Garden CanopiesIt’s an open secret among brides around the world: planning the perfect wedding reception is just as hard as planning the right wedding ceremony. In fact, planning  the reception is a bigger challenge in so many ways! There’s hundreds of details that brides-to-be and their helpers have to oversee on a limited timetable.

But the outdoor wedding reception’s benefits pay off in ways that are nothing short of spectacular. As you put your event together, remember these ways of keeping all your guests cool and happy no matter how warm the weather.

Keep Cool By Serving Frozen Drinks

Even if you’re planning a formal wedding reception, serving frozen drinks offers your guests a way to keep cool as they mingle outside. The frozen drink station can stand under a small canopy off to one side of the reception grounds, or adjacent to the reception bar. Guests can serve themselves, of course, but having a wait staff member serve the drinks will make things flow smoother. Offer at least several different kinds of fruit flavor drinks, and give your guests the choice of juices or slushy drinks.

Ideally, for medium- and large-sized events you should plan to have two frozen drink stations, one alcoholic and one non-alcoholic. If your wedding has a lot of children in attendance, offer milkshakes at the non-alcoholic drink station.

Make Your Wedding Party Comfortable

Keep your groomsmen and bridesmaids cool by inviting them to shed their ceremonial jackets and heels once the reception begins. White shirts with tuxedo vests will still look elegant in an outdoor garden setting, and your bridesmaids will have an easier time navigating across the reception area’s lawn (some wedding boutiques even offer specially-decorated bridesmaids footwear). And of course both groups will understand that shedding of formal trappings is your go-ahead signal to cut loose and party.

Provide A Sheltered Party Area

Not everyone – especially your older guests – will necessarily relish the idea of spending hours in the summer sun. Install a canopy or party tent along one side of the reception grounds, and make sure there’s enough tables and seating to accommodate at least a third of your guests. Remember that the canopy should be big enough that guests can move around freely, much as they would indoors.

Treat Yourself To Some Comfort

There’s no strict rule that says the bride must wear her wedding gown for the entire reception. After you and the groom are presented and all pictures are taken, feel free to change into the travelling clothes you’ll wear later that day. Your guests won’t mind, and you’ll be free of your dress’ (stifling) constraints.

Use Different Kinds of Flowers and Installations To Create A Garden Effect

Garden Canopies One of the great advantages of the outdoor wedding reception is that your design scheme isn’t limited to traditional floral arrangements. Accentuate the garden motif by using arbors, latticework, gazebos and vines and climbing plants throughout the dining and party area. Arbors and trellis work especially convey a garden theme to guests, as do table centerpieces of wildflowers and other less traditional (but more carefree) floral arrangements.

For an environmentally-conscious twist, make sure the flowers are locally grown (to reduce pollution in their transport) and rent reusable glass vases instead of plastic. Recycle the flowers at the wedding ceremony for use at the reception, and arrange to donate unused, untouched reception food to a shelter and the flowers to a retirement community.

Install Misters and Fans Throughout The Reception Area

When it comes to cooling off outdoors, the outdoor mister is probably the greatest invention since the garden hose. Set up several mister stations at different locations around the reception area, and install low-noise area fans around its edges.

Remember these ideas are only some of the strategies you can use to make sure you outdoor reception isn’t bogged down by heat. Your guests will appreciate the effort you made to keep them cool, and they’ll feel more inclined to help you celebrate for as long as you like. Good luck!


Party TentsHow much do you love your favorite team? For millions of American fans, going to their team’s home games wouldn’t be the same without a lively tailgate party. Whether you love racing, football or baseball (or even basketball or hockey), tailgating isn’t just a way of celebrating; it’s an expression of loyalty, and of excitement for the game to come.

When you’re throwing the tailgate party, of course you want to go all-out. But turning it up to eleven doesn’t mean emptying your wallet, either.

A Reserved Space Is Worth The Investment

If your team will let you reserve parking lot space in advance (and you can afford it), go ahead and grab that prime game day real estate. Find out in advance (the beginning of the season, at least) if there are parking spaces near what you want most: the shade of a tree, public restrooms, exit thoroughfares, whatever. On game day, you’ll save yourself a lot of walking around. If you’ve got a canopy or tent, figure out the best spot to set it up within your area: away from your vehicle works best, and out from under tree cover so leaves and branches don’t accumulate on its tarp.

