There are times of the year when it’s too cold to comfortably mingle out in the garden. No matter, for most events at Chase Court, the library, foyer, and ballroom provide plenty of space. But for others, a little more stretch-out space has value. Putting a tent up in the ceremony garden is a great way to add more warm and dry space or to simply create something different to enhance your guest’s experience.
We’ve had tents in the garden in the past, but they have always been white canopies with windows in white side panels. The effect has been to boxed the garden and architecture out, leaving a space that felt very, well, tent-like. So, for a long time we didn’t recommended tenting.
But, not anymore! Enter the clear tent!
Looking up at the trees, buildings, and sky through a clear canopy is almost a transcendent experience! The clear canopy and sides make the tent is as invisible as any tent could ever be, and make maximum use of the garden and fabulous gothic architecture. They open views in every direction and avoid the boxy, closed-in feeling of big white, mood-killing panels. The clear tent creates a delicious intimacy, one that can be wonderfully enhanced with creative decor. It’s a special and unique space for socializing early in an event and quiet talk later.
Once you’ve decided to use a tent, there is a lot you can do to dress it up!
Lighting is key. The lighting effects that come through the clear tent from our own lighting are spectacular! Perimeter lighting around the frame of the tent is de rigueur, preferably in LEDs. Pin spots shining on the tables, twinkling lights wrapped around the poles, paper lanterns hung inside and around the edges, all can help set the mood and add excitement.
Loane Bros. who installed this tent, will even install your special lighting for you.
By the way, something to watch when planning the lighting is the total electrical load, bearing in mind what each circuit can handle. LEDs have the advantage here, consuming a fraction of the electricity that incandescents use.
Flooring is easy. The brick and Pennsylvania bluestone “flooring” in the garden is perfect. No additional flooring is required!
Tents used at Chase Court are all frame tents, which as you can see have a metal frame supporting the canopy and poles around the perimeter. The poles can be wrapped in fabric for an elegant look, and even wrapped in lights!
In tent furnishing, more is better! Cocktail-size tables, both high for standing and low with seating, go great in tents. You can ramp it up with fancier seating, including sofas and other casual pieces. An hors d’oeuvres station works great, and sometimes a second bar is worth the effort. Passed hors d’oeuvres service into the tent is always a good idea, and adds an element of surprise for your guests.
Melanie Brzozowski, decor maven extraordinaire at Select Event Group, suggests that you use linens that take advantage of all of the lighting, both from inside the tent and the light coming through the clear canopy and sides. Key word: sequins! Linens that reflect the light, either with sequins or metallic embroidery, will look great. You can couple them with reflective centerpieces for a deep, shimmering effect. Melanie says to mix it up. You don’t have to do a lot. At the very least, colorful linens go a long way, and they’re not expensive!
When to Tent
The season for tenting at Chase Court runs from late October to late March. Brian Loane, of Loane Bros., great, great, great grandson of the company founder, says that clear tents can’t be installed in very cold temperatures, the threshold being the low 20s.
Heat retention with the clear tent is excellent. If the temperature is going to be in the fifties or below, you may want to add a heater or two. The tent company or your caterer can supply them. Heaters are cheap and easy.
You can see here that we left both long sides off for this late October reception, when the temperatures were still very mild. Even in cooler weather, the building forms a reasonable “side.”
Adding a tent extends the space for hors d’oeuvres and cocktail service, socializing, and quiet conversation, but it does not extend Chase Court’s overall capacity, which is based on the ballroom capacity. Chase Court comfortably accommodates up to 125 guests for a seated dinner or up to 150 cocktail-style.
Cost for a clear tent that covers the full width of the garden from the doorway to the cast iron fence and all the way over the pond, including installation and removal, runs from $1,500 to $2,000, depending on the vendor and how you fit it out. Installation at Chase Court only takes a couple of hours, since the ceremony garden is protected from the wind and there are good anchor points available. Installation is sometimes scheduled for the day before your event.
When to Order
If you’re planning to use a tent, you’ll want to reserve your date with the tent company well in advance. Loane Bros. advises calling at least a month in advance for events held during April, May, June and September or October. Can you get a tent on shorter notice? Possibly, but you wouldn’t want to count on it.
Most events at Chase Court don’t need a tent, but when you do, clear is the way to go!
Catering for the Event Shown
The Pantry Catering