The varying landscapes of New Jersey and Pennsylvania are custom made for outdoor weddings. From the water views of Cape May to the manicured lawns of Far Hills and Princeton to the fields and woodlands of eastern Penn., our region offers so many magical settings for a truly magical wedding day.

Whether your dream is to get married in your parents’ backyard or at your favorite beach club, museum, historic home, or nature preserve, a Sperry Tent is the ultimate outdoor venue. Here are our tips for planning the highly customized #outdoorwedding or #backyardwedding of your dreams (w/ #sperrylove of course):

TENT STYLE: It is vital to choose wisely when selecting your wedding tent. Remember, it is your principal backdrop: it will feature prominently in your wedding photos and deserves just as much thought as you would give to assessing an indoor venue. The reason that Sperry Tents are so in demand and always featured in top media is that they are designed and built by a Sperry-led team of craftsmen with the family’s sailmaking heritage in mind. They are visually striking on their own and yet subtle enough to work with various décor styles. They are the ultimate blank slate.

DON’T FORGET YOUR CATERER: You’ve thought about your guests’ comfort, but remember that your caterer has needs too! For smaller events a caterer may be able to work out of the house or a garage but for most events they will require a catering tent. Experienced caterers have worked many outdoor events before and know exactly what size cook tent they need, so just ask. Often, specialty caterers like barbeque or clambake companies do not require tents, but you should still check.

WEATHER: No couple wants to think about the dreaded “R word” on their big day, but rain preparedness comes with the territory of planning an outdoor event. The good news is that we offer rain plans – equipment that is put on hold via a deposit in case of rain but that you can cancel before the event date based on the weather report. Typical rain equipment includes a ceremony tent (for outdoor ceremonies that get rained out), connectors in between tents (particularly between the catering and reception tents), and a cocktail tent so guests don’t end up under the dining tent for drinks.

POWER: Almost every vendor who makes an outdoor event happen requires power. The tent lights, catering equipment, portable bathrooms, and the band or DJ are the principal power users, and keep in mind that a couple extension cords and the available outlets in your garage will probably not suffice.

Be prepared for each vendor’s power usage and ask how many dedicated circuits they require. As a general rule, it’s smart to have an electrician install a special panel for the wedding’s power use (that can be removed afterwards). Or, if the tents are placed in a field or lawn away from a power source, a generator will be required.

TENT SIZE AND LAYOUT: In general, our recommended tent size will accommodate your guest count, dance floor, and/or band stage. But typically this initial recommendation is based on the assumption that you are placing standard five-foot-round tables of 8-10 guests in an efficient pattern. Speak up if you need room for a lounge area or if you are choosing extra-large round tables, have standalone farm tables, or are mixing banquet and round tables. You want to avoid miscommunication and a cramped layout.

We offer customers an online-based planner with all of our tent sizes preloaded with sample diagrams [link to planner]. Simply select your tent size and then arrange guest tables, bars, and accessories to your liking. Everything is to scale and it’s a great way to problem-solve in advance.

CREATE DESTINATIONS: One trend with real staying power is the use of multiple tents to create event “destinations.” This is a great way to get creative and impress guests with unique experiences. We’ve seen almost everything: tents for ceremonies, cocktails, escort card displays, dancing, bridal prep, kids’ activities, dessert/candy stations, cigar rolling, and more. They can be grouped together in one tent “village” or spread across a large property.

However, if budget is understandably a concern, consider creating “destinations” inside one large reception Sperry Tent. Use lounge furniture to create swanky hangout areas or arrange cocktail tables with whimsical linens near the bar.

EMBRACE THE OUTDOORS: You chose an outdoor wedding for a reason, so maximize its potential. Encourage guests to move beyond the confines of a tent with lawn games (croquet, anyone?), lawn furniture like Adirondack chairs or even hammocks, boat cruises, and golf cart rides. The more guests interact with the natural setting, the more memorable your big day will be.