Pack Early, Pack Extra

Party TentsYou know supplies are a crucial part of successful tailgating, but don’t forget that there’s more to packing than getting your food and drinks ready to go. Make a list of everything you want to bring. If you can, start it a few days beforehand, so you have time to remember the odds and ends that always seem to come to mind later.

When preparing the food, especially the side items (beans, potato chips, jambalaya, et cetera) do as much prep work as you can for the food and pack everything in seal-tight plastic containers. This will make your food easier to serve but also helps you clean-up after the game (no trash to throw away.)

Remember to pack plenty of bottled water! You’ll need it to put out your barbecue fire but also for drinking and helping clean up spills. Tailgating experts recommend bringing at least two gallons.

Pack more drinks than you need. A good rule of thumb is to imagine how many cans of soft drink, beer, or other beverages you expect to need and then pack 20% more than that. Better to take some home than run out!

Prepare for Accidents and Emergencies

Nobody likes to think about accidents or other calamities happening during a party, but it’s still best to stay prepared. Put together a tool kit to help you make basic repairs to tables, chairs, cushions and other tailgating furniture. The tool kit should include pliers, extra screws and screwdrivers, electrical or other heavy tape, spare batteries, and a first aid kit. Stay prepared for bad weather with an umbrella and plastic ponchos.

Keep your tickets safe by putting them in an unmarked envelope and locked in your car’s glove compartment.

Don’t forget cleaning supplies!. Bring a bottle of hand sanitizer, and two rolls of toilet paper just in case your tailgating area has less-than-comfortable restrooms or portable toilets. A couple of dry towels also have plenty of uses around the tailgate area, too. If there’s room in your vehicle, a broom and dustpan will help clean up spilled food and ice.

Get Seen By Your Guests and Everybody Else

Sports Team Logo Canopies

Click here to find your team's canopy!

Once you’ve set up your canopy or tent, make it show your team spirit with banners, flags, and any other decorations you want. This will make it easier for your guests to find you – and everybody else to see your devotion. Some canopies come pre-printed with your team’s name and logo printed along the sides and top.

Don’t forget to anchor your canopy with some weight bags to hold it firmly in place; once the party starts, you don’t want it getting bumped around and knocked out of place. If and when bad weather comes, pull everything under the shelter of the canopy or tent at once. Packing up is a lot less tedious if your supplies aren’t wet.

Popup CanopiesCraft exhibitions, trade shows, arts and crafts festival and conventions are all fantastic places to meet your online clientele face to face. They give you the opportunity to grow your real-world retail presence while learning first-hand what your customer base wants and expects from your business.

The booth or tent you set up at any and all of these events is your venue to present your business to all these potential and returning customers. Setting up your booth can be complicated or easy, depending on the amount of time and planning you put into getting your presentation details right.

Know Your Space

You’ll have a better idea how much merchandise to bring if you know your booth’s position on the display floor. For example, if your on the corner of an aisle you should plan to bring enough merchandise to “front” both the aisle and cross-aisle. If you’re in the middle of an aisle, you’ll want to bring only those items you can comfortably and attractively display along the booth’s front end.

The event’s organizers should be able to provide you with a map of the display space floor at least a day in advance. Contact them the week before the event to request your location, or failing that where your booth is assigned. Make sure there’s enough room to set up your popup canopy or tent.

Keep Your Displays Simple and Tasteful

You’ve probably seen displays that seem to shove everything out in front, as if trying to draw customers through sheer force of numbers or gaudy display. This actually just drives customers away – if you were shopping in the real world, would you rather shop at a hip boutique or at a rummage sale?

Avoid the rummage sale appearance by using display stands, cases and tools that accent and complement your products. Your potential customers will likely see your displays first and then “hone in” on the products, so you need to make a good first impression. Craft show experts recommend making your displays different heights and shapes, to give your booth’s interior dimension and character. Don’t hesitate to add color and texture to the displays, too. The right amount of design elements make your booth feel less perfunctory and more like an actual store.

Keep Your Logo Prominent

Popup CanopiesKeeping your business’ name in full sight – even if it’s just your name – distinguishes you as an artisan and merchant who values professionalism; even the most die-hard libertine will appreciate that you’re putting a trustworthy foot forward.

