Written by Kailey Cheng
When one imagines camping, they might envision stuffing backpacks with supplies days in advance, hauling a tent through the wilderness, and curling up in sleeping bags. A Loudoun County couple has added the “glamorous” to “camping,” bringing luxury tent accommodations to the DMV area.
Theresa Converse and Brian Schram have taken camping to the next level with their own “glamping” business, Outdoor Eventures. It’s camping without the hassle and more fun than the standard hotel. Glamping is perfect for hosting a wedding, a retreat, sleepover, or getaway. “The idea of Outdoor Eventures and glamping is you get the outdoor experience without all of the nitty gritty stuff,” Converse said. All you have to do is reserve the tents, tell Outdoor Eventures where you want them, and show up.
When one goes glamping, they step into a large, comfortable cotton bell tent that comes with everything needed for lodging. The basic package includes a queen-sized bed, bedding, a throw blanket, a bistro set of tables and chairs, an area rug, a battery-operated lantern, fan, and device charger, a mirror, a waste basket, an ice bucket, a luggage rack and a shower pack. Some a la carte options include climate control (AC or heat), electricity, a check-in/welcome team for guests, dog supplies and a clothing rack — perfect for wedding attire.
Kelsey and Mark’s wedding tent. Photo by Peyton Curry.
Like many couples, Converse and Schram postponed their marriage due to COVID-19. But before rescheduling their wedding date, they were searching for lodging in remote areas that didn’t have many hotel options — the nearby hotels were already booked more than a year out. They were also trying to avoid having guests take a long bus or car ride to their wedding, and striving to create a weekend experience where all guests could spend together.
It was difficult to create the feeling of a “destination wedding” while staying local. On their planned wedding day in August, the couple ended up launching Outdoor Eventures instead. The couple was already in the “events world”; Converse’s background was in festival logistics and large-scale event planning, and Schram’s in hospitality — it just made sense to start the business.
“We definitely thought about it for a long time, and it just made the most sense and we figured we couldn’t be the only people in this situation, trying to look for a unique weekend locally,” Converse said. “We realized that we could not find a glamping vendor that fit our specific needs, so we decided to become our own glamping vendor.”
Theresa Converse and Brian Schram. Photo by Jennifer Gray.
The couple had gone glamping together recently and described it as “peaceful” and “super comfortable.” Schram said their experience reassured them that starting Outdoor Eventures was a good idea. “Theresa’s definitely more of the camping type between the two of us,” Schram said. “I definitely love being outdoors for sure, but she has a little bit more experience really getting out there and camping. And so … the concept kind of brings together the two of our desires when it comes to a vacation.”
The business experienced setbacks waiting for COVID-19 to pass during the summer, but the couple soon realized it wasn’t going away anytime soon. “We realized [we’d] just continue forward and pull the trigger, rather than waiting for everything to pass,” Converse said. “Because obviously, people were looking for new, outdoor, [and] unique ways to do COVID-friendly activities.”
Schram said glamping may be appealing to those who don’t feel comfortable staying at a hotel during this time. Being completely mobile, Outdoor Eventures is flexible in terms of choosing a location. Whether a client wants to glamp on the water or in the middle of the woods, Outdoor Eventures can make it happen.
Kelsey and Mark’s wedding tent. Photo by Peyton Curry.
“We just need, you know, a space to put a tent and we’re good to go,” Schram said. “I think those aspects of [glamping] are really what set it apart from just your traditional lodging experiences.” Converse said glamping is perfect for any occasion, but extra special for weddings as it provides a unique lodging opportunity for guests, creating an unforgettable experience. Outdoor Eventures’ tents are spacious enough for people to get ready in, so guests won’t be sacrificing the comfort of a traditional hotel room.
“We love the idea of guests staying on the property after the reception for a bonfire, some music, and s’mores to end the evening,” Converse said. “It’s a more relaxed atmosphere and another chance to catch up with friends [and] family that may be in from out of town.” She added that hosting a glamping village is a way for one to make the wedding experience even more exceptional. Outdoor Eventures encourages weekend field days or even spa days for those who want to relax. Villages also offer endless opportunities for unique guest welcome gifts.
The couple’s favorite wedding glamping partner is Tranquility Farm in Purcellville, Virginia. The historic property is Outdoor Eventures’ most frequented glamping venue located in the heart of Loudoun wine country. The company has also done private estate venues and encourages clients to glamp in their backyard or on their farm.
Tent details. Photos by Maddy Williams Photography.
With the world in an unprecedented state, Converse and Schram hope to provide an escape for their clients. They want people to use their glamping services as an outlet to regain a sense of peace and relaxation, allowing them to naturally disconnect from the outside world. “People are certainly struggling with what’s going on and people need that escape,” Schram said. “You know, and that sense of reality outside of what’s going on, and if we can, we can offer that right now … [The] main focus of ours is making sure people feel comfortable and trusting of what we do.”
As a long-term goal, the couple hopes to build a strong clientele and host larger events such as glamping-style retreats or start a brick-and-mortar. Schram said he sees lots of creativity for the business in the future and looks forward to seeing what their glamorous tents will be able to provide.
“It’s just a really good opportunity to, you know, slow down and actually spend time with the people that you’re there with,” Converse said. “We have board games, we have yard games, fire pits, things like that, so you know, it’s just nice activities and we’re excited to build on that. We’re excited to bring glamping to the Loudoun County community in Middleburg.” ML
Published in the February 2021 issue of Middleburg Life.