As is the case with many things that need to be checked off your planning list, a wedding tent may seem like it’ll be a breeze to book. What could possibly be so hard about it? And it can’t be that expensive, right? Well, the process is a bit more complicated than you think — and a wedding tent’s costs add up quickly.
But if you’re having an outdoor wedding or reception, don’t freak out. We’ve gathered useful information on wedding tent sizes, types, and prices! Whether you plan on renting one as a back-up in case of inclement weather, or want to protect your guests from the blazing sun, tents are a great option for both ceremonies and receptions.
A basic Google search on wedding tent capacities is an easy way to induce unnecessary stress. You’re bombarded with numbers, terms you’ve never head of before, and the urge to make a ton of decisions before you’ve even finalized the guest list. As far as the latter’s concerned, you don’t need to know the names of everyone who’s planning on attending; however, you should have an idea of the guest count. The tent company will take care of all the calculations. In the meantime, here’s a general idea of tent size guidelines:
- Up to 100 guests – 30×60 pole tent
- Up to 140 guests – 40×60 pole tent
- Up to 200 guests – 40×80 pole tent
These, of course, are just approximations. The guest count is the ultimate factor dictating tent size, but others include table size and arrangement, the dance floor, use of a buffet, and more. Again, the company you rent your tent from should be able to figure out the logistics as long as you provide the accurate details of your wedding.
This sort of tent is supported by — you guessed it — poles. The poles aren’t just around the perimeter, though; there will be one or more center poles inside the actual tent. Many couples choose to decorate both the outer poles and the obstructions with curtains, flowers, or other accessories. The styled poles combined with the swooping top makes for a beautiful tent, but its use is limited to grass surfaces since it has to be staked into the ground.
Metal frames support these tents, which means they can be erected on almost any surface. While there aren’t any obstructing poles, the frame is still visible from the inside. You’ll have to budget more money and time for frame tents, too. They take longer to set up than other types, and they tend to be more expensive than pole tents.
Marquee tents are a sort-of combination between the pole tent and the frame tent. There’s a metal frame, but a marquee tent can be more aesthetically pleasing since it has a peaked roof similar to the pole tent.
This tent has a clear vinyl top. It’s ideal for couples that don’t want a test in the first place, but want to be protected from the weather.
Supported by wooden poles, these tents use sailcloth material instead of vinyl — offering up high ceilings and curved lines. Like regular pole tents, these are limited to grass surfaces.
Also known as a pavilion tent, this type is a wooden frame draped with fabric.
You most likely won’t be paying for just a tent. There’s a whole list of additions to consider, including the following:
- Side walls
- Separate catering tent
You’ll also have to figure out if the tent company includes the costs of the following, in addition to anything else you’ll need:
- Labor/Setup of the tent
- Fire/Zoning permit
According to Wedding Wire, the average starting price for for a tent rental in the U.S. is $300. This is likely on the lower end, most applicable to smaller weddings. Tents typically run anywhere from $500 to $5,000.
There’s a lot to confirm with the tent company beyond cost. Be sure to ask the following questions, and get everything in writing:
- How long is the rental period?
- Is the tent fully weatherproof?
- What’s your cancellation policy?
- How are last-minute orders handled?
- 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.)?
Depending on where you’re setting up the tent, make sure you know answers to the following, too.
- 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?
It’s best that most, if not all of your questions are answered in person to avoid any confusion. A good vendor will be more than happy to provide help throughout the planning process. Good luck!