While you do not have to have any tents at your at-home wedding, there are a number of different places where they can come in handy. Most people hosting weddings at home choose to have at least one tent. Even if you’re adamant about having your wedding completely alfresco, it’s still wise to have a tent (or two) on reserve in case the weather is predicted to be poor. If the forecast looks bad, you will be happier if you already have your preferred tent on hold. You should definitely not wait until the last minute to reserve a tent because your preferred tent company might be out of stock in the size(s) or style that you need. You also should prepare for these costs in advance, and not wait until the last minute.
Once you finalize your guest list and wedding budget, you should invite one or two tent companies to come out and survey the property. They will be able to assess the situation and make professional recommendations to match your needs and wishes. After you get these cost estimates, you may need to revisit your overall wedding budget.
A wedding ceremony is usually held without a tent. But ceremonies tend to take place during daylight hours, so you may want to provide shade from the sun. A reasonably small tent of almost any shape could be used for your ceremony area. You can also talk to your tent professional about setting up some attractive draping or large umbrellas to offer some shade from the sun, if you don’t want to set up a complete tent.
Similarly, most cocktail receptions occur during daylight and without the use of a tent. But if you want to provide shade or keep your bar and food stations under cover, once again a small tent or some strategically placed draping or umbrellas could be used.
Most folks in the Washington DC area will get a tent for their reception, due to our seasonal weather. This tent needs to be able to accommodate all of your guests, a dance floor, your DJ or band, bars, possibly a buffet, your cake table and side service tables for the catering staff to use. If your reception tent will be the only tent you rent, it would be a good idea to get one a little larger than you think you will need. It is always better to have some space to spread out rather than be crammed into a space that is really too small for your needs. In the case of bad weather, having a little extra room under the tent for your “rain plan” will make a world of difference in accommodating a change in plans. Depending on the size and layout of your yard and the size of your guest list, you may need two separate tents to accommodate your dinner and dancing portion of the wedding. Another reason why it is important to get a grip on these costs early on in your planning process.
Photo courtesy of Michelle Lindsay Photography