Our recommendation is to always hire a skilled professional for you wedding services, but this could not be more important than when you are planning a tented wedding.
A Tent Is A Tent
To most people a tent is a tent, however there are some very important things to consider when booking a tent. Tent rental companies are not all the same, research several companies and absolutely look beyond the price.
You may find a wide range of differences in the quality of their tents as well as how they install them and the advice they can offer you.
Frame tents, pole tents, clear top tents all have pros and cons and they can differ depending on location, season and time of your event.
Starting from Scratch
When you are planning a tented wedding, you are basically starting from scratch and need to take into account available space, how level the ground may be, proximity to the ceremony if you are on site, where guests are able to park and how they will get to the space, as well as access to restrooms.
Additionally, you will need to look at access to water, power, and a place to use as a kitchen.
Photo courtesy Vienna Glenn
More Space Than You Might Think
The amount of clear open space that is free from obstructions and level for placing a dance floor and tables grows with the number of guests and what activities are being hosted under the tent. Here is a quick guide to some common uses and space requirements.
Type of Event
Space Needed Per Person
Stand Up Cocktail
7.5 sq. ft / person
Cocktail Partial Seating
10 sq. ft. / person
Sit Down Dinner
15 sq. ft. / person
5-6 sq. ft. / person
2 sq. ft. / person
Check and Double Check
If the company installing your tent is staking the tent make sure they are checking for sprinkler lines, electric and gas lines as well. Driving a spike through any of those can be a major disaster.
Not all municipalities require a safety check from a fire marshal, your tenting company should know the requirements based on the location of your wedding.
Likewise, not all tenting companies include fire extinguishers as part of your tenting package, and while there may be an additional cost, it is something you do not want to be without.
Plan for fire safety when hosting a tented wedding, candles should only be in glass containers and sparklers (if allowed) only outside of the tented area.
After the tent has been installed, monitor the tent structure for various changes. These would include stakes or augers pulling out of the ground; tent weights moving; loose poles, ropes or straps. If you notice any of these occurring, contact the rental company immediately.
When working with a decorator for your wedding be sure to check with the tenting company before hanging or suspending anything from the ceiling. Knowing weight limitations and structural hang points are exceptionally important for safety.
Monitor the Weather
While a tent attendant is not always a requirement, it is a wonderful idea. Bad weather happens and having a functioning back up plan is necessary for a tented wedding. Thunder and lightning storms can be dangerous for guests inside of a tent, watching the weather is priority one.
A reputable tenting company should be able to walk you through the entire process and answer any questions you may have. Be safe, not sorry!