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Whether your dream wedding venue is a backyard or beach, pitching a tent is the perfect way to shelter your guests at an outdoor wedding. Not only can a wedding tent be ultra-elegant and romantic—we’re talking white sailcloth, not campground khaki—it’s also sure to provide you with peace of mind knowing you have cover in case the weather doesn’t exactly go your way.

So, if a glamorous wedding tent strung with twinkling lights and garlands sounds ideal to you, read what needs to be done in time for your wedding day below.

1. Decide on a style. 

You’ll probably want something that’s quick, safe and easy to install—not only will it reduce the cost of labor, but it’ll also make your day less stressful. This means that you and your guests can thoroughly enjoy your special day.

Frame tents are typically available in a variety of sizes and styles, so your options vast. Some styles have no interior poles (which means no obstruction of table setups or sight lines), offering both maximum space and flexibility, which is ideal for a large wedding. Having a small, intimate reception? An upscale frame tent which is ideal for parties, is probably perfect for you.

Freestanding or frame tents work best if you plan to set up on asphalt, concrete, wooden decks and balconies, or any other surface where stakes and centre poles can’t be used. However, basic installation fees usually apply only to level ground or grass and If the tent needs to be installed on an irregular surface, these fees will be probably be higher.

2. Figure out your numbers (and dance floor). 

To determine the space needed for your tent, you’ll need to turn to your guest list. A helpful equation is to multiply your number of guests by specific numbers based on what the setup will be inside your tent. For a sit-down or buffet-style dinner with round tables, multiply your number of guests by 12; for a sit-down or buffet-style dinner with banquet tables, multiply your number of guests by 10; for a cocktail party with some seating, multiply your number of guests by 8; for a ceremony with rows or cathedral seating, multiply your number of guests by 8.

Similarly, there’s an easy formula to decide on dance floor specifications. Divide your number of guests by 4 to find the number of couples you can expect to see dancing at any given time. Next, multiply that number by 10 for the total number of square feet you’ll want for your dance floor.

3. Visit the site with your tent vendor. 

It’s also a good idea to make an appointment to visit the wedding reception site with your tent vendor well in advance of your wedding date. Along with your venue’s representative, you should inspect the proposed tent location, ask about the stability of the ground (especially if you’re setting up a tent on or near the beach) and inquire about any underground hazards like sprinkler systems, wells or septic tanks. You want to ensure the safety of the structure and your guests.

Pro tip: If the tent site is a large grassy area, confirm with the location management that the sprinkler system timers won’t turn on the waterworks in the middle of your lovely celebration.

4. Think about tent accessories. 

There are numerous rental stores and Empire Tents can incorporate accessories like sidewall lighted window styles, installation of wooden tent floors, stages and accessories (think: chandeliers, gazebos, latticework, wishing wells, columns, aisle runners, candelabras, special-effects lighting and more). The options truly are endless.

5. Decide on your heating and air-conditioning situation. 

This is important. Depending on the location and season of your wedding, you’ll likely need to rent some equipment if you think the temperature could be a cause of discomfort at your outdoor wedding or reception. Empire Tents can provide you with the necessary equipment, including portable air-conditioning units, outdoor heaters, tall patio heaters, floor heaters, misting fans and more. Just make sure to do the legwork, ask the right questions and select what’s best for your needs.

Many couples opt for frame tents when deciding on shelter for their big day. Frame tents can be pitched just about anywhere and can be set up in one in your favourite park or even outside a gorgeous mansion or estate, if that’s the venue you choose. Whether you’re going for formal or casual, tents come in all shapes, sizes and materials. It is important to figure out what style fits your vision (and the venue’s spatial constraints). And make sure you choose a tent that works on your surface—pavement, grass, sand and so on.

And don’t forget to weatherproof it. For a summer wedding, bring in fans and portable air conditioning units, and keep guests warm in chillier months with tall patio or propane heaters. You may also want to add floor surfaces (to correct uneven ground) and wall panels (to protect against wind or rain).

Frame tents are the best and most affordable type of tent for an outdoor wedding and using a frame tent for your outdoor wedding is practical and beautiful. The sky is also the limit for decor options with a tent that is as spacious as a frame tent. The lack of poles inside the tent leaves the floor open for you to choose your best floor plan without restrictions. Frame tents are free standing tents and do not even need ropes, therefore, they can also be erected next to a building or another tent to extend your space.

Empire Tents manufactures high quality steel and aluminium frame tents and all of our tents are crafted and manufactured with the highest quality materials on the market today, creating durable, long-lasting tents that offer you full value-for-money. Contact Empire Tents today and let us turn your outdoor wedding into an unforgettable experience!

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