Colorful Canopies

“Gorgeous dress,” people say after a good wedding. “Beautiful
flowers.” But no one ever says, “Did you see those tables?” or
“That shade structure was incredible.” Know why? Because they’re
usually boring — bordering on ugly. Plastic and vinyl have become
the material of choice for everything from canopies to table legs,
giving most wedding receptions something in common with weekend
swap meets and Motocross sign‑ups.

But yours doesn’t have to be that way. With The Tent Merchant
right here in town, importing handmade tents, umbrellas, cushions,
furniture, and accessories from India and Morocco, you can shade or
shelter your wedding with the class and decadence you dream
of — and deserve.

If you want to feel like an Arabian Princess at your wedding,
complete with low tables, metal lanterns, and rich fabrics draping
from a colorful ceiling, then this is your place. So too if you
want to spice up a vinyl tent or indoor room with a decadent
interior. Available tents can house anywhere from 10 to 400 people,
and range from $55 to $2,400 to rent (and around twice as much to
buy). If budget’s a concern, you can get the usual vinyl and
plastic fare too, and the Merchants will help you dress it up. If
you don’t see what you want, custom canopies can be ordered.

“We’re really into history … I like to recreate the look of the
way people lived and traveled” a century or two ago, said owner and
New Zealand native John Leenhouwers. “They had the style we’ve kind
of lost.”

You can reach the company by calling 963‑6064 or visiting
thetentmerchant.com, but neither is an adequate substitute for
stopping by the odd, rounded building on the corner of Gutierrez
and Garden (the entrance is around the back and yes, it’s open to
the public) to see the rich fabrics and exquisitely detailed
antiques yourself.

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