A great way to advertise your business on the exhibition floor is to have your name or logo emblazoned on the top and eaves of your canopy or display tent. Customers will know where to find you, and you’ll stand out from similar portable shelters.

Make Your Display Space Inviting

The traditional booth setup – a table out front, you behind it and ready to answer questions – doesn’t always serve your products’ needs. Organizing your booth so that people can come inside and browse creates a semi-private, more personal atmosphere in which your customers and your products can interact. You’ll also be able to more freely move around between customers, answering their questions and serving as “host or hostess” of your products’ exhibition.



Outdoor CanopiesWhether you own a simple popup canopy for personal use or a top-of-the-line personal shelter to help your business grow, summertime is the right time to take every advantage of the canopy’s unique potential. The warm sun, frequent summer showers and abundance of festivals and events all make the late spring through early fall the prime time for using your canopy.

In fact, we think the canopy has more uses than people realize. Here’s just a few examples:

Take your canopy to the park, lakefront, or local national park

Canopies make a great “home base” for families on a daylong excursion to their local park, beach, or national forest. They deploy easily, break down quickly and make a great spot to picnic, take a light snooze or just hang out. If your canopy has sidewalls, it’s also a perfect changing room before heading into the surf.At the park, a canopy transforms any picnic table into a covered pavilion for daytime dining.

Before you set up, remember that some government-run areas (parks, beaches) might have rules against canopies used at certain hours of times of day. You may also need to call ahead to clear the canopy with park or beach supervisors.

Make your canopy the centerpiece of your next party

Outdoor CanopiesWhat’s more charming than a summer party? Throw a celebration for your friends (for Independence Day, Memorial Day, or just because) in your backyard, using the canopy as the center of entertainment. The canopy can shelter ice chests and food tables from the hot summer sun or shelter children and give them a base for their play. It can even shelter the television set showing the big game!

For summer birthday parties, your canopy looks great festooned with balloons and streamers, and even a birthday message strung along its front apron. For Independence day, red white and blue streamers make a great accent. You might even hang a flag from the side of the canopy or fly one from the top.

Bring your canopy to family, church, and organizational events

If your church or volunteer group is having an outdoor fundraiser, why not volunteer your time and your canopy? You’ll help them attract attention and recuperate from the hot summer sun.

Your children and their schools will benefit from your volunteer generosity, too.

Use Your Canopy for Outdoor Projects

On weekends when you’re planning a lot of yard work or landscaping, use your canopy as a way to duck out of the sun. You can also keep your equipment and supplies organized in one place, and save a lot of “back and forth” to the garage or utility room. Canopies can shelter sawhorses, workbenches, planters and planting supplies, and water coolers and rest areas.

Canopies make great places to take a break. Imagine sitting under the canopy with a glass of iced tea after mowing the yard!

Use Summertime For Canopy Upkeep and Maintenance

Outdoor CanopiesWhile you’re working on beautifying your lawn and garden, take care of your canopy, too. Most canopies can be washed clean using only warm water and soap (don’t use detergent. It’ll scratch and tear at the canopy tarp material.)

Allow the canopy to completely dry before breaking it down and returning it to its storage case. This will prevent mildew and help keep the canopy material in top condition.

Visit our canopy cleaning and maintenance guide for more tips on keeping your canopy looking and working like new.

Popup CanopiesCleaning and maintaining your instant or popup canopy is not difficult! When you practice regular and careful precautions, your canopy can last for years and years – certainly as long as you need it!

We’ve assembled the following tips to make sure you can keep your canopy cover and frame in top condition. Remember too that you should consult your particular canopy model’s owner’s manual for specific maintenance instructions.

Cleaning and Storing the Canopy

Most vinyl and polyester canopy covers will wash using only warm water and soap. Don’t use detergent, as this can abrade and otherwise damage the canopy cover material. Don’t use bleach, though a mild vinegar water solution may be okay.

Don’t remove the canopy cover from its frame before you clean it. Leaving the canopy stretched out and above ground makes it dry quicker and prevents the risk of tearing and fraying.

Make sure the canopy is completely dry before breaking the canopy down for storage. This will prevent mildew from forming and growing within the canopy cover’s folds and creases.

