As clients become more discriminating, theirchoices for tent décor become increasingly sophisticated—and more costly as well. Decking out a tent with fresh blooms is no longer as simple as placing centerpieces. “We’re dealing with a more mature bride, a bride that has traveled a lot, a bride that is involved in corporate America,” says Coby Neal, owner and creative director of the Flower Studio, Austin, Texas. “I hear the word ‘tradition’ very seldom mentioned. Some brides will want traditional, but with an edgy twist.”
Many brides rely on crisp, all-white décor, which looks especially stunning under a tent. One-color schemes are the look of the moment. “The ‘hot look’ lately is using different flowers of the same color,” says Lisa Metcalf, director of operations at Blossoms on Monroe, Tallahassee, Fla. Neal agrees that sticking to one color lends itself well to design work. “That polka-dot look that we’ve had in past years is just so yesterday,” he says.
Centerpieces with height are not new, but designers are now savvier about making them guest-friendly, so people can see and talk to each other. “A popular look is to use very tall, clear glass cylinder vases with large floral arrangements perched on top,” Metcalf says.
Neal says that filling a tent’s middle space is important. “We miss a lot when we don’t capture some of that negative space in a big ballroom or tent,” he says. In addition to tall centerpieces, hanging arrangements (such as floral chandeliers) are a stylish way to fill the space. Neal says he has also used a grid suspension system to hang stems and lights.
Neal and Metcalf agree that one of the biggest challenges florists face is clients who are unaware of the costs associated with executing grand schemes. Brides get big ideas from TV, magazines and the internet, but they don’t have an idea of how much flowers cost or what kind of labor goes into decorating a tent. “Wedding coordinators sometimes fall a little short of making the client understand the reality of what something is going to cost,” Neal says. “That’s the biggest hump to get over—the lack of reality.”