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Have an 'in-tents experience'

An “In Tents” Event

With the unpredictable weather and frequent showers in the Pacific Northwest we strongly recommend tents for all outdoor events and at home weddings. There is nothing more beautiful and unique than an outdoor wedding however they are neither simple to organize or inexpensive. This is not an attempt to scare you away from planning the wedding of your dreams but we would like you to be prepared so that you know in advance the additional planning that an “in tent” event requires.

Booking and Cancellation. A 50% non refundable deposit is required at the time of booking and most tent rental companies have specific cancellation policies which you should be familiar with before confirming your reservation. This is not something to do if you are only interested in a weather permitting structure.

Tent Shapes. Various styles of tents are available so ask your supplier for photos of your exact structure. You will want to know how many poles it has and whether the structure will have only perimeter poles or poles that run up the middle of the structure as well. This will effect the placement of guest tables, head tables, bars buffets, dance floor etc.

Is there enough space for a tent? See square footage chart below for more information

Proper Tent Placement. Make sure the property has a good spot to erect the tent. You will want easy access for your suppliers as well as your guests.

Flooring. Will the ground be level for the reception if you are planning to set up tables and chairs. In a perfect situation every tent event would have a floor because off balance tables and chairs can be quite dangerous. Unfortunately, floors can be prohibitively expensive because of the labour required for installation. Without a floor it becomes impossible for guests to wear high heels so guest should be warned in advance so they can dress appropriately. This is one of the difficult choices to make when planning your tented event.

What is your “Plan B” if the weather is poor? Will the guest be covered from the time they arrive until the time they leave? If you are able to keep everything under one structure you will be better able to make your guest comfortable.

Multiple Tents.The ideal plan is to have everything covered even the walkways between the main tents so guests and caterers can make their way without worrying about the weather. Consider a dining tent, kitchen tent for the caterer, tent for portable washrooms and walkways

When to arrange installation. You will want to have the structure go up at least 2 days before the event. This will allow time for rentals to be delivered directly into the tent and proper décor to be hung. You will need to make arrangements to have the grass mowed prior to the tent installation. It will be almost impossible to mow under and around the tent once it has been staked into the ground.

Tent Décor – lighting and decorations

  • Fabric liners, banners and pole covers can be used to hide the metal framework of the tent structure. Have your tents supplier provide photographs of the various options for tent décor. These decisions will vary in price and impact and must be decided prior to installation.
  • Lighting. If your event will run into the evening your tent will require lighting. Options will include perimeter lighting, chandeliers, lanterns and globes. See what your supplier has available. It is important to consider landscape lighting as well so guest will be able to find their way to restrooms or driveways.
  • Windows and tent walls. You will need to decide if you are just looking for a roof or if you would like your tent enclosed with walls. Walls are effective in the evenings for keeping the heat in or if the weather is poor they will help keep the rain outside. Walls can be solid, clear or with windows panes.

Comfort of Guests - Heating and Air Conditioning. Heating may be necessary for an evening gathering in summer or an early spring or fall event. Tenting will offer protection from the elements, but if it is snowing outside, it is difficult to make the tent feel like another room in your house. In our climate, each season dictates different requirements. It is unlikely that air conditioning will be necessary when planning a tent event in the pacific northwest.

Power. Power is required to operate heaters, lighting, entertainment and kitchen equipment. It is a good idea to have portable generators on site to allow for these extra requirements. You should always overestimate your needs to avoid a power failure. Consider the placement of the generators because they have a loud hum that will be distracting for your guests and in most cases they are quite unattractive.

Washrooms .Where will the guests have access to washrooms? Portable toilets or washroom trailers are an option if sufficient facilities do not exist on the event site.

Where will guests park? Is their sufficient parking and will guests have easy access to the tent from the parking area. If the site requires pay parking you should let your guest know in advance so they come prepared.

Are there any major home or landscape improvements needed to make the property suitable for a wedding? If you are making major changes to your landscaping to accommodate this event then attempt to have the changes completed 6-8 weeks before your event so you can conduct a site inspection with your tent installers and caterers.

Do you need to be concerned about mosquitoes or other bugs?

Will someone be home and available to receive all deliveries: rentals, flowers, food? If you are using a public venue and not a private yard, someone will need to be onsite to accept delivery of all equipment. They must remain onsite until all suppliers have picked up or the equipment is removed from the site.

Who will be responsible for the clean up after the event? Will you be leaving for your honeymoon or will there be time.