Over time, small leaks and tears across the canopy cover may become inevitable. But this doesn’t have to make the canopy unusable! Spray the leak or tear with a seam sealer, available at most hardware and sporting goods stores. Seal the hole or tear as soon as possible to keep it from spreading. Be sure to follow the sealer’s instructions exactly. If the leak or rend is too big, use a patch kit available from canopy retailers.

Follow the same instructions for your canopy sidewalls as you do for cleaning the canopy cover.

Cleaning and Maintaining the Canopy Frame

Popup CanopiesAs with the canopy, for safety and convenience only clean your canopy frame when it is set up and its legs and sides extended. Make sure the frame is completely dry before compacting it and storing it away.

Cleaning the canopy frame depends on what type of frame you have. Most frames are either aluminum or steel. Make sure the frame is rustproof before you wash it (consult the owner’s manual or warranty information.)

When setting up the canopy frame each time, take a screwdriver or wrench and tighten all screws and washers. This will help prevent the frame from wobbling but also make sure your canopy cover can stretch across it as tightly as possible.

Some canopy manufacturers recommend spraying the frame with a silicone spray to help protect the metal. Using it before and after use, especially in humid conditions, will help improve performance. Apply the spray before attaching the canopy cover.

Other helpful suggestions

Protect your canopy from windy conditions by investing in weightbags to help provide ballast. These bags can be filled with any number of ingredients but are actually lightweight themselves.

To replace a lost owner’s manual, check the manufacturer or retailer’s website. A pdf-format copy of the manual is often available.

Camping Tents Summer is just around the corner, and for millions of American families that means it’s time to go hiking and camping. One of the nation’s favorite past times for more than a hundred years, camping (and hiking too!) lets us all get outside and enjoy the great outdoors while getting plenty of exercise.

But for parents especially, camping is also the time to pay close attention to proper safety guidelines. As you hit the trail, keep the following expert advice in mind.

Observe Proper Campfire Safety

Clear a four-foot area around the campfire site of all debris and loose rocks. This will help prevent children tripping into the fire. Keep embers trapped inside the fire area by building a ring of rocks or using a metal hoop to contain them.

When extinguishing the fire, don’t pour water on the fire but instead toss small amounts atop the embers. This will prevent fires from continuing to burn in air pockets created by wet soil and dirt.

Plan Your Route and Stick To Camping Area Guidelines

Camping TentsCarry maps and trail, park, or camp guides with you at all times, and cover only as much ground as you and your family can manage without over-exerting yourselves. Stay abreast of weather reports and other bulletins by bringing a battery-operated radio. (Smartphone coverage may not extend into wilderness areas.)

Use existing campsites whenever possible, and stick to established trails and walkways. Hiking and camping experts recommend making camp 200 feet off the main hiking trail and away from water and other campsites. This provides a reasonable amount of privacy and mutual safety but also protects the park and water sources.

Use a portable latrine or dig a six-inch hole to bury your family’s biological waste. Make sure the hole is 200 feet away from water to avoid contaminating it.

Pack all food and snacks in watertight baggies, and take all your trash with you out of the camping and hiking area. Keep food in sealed containers to prevent it luring wild animals into your campsite. Wash your hands frequently, using hand sanitizer if water is not readily available.

Avoid heights such as the sides of cliffs and buttes, and keep your children as close to the trail as possible. Avoid getting too close to the edges of rivers, ponds, and streams. Rivers may have sharp currents that can pull children (and adults) inside, and ponds and lakes may shelter snakes and other wildlife.

Take Care of Your Pets and Stay Clear of Wild Animals

Don’t approach, attempt to pet, or otherwise “befriend” wildlife, as even seemingly tame animals can become ferocious when they feel threatened. Some animals also carry diseases which spread to humans upon contact.

Use insect repellent to guard against diseases spread by mosquitoes and other flying pests.

Preparing for Dangers and Emergencies

Camping TentsKeep a GPS tracker and cel phone with you everywhere. Bring an emergency first aid kit, and learn the locations of all ranger stations and other park emergency services before beginning your camping trip.

Make sure your family has sufficient sun blocker to guard against sunburn. Use lotion rated at least SPF 15.

Take time before the trip to explain to your children that life in the wilderness often bears little resemblance to the version seen in movies and televisions shows. Explain the basics of hiking and camping safety before you set out, and review the rules with them as you make your way to the campsite.

