To feed off of our previous blog [Tips + Tricks | Planning a Barn Wedding] we thought we would give our readers some tips + tricks on our other specialty – T E N T weddings! Weddings can get S T R E S S F U L in the planning process, and if you are getting married + having your reception outside [or under a tent], here are a few things to think about:
One of the M A I N components of planning a backyard/tent wedding is envisioning the space and finding the perfect tent/rental vendor to suit your needs. [Apres Event Rental is one of our favs]. In thinking about the layout of the space ask yourself these questions: Is there enough room for a tent [or two] that can hold the guest count? Is the area flat? Are there trees/branches that would get in the way of the tent? [taking into consideration that the tent stakes/ropes can take up to 7 F E E T on each side of the tent]. Another important thing to consider is the flow of the event space. Make sure there is enough room for your guests to mingle, dance, stand in line at the bar, walk through the buffet, etc. Think about the guest tables and head table layout [P R O – T I P: Rectangle tables will take up less space in a tent then round tables]. Another concept to think about is can your space accommodate parking for your guests. If the space isn’t large enough, you could considering hiring a shuttle service to bring in guests from the hotel (consider Renee’s Royal Valet). As part of the services we offer at Rustic Elegance, we provide a consult at your home and also draw up a detailed layout of your tent and surrounding space!
Draping // Lights by: We’ve Got It Covered
LIGHTING / POWER:
While planning a tent wedding, lighting and power will play a key aspect in your day. You’ll want to ensure that all areas are well lit for guests to walk around with ease in the dark. Don’t forget the path to the bathrooms and parking. Also, you may want to add a solar light to the bottom of each tent stake so guests won’t trip over them in the dark. For lighting inside of the tent, we recommend consulting with one of our favorite vendors, We’ve Got It Covered, for ideas on different options [and even D R A P I N G]. You’ll also want to ensure that you have enough power available for the lights, DJ, bathroom trailer, keg trailer, coffee makers, fans, etc. Make sure you locate the breaker box ahead of time and designate someone to flip it back on if one trips [pssst – hire Rustic Elegance to worry about that for you!]. When thinking about power, it is also helpful to have a few extra extension cords on hand. Also make sure to keep all cords that are in use out of the walkways so guests won’t trip over them.
Photo by: Studio Starfish Photography
Not the most fun part of tent wedding planning [but one of the most important parts] is ensuring that you have everything set with your city/location. Check with the city to see if a permit is required to host a party in your backyard/on property – every city is different in this aspect. Also, you may want to add extra insurance coverage with your homeowners insurance for the day of the wedding in order to cover any accidents that may occur [but we are hoping for a S M O O T H day!].
Another detail to think about is decor and centerpieces! Make sure your centerpieces are heavy enough so that the wind can’t blow them over! Consider using battery candles vs. real ones, so these will stay lite on a windy day. [P R O – T I P: Opt for a seating chart versus place cards for outdoor weddings to avoid fly away place cards!]. Another option to dress up your tent would be to rent R U S T I C [but elegant] furniture! At Rustic Elegance, we offer a variety of fun rental options [couches, vintage hutches, chairs, etc] that could spruce up the tent space.
Rentals from: Rustic Elegance
Because you are getting married in a backyard setting vs. getting married at a place where a lot of the vendors are already included, hiring vendors with expertise in this type of setting is a must! Check with your caterer to see if they have experience cooking on site so they can ensure S M O O T H service + a memorable meal. If you’re looking for a caterer that does it all, we love working with A’BriTin Catering – they are A M A Z I N G! When considering dessert vendors, make sure you pick something that can withstand the heat. Cakes with a L O T of frosting can melt quickly in the S T E A M of MN // WI summer days. For your bartender, considering hiring a licensed service, who also carries liquor liability insurance. Liquid Motion and With a Twist are two good options [with both of these companies, you can still provide your own kegs/wine]. Also consider renting a keg trailer to keep all your beer [and white wine] COLD.
With an outdoor tent wedding, weather can be an issue! You can never predict Mother Nature – it could be too hot, too cold, too windy, too rainy, etc. But planning ahead can ensure a perfect day no matter what. Considering order sidewalls for your tent, not only can these help on a R A I N Y day, but they can also help if your guests are blinded by the sun, if tablecloths are blowing off, or if floral arrangements are blowing over. [When deciding on your tent size, you’ll want to ensure that it is B I G enough to host everything under it [bar, dance floor, dining, etc.] and if it ends up being nice out – that’s a B O N U S and you can move some items outside! If the weather ends up not cooperating, make sure you have a back-up plan/layout in place for your ceremony. When thinking about H O T weather – consider ordering fans to keep guests cool, and overstock on ice/water to keep guests hydrated. If you are thinking about C O O L E R weather – consider bringing in heaters + blankets for guests to stay warm. If it’s supposed to be a rainy day – consider having U M B R E L L A S on hand [you can rent these from Rustic Elegance!]
LITTLE [BUT BIG] DETAILS:
When you plan a tent wedding, it’s not “all inclusive” like a golf course or hotel venue. You’ll have to provide some of your own items – Including Bathrooms [P R O – T I P: We recommend a least one Porta Potty to every 75 guests. On-Site is a G R E A T option when it comes to renting bathrooms – they even have trailers with A C!]. Don’t forget a hand washing station! Also, not so fun, but important to remember is garbage cans. You will want to make sure you have plenty on hand [with bags that fit]! Don’t forget to add recycling bins to cut down on waste. Clearly label these for guests to put waste in appropriate bins. Something to consider is who will be in charge of clearing dirty glassware off the tables and checking for full garbages periodically throughout the night [and where will these be put when full!].
In outdoor settings, you’ll want to ensure that your guests are comfortable. Consider providing sunscreen + bug spray, a bathroom basket with all the goodies, and even dancing shoes [or flip flops] for guests to use on the dance floor. While we are on the topic of shoes, it’s never a bad idea to remind guests to wear O U T D O O R friendly shoes + attire [H E Y – you can even add a note on your invitation or wedding website].
Photography: Alison Lea Photography
At the end of the night and after all of the F U N, having a tent wedding can leave you with a hefty “to-do” list of clean up items. Think ahead about who is going to blow out candles, clean up glassware, empty garbages, clean up the decor, remove your centerpieces, etc. It’s definitely not one of the most F U N parts of planning – but it can turn into a hassle if it is forgotten! Friends + family will be tired from dancing the night away, so we suggest hiring someone [like us!] to close out the end of the night + clean up.
Last but not least – to ensure that your day is P E R F E C T, appoint a contact person to greet vendors, implement the rain plan, keep things on schedule, and to handle any last minute problems that may arise! [hire a Day of Coordinator like Rustic Elegance] so that you and your family can also enjoy the day! Backyard weddings can be A M A Z I N G + extremely beautiful, but if not executed in a proper manner, can leave guests remembering the bad instead of the good. Our goal as Day of Coordinators is to P L A N ahead, be fully prepared for anything that comes our way, and have your guests remember how B E A U T I F U L your day was, as you start this exciting new journey with your partner!
Photo by: Shots by Bridge
Photo by: Bethany Meister Photography
Photo by: Brye Davis // Rentals from: Rustic Elegance
Photo by: Kate Becker Photography // Lights by: We’ve Got It Covered
Draping by: We’ve Got It Covered
Photo by: Jamie Lauren Photography // Decor: We’ve Got It Covered