Everything Under the Rental Tent
Planning a Outdoor Wedding. The Necessities
There’s something indescribable about an outdoor wedding: the unparalleled beauty of a rocky ocean shore, a romantic botanical garden, the warm familiarity of your own backyard
Tents can be pitched just about anywhere. Stake one in your favorite park or even outside a gorgeous mansion or estate, if that’s the venue you choose. Whether you’re going for formal or casual, tents come in all shapes, sizes and materials. Work with your local rental company to figure out what style fits your vision (and the venue’s spatial constraints). And make sure you choose a tent that works on your surface—pavement, grass, sand and so on.
And don’t forget to weatherproof it. For a summer wedding, bring in fans and portable air conditioning units, and keep guests warm in chillier months with tall patio or propane heaters. You may also want to add floor surfaces (to correct uneven ground) and wall panels (to protect against wind or rain).
Think About the Extras—and Rent Them
Since tents are virtually a blank canvas, you’ll more than likely need to bring in some extra touches to finish the look. Luckily, there are tons of rental design options available—textured curtains and tiebacks, funky chandeliers and colorful cushions. Decide what elements are most important to you and then figure out how to fit the items at the top of your list and into your budget.
Transform the Venue Into a Charming Space
Whether you’ve chosen a rustic spot in the woods, a small backyard or a grand, grassy lawn, make it more inviting and comfortable with lounge furniture and lots of pillows. If you don’t have room to bring in couches and plush chairs, arrange your dining area with smaller 4-person reception tables instead of larger 8 or 10 person tables to create a more intimate look and feel.
Set the Mood With On-Point Lighting
To set the mood (and help guests see each other), add things like paper lanterns, pinspot lighting, twinkling lights or stately chandeliers. Light up surrounded walkways for easy access to the bathrooms.
Think: luminaries and small up-lights along the paths, and mason jars or tea lights hanging from nearby tree branches.
Decide on your heating and air-conditioning situation.
This is important. Depending on the location and season of your wedding, you’ll likely need to rent some equipment if you think the temperature could be a cause of discomfort at your outdoor wedding or reception. Lots of tent vendors can provide you with the necessary equipment, including portable air-conditioning units, outdoor heaters, tall patio heaters, floor heaters, misting fans and more. Just make sure to do the legwork, ask the right questions and select what’s best for your needs
Changing Gears “cost”
How much do wedding rentals cost?
On average, most couples in the U.S. spend between $425 to $1,000 + on wedding rentals. Event rentals you will likely need for your wedding include tables, chairs, dinnerware, and much more. While it does cost money to rent these items, it’s certainly less expensive than buying every plate and fork you’ll need for your big day.
Wedding Tent Size:
There are a ton of formulas out there to help you determine what size tent you’ll need, taking into account what types of tables you’ll have (square or round), and whether or not you’ll have a dance floor among other considerations. However, I wouldn’t get too wrapped up in that considering you’ll most likely get all of that information from the tent company during your first meeting/call.
However, so you have an idea below are general size requirements you can expect to use for pole tents:
- Up to 100 guests – 30×60 pole tent
- Up to 140 guests – 40×60 pole tent
- Up to 200 guests – 40×80 pole tent
What may be needed for power and the unexpected
In addition to your basic wedding tent structure, you’ll have to decide which of the following additions you’ll need:
- Side walls
- Catering tent (if your venue does not offer a kitchen/covered set-up area, you might need an additional, smaller tent for this)
Before you will be able to figure out how much a wedding tent will cost you, you should be prepared to ask your wedding venue and tent rental companies the following questions…
For the wedding tent company:
- Is labor included in the tent rental cost?
- If not, what is your estimated labor cost?
- How long is the tent rental period?
- Does the tent require a permit or is it included in the cost?
- Is the tent waterproof?
- What’s your cancellation policy?
- How are last-minute orders handled?
- What are your delivery/pickup fees?
- What size do you recommend?
- Are sidewalls/flooring/lights or other components included?
- Are there any discounts for renting other equipment from you (tables, chairs, etc.)
For the wedding venue:
- Am I required to have a wedding tent for the ceremony and/or reception? If not, what is the venue’s weather backup plan?
- How many hours do I have for setup/breakdown? (As a general rule, tents can take around 6-8 hours for setup, and half that time to break them down.)
- What is the cost for additional rental hours if needed?
- Is there a power source for a tent or do I need a generator?
- What are the measurements of the space we would be tenting?
- Am I required to use a specific tent rental company? If not, which ones can you recommend?
Here’s a snapshot of some general wedding tent rental costs*:
Basic tent structure cost: $500 for your smallest tent (like the one you might use for your caterers) up to $5,000+ depending on size, type, etc.
Flooring: Tent flooring can run anywhere between $1-$2.50 a sq. foot., so estimate between $300-$2,000+ depending on the type (plastic, wood, etc.)
Side walls: These are charged by linear square foot, which can range from $1-4. You can expect to pay around $400+ for a 40’X60′ tent.
Tent liners: According to companies in the area a general estimate for liners in a 40’X60’ tent is around $1,080.
Tent heaters: $125+/each
Things to remember:
- If you’re picking a venue because it’s less expensive than other ones you’ve seen but it needs a tent, you’ll want to factor that price into your venue budget. Depending on the cost you could potentially go with another venue that is more expensive but won’t need a tent.
- Ask the wedding venue or caterer who they recommend for wedding tent rentals. It’s much better to go with a tent rental company who has worked with the space before and knows the lay of the land.
- If your entire wedding reception is outside and caterers have to set up a kitchen, you’ll have to factor in the cost of a catering tent as well (listed above).
How to Save:
- Skip the liner. While these look gorgeous, they can cost you as much as the price of the tent in many cases. Instead, go with a pole tent if you’re looking for that drapey look.
- Fabric walls will cost you more. Go with solid, clear, or windowed walls to keep the price on average.
- Don’t get flooring for your entire tent. Instead, opt to have just a dance floor.
- While heaters are a must in cold months (and are inexpensive), air conditioners will cost you a fortune (and tent companies rarely suggest you get one). Instead, opt for fans to cool the tent down if necessary.
- Frame tents can be more expensive due to the intricate ceiling and the fact that you’ll most likely have to line them (unless they’re clear). To save money, opt for a pole tent instead.
Wedding Vendors Podcast