For more information on staying healthy while taking in the great outdoors, visit the Centers for Disease Control’s guide to healthy camping and hiking.

Sail Shade Canopies Putting the intense visual appeal of the sail shade canopy into words is a little tricky. The sail shade’s (or shade sail, depending on who you ask) remains, at heart, only a piece of fabric stretched over a certain area and connected to a pole or post. Nevertheless, the whole is definitely bigger than the sum of the parts.

Sail shade canopies imbue their areas with a sense of movement and elegance unlike any other kind of covering. There’s a sleekness to them, an exotic ambiance more reminiscent of a marketplace in the Kasbah as much as a suburban backyard. They are not complicated, and really any sheet could serve as a sail shade canopy if conditions were necessary.

The modern, professionally designed and built sail shade canopy offers the sail shade’s timeless, austere beauty combined with modern engineering and constructions.

Understanding Shade Sail Size and Shape

Shade sails usually either come in one of two shape varieties. Think back to your grade school geometry. Remember the parallelogram? It’s a four sided shape with two sets of parallel sides. It’s (not quite a square, in which all the sides are equal. )Many models of shade sails use the parallelogram shape to offer a choice of use. By keeping the sides not entirely equal all the way around, the canopy user gets more choice in hanging location options.

In a very similar way, some shade sails are roughly isosceles triangles. Revisiting math class again, these are triangles with only two equal sides. Other models are measured and fitted to be scalene; they have no equal sides.

Of course, there are no absolutes and some triangles are perfect squares and rectangles. When determining the shade sail that’s right for your area, it helps to sketch the patio or deck (or lawn area) as seen from above.

Once you’ve got a rough sketch, draw lines between the most obvious sail shade canopy anchor points. The shape of the canopy you need will reveal itself.

Canopy Construction and Composition

Sail Shade CanopiesLike the shape itself, the composition of a shade sail canopy varies according to model and manufacturer. Some are made from breathable fabric, while others are made from heavy-duty, weather resistant polyester or polyethylene.
In some cases, the sail fabric is coated or sheathed in additional protectants to add to their rain resistance.

What to Look For When Purchasing

Make sure the canopy includes installation hardware if you’re planning to permanently attach it on your property. Also, be sure to check what accessories are sold along with the sail shade canopy itself or that must be purchased separately. This will prevent delays in installation once your sail shade canopy arrives.

Undercover CanopiesUndercover Canopy’s latest series of tents and canopies solve many common complaints about canopy construction and setup. With innovative construction and a simple design, they make a great choice for first-time canopy buyers of all kinds.

Versatile Design and Construction

The Undercover Canopy makes canopy and tent benefits available to millions who probably would otherwise hesitate to invest in a portable shelter. They feature frames of heavy-duty aluminum, making them 50 percent lighter than steel frame canopies. And because they’re lightweight, they’re easier to transport.

Their sophisticated honeycomb construction makes them highly durable, too. As each part of the frame reinforces another, the total result is a canopy frame suitable for a variety of purposes.

Uses For All Occasions

And because almost anyone can transport these sturdy Undercover Canopies, they take on a wide variety of applications. For example, some canopy owners use them for personal shelters at the beach or on a picnic. Families can use them for backyard gatherings or for entertaining company in the great outdoors. For small business owners, the canopy makes a great exhibition space at trade shows and crafts fairs.

Canopy sizes range from small models meant for individual use to larger versions ideal for teams or groups. All sizes come with a variety of optional accessories available.

Easy Setup Without Pinched Fingers

Undercover CanopiesUndercover Canopies deploy, or setup, in seconds. The four telescoping legs extend and lock into place without pinching fingers. Owners need only expand the frame into place and the canopy is ready to go.

When it’s time to take the canopy down, just retract the legs and collapse the frame. The tent is ready for transport.

Durable Tarps Keep Elements At Bay

Undercover Canopy coverings are just as innovative and durable as their frames. They’re made from reinforced polyester, with some of them having a 600 Denier (thickness) rating. Others are treated and sometimes coated for even greater weather resistance. With so much construction, Undercover Canopies keep you sheltered in rain and sunshine alike.

A Range of Accessories

A variety of accessories is available for the range of Undercover Canopies, including sidewall panels, weight bags, and carrying cases. These are usually purchased separately and are available in a variety of options.

