5 Design Tips for Tented Outdoor Weddings

Strictly Weddings is taking a close look at the Top 5 design musts for an outdoor wedding with the exceptionally talented Jesse Deckard of Bliss Weddings & Events, a Strictly Weddings' Chicago Luxe List partner. This Midwest wedding gem, designed and planned by Deckard, brilliantly illustrates how to style a private residence, outdoor wedding to perfection.

Deckard shares, "When designing an event for two people that are so effortlessly in love as Nan [the bride] and Wayne [the groom], it isn't hard to not make it dreamy. Hosted at their lake front estate in Lake Geneva, IL, this couple wanted their very special day to be filled with love and joy. Surrounded by family and their very closest friends, we designed a setting that would compliment their beautiful estate and make everyone feel comfortable and welcome."

Without further ado, enjoy indulging your inner designer and daydreaming to your heart's conTENT!

1. Thoughtful Spatial Planning

Transforming a backyard and basic white tent into a multiuse ceremony and reception space that captures a luxurious, celebratory spirit and reflects a bride and groom's unique tastes is a challenge, but successful results come down to space planning and maximizing the existing environment.

Deckard explains, "With everything taking place in the couple's lakefront backyard, we created a flow to the property that focused on the incredible view." Guests arrived to the front of the house greeted with fresh summer hors d'oeuvres and champagne, and were led down a path to the ceremony setting. The ceremony was held under a gilded arbor at the property's existing and historical parapet. Cocktails took place next to the ceremony with lounges of luxe yet natural furniture groupings and golden highboy tables. Dinner was served in a nearby climate-controlled peak top tent with a mix of glamorously appointed oval and rectangular guest tables.

2. Inspired Styling

Highest quality elements with high fashion sensibilities undoubtedly impress, and this wedding had noteworthy elements throughout. Conveying "comfortable luxury," polished gold and cut-crystal were paired with natural textures. Cream linen fabrics woven with gold threads graced oval dining tables, which perfectly presented Waterford crystal vases overflowing with orchids, hydrangea, peonies, spray roses, wisteria and dramatic greenery. Custom mirrored, rectangular tables were trimmed with gilded gold and featured exquisite arrangements of floral and flickering candlelight.

3. Custom Lighting Installations

During the daytime the tent filled with sunlight, creating an open and inviting environment. Enhancing the celebratory mood, twilight revealed the stunning illumination overhead. Combining function and fashion, the bejeweled chandeliers, hung and draped from above, created a soft, warm ambience that hovered over the dance floor in high-style.

As the sun set at the wedding, magical uses of light created a warm and welcoming environment. The tent ceiling became illuminated with candlelight textures of sparkling crystal and hundreds of flickering luminaries lining the winding driveway bid adieu to guest as they made their way home.

4. Top-notch Canopy Treatments

An effective solution to elevating a basic white tent comes down to what is "up." At this enlightened wedding, custom flags with the couple's monogram waved in the breeze and a bevy of crystal chandeliers hung over the crisp white dance floor, instantly adding another level of luxury and something for guests to marvel at all night long.

5. Flourishing Details

When it comes to luxury, true inspiration is found in the most delicate of details. Texture, pattern, artistic accents and meaningful personal touches pack a punch of personality and greatly contribute to your guests' connection to the event.

As gardenias were one of the bride's favorite flowers, guests plucked escort cards from a custom fresh gardenia wall as shown below. Later in the evening, guests enjoyed a spectacular fireworks show set from the lake while nibbling on butler-passed miniature ice cream cones and cookie sandwiches.

More about Bliss Weddings & Events

When it comes to luxury weddings in Chicago, Bliss Weddings & Events is the answer to your planner search. Comprised of a top-class talented team of wedding industry leaders, Bliss insists on personalizing each event with impeccable style.


Event Planning & Design: Bliss Weddings & Events | Photographer: Avery House | Tenting: HDO - Party Time Productions | Floral/Decor: Kehoe Designs | Lighting: Frost Lighting | Videography: One Fine Day Productions | Caterer: Blue Plate Catering | Musicians: Rendezvous | Transportation/Valet: VIP Valet Services Inc. | Fireworks: Melrose | Pyrotechnics | Hair: Ashley Condron | Make Up: Joshua Graham | Linens: BBJ Linen | Rentals: Tablescapes | Stationary: Cheree Berry Paper