Outdoor weddings give you unbeatable sunset backdrops for your ceremony photos, but they also leave you at the mercy of Mother Nature. Unless you don't mind letting your guests roast in the sun or get soaked to the bone during a thunderstorm, you need the protection of large event tents to keep everyone comfortable. Get a tent that wows the guests while staying within your budget by learning these six secrets about renting wedding equipment.
Try a Clear Top
If you're planning your outdoor wedding to take advantage of the sky or horizon as a backdrop, the idea of blocking out that view with a white tent canopy might bother you. Ask your wedding rental supplier about clear walls and tops to let flattering natural light illuminate your tent. Not all rental companies keep clear acrylic panels on hand, but they can custom order fitting pieces for the tent you want if you give them plenty of advanced notice.
Consider Interior Swagging
Are you admiring pictures of beautiful sweeping canopies with multicolored fabric draping gracefully over the heads of the guests? Keep in mind rental tents don't automatically look like that on the inside -- those effects are created by hanging swagging. Drapery can cost as much as the entire tent rental due to the extra labor required to hang and adjust it, but it takes the interior of the tent to a whole new level of elegance. It's especially important when you choose a frame tent instead of a pole-supported model because the frame is visible from the inside and doesn't give a very festive look to the event.
Skip the Package
When one rental company offers everything you need for the wedding, it's tempting to go with a package deal that is advertised to save you money. Unfortunately, these packages are based around set numbers of guests. This means you're paying for 50 table settings and chairs even when you only need 38 instead. Look for a company that allows you to build a custom package, including the tent rental, instead of charging you for supplies you won't need.
Stick with a Square
Long rectangular tents look appealing because they mimic the cathedral or wedding hall layout. However, this leaves some of your guests way in the back of the outdoor room, unable to get a good view of the ceremony or hear the bride and groom. Arrange your dimensions to get as close to a square as possible to keep everyone near the action. This shape also leads to the highest possible roof peak design, which keeps hot air moving up and away from the guests in the summer.
Invest in Heating or Cooling
Whether you want a snowy mountain wedding or a sunny lakeside event, you likely need a little heating or cooling to keep the guests happy and ready to wait for the big event. Your options, ranked from lowest to highest cost, include
- Basic hanging or floor fans to circulate the air
- Roof vents to let heat escape and to encourage fresh air to flow in from outside the tent
- Small and portable propane or kerosene fueled space heaters designed for use indoors to prevent dangerous fumes
- Large scale portable air conditioners with flexible ducts
- Tent furnaces that blow heat from the outside for reduced fire hazards
Finally, don't make a down payment to reserve a 60 ft by 100 ft wedding tent until you're sure the canopy can actually fit in your backyard or the clearing at a local park. Many rental companies offer ground surveying at a low fee that is credited towards your rental. The surveying will also help you figure out what part of the outdoor area is the most level so your guests don't trip and tumble while trying to visit the buffet tables.
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