Are you planning a tent wedding but have no idea where to start? Check out these 10 tips to get your planning ball rolling.
1) Strongly Consider your Location
When considering your location, consider your guests. Are you looking at using a family cabin or property outside of the city? If you are outside of a taxi district, and away from all hotels you may end up with a few headaches throughout your planning process. Also consider the location and time of year. Are you setting up a tent right in a heavy flood area in the spring? As fun as it seems to just set up a tent and host a wedding, all of these tiny details, will need to be considered in the overall plan.
You may also need to get permits from the Rural Municipality to be able to legally host the wedding, which may be more time consuming than you think. Determine all of these factors PRIOR to setting a wedding date.
You must avoid areas with underground utility cables i.e. hydro, gas, telephone, internet. Next, you will need to consider and avoid underground sprinkler systems and any smaller electrical wiring that may have been put in by the property owners.
You will need to be a safe distances away from permanent structures such as houses or garages. This will allow for easy traffic flow or access for riding lawn mowers.
Although this part isn't extremely fun when planning the wedding, it needs to be considered. Is there any electrical on the site? If there is, would you need to bring in generators to compensate for the DJ, Lighting, Caterers, etc....? When you think of lighting, your mind may automatically go to twinkle lights, custom monograms or fun bistro lights, but what about parking lot lights? Exterior lighting?
As for the water, how are the bartenders getting water to serve throughout dinner? Is there a water hook up for the caterer or the washroom facilities?
3) Land Level/ Size
Another very important thing to consider when planning a tent wedding is the land size. Most tent companies offer tent sizes on their website, but you also need to consider porta-potties, parking lot space, any additional space for an outdoor ceremony, lawn games, a catering/food prep area or an outdoor patio. What if you are considering setting up the wedding in a heavily treed area? That may affect how the tent can be set up, and liability in the event of a heavy storm blowing tree branches on to the tent. How level is the property? Will the tables be wobbly? Will the dance floor be impossible?
Now I am not just talking about rain on the wedding day. I am deep diving into the weather. Clear top tents NEED fans. They get extremely hot in the summertime, especially when you fill them with dancing bodies. What about on the other end of the spectrum? Are you considering October? If so, you may need to rent portable heaters (propane works best to avoid the need for additional electrical.)
5) Create an appropriate menu
Maybe you have always dreamed of having tiny soup shooters on the appetizer menu, or baked mini poutine cups? In the dead of summer, no one wants hot soup, I can promise you that. You will also need to consider what type of items travel well, how far the caterers will be traveling and what type of prep area they have.
Consider your guests with dietary requirements, will the caterers be able to accommodate this?
Have you allotted space in your tent for a buffet table or are you doing a plated sit down meal?
We do live in Winnipeg after all! There are professional companies available for hire that can come to the wedding venue and fog for mosquito's. You may also consider a guest experience table where you provide mini fans, bottles of water, sun block or bug spray to enhance their guest experience.
8) Appropriate Budget
If you haven't already heard tiny money symbols screaming cha ching in the back of your head as you were reading this blog post, here is your reminder. Tent Weddings are not inexpensive. In my experience, they are nearly double the cost of the average hotel ballroom wedding. If you are considering a tent wedding, we suggest a healthy budget of a minimum $70,000 for 100 guests with a contingency fund.
If you are renting a tent, and setting it up on a family property, things you may not consider are rentals for chairs, tables, patio furniture, linens, dishes, glassware, rental bars, etc... These items are in addition to the traditional personal items such as a guest book, place cards, menu cards, table numbers, flowers, centerpieces, etc...
Keep in mind that you likely do not have a dishwasher onsite so you will need to order approximately 7-9 glasses per person to avoid the use of plastic cups.
Be sure that you are renting enough furniture. This is a common oversight, but you will need chairs for the ceremony & reception since there won't be staff onsite to move anything over. We also recommend if you are doing lounge furniture to order enough for at least 50% of your guest list.
10) Hire Professionals
Planning a tent wedding is no joke. There are SO many logistics to consider, vendors to hire and margins for error. Hire professionals. Each vendor will have done these jobs multiple times, making them more experienced, faster and insured if anything was to go wrong. A professional will be able to customize your floor plan, to ensure that everything actually fits. I can't tell you how many times I have seen the wrong size tent ordered.
If you have planned a tent wedding, and you have some suggestions to add to this blog post, contact us!
Photo: Lauren Cox Photography
Style and Design: Tricia Bachewich Events
Venue: Starlit Point
Film: Whole Heart Films
Flowers: Geek Chic Decor
Rentals: CT Rentals
Cake: Manitoba Roll Cake
Paper Products: La Petite Paperie
Models: Prairie Sun Kiss and Andres Bazin
Dress: Helene's Bridal Salon
Linens: Planned Perfectly
Balloons: Glitter and Glue
Hair and Make Up: The Artist Groupe
Calligraphy: Nude and Maple