So You Want A Tented Wedding… 5 Things To Consider Before Getting Started

A beautiful summer day, a white tent filled with your closest friend and family, is so many people’s idea of the perfect wedding day. And don’t get me wrong, I’m one of them. A tented wedding so beautiful. It can transform to any style or theme. It’s memorable and classic.

But tented weddings are not always all rainbows and lollipops. There are often logistical issues to overcome. There are small details no one considers but guests remember. The outdoors is unpredictable despite trying to troubleshoot every possible thing. They are a TON more work for everyone involved.

Tented wedding reception

Here are  a few things you should consider before jumping in head first if you are thinking a tented wedding is the option for you. WARNING: This is real talk and not meant to scare you. I want people to be in the know and I don’t want anyone to be surprised if this is your wedding dream.

  1. Weather
    Everyone who has a tented wedding or has ever dreamed of one, pictures a sunny and warm day. It’s never too hot or too cold. Never rains. And the ground is always dry and level. This is not real life.
    It’s often hot, very hot, as the tent tends to keep the heat in. Yes even with the panels open. Or it’s cold, very cold, where guests do all they can to stay warm. If it rains, there is rarely a backup plan, or a good one if there is. There is no control and anything can happen. This is by far the biggest concern for a tented wedding.
  2. Washrooms
    Depending on where you have your tent, there is likely a suitable washroom to handle the number of guests. This then means bringing in portable washrooms. I will say, they sure have up-ed their game in the portables department. Trailers, with stalls and air conditioning or heat. Yes please. But, placement of the washrooms is also very important. You don’t want it too close in case a smell comes around and you don’t want it too far away, as it needs power and your guests don’t want to walk forever when they gotta go.
  3. Food and Beverage Service 
    A tented wedding brings a few logistical things to consider as well. First, the placement of the catering tent. It needs to be close or attached to allow for easy service. It also requires the rental of an additional tent, large enough for cooking, plating and cleaning up.
    If it’s really hot out, you risk a lot of things melting. Ice is a given. Keeping your drinks cold, is a challenge on the best of days. It’s even harder when it’s 90 degrees out. Also, your cake or desserts risk melting as well, leaving you with a mound of melty deliciousness that doesn’t look so appealing.
    Also, keep in mind refrigeration. Fridges large enough to store food, drinks and freezers for ice. Especially when you order, say 40 bags of ice, if you don’t have a large enough freezer, they are all melting at the same time and not actually helping you when you need it.
    Speaking of fridge and freezers, you often need to rent ovens and stoves so you can have actual cooked and hot food served to your guests. These increase the budget of your rentals, on top of what you might be expecting.
  4. Bugs, Grass & Other Elements
    Oh the outdoors and the things that come with it. Bugs is a biggy. Mosquitoes, bees and other creepy crawlers are going to crash your party whether you like it or not.
    Also, the ground is not always the best prep for your guests. Ladies with heels struggle walking in the grass, often feeling like they are playing their part in the aeration of the grass. Lumps, bumps and holes cause risk for tripping and injury. It’s best to look for the flattest area possible, or laying down a floor across the whole tent to help counter this.
    Finally, if it has rained in the past week, things can still be soggy and that’s never fun to have all the mud. The wear and tear on the grass is also very apparent in high traffic areas (think path to bar and washrooms).
  5. Cost
    In addition to the increase of budget I already mentioned, things like back up generators so you don’t loose power need to be included, often one for the caterer and one for the party area. Speakers, fans or heaters (depending on time of year), dance floors, all the serving utensils and items needed for preparation need to be included. This jumps your budget much higher than you might originally think. And making your own centerpieces will not save you enough for these additions.

Now my goal was not to scare you away from a tented wedding, but rather to have an honest chat about them. I love a tented wedding as much as the next wedding planner but there are a lot more things to consider than an established venue. If you are like, “Girl, that’s great but you can’t crush my tented wedding dreams. Let’s do this!”, then let’s do it! Go for it. It’s going to be beautiful! I promise.

Thanks,
Mal

Want help planning your tented wedding? Let’s chat about how I can make sure nothing is forgotten.

Photo by Calvin Frank Photography

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