Tenting at a wedding can be an absolutely life saver when it comes to shelter from the weather and creating the perfect celebratory environment, but when most people hear the words "wedding tents" I'll bet they're not thinking of anything as spectacularly gorgeous as the one-of-a-kind creations from Raj Tents! Having experienced these works of art first hand at numerous events over the past few years, I can tell you from the heart that these tents are magical! Handmade in opulent styles that range from Indian and Moroccan to French provincial, Raj also offers chandeliers, lighting, lounge furniture and other decor accessories to create your entire event look.
To help us all understand event tenting options a bit more, I recently chatted with Raj Tents' Co-Founder and CEO, Dominic Mitchell, and asked him about all the ways tenting can be used at weddings, and what makes Raj's approach to tents so distinctive in particular...
Where did the idea for Raj Tents come from, and what makes your tents unique?
The inspiration behind Raj Tents came from Maurice Walsh and I seeing that there was a huge potential in California for distinctive luxury tenting. I had already been working with tent rentals in London for some years and Maurice had his own successful business in San Francisco. We pooled our expertise and started Raj Tents so we could offer something that was definitely missing in the Special Events industry – beautiful thematic luxury tenting that adds tremendous value to weddings and special events.
Raj Tents has unique inventory that has been carefully planned to take best advantage of traditional artisan hand craftsmanship and highest quality materials. That, combined with innovative design and constant R + D has allowed us to create several exclusive ranges of luxury tenting and décor to cover several themes and types of tent.
What we do is highly detail-oriented and we pay a lot of attention to the entire design and manufacture process starting from having fabrics milled and dyed especially for us.
On the delivery end, we take great pride in our service, professional crew and accommodating our clients needs – which in the end is what it is all about. After all, no two events are the same and every client deserves an individual solution that is tailored for them.
Let's talk tenting basics - What are some reasons a couple should consider using tents on their special day, both practical and creative?
Tents obviously have a practical function – to provide cover from inclement weather or scorching sun. One of the things I enjoy most is seeing how happy a couple is to have a well thought out and beautiful tented installation for their celebrations. The right tents can bring an outdoor space to life, framing views, providing color and décor and – more subtly, containing a gathering of people emotionally. When friends and family come together to celebrate a couple's union we aim to create the right conditions for them to open up, connect and have a memorable day by providing the right tenting. This applies to indoor spaces as well as outdoor tenting. Ballrooms can be transformed and personalized by using smaller tents, wall treatments and décor to make the couple’s special day truly theirs.
How does one know what size and shape of tent to choose and how much space will it require?
Raj Tents has complex and flexible inventory and in most cases clients need guidance as to how to use it to the most benefit. We consult with the wedding planner and/or bride and groom to firstly understand what they want to achieve. Of course much depends on the venue, number of guests, style and flow of the wedding. Once we understand the big picture, we are in a position to make recommendations as to size, shape and colors of tents along with options for lighting and accessories. We also offer a custom design and manufacture service, allowing clients to order items in a custom color or print.
What are some tips to keep in mind when choosing a tent that will be installed on grass, the beach or on another uneven surface?
Nice flat lawns are the easiest for a tented installation. However, it is often a more challenging site that gives rise to the most creative tenting solution. For beaches, we sometimes sink concrete blocks into the sand as anchors for a low profile installation where a sandy floor is wanted. Often a subfloor is the best option, especially where the tent is in a more exposed location. Uneven ground can be covered with a floor, or we can work the tenting around the terrain, or cut the tent legs to fit an uneven space, so all tents are level on an undulating site.
What are some of the most creative tent installations you've done for weddings at Raj Tents?
Lots of favorites to choose from there. A recent custom floating 40’ canopy in a ballroom suspended from the ceiling was gorgeous and really dominated the room. Roof-top installations can be very striking and rather surreal. I probably like beach installations the best. A tropical beach turned into a sophisticated wedding site is amazing, especially when the tenting is made of natural materials and blends into the scenery. When it comes to strong themes like Indian and Moroccan, we can go pretty wild with color, which is always exciting.
Is there anything you'd love to see more of with tenting at weddings?
Well, big, involved wedding tent installations allow more scope for us to be creative and deliver more value so we are always happy to work on a larger scale. I think there have been significant changes in tenting expectations over the last years, which is excellent. It is no longer the case that a tent is just a vinyl covered structure. With so many images of fantastic tented installations easy to find on the web, couples are far better able to come across a concept that fits the style of their wedding. After all, we are all driven by what our clients want and the more alternatives and resources they have, the easier it is for them to communicate with us and for us to come up with the right solution. So, the short answer is – clients continuing to push boundaries by asking for what they really want rather than compromising keeps us all at our best.
Thank you so much for sharing your expertise with us Dominic! We love Raj Tents and are honored to have you as Junebug members!
Want to see more? Check out the Raj Tents website and blog - they're available for weddings throughout the West Coast, Hawaii and beyond!