How to Host a Successful Tent Wedding!

January 11, 2016

Happy New Year and Happy Engagement Season!

Many of you who answered “Yes!” over the holiday season may now be diving into planning your wedding.  Some of you may be dreaming of a luxurious ballroom celebration while others may be imagining a more custom affair at your home or rustic property.  Planners beware! While stunning and completely customizable, a tent wedding requires more logistical planning and even a larger budget.  Today, I’m sharing a few of my secrets for hosting a successful tent wedding.  Let the planning begin…

  1. Accept that rain is a possibility!-  If the idea of rain on your wedding day terrifies you, a tent wedding is not for you. (Sorry.  I said it!)  Have a great Plan B in place, which should include tent siding, umbrellas and even golf carts for guests to move easily around the property.  Rain or shine, and by following my tips below, your guests are going to have a good time anyway because they are celebrating you!

    Photo via on Pinterest
    Photo via on Pinterest
  2. Accept that bugs are inevitable!- No amount of citronella or professional spray services will completely get rid of our insect friends, but it may certainly reduce the number.  Provide bug spray for guests.  Place tents away from wooded or marshy areas where insects like to congregate.  A steady flow of air will also help keep flying insects at bay.  It’s 100% worth the extra few dollars in fans!
  3. Seek out reputable rental companies where quality is key.-  Your tent is your wedding structure. It should not only be clean but it should also be free of holes and able to withstand heavy rain and winds without disruptions to the party.
  4. Have a contingency fund for emergencies resulting from weather.-  You may need to rent siding, fans, air conditioning units and space heaters.  To avoid scrambling at the last minute when others are also emergency placing orders, reserve a few of these items in advance and add on only if necessary.
  5. Budget for extras!- A tent wedding is not always the most affordable option out there.  In fact, it can be the most expensive.  Not only are you building a venue from scratch and will need to bring EVERYTHING in but you’ll also need water and power sources, restrooms, cooking equipment and maybe even valet services.  Want a floor? It may be more than the tent itself! Pinterest fanatics beware!  Most of the stunning, fabric-draped tents that you see featured are $100K+ affairs. (Just want to look? I’ve got a board dedicated to my favorites!)
  6. Style is key!– Consult with your rental company on the options available.  A clear tent might sound like a dream, but you and your guests won’t feel dreamy if it’s a hot summer day. (Think greenhouse!)

    Photo Via Style Me Pretty
    Photo via Style Me Pretty on Pinterest
  7. Prepare for wind.- Make sure that linens are clipped down or tied off with sashes.  Plan decor that is heavier in nature and forgo paper table numbers and menu cards that can easily be blown away.
  8. Beat the heat!- Provide your guests will handheld fans, sunscreen and refreshing non-alcoholic beverage choices.  Keep your bars out of the sun and plan for extra ice.  I always double my suggested ice and water needs for particularly hot summer days.
  9. Keep your vendors informed and seek out their advice.- Your wedding team will need to plan in advance for an outdoor occasion.  Rental companies will need to measure the space and survey the land for hills, holes and water paths.  Caterers will require a site visit to find out limitations on power and water, and also distances from prep to serving areas.  Staff, cooking equipment and even your menu may have to be adjusted in order for the event to run smoothly.  Your entertainment will request to be out of sun.  Surprises can be disastrous!
  10. Hire a planner!– I hate to toot my own horn, but this is one situation where a planner is worth his or her weight in gold!  The logistical plans that go into preparing for a successful tent wedding can be extensive and overwhelming.  Also, due to exposure to the elements, almost all of your decor will need to be set up the day of the wedding. Some items should only be put out at the last minute- desserts, heat-sensitive flowers, etc. And… we have even more secrets to share with you to make for a magical evening under the stars!


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