Home » Two Brides Created a 50-Tent Glamping Site for Their North Carolina Wedding

Two Brides Created a 50-Tent Glamping Site for Their North Carolina Wedding

by Staff

Emily Tsanotelis and Lauren Miller have the rare successful setup story: They were connected by a mutual friend in San Francisco in 2015, and a love connection was formed. Four years later, they made it official for life. “Lauren proposed on Ocean Beach, a favorite place for us, in July 2019,” Emily shares. 

For their May 15, 2021, wedding, “we wanted to gather the people we love into a comfortable, beautiful space,” the couple says. A family home was the perfect location for that vision. As their venue, they chose Lauren’s dad’s house—a property fondly referred to as Camp Miller—and set up a full weekend of activities. Since the wedding was postponed a year, the couple wanted to make the celebration extra special. “We wanted people to feel cared for and appreciated,” they say. “After the initial pandemic lockdown, we were especially motivated to bring people together.” It began on Friday night with a welcome party for all guests: “A classic North Carolina pig pickin’ on Peaceful Lane Farm, with long tables, wildflowers, beer on tap, games, and a laid-back vibe,” the couple says. There was a pool party with custom slushies Saturday afternoon before the main event, and a glamping tent village with bathtubs of beer and fire pits. 

To refine their vision and coordinate with vendors, the couple worked with Lauren Watson of Lion House. “She was incredible to work with from start to finish,” they share. “While the reschedule was pretty stressful, the co-designing and planning was really fun.”

Read on to see all the camp-inspired details of Emily and Lauren’s wedding in Summerfield, North Carolina, as planned by Lion House and photographed by Rachel May Photography and Brett Seay.

“We wanted the colors to be bright and fun with pinks and oranges—sun-splashed, while still classy,” the couple shares of their vision. The brides also decided upon a California West Coast meets East Coast theme. They incorporated shapes—a round sun for West Coast sunsets and undulating lines to represent the rolling hills of the East—to tie in the two throughout the design.

“We love camping and invited our guests to stay on property in 50 glamping tents. Shout out to Stout Tent, the incredible woman-owned company that made it happen,” the duo shares. “Tiki torches and fire pits created a fun atmosphere, [and we set out] picnic tables and bathtubs full of iced beer.” They even took it one step further. “We wrote personal handwritten letters on custom stationery to thank each guest for their presence at our wedding and throughout our lives. We left the notes in each glamping tent, along with CBD-infused chocolates from Peaceful Lane, our family business.”

After a morning spent together, the couple separated to get in their wedding attire. Emily fell in love with a crepe Lela Rose halter gown with a draped back detail that was classic yet fit the casual vibe. “I wore diamond earrings that my mother gave me, and my wedding band belonged to my mother’s mother,” she says.

“I did not want to wear a traditional wedding dress and looked long and hard for a jumpsuit that felt like me,” Lauren says. “After not finding anything quite right, I decided to go the custom route and found an awesome dressmaker in San Francisco, Julia Ireland Dressmaking. It was a low-key process and we iterated on a few designs before landing on a simple silk jumpsuit with a removable cape, cap sleeves, and open back.”

The couple’s contrasting bouquets set them apart, as well. Emily’s was mostly white—peonies, ranunculus, and garden roses—with pops of yellow and greenery and hand-tied with a soft honey silk ribbon. Lauren’s was vibrant, curated with bright summer blooms in shades of coral sunset, sunburst yellow, pale pink, and soft white.

“We got married overlooking the farm and horse fields,” Lauren says. The ceremony space was decorated with organic aisle arrangements and an arch of greenery and florals that looked like it sprouted naturally from the ground. The wedding party made a dramatic entrance to the site on golf carts. 

“We had Thai coconuts to greet guests as they arrived to the ceremony,” the couple says. “They were a nod to our favorite coffee shop in San Francisco, [since-shuttered] Trouble Coffee, famous for its coffee, cinnamon toast, and coconuts. It was also a fun way to hydrate guests for the night ahead.”

Emily walked down the aisle with her mom and dad to “Land of Hope and Dreams” by Bruce Springsteen. “Bruce is a Tsanotelis family icon, and several guests sang along to the chorus with joy,” she remembers. Then, Lauren entered with her parents to Brandi Carlile’s “Closer to You.” They had friends and family read the seven blessings—on delight, kindness, gratitude, curiosity, acceptance, play, and humor—in Jewish tradition, and then exchanged vows. “We wrote our own vows together, at 7 a.m. on the wedding day,” the brides share. “They were inspired by Alain de Botton’s philosophy on love and commitment.” 

We wrote our own vows together, at 7 a.m. on the wedding day.

Another favorite artist provided their recessional song: “Bright Side of the Road” by Van Morrison. 

Music was key to the atmosphere, so Emily created custom playlists for many parts of the weekend, including the outdoor cocktail hour. Guests indulged in passed hor d’oeuvres like crispy sweet potato bites, compressed watermelon with citrus mascarpone, tuna poke, and oysters. “Emily grew up camping down Cape Cod National Seashore with her family each summer, so Wellfleet oysters hold a special place in her heart,” the couple says. “Our friends Elspeth and Alex Hay own Wellfleet Shellfish Company and supplied the oysters. The husband-and-wife team shucked them during cocktail hour—a true highlight.”

Food and drink trucks were a highlight all weekend long. “Each morning, there was an awesome coffee cart for espresso drinks, teas, and pastries,” the couple says. “Saturday there was a Mediterranean truck—a nod to Emily’s Greek side—for lunch. Saturday night, a pizza truck post-dance party was as a nod to Lauren’s diehard love of pizza.” During cocktail hour, a vintage Shasta trailer served as the bar, slinging signature Palomas and Kentucky Mules as advertised on creative bar signage that tied into the décor.

It felt like home, but also felt special and magical.

For the reception, the design team completely transformed an outdoor basketball court with farm tables, florals, greenery, and lighting overhead. “It felt like home, but also felt special and magical,” Lauren says. Canvas details like the stage backdrop and wrapped table numbers tied into the camp-tent theme, and sunbeams on the napkins and ombre décor details brought the color. A floral installation above the band stage disguised the court’s scoreboard. 

“The live band was incredible and brought the party,” the couple remembers. It started with father-daughter dances to Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty tracks, then everyone hit the floor. “The band played without breaks and the dance floor was packed all night.” Their personalized set list included songs by Prince, Lizzo, and Nelly—“and they honored our wish to not play Journey,” the brides say with a laugh. 

Late night, as guests snapped photos at a Polaroid station, the brides changed into matching track jackets and white Levis. “Friends cleared off the tables and chairs from the basketball court and we played a game of knockout,” they share. “Lauren knocked out her brother Walker, who plays Division 1 college basketball, with her first shot. The crowd went wild!” Then, everyone gathered around a giant bonfire, where a secret stash of oysters was busted out once again to cap off the perfect night. “Nothing better than midnight oysters,” laugh the brides—except, of course, that newlywed bliss.

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