Storage TentsIt’s no secret that spring and summer present several different kinds of challenges from the elements. Covering your property, livestock, or storage items with permanent shelters can cost you thousands of dollars. They can even add unsightly elements to your property’s landscape. Who wants to look at a drab aluminum shelter?

As a solution, investing in a storage tent presents a versatile alternative. Storage tents are also sometimes called portable shelters or portable carports, among other names. Just the same, they give you a variety of uses while remaining highly portable and easy to maintain.

Storage Tents Protect Your Vehicles Year-Round

When determining what size portable shelter to buy, consider how many vehicles you need to protect. Maybe you’re planning to use the storage tent as a portable carport. If so, plan on getting a tent that will protect the largest vehicle and then some. By over-estimating, you will leave room to freely move around the vehicle during maintenance, cleaning, and while performing other tasks.

You may want to store different vehicles at different times of the year: a boat or bikes in the wintertime, snow skiers in the warmer months. Portable shelters give you the convenience of different uses. They’re also easy to move around your property, for added versatility.

Store Livestock, Materials, Supplies

Besides vehicles, storage tents provide protection from the sun and rain for both livestock and building supplies and equipment. Placing a storage tent in your pasture or grazing land gives livestock a place to escape the sun and summer showers. For farmers, storage sheds and portable, “instant” shelters provide rainproof areas to store hay and crops.

Understanding Size and Construction Specifications

Storage TentsDifferent sized tents will afford different square footage of coverage. In fact, different kinds of frames will provide different amounts of coverage. It’s important, therefore, to approach each potential tent purchase separately and check the dimensions for each one.

Of course, knowing how much coverage you’ll need will help you make your final storage tent decision, but at the same time you should also plan for how space you have available. Consider too how much space you have available on your property to devote to covered storage.

Finally, most storage tents include tarps, or coverings, that feature some form of polyester construction. Many are treated for additional protection against the elements. Tent frames are typically either steel or aluminum. These too often receive additional protection from the elements.

Popup CanopiesWhen the time comes to move your home-based crafts business into the “real world” of a street fair or exhibition, it’s vital to make sure you stand out from the throng of other merchants. Like a modern-day bazaar, crafts fairs and shows can sometimes overwhelm the casual browser or shopper, so that many gifted and dedicated artisans get lost in the throng.

For all the attention and care you put into your product, you deserve to have your work found and recognized by your buying public. But – and this is a very unfair “but” – that recognition won’t come until you take steps to advertise yourself before, during and after the exhibition.

Invite Your Online Friends and Patrons

If you’re already building an ecommerce storefront for your artisan business or just promoting your work on sites like Etsy, you know it’s important to use social media tools to help build your online profile.

Your presence on Etsy, Facebook, and other web-based social tools easily translates to real-world promotion. Just announce the time and date of the exhibition, and offer your online friends and patrons a discount (say, 10%) if they mention your Web site or social media page.

During the exhibition, even customers who ultimately don’t make a purchase can still come away with an invitation to join your social media communities. You can encourage these “near-miss” customers to become patrons of your online store.

Use A Canopy to Give Your Booth Height, Dimension

It’s something that most craft show guests can’t help but do: taking in the long rows of booths and exhibits, they wander right past the simple table-and-stand setup that lacks the height and dimension of the more elaborately constructed booths. If you stop and think about it, it’s often not the merchandise itself that looks so forlorn and bereft at such booths, but the way in which it’s held out to public interest.

The three most important elements of crafts fair success are: presentation, presentation, and presentation. Giving your stall or booth depth and height – for example, by covering your display space with a canopy – helps create a physical area in which your customers can enter and focus their attention squarely on your products. When they move away, they’ll feel as if they’ve left something – which, in a very real way, they will. One of the easiest but most effective ways of creating such definite, bordered space is to cover your display area with a canopy. As an added bonus, the same canopy will shield you and your merchandise from the elements during outside  exhibitions.

Use Custom Graphics To Advertise Your Site

PopUp CanopiesGetting your canopy emblazoned with your business’ logo turns the top and sides of the canopy into a vivid billboard that everyone at the fair can see. Customized canopy graphics also create the impression of stability and trust among your potential customers, encouraging them to buy your products.

Many brands of popup canopy, which deploy in minutes, arrive from the factory with your logo or symbol already applied.