A Tent Wedding

I’ll be honest and say I didn’t know *exactly* what I was getting myself into. I wasn’t totally naive, and I knew that having a “tent wedding” wasn’t going to be a way to save ourselves any money. I knew the rental costs would add up, and that the planning would be a lot more extensive. Even Mr. Tiramisu agreed that with the new plan to basically rent a lawn and build our own wedding, we’d definitely need the help of a wedding planner.

After a week of visiting more traditional wedding venues, however, with their option A, B or C weddings (however cleverly disguised as the “Diamond Bay Option” or “Emerald Coast Plan”), I was anxious to personalize my wedding, and more importantly, pay for only what we really wanted. How hard could it be? You rent a tent, some chairs, tables, choose your own caterer and band, and voila, instant wedding!

I’ll admit I was a little blinded by how much I loved our new location option, and didn’t really let myself get swayed by the difficult task ahead. Did I have any idea how much tables and chairs cost to rent? It certainly makes you appreciate why hotels can get away with charging so much.

One of the most discouraging parts of budgeting has been, by far, the rentals. I remember remarking to Mr. T as we drove away from our venue for the first time that “this way we can decide what we want to spend our money on!” Well I’ll be the first to say that I never really *wanted* to spend $1000 on chairs ($4 basic garden chair x 250 = I could think of way better things to spend $1000 on). Or $1200 on a glorified porta-potty. I spent many nights being annoyed at the prices (and the x 250 totals) and second-guessing our decision to have a tent wedding.

And then, well, I just sort of got over it. The price to rent out our venue was much less than most of the other all-inclusive options we looked at, and I started justifying it by reminding myself how unique it would be to sit out on a lawn facing the ocean. So yeah, justifying purchases is an easy trap to fall into, especially when wedding planning, but in this case, well, I think I am perfectly (sorry) justified 😉

Anyone else want to share their best purchase-justifying tips? I’m sure I’m going to need them in the upcoming months!


Mrs. Tiramisu

Annapolis, MD/Maine
Wedding Date:
July 2008
Her Big Day!
Moving On To The Gents

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  1. Member
    ttshoo 20 posts, Newbee @ 7:55 pm

    I wanted a tent wedding for the longest time! I found one good location for it but including the rental fee was not that low and the possibility of having to air condition the thing (Houston weather can get pretty nasty) made me just nix the whole thing. I’m so jealous of you!

    Luckily my weather proof, air conditioned venue is just a large patio that was given a tent like ceiling and is open air on one side. Same sort of feel I guess for a good compromise. I am slowly finding out though that the food and beverage prices are so much higher and my need to ‘personalize’ the space by changing up the rentals, are slowly adding up to be more than the tent! So I have to justify the added expense by saying I already compromised on not having a tent wedding. I can justify anything, it a gift we women have. :)

  2. Guest Icon Guest
    stacyj, Guest @ 8:25 pm

    I feel for you. I too am having a tent wedding at my parents summer home. The hotels in our area are so expensive. We thought we could save money by having our wedding at home. We had no idea what we were getting into. The rental company wanted answers to questions we had not even considered. I was not even sure if I needed all of the items they pushed on us. My mother suggested a wedding planner. A cost I did not want. A month later I gave in and am glad I did. We have accepted the cost and the joint planning is more enjoyable.

  3. Member
    princesskittyHI 402 posts, Helper bee @ 8:37 pm

    I justified everything the same way I did/do all major purchases (car, someday house, computer, etc.): You’re already spending a lot on whatever it is…so isn’t it worth it to spend a “little bit” more to get EXACTLY what you’re happy with? I mean, if you’re gonna plonk down thousands of dollars, and not be totally happy, well, that’s no good — might as well go for the gusto and be happy happy happy…right?!?! =)

  4. Guest Icon Guest
    Christine, Guest @ 8:52 pm

    250 people and only 1 “glorified porta-potty”? I have to admit… I am concerned about that!!

  5. Member
    lt23 2 posts, Wannabee @ 9:06 pm

    I’m having a tent wedding as well, but fortunately our location has a permanent tent. However we still have to rent all of the tables, chairs, etc. (and I understand the x250 blues!). I rationalized it though by remembering that this way will allow me to have not just the wedding I want, but the experience I want. Our setup is similar to yours in that we have a house for the whole weekend. So we’ll have all of our events there as well — five events throughout the weekend all for the price of one! And it will allow us to bring all of our guests together so that they can get to know each other throughout the weekend. All in all it adds up to one awesome wedding and that’s how I’ve justified the expense. It just wouldn’t be possible to have something like this at a traditional (and perhaps slightly less-expensive) venue!

  6. tiramisu Member
    tiramisu 390 posts, Helper bee @ 9:07 pm

    @princesskittyHI: That’s one of my favorite tactics!@Christine: Don’t worry- two stalls in the porta potty plus five more bathrooms in the house! (And ohmygoodness I hope all 250 don’t reply yes!)

  7. Member
    princesskittyHI 402 posts, Helper bee @ 10:13 pm

    Did you get one of the wooden ooh-la-la porta-potties? ‘Cause again, w/ my whole justification…if I’m paying for a porta-potty, I’m TOTALLY getting the pimped-out one!! =)

  8. Guest Icon Guest
    lori m, Guest @ 10:31 pm

    Hi Miss Tiramisu!

