What to Know About Planning a Tented Wedding

A tented wedding lit up at night.

Tented weddings are a convenient way to have your celebration in the great outdoors and simultaneously be protected from the outdoor elements. This means shelter from rain, wind, cold, heat, bugs—all while providing a more defined space for your event outside. While having a tented wedding may seem pretty easy and straightforward, there are quite a few things to know about these types of events in order to make them a success.

Not all Tents Are Created Equal

There are many different types of tents to choose from for an outdoor wedding, which may come as news to you! Different models have different aesthetics. For instance, pole tents obviously have poles, which create peaks in the center of the canopy. These are typically constructed out of vinyl or sailcloth. Alternatively, structure and frame tents have open-steel shells that are better able to support heavy equipment. Finally, clear-top tents are the most modern option, allowing guests to easily take in their surroundings even from inside the tent.

Check the Ground

When the rental company comes to install your tent, it’s vital to ensure that they check for sprinkler, electric, and gas lines before putting stakes in the ground. Inadvertently hitting one of these lines during installation could cause major issues.

Invest in Accessories

Tents need accessories to really bring them to the next level. For instance, hanging lanterns, chandeliers, wooden floors, special effects lighting, and sidewall lighted windows are all upgrade options worth considering for your tent.

Choose the Right Size

A tent set up on a beach for a wedding.

Choosing the wrong size of tent could cause an uncomfortable situation, either leaving your guests feeling cramped or letting the space seem to swallow your event. A general rule of thumb to follow is 18 square feet of tent per person for a wedding that features a seated dinner and dancing.

Consider Temperature Regulation

One great thing about tented weddings is the ability to add air conditioning or heaters to keep guests comfortable no matter what the outdoor temperature is. Many tent vendors can provide you with this equipment and can install it when they put up the tent. While this could be a bit costly, it may be worth the investment to take your wedding reception to the next level.

Choose the Right Flooring

A white tent on a wood floor platform for a wedding reception.

When you have a tented wedding, you can skip flooring and simply use the natural landscape—most frequently grass—to act as the “floor” of your tent. However, to make walking around your event easier (especially for gals in heels) you can opt for more sturdy flooring. Wood floor, sisal carpet, or AstroTurf are all great options at different price points that are worth considering.

Understand the Safety Measures

There are a range of safety measures that the city or town you’re in may require of your tented wedding. For instance, check with your tent vendor on whether or not the fire marshal will need to inspect your tent prior to the event. Also check whether your tent vendor includes fire extinguishers with your rental, and if not, figure out where to get one to have on hand. Keep candles in glass containers far away from the tent material to avoid fire hazards during your event. Finally, check with your tent vendor about the weight limitations for hanging decor from the tent’s top to avoid a potential collapse and large safety issue.

Perform a Sound Check

You’ll want to ensure that the sound in your tent reaches all corners without being too overwhelmingly loud. Have your DJ or band do a sound check prior to the start of the event to get the volume right.

Reserve Your Tent Early

You may be surprised to learn that tents book up quickly! Book yours at least six months ahead of time so that you can ensure you get the size and style of your choosing.

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