Trendspotting online shows tent renters and manufacturers what brides are looking for.
If you want to know what’s trending in fashionable apparel, look to Paris, France. If you want to know what’s trending in automotive design, look to Torino, Italy. If you want to know what’s trending in cuisine, look on either coast of the United States. If you want to know what’s trending in architecture, look to Dubai and the Far East.
But if you want to know what’s trending in wedding tents, save yourself some dough on airfare and TSA hassle and point your browser to Pinterest. Although grammar-focused tent renters may have to swallow hard at posted comments like “Gorg” for a tented wedding photo, even they should take note of the underlying message.
Social media sites are fertile ground for gauging which aesthetics and features end users like and talk about. In particular, tent manufacturers and renters who want to know what brides are looking for will look where brides are looking: at Pinterest, which shows them how romantic sailcloth tents can be.
“Sailcloth tents have brought back an aesthetic of the form of the tent, and the lines of the tent, and the natural beauty of light and how light works through lightweight fabric,” says Alex Kouzmanoff, vice president of Aztec Tents in Torrance, Calif. “When you have sunlight, it creates a warm atmosphere. At night, the light glows from the outside. You get tremendous landscapes. It’s very organic. Go on Pinterest and search under ‘wedding tent ideas’ and you will see amazing images that brides look at and say, ‘I want that for my wedding.’”
Tommy Wilson, director of special events for All Occasions Event Rental in Cincinnati, Ohio, says sailcloth tents “lend themselves to a farm or coastal style.” His company bought one in 2013 and now has three: two with wood poles and one with wood grain-finished aluminum poles.
“We have seen a steady increase in demand as they have become more popular on Pinterest,” he says. “We still do a lot of high-peak tension tents, which is a somewhat similar style, but the sailcloth is unique in that it has a translucent top, round ends and wood or wood-finish poles. It’s just a softer, more romantic feel.”
Keith Krzeminski, vice president of strategic accounts for Classic Event & Tent Rentals in Inglewood, Calif., recognizes Pinterest, as well as Facebook and other social media sites, as drivers of the sailcloth tent market. In particular, he notes, his company has found a lucrative market in the country’s premier wine region, where romantic vineyard weddings are common.
“Napa [Valley] is a good market for us,” he says. “It’s definitely more of a party tent than an exhibition tent. It’s a look that hasn’t been around for a long time.”
Or, as one Pinterest visitor puts it, “hello, fairy tale.”
Janice Kleinschmidt is a San Diego-based magazine editor and writer.