Outdoor Tent Wedding

While you’re planning your outdoor wedding, you might find yourself with some questions about tents and logistics with set up. Here are 10 things to consider for your outdoor tent wedding and reception!
Where is the sun setting?
When planning an outdoor wedding, even if you have a tent for shelter, shade and ambiance, you need to think about the heat of the summer setting sun! Imagine having your beautiful cake and candle favors sitting on a beautifully decorated table. But that cake table happens to be on the west side of the tent and it begins to melt before the cake cutting even begins! Spend a day (preferable 12 months prior) out in the area where the tent will be. Or ask your venue coordinator about the sun’s location on your wedding day!
Will dew affect your decorations?
An indoor venue can be decorated and set days before your special day, but tents are a little more temperamental! A bird could fly in your reception tent after you have the decorations set and even begin building a nest! (hopefully not, but nature is peculiar in that way)

While a tent can protect from rain and sun, it doesn’t block out humidity or dew. Hanging and table decorations should wait until the last possible moment before being set up. Plan accordingly and have a crew ready the morning of your big day!

How to secure wedding linens?

Even on the calmest, most beautiful day, a slight breeze can reak havoc on the flowing details of floor length table linens! It seems like the moment everyone is sitting at the ceremony and the band begins to play, table linens start shifting and centerpieces start to tip and topple.

There are some simple ways to prevent table linens from being blown around. The best choice is to budget in table clips. They are clear plastic pieces that simply clip over the linens onto the edge of the table. Be sure your photographer snaps some photos before the table clips are placed for more appealing photos!

Another, last minute choice is some blue painters tape. Rolled backwards and placed on the top of the tables, this can help in a pinch and causes little to no residue or damage. However, do not ever staple your linens to your wedding tables. Not only will you have damage fees for ruining the linens, but you will also have staple removal fees from the table rental company!
Are your candles wind-proof?
Candle light glow on the top of a wedding table is the most beautiful sight! That is, until the wind doesn’t allow the flame to stay lit! If your venue is allowing open flame, plan on a container candle, something in a glass jar. This simple decision can keep the candle going!

To avoid keeping the flame lit alltogether, consider LED tea lights or LED string fairy lights. Both can be incorporated into the table centerpieces and will remain lit until the batteries die! (possibly for a few days!) Assign an assistant to turn the candles on before guests arrive, otherwise they might be forgotten!
What will the temperature be?
Look ahead on the weather forecast, not only for your potential outdoor ceremony, but for the overall temerature for that day! I’ve found open (no sides) tents to lower the temperature up to 10 degrees. And the natural breeze accompanying a warm summer day is often welcomed!

However, if it is a cooler day, perhaps spring or fall, you might want to budget a propane tent heater. This isn’t a regular heater you can pickup at your local department store. Those patio heaters can melt the vinyl on the tents and release carbon monoxide into your reception. Rather ask your venue or rental company to add a tent heater to your package for a cozy, forced air, heat!
Can you stay in a wedding tent in a thunderstorm?

Summer, especially August in the Pacific Northwest, is notorious for thunderstorms!

You should not shelter under a wedding tent in a thunderstorm. Tents are a temporary structure designed to shelter from rain and sun. They do not have any lightening rods to protect the people inside. Seek shelter in a permenant building if caught in a thunderstorm.

Plan ahead, know that a tent wedding might have to be postponed with the threat of lightening.

Should you have the ceremony and reception under one tent?
I have seen ceremonies and receptions held under one tent, but most of the time a ceremony is held outdoors while the sit down dinner and festivities are held under the tent.

If the tent is near the ceremony location, some people may choose to sit in the tent during or just before the ceremony in an effort to seek shade from the summer sun.
How many people can fit in one wedding tent?

The amount of guests is often different the the total number of people attending a wedding. Be sure to include caterers, wedding party, parents and dj in your total guests count!

A wedding tent often has a designated dance floor set inside the tent, at the bride’s request. This can take up valuable seating area. The cake table, food table, gift table and DJ’s table are often unaccounted for as well.

A 40×60 tent can fit up to 150 guests as well as the dance floor, cake table, food table and DJ equipment. It is often more comfortable to have the sides off of the tent for a relaxed, open concept.

How can you walk on grass with heels?
Be sure to tell your guests that you are having an outdoor, tented wedding on grass and to dress accordingly! Grass can be soft, especially after a rainy day. High heels may not be the preferred choice of dress code for your outdoor tent wedding.

You can think ahead and purchase high heel protectors and have them in a basket near the check in area for guests who didn’t get the memo. I have also seen a fun basket filled with flip flops available for guests as a wedding favor to dance the night away!
Where will the restrooms be?
Restrooms at a tent wedding are often portable toilets. These can be standard porta-potties, ADA porta-potties (preferred), or a trailer restroom. Plan to put these restrooms in a place that is easy to get to, but far enough away from the tent to avoid the slam of the door every 5 minutes!

Thankfully, porta-potties at a wedding are often the cleanest portable toilets you will come across! If you are having a back yard wedding, be sure to add a light inside of your toilets for your guests to see after dark!