aelisabet Flowers & The Sail Tent Company
Sperry Tent Exterior at night, planned by Katrina Otter Weddings, with Aelisabet Flowers & The Sail Tent Company

Ellie & Sam’s Sperry Tent Wedding Profile:

With huge thanks to Katrina and Cara of Katrina Otter Weddings for being a part of this blog and sharing their experience of planning an outdoor Sperry Tent Wedding. And, to Ellie and Sam and Hannah Duffy Photography for kindly sharing images from this stunning Sperry Wedding by The Sail Tent Company.

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

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