The Tent Pavilion at Bradford Country Club in Haverhill, Mass., is a casually elegant space that is easily customized for events from golf outings to weddings.
By Diana Mirel, Contributing Editor
When the Murphy family purchased Bradford Country Club in Haverhill, Mass., two years ago, one of its goals was to improve the club’s event business. After two seasons, the club has seen its food-and-beverage revenue increase by 28%, with some of that increase attributed to events.
The club’s Tent Pavilion is one of the top draws for functions. The 50-by-100-foot, three-season tent is an aluminum structure with white vinyl walls, windows, glass doors and concrete flooring covered in indoor-outdoor carpeting. While it is most often used for golf events, the tent is also a popular wedding venue.
“People love the Tent Pavilion because they like to be outside,” says owner Kristin Murphy. “They can sit in the tent, feel the fresh breeze and look at the beautiful landscape.”
Located adjacent to the clubhouse and the first tee, the tent overlooks the golf course and is next to a raised patio. The tent is accessible through a canopied, cobblestone walkway that leads into the clubhouse. “We put the tent in this location so people could access the indoor restrooms, and it is close to our kitchen so the food stays warm,” says Murphy.
The tent has a casual, yet elegant garden-style design. Its neutral décor allows for plenty of versatility to personalize the venue. “It is a really flexible space,” says Murphy. “For weddings, I allow brides to create their own space, based on color, lighting and décor. Nothing is limited.”
Bradford Country Club
Haverhill, Mass.Tent Availability: April to November
Capacity: Up to 250 for a sit-down dinner; up to 300 for a standing cocktail reception
Ceiling Hanging System: Boston Uplights
Event Décor: Peterson Party Center
The tent’s 25-foot ceiling has metal beams and a custom-built magnetic hanging system that offers a unique opportunity to decorate the space from the top down. “Hanging paper lanterns from the ceiling is a great and inexpensive way to make the tent look fantastic,” says Murphy. “We also partner with a lighting firm that can transform the tent with up-lighting and other ceiling décor.”
The tent is illuminated by interior perimeter lighting along the top of the walls and lighted ficus trees. The tent’s ceiling fans also have lighting fixtures that are on dimmers.
Inside the tent is a parquet dance floor and a raised stage with a black skirt. Events are set up with white folding garden chairs, and the club uses stocked portable bars as needed.
One of the biggest challenges of any tent space is temperature control. Murphy addresses this issue with air-conditioning units in warmer months and heating units in cooler weather. However, warm weather poses a bigger challenge. “When it is really warm, it is hard to air-condition,” says Murphy. “We have to bring in an AC unit or two, and it can be cost-prohibitive for some. But we do have the ceiling fans and plenty of stand fans. And we can open the sides of the tent to get the breeze.”
Heating the tent during cooler weather, however, is less expensive and often more effective, with the choice of a propane unit that is powerful and a diesel unit that offers a clean-air option, plus space heaters.
Bradford CC’s Tent Pavilion continues to be a popular venue, thanks to its versatile décor and outdoor appeal. “The trend I’m seeing is that people are looking to spend less on weddings, and our tent offers a great value and casual elegance in a tented pavilion,” says Murphy.