Everything You Need to Know About Tented Weddings

November 28, 2023
Everything You Need to Know About Tented Weddings

By Irene + Co Events | Feature image: Jessa E Photographs

The wedding industry and its hottest trends have seen a massive shift in the last few decades.

Think about how things have changed even in the last five years. An elopement is no longer a run-off-to-Vegas shindig. Now, it’s an intimate, intentional experience that prioritizes a couple’s preference. A bridal party isn’t just a group of women you’re supposed to have standing next to you on your wedding day. It’s a group of your people–the ones you want with you.

In the same way, the narrative (and execution) of tented weddings has made a major transition, too. Long gone are the days when a tented wedding is considered the “more affordable” or budget option for a wedding. Now, it’s a curated experience–something that can be a true expression of the day you want. It gives you control, custom design, and a hand in your timeline–all while incorporating a seamless feel of the outdoor scenery around you. If you’re looking for a way to blend the outdoors with the indoors, want a wedding venue that works pretty much anywhere you wish to be married, and have the freedom to curate your own experience without rules, you’re in the right place. A tented wedding might be the way to do all of that and more. This resource is here to spill all the details you need to know to discover if it’s the right fit for you.

Photos by: Jessa E Photographs

Tented Weddings: Insider Info From a Wedding Planning Pro

As a wedding planner who’s been in the industry for nearly a decade, I’ve seen and helped plan a lot of tented weddings. I’m offering you my best advice and some can’t-miss tips for choosing a tented wedding, planning a tented wedding, and getting the most out of your tented wedding.

The Tented Wedding Timeline
First, let’s talk timeline.

Unlike venues that are in permanent places (I’m looking at you, churches, resorts, and party halls), a wedding tent takes a few days to set up. Don’t get me wrong, I know traditional venues can take a few days to decorate and arrange, but I’m talking specifically about the structure of it all. With a tent, you truly do need to set the venue up ahead of time. If you rent a tent, know that the setup happens one to two days before your wedding. Usually, a rental company will install it for you. Here’s a reality check about the tent setup process–it takes time to get it right. Tent setup can be labor intensive, so hiring experienced vendors is the simplest way to make sure you do it correctly. You’ll also want to make sure you have access to the property where you’re having your tent set up at least 3-5 days before your wedding and a few days after, too. You’ll need time to get the tent taken down. The good news about this tent timeline? It’s perfect for couples who want a wedding that goes later into the night, a cocktail hour that stretches, or even extra hours to dance into the night. With a tent, you won’t have to worry about taking it all down the night of.

As a bonus tip, if you’re planning on a late night or extended party for your wedding, you’ll want to make sure you account for things like:

  • Extra food options
  • Extra time for the DJ to continue through the night
  • Secured parking and transport for safe travel for your guests
  • Respect for your town’s noise ordinance

 

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Video by: Oak & Pine

Location, Location, Location

When choosing a tent wedding, the question isn’t just why, it’s also where. The location of the tent is incredibly important. Even if a spot looks flat, it’s probably not. The best way to find the best spot for your tent? Schedule a site survey with your planner and your rental company before you book the tent. Most companies will come out, measure the space, and make recommendations for your install spot.

Picking the Perfect Wedding Tent

The fun thing about a tent wedding is that the tent is just as much about your personal style preferences as it is about the property and the environment. That means you can choose your favorite architectural design to fit the mood of your wedding.

A sailcloth tent (a favorite out here in Utah) has multiple peaks on top and almost a circus-like, whimsical look.

A-frame tents are a great choice, too. These are a more traditional style and tend to come with a white or clear top.

As a note, be picky about clear tents. Even though they’re stylish and trending, you’ll want to be aware of the weather. For example, a clear top tent during a summer wedding in a hot location (like Southern Utah) can make the tent unreasonably warm and super uncomfortable.

Photos by: Chris and Becca Photography

Weather & Seasonality

Speaking of comfortability, you’ll want to consider the weather and season before picking your perfect tent. Most tents out there can have additional side walls if you’re planning on an early spring or late fall wedding. Tent heaters are also all the rage, so rest assured you can host the best tent wedding no matter the season. Though a tent is covered and should help in the event of a little rain, you’ll still want to come up with a plan B for any excess rain. Here are a few weather-based elements to consider before choosing a tent:

  • What’s the chance of rain in your area on your date?
  • What will happen to the ground if it rains–puddles, mud, etc?
  • Where will your ceremony take place if it rains?
  • Will parking be impacted by rain?

Photo by: Jessa E Photographs

Tent Size Considerations

Of course, the size of your ten matters, too. Most come in a variety of sizes you can choose from or expand on. Here’s a little cheat sheet of common sizing and wedding size to get you started:

  • 50-75 guests: 20’ x 40’
  • 100 guests: 30’ x 50’
  • 150 guests: 40’ x 80’
  • 200 guests: 40’ x 100’

The Shape of the Tent Matters, Too

It’s not just about the size of the tent–it’s about the shape of it, too. The shape of your wedding tent will depend on the aesthetic you’re going for, as well as the functionality of your tent and how you envision your ceremony or reception. You can choose from options like

  • Oval
  • Rectangle
  • Square

When you’re picking a tent, talk to your rental company and your wedding planner so you can have a clear idea of the size of the tables, the layout of your space, and what you should look for.

Wedding Tents: The Get-Married Anywhere Venue

Think about tents as the ultimate hack for creating a venue anywhere. Usually, couples will pair a tented reception or cocktail hour with a more traditional fixed-venue ceremony. But I’ve seen lots of couples plan their ceremony in a beautiful outdoor setting and then use the tent for their intimate reception. However you decide to plan your wedding, know that a tent could be a great, customizable fit that gives you flexibility and plenty of options.

One last tip? If you’re considering a tented wedding, you might want to think about adding a floor. Adding a floor can alleviate uneven spots in the ground, help with a rain plan, and keep everyone in attendance more comfortable.

Photos by: Here North Photography

Have More Tent Questions? A Wedding Planner Can Help

After planning weddings for nearly 10 years, I can tell you that I’ve seen all kinds of weddings. Tent weddings bring a special charm, unique intimacy, and customizable ability that weddings in more fixed venues can’t. If you have questions about a tent wedding, reach out to a qualified planner to direct you down the right path.

Want to chat about tent weddings? I’m your girl. Reach out to me anytime!

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Planner: Irene + Co Events
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