With outdoor events becoming more popular due to social distancing guidelines and concerns, we are seeing an increase in the number of couples who are planning weddings on family or friend’s property and essentially constructing their own temporary tent venue. Selecting a property that is meaningful to the couple adds an extra level of intimacy to any ceremony and reception. As couples explore this option, we want to share some of the tips and tricks we have developed over the years, as well as elements you might not realize are necessary when building your own space to celebrate.
While it may appear to be a vast open space that could fit anything, it’s important to analyze what is happening on the ground. Is the area flat and even? Are there any plants or trees in the middle of an otherwise open area? What is the access to the space like from the road or driveway? If you have opted to put up a tent, it is important for the ground to be fairly even and flat, not only for the tent company, but also for your guests in attendance. If there are trees hanging over the area, you will want to make sure they won’t interfere with the size and height of the tent you want to install. First step in this process is to analyze the space you want to use to make sure it really is a good fit for your vision. Have your planner and a potential tent company come out to look at the property with you so that you understand what can and cannot be accomplished onsite.
Once you know the land you have selected can accommodate your tent and your vision, it is time to select your tent type, and you might be surprised how many there are. While frame tents are most commonly used, you could also select a pole tent, a marquee tent, or even a sailcloth tent. You will want to consult the tent company when selecting the exact size. It is important for them to understand how many guests you are expecting, and what you want under the tent, including a dancefloor, a stage for a band, bars, soft seating, tables and chairs for guests, and whether or not you need to include buffets or stations. While that seems like a lot of decisions to be made up front, your planner can guide you through these decisions based on the vision you have already discussed.
As you are selecting your tent, you will also want to discuss flooring. Some of our couples have opted to only provide a dance floor, and leave the rest of the tent floor as the grass since the ground was flat and even. Other couples choose to put in a carpeted floor or hardwood. While flooring can seem expensive, it can allow your guests to feel that they have stepped into a finished space. With flooring selected, you can focus your decisions on the ceiling and the type of lighting you would like. Whether you simply want perimeter lighting, café lights strung across the tent ceiling, or even a beautiful chandelier in the center of the tent, whatever option you choose will help set the tone for the entire style of the reception.
Don’t forget about the required utilities! Your lighting and any sound equipment from your entertainment will need power. Understanding your electrical needs and the types of generators available is important in guaranteeing a smooth wedding day without complications. The last thing you want is for the band’s equipment to cut off during your first dance. Generators come in a variety of sizes, strengths, and noise volumes. If you are not selecting a quiet generator, then make sure the placement is somewhere that won’t disrupt quieter moments of your reception. With a generator crossed off your list, it is time to talk about restroom trailers! We get oddly excited about the options available to you. Most are air conditioned/heated, have running water, lighting, and are sometimes the nicest restrooms you will step into that week! Restroom trailers come in a variety of sizes and styles to choose from. It is important to consider your guest count when making your selection so that you have enough stalls for everyone.
You might think finalizing details for your reception tent would be the end of the tent discussion, but you will also want to consider smaller tents for your vendors. Caterers will require their own tent close to the reception tent in order to provide service. In addition, you may need a small tent to serve as your band’s greenroom. You will want to make sure all of your vendors are covered – both literally and figuratively.
While this may seem like a daunting process, building your own reception space provides you and your guests with a unique experience. You have the opportunity to share a family home or property with your friends and family. You can build the space to be exactly what you envision it to be. If you are interested in hosting your wedding in a tent and don’t know where to start, we would love to assist you! Whether it is a celebration with 50 guests or 300, we have you covered. Contact us with your questions and we would love to help you build the tent reception of your dreams!
Thank you to Noble Sparrow Photography for the photos!