So… you’ve been going on wedding venue tours and walking into a multitude of spaces. Some might have a set aesthetic to their space, while others might be huge industrial spaces that serve as a blank slate for your wedding celebration. I’ve always wondered how wedding planners have been able to turn something with almost zero design elements, into a magical space, largely a reflection of you, THE HAPPY COUPLE! My curiosity led me to interviewing a sweet friendor and incredible wedding planner/stylist, Candace of Candace Jolee Events. Her and I have worked together a bunch, and when she gave me the opportunity to photograph Hangar 21’s Grand Opening, it made me so freaking happy. There were multiple themes within the 2 hangars, but my FAVE was the tropical space Candace created in collaboration with Sundrop Vintage.
Vendor credits are at the end of this post. (Ya know, in case you you see something and are like OMG I NEED TO HIRE THEM). I know, can these people just design my home for me already? Keep reading below to find out Candace’s top tips on how to incorporate a tropical design into your wedding day, using a blank space!
Alex: First off, the areas you created within Hangar 21 were so beautiful. They transported the guests into a tropical place without tactually being on a tropical island… where did your inspiration for this vibe come from?
Candace: You’re the sweetest! Just like any good event, it takes a village! We had such amazing vendor team. Our inspiration came from a few keywords; summer nights, fun, an experience, destination, adventure, industrial and tropical. We wanted to include all of these elements to a certain degree and it just so happened that the event also landed on the first day of summer… so score! It was perfect!
Alex: What top 3 things are KEY to pulling off a tropical vibe for a couple’s wedding?
1. Create a vision board and choose a color scheme. This is the foundation for creating your tropical wedding. Choose colors that you are drawn to and see how they look together. Try pulling in some nice complementary colors to accent your primary colors. Decide on how you want to use “tropical” in your wedding. Are you looking to incorporate it minimally, or do you want every element to scream tropical? Figure out what you love about the tropical vibe and really hone in on those elements.
2. Choose the perfect canvas. When planning a tropical wedding, location is key! Choose a location that has as a lot of the elements that you will be able to tie into your vision. Figure out what your budget is and find out what the venue already offers.
3. Details, details, details! Details are important because it will make your wedding day unique TO YOU! When we start the design process with our clients, we give them a questionnaire which gives us a sense of who they are. This provides us with the details of how they met, their favorite colors, favorite foods, and hobbies. Not only does this help us with the creative process, it helps our clients think outside the box. From there, we find clever ways to incorporate those details.
For example, work with your caterer, like 24 Carrots, to add notes of the tropics into your food selections. Create a fun fruit display. Especially if it’s an outside wedding, in the middle of summer, guests will appreciate that! Come up with some clever wording for your cocktails, and accent those delicious drinks with fun stir sticks or cocktail napkins.
An idea that will definitely add that unique touch, would be to have a fun tropical dessert bar. Elise Cakes designed the cutest pineapple chocolate gems for the Grand Opening of Hangar 21. She paired it with a custom cake, and hand painted tropical macaroons. If providing an experience for your guests is high on your list, consider adding some themed lounge spaces. All of these details are important in creating a well-rounded cohesive design.
Alex: Why is it important to hire a wedding planner/stylist to bring creative visions to life?
Candace: Hiring an event planner can save you time, money, and stress. They can maximize your budget and suggest what areas of design will have the biggest impact. All while making sure that your overall concept and design is cohesive. The planning and designing is a huge portion of why you should hire a wedding planner. However, it doesn’t stop there. The biggest part is execution. Wedding planners manage your wedding day, vendors, and execute your vision flawlessly. They style and setup every element of your vision, so that you can truly enjoy your wedding experience.
Alex: What are some of the things you need to consider when creating in a “blank slate” venue (versus one that already has tropical elements to it)?
Candace: Let’s say your “blank slate” venue is an Air BNB in Palm Springs. You’ll need to bring in the most of your vendors, since AirBnB’s are not designed for weddings. With that said, here are some things you’ll need to consider for this type of venue:
1. Parking – Make sure there is ample parking for you guests. If not, a transportation company may be required.
2. Noise Ordinance -Check with the city and see what their rules and restrictions are. It would be terrible if you booked a venue, only to find out that you have to shut down the music at 9pm or have limited decibel levels.
3. Restrooms -You may or may not need to bring in ports potties, depending on the rules of your venue.
4. Lighting -Normally, with these types of spaces, you need some sort of additional lighting.
5. Power Supply. If there is not enough power supply for your vendors, you may need to rent a generator.
6. Catering and bar company- You’ll need a full service catering company to stay until the entire event, so that you are not left to cleaning up trash and dish-ware.
7. Dance floor- If your location is on dirt or grass you may want to consider renting a dance floor or other floor alternatives.
8. Tenting- You may need to set aside a budget for tenting in case mother nature happens.
9. Rentals- You’ll need to bring in all your tables, chairs, linens, etc.
These are only a few of the bigger things to consider. Bringing everything in is time consuming. Whereas, having your wedding at a venue that has everything is more convenient, but may not be budget friendly. It all depends on the venues fees, catering costs, and their preferred vendors. Which may restrict you from getting creative.
Alex: If you could offer one piece of advice to engaged couple’s planning their wedding right now, what would it be?
Candace: Before you book any vendors, figure out your budget and where you’d like to allocate it. For example, invest more on the floral versus an open bar. Often times, clients book their venue/catering because they want to “set a date” and it ultimately leaves them limited on the rest of their budget. Do research on what the venue provides and during your walk through, think about what you may need to bring into the venue. ( i.e. chairs, linens, dish-ware, dance floor, etc.) Take some time and research those costs, and decide if it’s worth it to book at that venue for not. This will really give you a jump start and not leave you feeling “limited.” If your budget does not allow for it, get a little crafty! It doesn’t matter if you have a 30k budget or a 100k budget, properly allocating your budget will make the wedding planning process so much more memorable.
Here’s the dream team that made this tropical space possible: