Nearly any venue or combination of venues classified as off-site will involve a tent. Backyard weddings almost always necessitate tents. Sites such as estates and wineries often do too, and depending on their size, country clubs, hotels, and resorts might as well. There are all kinds of issues to think about when choosing a tent. What kind of tent will it be? A basic canopy or an elegant, peeked roof tent? Will there be a floor? The bottom line is that a tent wedding is a major production. Usually, the tent will be constructed the week before your wedding, with last-minute adjustments to accommodate the weather and your wishes. With that being said, here are some facts to consider when determining if a tent wedding is right for you.
Tents require more decision making than any other wedding location. If you know what you want or at least what you like, you’ll be fine. If you’re not great at making choices about forks, portable toilets, or outdoor lighting, or just not interested in that level of detail, you’ll want to either leave it to the professionals or consider hosting your wedding in a simpler setting.
Get a tent company representative involved as early as possible. These experts can evaluate your property, budget, details, and vendor recommendations, which may help you in your process. Many companies can also arrange for generators, lighting, and even bathroom facilities.
Every city has a list of regulations for hosting a tent event. Your tent company will likely help you with some of these, but you’ll want to know yourself what forms needed to be filed, which inspections will take place once the tents are built, and what is not permitted.
Know that there will likely be some damage to your lawn. When trucks, work crews, and lots of guests are using your property over the course of a week or so, it is inevitable that you’ll experience some wear and tear above and beyond what is normal.
Have a rain plan. This may seem obvious, but make sure that your tent will allow for a covered ceremony in case of inclement weather. Discuss the flow of transitions with all pertinent service providers to minimize any impact on your guests’ comfort.
Know that tent budgets are inclined to increase. If you decide at the last minute to add more tents, a floor, heaters, or fans, there will be a cost. Try to examine all the options up-front so you’ll be clear about what to expect in case you do decide to add or change the detail.
Don’t try to turn your tent into a hotel ballroom. Let your natural surroundings inspire you and focus on color, pretty linens, and unique decorations, as well as a good caterer.
Insist on a floor. Remember that if it rains, even a few days before the wedding, a soggy lawn under your tent can ruin tablecloths, guests’ shoes, and everyone’s comfort level. You might want to add walkways and canopies at key points to make it more comfortable for you and your guests.
Create lounges. A cocktail or ceremony tent can be transformed into a great party space with a few minor adjustments. Lounge areas are great gathering spots throughout the evening and makes for a perfect, intimate place to continue the party when the majority of the guests’ have departed.
Consider using lighting. Most tent companies provide basic lighting for safety and some have equipment or arrangements with vendors to provide more complex lighting. Because a tent is a blank, open space, lighting can be transformational.
Lanterns are a great lighting source for tents. Lanterns strung from the ceiling are dramatic, adding color and scale to your design, while spot lighting tables and buffets will enhance the look of your centerpieces and displays.