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How To Plan A Tent Wedding
Outdoor weddings are especially popular in summer but can be wonderful affairs all year round, from the fresh mornings of spring, to the colourful foliage of autumn and crisp white snow of winter. To take advantage of the great outdoor spaces on offer, while still enjoying the comforts of being inside, many weddings take place in and around tents.
Wedding tents have come a long way and there are now lots of varieties and ways to use them on your special day. Below, we look at the different kinds of tents for weddings, and the five steps involved in getting your tent so you can slot it into your wedding planning schedule.
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Pick Your Wedding Venue First
You should aim to choose the location of your wedding before booking a tent. Not just so you’ll know where to get the wedding tent delivered to, but so you can figure out the best way to use the tent.
Outdoor weddings can be wonderful events, not least because being able to use nature and picturesque landscapes as your backdrop will make the day all the more memorable. There are all kinds of places where you can put up a tent, from forest clearings and beaches, to stately home grounds and gardens or city rooftops.
When choosing your location, consider how you want to use the setting. Will you be overlooking a field at sunset during the ceremony? Do you want to enjoy the spring flowers during your wedding breakfast? Perhaps you want to take in the bright city lights at the reception. Whatever it may be, how you want to use the tent will be reflected in the design and these considerations matter.
Wedding tents can be placed almost anywhere, so it makes sense to choose your venue or location before booking your wedding tent. If you aren’t sure if a space can accommodate a certain type of tent, you can speak to the venue or contact a tent provider for advice.
Once you’re set on your location, you can look at the types of wedding tent available.
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Wedding Tent Types – from Stretch Tents to Tipis
Wedding tents come in a range of sizes and cover small, medium and large areas. This means that creating a “room” for dining, a cover for a reception with bars and seating, or space for a wedding ceremony to take place, is easy. You might want to use one large tent for your wedding or a variety based on your needs. Here, we look at where you might want to use each type of tent.
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Stretch tents are becoming increasingly popular because of their style and flexibility. The material used can be stretched to create sides, or pushed up to leave tents open or with peaks that give a wedding tent an elegant shape.
These tents can go almost anywhere, from rooftops to open parks, and can be secured in ways that keep them in place even in windy conditions. They make great spaces for large gatherings, such as wedding receptions, or as covered seating areas for ceremonies. What’s more those open sides allow your guests to take in the stunning surroundings of your wedding venue.
Why not use the flexibility of the tent canvas to create a unique effect by incorporating outdoor elements such as flower beds, stone walls or even ponds under your stretch tent. Made magical with the use of fairy lights and candles.
The traditional wedding tents are square and rectangular. They function like a pop up local hall or conservatory with a simple roof and walls and optional windows. They are great spaces for long dining tables for a wedding breakfast or other meals at a wedding.
In summer months, if you are planning to have seating or dining in the open air, you might want to use a marquee tent for catering teams and cooking – especially if your venue is more remote or without easy access to a commercial kitchen. Your catering team can be placed a little way off but near to your main wedding area, giving the team a place to work and easy access to guests.
Pagoda & Tipi Tents
For small weddings or intimate gatherings as part of the wedding event, you might want to look at a tipi or pagoda tent. These smaller spaces can be decorated for an intimate meal or drinks, such as for the wedding couple or party. They also work well as a place for a ceremony if you want to create a focal point in the open air for guests to watch you get married.
You could also consider using tipi or pagoda tents as supplementary areas alongside your main wedding tent. Perhaps you want a separate area for the bride before walking down the aisle, or an area to use as a coat check with umbrellas for events where the weather is likely to be more temperamental.
Image by Camilla Pagliarosi
Five Steps to Getting a Wedding Tent
Once you’ve decided on your venue and how you hope to use your wedding tent, you can get planning and booking.
There are five simple steps involved in getting your wedding tent. When sorting out your vendors, it’s good to do so alongside your wedding tent supplier, to make sure that the set up you choose has everything you need and fits with how you’ll use the tent; you could use the tent for meals, receptions or the ceremony (or all three!)
Step 1: Site Visit
The first thing that needs to happen is for your tent supplier to visit the venue. Some tents, like marquees require flat areas, others like stretch tents are more flexible and don’t require flat ground or square areas to fit in. Each rig – the name for the tent set up – is designed to fit the space and its use. In order for the team to figure out what their recommendations are, based on your needs, they’ll need to make a site visit. This might be the point where you consider different types of tents and combinations of tents for your wedding.
Step 2: Design Approval
The wedding tent team will create a design and rigging recommendation for your wedding. This can include any details of how lighting and audio equipment will be powered (either from generators or nearby building power supplies) and integrated into your wedding tent. In many cases, the tent supplier will also include a drawing to help you visualise what the finished product will look like.
Step 3: Book Delivery (And Removal)
Once you have signed off your design, you’ll need to book the date and time for delivery of your wedding tent. The rigging engineers will put up the rig, including any extras you might have, such as fairy lights, dance floors and furniture.
You will also need to book the removal of your tent, which might be at the end of your wedding day or the following day, depending on how you plan to use the space – it can work for the ceremony one day then a breakfast the day after, if you so choose.
Step 4: Wedding Tent Set Up
When planning your wedding day itself, you should aim to have the rigging engineers arrive first so they can make sure everything is set up and secure before any catering staff or decorators begin their work. You can arrange to have your tent delivered the day before the wedding if you prefer, that way everyone else, like the band or DJ, can get set up first thing.
Your wedding planner or whoever is co-ordinating your wedding will need to be on site when your tent goes up as they’ll need to sign off the rig on completion. There shouldn’t be any issues, but if there are the tent team will be on hand to make amendments or find a way to resolve it before the wedding begins.
Step 5: Enjoy Your Wedding!
Once everything has been set up, you’ll be able to celebrate your union. You won’t need to do anything else with your wedding tent until the rigging engineers return at your appointed time to take everything down – whoever is coordinating your wedding will need to be there when it’s taken down so the team can confirm everything worked out as it should.
Image by Barnaby Maddick
Always Ask Questions & Get Help From Experts
Planning a wedding tent is actually quite a straightforward process, and you can always lean on the expertise of tent suppliers to help you realise your dream wedding tent, whatever it may be. Just as you would get ideas for canapés from a chef or cocktail ideas from a mixologist, rigging engineers can help you to choose the best colours, lighting, seating and special touches that will bring your wedding together beautifully.
THIS IS A GUEST FEATURE WRITTEN BY // Miranda Parker // Stretch and Tents
Founded in 2012, today Stretch & Tents are one of the leading stretch tents providers in the UK with over 9000 square metres of canvas for hire. Brimming with energy the Stretch & Tents team are full of design and engineering expertise.