To me, there is nothing more romantic than a wedding in the great outdoors — and the right tent, can ensure that an al fresco affair can be realistic and beautiful! Liz Powers of Skyline Tent Company and Sperry Tents Virginia is here to share her expert advice on why and how to select the correct tent to ensure your wedding day goes off without a hitch…
Do you recommend that all outdoor ceremonies and receptions use tents?
For wedding receptions, absolutely. Although al fresco weddings look beautiful in bridal magazines, it is not a realistic option for us east coast gals. From a practical standpoint, tents provide cover for your reception, rain or shine, and the ability to heat and cool the reception space as needed. Aesthetically, tents are completely customizable and offer a blank canvas to create your own unique outdoor wedding reception.
Depending on the size of your wedding, I would recommend (at least) putting a ceremony tent on hold as a rain plan. Most companies will offer some flexibility with a last minute ‘call date’ in exchange for a full or partial deposit.
What are the set up requirements for having a tent at your wedding? What other ‘outdoor’ rental items will a bride need… and why?
The most frequently asked question we initially receive from brides is: “I want to get married outside– where do I begin?” If you are not hiring a planner (which we always recommend) and your first call is to a tent company, you’re off to a good start.
A few details to initially consider before calling: Survey the area– what is the terrain surface? Is there any power available or will I need to have this provided? Where will my guests use the restroom? Are there any major public or private underground utilities in the work space or power lines overhead?
Providing these site details (in addition to your event details) will help us put together an initial estimate for the reception. Even if you do not know all of the answers, scheduling a site visit is the next step for finalizing your tent size and equipment order… and avoiding last minute unknown expenses.
Other parts of the ‘outdoor equipment package’ are not always the most glamorous, but necessary to make it function. For example, generators are not as beautiful as hand-engraved invitations, however, your guests will not be able to see their petit filet if the lights in the tent go out. Likewise, the septic system at your grandparents’ farm may not be able to handle 250 of your nearest and dearest after cocktail hour—justifying the need (and cost) of a restroom trailer.
Are there different types of tents available? How do you determine what size tent to use? Is it ever better to break the space up with a few smaller tents rather than one large tent?
All tents are modular structures rented and priced by the square foot. There are several tent styles/types out there to consider for your reception—from the classic white Century pole tent to the clear top frame to a beautiful Sperry sailcloth tent.
Guest count, dance floor/ staging layout and your service style (seated dinner, standing reception, etc.) are all determining factors in selecting the appropriate tent size for your reception. Additionally, the physical tent space may also play a role in determining the tent configuration for your event.
I love the idea of having separate tents for dinner and dancing, however, this concept doesn’t always work for every reception. This is why we do not publish a ‘price list’ or provide generic ‘wedding packages’, as every wedding is different and comes with its own set of unique challenges. Everyone is on a budget these days, and your tent provider will be able to make good recommendations around helping you pick a tent style and layout that matches your budget and vision.
What other services do you provide?
In addition to tents, we provide lighting, flooring, carpeting, staging, custom decking, custom draping, restroom trailers, specialty furniture, tables, chairs, power distribution equipment and onsite event service. We also provide scaled layout drawings for every event—from a 50 person cocktail reception to a 5,000 person seated dinner.
Thank you so much to Liz for sharing her incredible wealth of knowledge with us today!
Be sure to check out more beautiful images at the Skyline Tent Company and the Sperry Tents Virginia websites. For more information please contact Skyline Tent Company at firstname.lastname@example.org or Sperry Tents Virginia at email@example.com!