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A whimsical wedding under a sailcloth tent

Showcase | June 1, 2019 | By:

A 2018 wedding combined Indian and Western traditions—and a couple’s love of Boston’s major league sports teams.

A mix of round and long farm tables with cross back chairs and a hardwood floor complemented the sailcloth tent and the natural setting.

Imagine a waterfront wedding ceremony and a reception under a sailcloth tent on a historic Rhode Island property. For a September 2018 wedding, Stasia Anthony and Kelli DuBeau, cofounders of Exquisite Events Details & Décor, Newport and Narragansett, R.I., began with that tableau, added Indian and Western wedding traditions, and further customized the day by playing up the couple’s love for Boston sports.

The wedding’s design framed each step, leading more than 200 guests from a baraat procession to an off-site after-party. 

“We went from really vibrant colors to more soft, muted tones as we went from the Hindu ceremony, to cocktails, then into the western ceremony, and finally into the tent,” Anthony says. “It was whimsical, soft, with abundant candlelight throughout. And all of the design elements complemented the beauty of the surrounding area.”

The Hindu ceremony featured the most vibrant colors of the multistage day. Photos by Pearl Macek.

Tent logistics

Mount Hope Farm is a 127-acre national historic site and working farm. Its charm drew Anthony and DuBeau’s clients to select a Tidewater® Sail Cloth Tent with natural wood poles. Indeed, the couple especially desired the creamy white softness of sailcloth, as opposed to a stark white tent, Anthony says.

“We find that with the Tidewater Tent, simple, elegant decor is what you need,” Anthony says. 

Newport Tent Co., Portsmouth, R.I. (now a division of PEAK Event Services of Boston, Mass.), installed the 59-by-99-foot Tidewater Tent, along with a 60-by-104-foot hardwood floor and an additional tent for catering. 

The biggest tent-related challenge for planners was logistics. Another wedding with a different-sized tent was scheduled at the site for the night before. Because it wouldn’t have been possible to strike that tent, install the sailcloth tent and finish the flooring and decor in time for this celebration, planners convinced the clients of the first wedding to agree to a tent share. 

Even with that agreement, installers dealt with a tight timeline, which included flagging the site’s sprinkler system, permitting and an inspection, says Jen Pinheiro of Newport Tent Co. The company managed the time frame by adding extra labor, she says.

Guests enjoyed mocktails and lawn games outside the tent in between the Indian and Western ceremonies. Photo by Pearl Macek.

Color transition

The celebration began mid-afternoon with a baraat ceremony—the procession of the groom on horseback to the wedding site. The groom’s guests paraded with music as the bride emerged from Cove Cabin, an Adirondack-style cabin adjacent to the tent site overlooking Mount Hope Bay. 

The Hindu ceremony under a traditional mandap featured a bright color palette of corals, oranges, fuchsias and gold. Next, guests enjoyed mocktails and lawn games while the decor of the ceremony site was transformed to a softer palette of blues, greens and white for the Western ceremony.

Following the second ceremony, guests were treated to cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at Cove Cabin as well as on the lawn and the waterfront. From there, the party moved into the tent for dinner and dancing. The evening concluded at an after-party at the Carnegie Abbey Club. 

Candlelit backdrop

Anthony describes the tent decor as simultaneously natural and elegant. Greenery around the chandelier orbs, farm tables and cross back chairs, translucent fabric draping and Belfast table linens all complemented the sailcloth tent. French blue napkins and gold Arezzo flatware added restrained color, while a pop of coral orange florals recalled the vibrant Indian ceremony.

A pair of candle displays were the bride’s inspiration.

“She wanted abundant candlelight throughout,” Anthony says. “The backdrop is the water and the bridge. As the evening progressed, the light changed, and we had this candlelit backdrop to the water.”

The couple’s personalities were highlighted in naming tables after their favorite Boston athletes and designing escort cards to look like baseball cards. 

With personalization throughout the day, Anthony says the ceremonies and the transition between the two stood out from a design perspective. “I thought it blended so well together. . . . It just had the soft, romantic feel that you want. Simple elegance.” 

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