I followed the river to Richmond last Sunday and ambled along the banks of the Thames, a lovely way to spend an afternoon. I did however have an aim to my amble and that was to reach the gardens of Bingham a historical Georgian residence now a boutique hotel with a rich literary history. Nestled in this riverside garden I found the palatial canvas swathes of Katherine Hudson's Pearl Tents, at the heart of the gentle bustle of Bingham's wedding fair.
The Pearl tents are elegant and poised, spacious and well dressed. They summon up the feeling of an age of discreet decadence and frivolity and bring a bucket load of beauty to rival the classic wedding marquee.
Katherine Hudson who is the female force behind the award winning Arabian tent company (the bigger more eclectic sister of the Pearl Tent Company) is passionate about parties and creating the most incredible spaces for people to enjoy themselves, a great vocation in life I think you may agree! She found her passion through the freedom and immersive environments of festivals and has grown this rapture in to an award winning business.
Katherine has taken inspiration from all over the world and infused her tents with this international flavour. After finding a gap in the market in 2004 she has travelled widely to find inspiration and technique from Bedouins to Moghuls. Looking at the refined Pearl Tents ,traditional Indian tent design has been fused with German engineering to create this beautiful hybrid. Along with the tent designs Katherine works with the interior details too, offer different fabrics and furniture to create unique settings to suit any occasion. As a seasoned party pro she knows exactly the right ingredients to set the scene for the ultimate celebration. I caught up with her to ask her the tricks of the trade to putting on the ultimate party...you heard it here first.
- What is the passion that led you to creating your business?
I love parties! They can create memories that last a life-time, make friendships and bonds that are never forgotten, and are quite simply the thing I enjoy most in life. I’ve noticed that good parties are full of relaxed people, and a way of relaxing people is to inspire and delight them. Your surroundings are a powerful way of influencing your mood and beauty is inspiring to all – it is a form of genius as it needs no explanation – hence parties in beautiful/ curious/ inspiring surroundings create a better experience for people. And who wouldn’t want that!
- With many years of experience under your belt, what are the golden rules of planning an unforgettable wedding party?
Think about your guests and how to make them as comfortable and relaxed as possible (they’ll let their hair down and enjoy themselves more) and make sure you involve as many of your friends and family as possible with the finishing touches of your wedding. You can always have the whole set-up completely styled immaculately, but there’s nothing that brings a glow of warmth to the heart, than knowing that all the flower displays were made by the godmother, or Aunt Maude made the table favours everyone’s taking away, and the cake that looks like a tower was cooked by the best friend. It’s about injecting as much love and heart into the occasion as possible and your friends and family can do this for you in spades.
- You must have provided tents for some incredible events what are some of your more memorable parties and clients you have worked with?
We’ve done some mind-blowing events including a rather amazing 18th birthday party last year where Nick Grimshaw was the headline DJ (what a cool Dad for organising that one!) and a wedding in a wild valley where all the equipment had to be driven on a fork-lift along a river to get it there and the tent built on a platform, a wedding where helicopters flew in the A-list guests to a castle in Scotland, the time when I turned up to see how a tent was going only to be greeted by Gillian Anderson at the door – I hadn’t realised it was her daughter’s 18th we were doing(!) and it’s always quite a funny surprise when the person at the end of the phone says ‘hi, it’s Davina McCall and I wonder if you’ve got your La Rouge tent available for my summer party?’ One to say ‘yes’ to!
- What are the top wedding trends you predict for 2015?
Getting back to nature is where it’s at this year so whether it’s having your wedding in a woodland or bringing the outside in, by using lots of greenery to decorate your venue as well as flowers, or having a rustic-style canvas tent – anything that creates a rustic, down-to-earth and natural feeling for a wedding are proving really popular. The three-course meal is out, and multiple snack-stations are in, as are food vans instead of an evening buffet and substantial canapes rather than starters. And finally for city-do’s the ‘Industrial Chic’ look is in –so taking a warehouse space and accenting the exposed brickwork with interesting lighting, softly draping the ceiling or using statement pieces such as Edison bulb chandeliers or giant letters. Oh, and LED is out, and warm-white old-fashioned lighting is most definitely in!
· Where in the world would you pitch a Pearl Tent and throw the ultimate Party?
I think, having just spent New Year in South Africa, that the top of Table Mountain would make a rather spectacular position for the Mini Pearl tent – preferably laid with dinner for two, following a successful marriage proposal up there!
Whether you are looking for a refined and demure setting for a minimal and intimate wedding brunch or a tent filled with a riot of colour and pattern for friends and family to kick of their shoes and dance until dawn The House of Hud will have a tent to suit you and your party needs.
Take a closer look here - The Pearl Tents Company http://www.thepearltentcompany.com/
The Arabian Tent Company http://www.arabiantents.com
Thank you so much to all at The Bingham for making me feel so welcome, massive thanks to Katherine Hudson from House of Hud for all of your insider info and thanks to Susie from The Little Top for tasting the Macaroons for me ;)