Diana Haddad of Clarkston wanted her daughter’s 16th birthday to be special. It was 2021, so COVID-wise, things were starting to improve a little. Still, she wanted to be responsible when it came to a celebration.
Enter Sweet Mitten Dreams. The Rochester Hills-based event planning company started directly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, initially offering one-person tents that could be used for socially distant sleepovers for kids. Husband-and-wife owners Julie and Danny McInerney expanded by making 3-by-3-foot tents to rent out, setting them up in people’s living rooms or backyards. They keep about 50 in inventory.
Sweet Mitten Dreams continued to grow, purchasing and renting out nearly 17-foot-wide “glamping” tents to set up in backyards or parks and offer seasonal outdoor experiences (i.e., not in winter).
“It started as a kids party business, and now it’s evolved into the glamping tents that are also for kids [as well as] teens and has also trickled into adults for different parties like showers,” Julie McInerney says. “We’ve done 40th birthdays, 50th birthdays. We’ve done graduations.”
At Sweet Mitten Dreams, it’s not just about the tents; the business creates an entire experience with add-ons that can range from a 20-foot inflatable screen for watching movies in the backyard to a s’mores table or a popcorn or sundae bar. Julie strings lights and brings overstuffed pillows, outdoor rugs, ottomans, and blankets. Other options include spa kits, a dream-catcher activity, personalized pillowcases, and more.
Wanting to weave in a Michigan element (tying in with “Mitten” in the company’s name), Julie typically offers a selection of made-in-Michigan snacks; included items depend on availability and dietary restrictions.
Sweet Mitten Dreams averages about eight parties a weekend during its busy season, including tent parties, outdoor movies, and glamping.
For Haddad’s daughter, Sweet Mitten Dreams set up a big tent in the backyard. With two of her friends, she celebrated with a boho-chic theme that Haddad says turned out to be perfect.
“Julie had this balloon company make a huge balloon garland,” Haddad says. “There were lights, a cute rack with all Detroit products. There were games. Cool wicker chairs. The girls hung out there, they had pizza in there, they loved it.
“It gives you a different way to celebrate.”
For more information, visit sweetmittendreams.com.
This story is from the July 2022 issue of Hour Detroit. Read more our digital edition.