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A tented event with everything but the frame

Project Briefs, Tent Décor | October 1, 2012 | By:

Vendors transform a camp pavilion into an elegant hall, using all the elements of a tented event.

Can a “tented” reception not include a tent? That was just one of the challenges for Maureen Riebel of Elegant Events, Boerne, Texas, when she was hired to plan a destination wedding at a camp in the Ozarks of Arkansas.

Riebel’s client grew up at her family’s camp and wanted to be married at the location of so many fond memories. Events for 500 guests were spread out across the campgrounds over several days, including a welcome dinner, rehearsal, traditional camp activities, gospel brunch and worship service.

The post-ceremony reception site, a 92-by-132-foot basketball pavilion, required tent walls and air conditioning to make the space comfortable in the early September heat, and some magic to transform the space into a sophisticated hall. Mahaffey Fabric Structures, Memphis, Tenn., fabricated 100-by-132 feet of wall fabric, including clear and window walls, to create the impression of an elegantly decorated clearspan structure, and also provided silk wall liners, a custom interior liner, stage, dance floor, tables and chairs.

“We had a cluster of seven 60-inch round tables in each of the four corners with a chandelier hanging over the center table,” Riebel says. “Then, we added some 8-foot tables on leg risers in between the clusters, which gave a lounge effect. Finally, there was another cluster of seven round tables in front of each set of 8-foot tables. CAD drawings with exact measurements were imperative.”

One aspect of a camp setting for a wedding that any planner should be prepared for is the distance between sites. In the case of this camp, the dining hall was half a mile from the ceremony site. “Even though golf carts were a great mode of transportation, distance and space sure make you burn calories on these wedding weekends,” she says.

Even though the event didn’t include a full tent installation, it did include exactly what was needed to achieve the client’s vision.

“All the key elements were there—beautiful setting, great food and fantastic entertainment,” Riebel says.

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