Weddings hosted on a family member or friend’s property, outside under a beautifully decorated tent, can seem to offer you the best of both worlds. You get the feel of an outdoor reception, with a shelter to protect you from the elements – and since you’re not paying a venue it seems like it’s great for your budget too! But there are a lot of factors that go into hosting a wedding in a tent, some that you may not have considered.
A tent is a blank canvas – which is great if you have a grand vision for your décor. However it also means that you’re starting from scratch to create a comfortable and inviting space for your guests. Tables, chairs, linens, a dance floor, a bar, electricity, restrooms… all of these things will need to be rented a la carte, delivered, and set up by your chosen vendors. And depending on the location and the vendor, this may need to ALL be happening on your wedding day, which is a lot to organize! If a vendor is able to set up earlier in the week, take advantage. This way if there are any issues, they can be dealt with early. Don’t forget that there will most likely be delivery, setup, and break down fees with each rental vendor.
Now that you have a place for everyone to sit, dance, and get a drink – we need to feed your guests! There are definite benefits to being able to choose your own caterer, but also additional costs that you may not be aware of. When cooking offsite, caterers need a way to keep your food warm, so there may be rentals added to your invoice like hot boxes or ovens. Some caterers cook everything onsite using a mobile kitchen, which makes your food hot and fresh but carries an additional cost as well. Also you’ll need to rent dishes, cutlery, glassware, and serving ware, either through your caterer or a third party rental company.
Will your caterer provide the bar as well, or will you need to hire someone else? If so, will they be doing glass or plastic? How many bartenders will they provide? Is there water service during dinner? So many questions go along with alcohol at a wedding, it’s important to ask them all and make sure that either your caterer or bar provider is fully licensed and insured to protect yourselves and your guests.
Unfortunately, weather is even more so a factor with tent weddings. It’s a good idea to have things like tent sides, heating or cooling units, and even additional flooring for inside the tent on standby in case of rain or inclement weather. You never know what Mother Nature is going to throw at you, even on your wedding day!
This information is not meant to discourage a tent wedding – they are beautiful affairs that let the outside in and can be everything from rustic to elegant. But more-so, we encourage all of our brides to count the costs of each of their decisions, especially when it comes to building your entire event from the ground up. And if a tent wedding is truly the way to go for you – we highly recommend a planner!! A wedding planner can be your manager for all of these third party vendors, to make sure that everyone is where they need to be on time and that your vision comes to life.