A Less Intense Guide to Tents
By Ashley Honeycutt with Party Perfect
Whether you’ve dreamt of a tent wedding as long as you can remember or you’re just prepping for the possibility of some good luck raindrops, tenting will be a big decision in your outdoor planning experience. Although you’ve seen all the different types of tents available on Pinterest, it can still be hard to tell which tent is best for you. Don’t fret; the experts are here to help!
There’s no doubt you’ve seen these beauties before. Pole tents have the grand sloping peaks that one imagines when dreaming of a scenic wedding on the water. These tents have a traditional appeal that won’t go out of style. The center poles can assist in creating a stunningly draped lighting display, with the warm glow of your bistro lights making the large space feel quaint and cozy. Best of all, pole tents are the most cost-effective option, so you can apply those savings towards some show-stopping linens or the gold flatware you wanted to splurge on!
The downside to those beautiful tall peaks? The poles that hold those peaks up. The center poles in the middle of the tent will vary in quantity depending on your tent size, but no matter how many, they will be one thing you’ll need to work around. The poles can affect how large your dance floor can be and might affect the line of sight, so keep this in mind when you’re planning your layout. Another consideration with pole tents is that they need to be staked into the ground. If you don’t have a grassy surface to work with, you’ll definitely want to look into a frame tent instead.
Simple, elegant, sophisticated, and practical frame tents have it all. Not only are you getting the look and feel of an indoor venue with an A-Line ceiling, but you’re also going to see the benefit of an entirely open floor plan. Without poles in the middle of the tent, your dance floor and seating options are limitless. Most frame tents are available in a gable end style, which makes it so you can push the tent right up to an existing structure like a house or barn for a seamless entryway. It’s also possible to connect several frame tents to create a modular space – i.e. a bar tent, buffet tent, and main reception tent. Modular tenting also allows for a walkway tent to get you from one part of your event to the other without needing to worry about drizzle. Last but not least is the frame tent’s ability to go on almost any surface. Your tenting vendor can use concrete weights, water barrels, or stakes to secure these tents anywhere your heart desires (and let’s be honest, sometimes your heart desires a rooftop!)
Frame tents may sound like a dream, but there are some things to know before you lock one down. The interior of the tent does tend to feel a little more industrial than a pole tent. You can usually see some metal framework overhead, which doesn’t always go with the desired aesthetic. This can be negated with a tent liner made out of gathered fabric, but liners tend to come close to doubling your tent cost and have an extremely formal ballroom feel. On top of potentially needing a tent liner, the tent itself is a bit more labor-intensive than a pole tent and will cost more than its counterpart of the same size. If you’re not looking to devote quite so much of your wedding budget towards tenting, you may want to go for the classically beautiful pole tent.
Clear tents are exactly like frame tents, except the solid white vinyl tops are replaced with a gorgeous clear vinyl, allowing you to fully absorb the beauty of your venue. This tent is ideal for any couple who picked their outdoor space for its picturesque qualities or striking views. Clear tents are the perfect addition to a party that is carefully nestled into the mountainside, deep within your favorite city where you just can’t miss the sunset behind the skyline or on your family farm near the willow tree your great-great-grandpa planted so many years ago. You chose your venue for a reason—don’t let that reason go unnoticed!
As with everything beautiful in life, clear tents do have their ugly sides. The biggest concern with these tents is weather conditions. In the heart of summer, when the sun is immediately overhead and there isn’t a cloud in the sky, the clear vinyl can create a greenhouse effect that isn’t the most comfortable for your guests. The addition of fans to your tent will help circulate the air, but dead-of-summer clear tents should still be used mainly after sundown whenever possible. While the thought of a snow-covered clear tent sounds lovely, you are entirely unable to utilize them in freezing temperatures as the tops get brittle and cannot be installed without cracking. Another issue with clear tents is cost. You can expect a 30% – 50% price bump from the standard frame tents.
If you still aren’t positive what style of tent is right for you, help is only a phone call or email away. Tenting specialists at local rental companies are always happy to discuss your specific needs and wants and assist you in making an informed decision. Happy planning!
Ashley Honeycutt is a tenting expert at Party Perfect who dedicates her time to making sure her clients’ outdoor weddings are flawless, rain or shine. Please visit www.partyperfect.com for more information.