Wedding Planner Q&A – “What Do I Need To Know About Planning A Tented Wedding?”


Wedding Planners - 6 Tips For Planning Tented Weddings

Today’s wedding planner question is about working with tents.

Tents are fabulous ways to protect couples and their guests from the unfavorable weather conditions that can plague outdoor weddings. At one time, tents were only available in white but now they come in a wide variety of sizes, colors, themes, and styles, including ones with clear roofs and clear walls so it can appear that the event is out in the open. Also, they can include elaborate draping, chandeliers, lighting and floral arrangements that can make guests forget where they are so your brides might want to use tents whether they need to or not


I’ve never planned a wedding using an outdoor tent. What do I need to know?


If you have not had experience renting tents, here are 6 tips:

1. Check the wedding budget

Before you even start planning a lavish tented event, get some basic estimates and make sure your bride has money in her budget to cover the costs. The tented weddings she has seen on television and in magazines require a lot of labor and can be quite expensive.

2. Make sure the venue you are using allows the use of tents

Whether you are using a private venue or a public area, like a park, find out if you are allowed to have a tented event and what their restrictions are regarding size and placement.

3. Know how you and your bride plan to use a tent before you talk to a rental company

The tent requirements will vary depending not only on how many guests the bride is expecting but also if she wants a tent for her ceremony and/or her reception. A tent for a ceremony requires room for rows of seating, an aisle, altar, musicians and perhaps an arch and a platform for the couple and their officiant to stand on. A reception tent requires room for dining tables and chairs, a cake table, dance floor, bar, musicians or DJ and perhaps a stage. Both scenarios require room for electricity, lighting, audio equipment and air conditioners or heaters.

You may also need an additional tent to hold a caterer’s kitchen and another for restrooms, if the main tent is not near a building with these things readily available.

4.  Know what fire and safety codes you need to follow

There are state and local codes you must follow when you have an event in a tent. These include the number of exits you need and the amount of space you must have for the number of guests you expect. Your rental company can help you with this information and also tell you about any permits you may need to purchase.

5. Visit the rental company and see their tents

Like party rental equipment, quality can vary. You want to make sure the tents are clean and well maintained. Also, if you are using them to carry out a particular theme, you want to check that the colors work with the rest of your decor.

6. Find out what is included with the rental

Don’t just assume the tent rental company will automatically include the air conditioners or heaters, liners, flooring, furniture and lighting that you think are basic. Ask if they can provide these items or, if not, if they can suggest a vendor who can.

Event Solutions magazine recently posted an excellent two-part article all about the basics of tented events. Part one reviewed selection and set-up and described different types of tents. Part two discussed organizing and designing the space. I recommend you read these to learn more about the basic of planning a tented wedding.


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