We’re currently in the process of planning many beautiful weddings for next season, and in 2013 we’re planning more tented weddings than ever before. So as we’ve been submitting rental quotes and creating budgets, I can’t help but be reminded of how much goes into a tented wedding, and many things people forget to consider when planning a tented wedding. If you have a planner, then it’s smooth sailing, as they can handle the ins-and-outs for you, but if you’re flying solo on your wedding planning, then there are some things you need to keep in mind:

A 2010 wedding on Lake Michigan, photograph by Jennifer Mayo Studios

The key to creating a tented wedding on your own property (or even a rented space), is keeping in mind all of the rental costs you are going to incur. While a tented wedding may seem like the budget-friendly option, let’s take a look at how the numbers break down when comparing a wedding of 150 at a local venue that has a flat $3200 rental fee, to a tented wedding:

Tent Rental (main tent & catering) $1,600 Room Rental $3,200
Tent sides, in case of rain (10) $350
Lighting $400 Lighting included
12×12 Dance Floor $300 Dance floor included
Guest tables (19) $285 Guest tables included
Tables: Cake, gift, food, bar (8) $120 Tables included
Basic white linens for all tables $624 Basic white linens included
Chairs for reception (150) $600 Chairs for reception included
Restrooms $800 Restrooms included
Rental Delivery fee $125
Total $5,204   Total $3,200


This chart only touches on the main rentals needed, and doesn’t even touch on things like china, silverware, staging, bar setups, generators, flooring needs and other additional items that are unique to each event. Keep in mind that the above cost break-down does not include any fees you may be charged if you’re renting a location to host your tented wedding. If you’re hosting on a rental property, you’ll need to consider the site fee as well.

I am not by any means saying you shouldn’t get married in a backyard or on a beautiful piece of family property—that can be a very meaningful and beautiful option for your wedding location—the thing you have to consider is if you are choosing that option only because it seems like the cheaper way to go.  Because in most cases, bringing in all of those rental items will cost you much more than renting a venue (not to mention all of the extra work for you and your family), and that’s something you should realistically consider when choosing between a tented wedding on private property, versus a reception venue.

Besides the actual cost, you also need to consider logistical issues like where everyone will park—do you need to provide shuttle service? Are there any municipal restrictions on cars on the property? Will your music will effect neighbors or cause the police to be called? What you will do in the case of inclement weather—do you need to rent heaters at an additional cost? If you’re having the ceremony outside on-site, you’ll need to consider how you’ll accommodate the ceremony inside the tent in the case of rain.

I’ve said it many times before, in many posts, that not every wedding and every bride needs a wedding planner. But if a tented wedding on private property is something that is definitely the right choice for you after considering the cost and logistics, then you can take a lot of stress off of yourself and your family, by hiring a wedding planner. A professional and experienced wedding planner will be able to ensure you aren’t forgetting or overlooking any of the key elements needed to make your tented wedding a success, manage your rental orders & logistics, and will help you and your family to actually enjoy your beautiful wedding day!