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Award of Excellence
Party tent rental less than 300 sq.m

A Southern Kind of Wedding

Mahaffey Fabric Structures

A prominent woman in the Garden District of New Orleans contacted us in September 2009 to begin planning her daughter’s wedding after a former customer referred her to us. The bride wanted a typical southern wedding: draped, soft colors, elegant accents. However, her mother ultimately took over all decision-making, and she was looking to create a contemporary, modern space which would basically be an extension of their Colonial-style home. After about two weeks of planning, the mother of the bride realized the scope of the project, especially with the guest list nearing 350, so she hired a renowned event planner from New York City to take over. A few accent ideas were changed, but the general theme remained the same. With the homeowners’ blessing we took out the grand windows leading to the back porch and produced the exact look they were going for, seemingly all under one roof. The wedding took place on May 22, 2010.

The purpose of this project was to create a stylish wedding soiree like no other. The number one requirement was that it look more like an upscale event venue rather than a standard tent on the inside. We were happy to oblige and made sure that request was met. Being that the client wanted the space to be an extension of her home (into the backyard), we had to custom-build a flooring system to run level from the wood porch which stood at three feet from the ground. The floor had to be built over and around a swimming pool, an elaborate rose garden and more. The structure stood on 14-foot legs with a peak height of 20 feet. As the bride and event planner moved along in the planning stages, the theme transitioned into more of a modern-meets-nature vibe. Clear tops and walls then became of utmost importance to the client as she felt it added the perfect touch of nature with a view of the gorgeous Louisiana night sky. The client wanted to use the existing landscape and trees which outlined the entire property line. We had to build the floor high enough to save the Boxwood trees and even cut around a few, keeping them inside the tent to bring in the natural effect they desired. We also created a natural yet contemporary aesthetic, working with the planner to drape foliage over the clear tent top and cutting around one of the gable ends, allowing a few tree branches inside due to the customer not wanting any of the landscape to be removed.

The client’s backyard had a width just over 33 feet, the exact size the structure needed to be. There were numerous trees lining the property, so we had to coordinate with a tree company to come in and pin them back during installation in order for the tent to fit just right. Due to the timing of the event and the fact that the customer requested clear tops and side walls to create the ambiance, the tent had to be climate-controlled. We installed glass walls on both gable ends which added to the contemporary look they were going for while also creating insulation. In order to create an even traffic flow from the house to the tent, we removed the railing from the deck while trying not to disturb an ounce of the landscape. Another challenge was coordinating the AC-ventilation and custom-flooring system. Due to limited space, we had to store the AC units in the neighbor’s yard, run the ducts over the fence and underneath the 3-foot raised flooring, which happened to be set-up over the client’s pool. The AC was then let out through the six-vent system under the stage. Getting in and out of the client’s backyard presented one more challenge. It was only accessible through a 5-foot stone and brick gate off of the legendary St. Charles Street. It was quite complex trying to get multiple trailer-loads of equipment in and out of such a small area. We worked around the space issue and wrapped up the installation with almost 24 hours to spare.

The customer was remarkably pleased with the finished product which was close to 3,000 square feet of the perfect mixture of modern chic and natural warmth. The end result was an entertaining, memorable event these guests won’t soon forget.

Project details

Location: New Orleans, La.
Size: 3,000 sq. feet
Fabrics: Clear Transparent Vinyl by Robeco
Project Manager: Willie Pond, Mahaffey Fabric Structures