Designer Spotlight… Tara Guérard of Tara Guérard Soirée
Meet Tara Guérard of Tara Guérard Soirée and have a peek at two of her gorgeous weddings.
Jamali Garden: Tell us about your background.
Tara Guérard: My background knowledge (and only experience) was in the food and beverage industry (I paid my way through college waiting tables). I had a desire to be creative. So, I took those two concepts and came up with the idea of designing parties. This was in 1997 when no one had even heard of an event planner!
JG: What does Soirée specialize in?
TG: When I first launched Soirée I wasn’t really focused on weddings but other social events. Over the years, my business evolved to be more and more weddings, to now, which is almost exclusively weddings. We design each wedding to reflect the aesthetic of our bride and groom. We want all the guests leaving with the thought that the event perfectly captured their personalities. To do that, we spend a lot of time getting to know them and what makes them “tick.”
JG: Are there any special Southern traditions that are part of every wedding?
TG: It’s not something we do at every wedding… but we have a Soirée Signature Cocktail that we serve at many of our weddings. It’s called Lowcountry Lemonade: equal parts lemonade and Peach Schnapps served over ice in a tall glass. Regardless of where around the country the wedding is, we bring an element of southern hospitality to our events by focusing on the guest experience.
JG: We love the green garlands, the place settings, just everything about this wedding, and, it’s in a tent!
TG: This wedding was on the Village Green at Palmetto Bluff, a Montage resort in Bluffton, South Carolina. The bride was obsessed with “greige” (a grey-beige combination) and we thought it was the perfect compliment to the beautiful natural elements already in play at the resort. It paired perfectly with the greens and whites and allowed us to pull in several different mediums to create a beautiful event. There were linen napkins, natural wood lamps, cement vases, glass candlesticks, and oyster shell salt and pepper cellars – all those different elements combined to make a spectacular tablescape.
JG: Tell us about the centerpieces. What flowers did you use in the arrangements?
TG: We used all white and green flowers…dahlias, roses, ranunculus, rosemary, thistle and seeded eucalyptus. We used Jamali Garden’s cement containers in a variety of shapes and sizes. These are great for an outdoor wedding by the water because they’re heavy enough to stay in place and not blow over should the wind pick up!
JG: The bar looks great. The firewood makes a unique backdrop.
TG: The area where the reception took place is normally just a big open grassy square in the middle of the resort. We designed and built the bar, wrapped it in burlap, and dressed it with green garlands. The firewood backdrop was an idea I had and we built it piece by piece just for this wedding. Hydrangea, seeded eucalyptus and green leaves filled the urn.
JG: Tell us about this wedding. Is it outdoors or was the tent created indoors somewhere?
TG: This was an interesting one…it’s inside a semi-permanent tent structure called the RW Pavilion at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country in San Antonio, Texas. So the tent was existing and we came in to decorate it. It was actually a larger space than we needed for this size wedding, so we cut off a good amount of the tent using some creative draping inside the tent. This made it intimate enough for their wedding. The bride loved blush and nude tones and the groom was an avid hunter…so we played on this combo with a mixture of feminine and masculine. As an example, their monogram for the wedding included deer antlers and flowers.
JG: What flowers did you use in the centerpieces?
TG: The flowers were roses, ranunculus, and some hydrangea and they were in Jamali Garden’s Antique Black Oval Urns that we spray painted gold. The tablecloths were all-over sequin and were rented from La Tavola.
JG: You clearly didn’t forget about the wedding cake.
TG: We made a cabana tent in the middle of the dining room that featured custom edging in the wedding colors. Inside the tent, a custom acrylic table held the five-tier, custom wedding cake. Deer antlers and votives accented the table, while four large flower arrangements in urns with a variety of roses, hydrangeas and green leaves, grounded the space.
JG: Do you have any useful tips for couples considering having their wedding in a tent?
TG: A tent brings its own set of unique challenges and opportunities so having the help of an experienced planner/designer can make all the difference. One of the most important things is to be conscious of the size of the tent, too big and the wedding won’t feel intimate enough, too small and guests won’t be able to freely move about, access the bar, food, and of course, the dance floor.