    I had my wedding in Maine too and we also had a tent wedding. We built the wedding from scratch and everyone loved it! Yes the cost of the wedding doubled from our initial estimate but we’re not regretting it. You get to plan your whole wedding and control every part of it. I can’t imagine renting out a hotel ballroom I would probably just stare at the ugly walls and chairs the entire time. Plus it’s really more special than just a hotel room. Maine is beautiful and deserves to be showcased in its natural glory. Definitely go with that “glorified porta-potty,” everyone will love it.

  9. Guest Icon Guest
    kalen, Guest @ 2:07 am

    i think tent weddings can be absolutely beautiful if done correctly & it’s not burning hot outside :) the night time… great lighting… it can all come together in quite a spectacular fashion.

    of course, it has the potential to be a little ghetto too, but let’s not go there 😉

  10. Guest Icon Guest
    Mary, Guest @ 9:43 am

    we are planning our october wedding for my parents backyard – it is screaming to host a wedding and reception.

    the rentals are killing me in cost. my biggest beef: the bid from the lady who wants to hang lights around the yard and tent…. $100 to wrap a tree in white christmas lights!!!

    also, she told me that i could get a better deal on buying my own paper lanterns… anyone find lights for less than ~ $4??

    one more thing: if you are having your wedding at a location which does not normally host weddings – e.g. anywhere not a banquet hall or hotel – HIRE A PLANNER!!!!! mine is a God-send


  11. Guest Icon Guest
    notquiteyet, Guest @ 10:38 am

    I know this comment is a little late but I just spent the past hour reading all your past entries after finding out you were from Maine – (me too). I have had such a difficult time finding a venue for our wedding that wasn’t ridiculously overpriced, a tented wedding seems to be my ideal situation and I have diligently searched vrbo.com for hours and hours on end searching for a weekend rental with a large lawn on the ocean. We are not getting married until 2009 so I was wondering if you might share the location of your event with me? Also curious, as we are planning from away if you are happy with your decision to hire a planner?

  12. Guest Icon Guest
    notquiteyet, Guest @ 1:27 pm

    You are absolutely a bride after my own heart. I too grew up in Maine and can’t imagine having my wedding anywhere else; the oceanside venue just seems like a must but the prices are considerably out of our budget. You seem so excited about your venue I was wondering if you might share the details of the location with me (or how to contact the property owner)? It would be greatly appreciated as we cannot find a location for our event next summer. There need to be more Maine brides – (not destination bridges with unlimited budgets) blogging about their experiences with vendors/etc. I look forward to your future posts!

  13. Member
    JennD 2 posts, Wannabee @ 12:45 pm

    To the Maine Brides….I know that this was posted awhile back but wondering how it all worked out. We are getting married 9-10-11 on CHebeague Island. Renting out a large house the point. Not sure if I want to pay for a wedding planner but feel like it is going to get overwhelming! Trying to figure out the tent lighting now!

  14. tiramisu Member
    tiramisu 390 posts, Helper bee @ 12:48 pm

    @JennD: It worked out wonderfully! You can read some of my other posts if you want to see the outcome. It was definitely a lot more work, a lot more planning, and probably more money too. I definitely recommend a wedding planner! I wrote a lot of posts about tent lighting as well- let me know if I can help. Chebeague is beautiful! Good luck! :)

  15. Guest Icon Guest
    Meghan Martin, Guest @ 11:38 pm

    Another Maine bride here :) @mrs. tiramisu wondering where you had your wedding at? I am in the Orono/Bangor area and trying to find a wedding venue for 9/2/11 thanks for any help!! :)

  16. tiramisu Member
    tiramisu 390 posts, Helper bee @ 11:47 pm

    Hi Meghan, we rented a private home I cape neddick- there are lots of pictures in my recap posts. Good luck! :)

  17. Guest Icon Guest
    Monica Miller, Guest @ 3:06 pm

    I think having a tent wedding is a great choice if you need to have a spacious, relaxed atmosphere for dining and dancing. I’m also considering having a tent wedding to accommodate all of my friends.

  18. Guest Icon Guest
    Cyndi, Guest @ 10:02 am


    I found this post while looking for quotes/estimates for renting a tent, chairs, tables, and a sound system for my wedding next August. I live in Maine, and I’m trying to settle our budget. If anyone is still reading this, would you mind sharing how much you spent on these things? I’m hoping to have about 250 people attending my wedding.

  19. tiramisu Member
    tiramisu 390 posts, Helper bee @ 10:14 am

    @Cyndi: Hi Cyndi! I’d call one stop party shoppe and get an estimate. They were the most reasonable and flexible to work with that we found. Good luck!

  20. Guest Icon Guest
    Julie, Guest @ 1:37 pm

    Did anyone (Cyndi?( figure out cost estimate for the tent/chair/tables/linens/glassware/silverware/plates etc that it takes to have a tent wedding for any (pick!) number of people? I’m doing the same thing, for 120 people.
    Actually, Mrs Tiramisu, How much did it cost to rent the lawn at Greystone and how much for renting the house for the weekend? That is a big part, I’m sure, since the big hotels all have site fees, and I can compare to those.
    Thanks so much!!

  21. Guest Icon Guest
    Cyndi, Guest @ 6:22 am


    Hi Julie!
    I ended up getting my tables/chairs/tent/dance floor as a bundle with my catering. We’re getting married in Peru, Maine this June (two months from tomorrow!!!) and we went with Dad’s Place in Mechanic Falls for catering. Larry, the caterer, knows a tent guy, so we got a relatively good deal (about $2000 for our rentals). We’re gonna have about 170 guests.

    Good luck with all of your details – Greystone looks like a beautiful place for a coastal wedding!

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