Event planner André Wells loves an empty space.
André Wells produces events nationwide, but being based in Washington, D.C., affords his company, Events by André Wells, the frequent opportunity to work in spaces unique to the U.S. capital.
“It’s a very transient city, a very political city, a city of power,” he says. “There are a lot of opportunities for entertaining and events, and that’s what we do. Also, it’s a very old city, very historic in nature, and there are a lot of great places to hold events, from museums to old mansions to monuments.”
About one-third of Wells’ events involve some kind of a tent, whether it’s the primary event space, a tented entrance to a historic building or a tent for back-of-the-house functions. Tented events in stately spaces, such as a spring 2010 event at the Swedish ambassador’s residence, allow Wells to put his skills on display. The client required an event space for 500 seated guests plus a stage for a performance of dancers from The Washington Ballet. The first challenge was the property’s massive, sloping lawn, necessitating the construction of a flooring system for the tent. Wells, who is nearly 6 foot 5 inches, chuckles that the drop was greater than his height.
“We did beautiful side railings that made it seem as if you were on a veranda and not necessarily looking down on a big drop,” he says. “It felt glamorous.”
The dancers required a particular floor and floor covering as well as a certain temperature to perform—another challenge on the cool, spring evening, he says. Elegant fabric treatment within the pole tent in the event’s purple color scheme contributed to an enchanting affair.
“We really got to show off because we were able to make it into an event space and not necessarily a tent,” he says.
Wells says that his company is unique because it is well rounded in the kinds of events it produces, from society weddings and receptions to corporate and political events to entertainment.
“The skills from one kind of event transfer over to others, and we are able to be more creative and possess a wider scope of what’s possible,” he says.
Wells set his sights on becoming an event planner when he was in high school and pursued an educational path of retail merchandising and marketing. He says professional satisfaction comes from creating an event that both he and the client are happy with.
“I’m happy when I feel like I’ve pushed myself, I’ve learned something and I’ve taught someone else something,” he says.
When choosing a tent rental company to work with on an event, he values tent quality and installation know-how over price.
“The tents have come a long way in the 13 years I’ve been in this business,” he says. “I’m able to sell a space better because I know I can get a tent for it, and I like the flexibility and the creative environment it allows. I love an empty space.”