Tenting 101: A Guide to Choosing a Tent for Your Wedding

Having a tented wedding reception in Charleston is one of the most popular choices in the Lowcountry. Offering flexibility for location, weather and style, they allow your guests to see the beauty the Lowcountry is known for while also protecting against pop up rainstorms and coastal winds. Tents can be placed in just about any of our favorite venues- from historic homes to a private backyard they can be setup the day of your event and taken down just as quickly.   

Tents allow you to create a space that is uniquely yours and unlike any other wedding at your venue. From the type of tent, to the flooring, lighting, florals and décor – they are completely customizable. Although tents offer endless décor possibilities, there are logistics that need to be considered when picking the right tent for you.

A few important things to think about before planning a tented reception. Make sure you check with your venue before you make any tenting decisions. Charleston event venues can have guidelines in order to protect the integrity of their space which could impact your choices. Some of our local venues allow you to only use a specific tent company or they may dictate the size, location or even how the tent is secured on their property. You might need to consider other location-based necessities for your event. For instance – you may need a generator, air conditioning or heat cannons, restroom trailer, or catering kitchen tent.

Making sure you have enough room under your tent can be tricky and largely depends on your style of food service. We like to use a square footage guide through one of our local rental companies as a starting point for selecting the right tent size.

Sample Tent Guide

Food Stations with 1/3 seating                                                             8-10 square feet per person 

Served Dinner with full seating                                                            18-20 square feet per person 

Served Dinner with Band, Dance Floor and Lounge Area               21-25 square feet per person

Once you have the logistics figured out the fun begins! You can select which tent style captures your vision. Explore our favorite options below.

Pole Tents

These tents add a majestic feel to your reception. True to its name the tent is held up by wooden poles in the center. These poles add great height for hanging chandeliers or floral installations but can hinder your guest flow if you have a specific layout in mind.

Image via Google Images

Frame Tents

The most popular choice- this option is the most cost effective and dresses up nicely with draping and a few chandeliers. This tent is set on a steel perimeter frame. Use just the frame for your event to create a dedicated reception space or throw on a clear top for a rain safe tent that allows you to dance under the stars! Of course, walls and traditional vinyl roofing are always an option.

Dana Jo Photography
Taylor Rae Photography

Sailcloth Tents

These tents are structurally the same as pole tents. However, these tents offer a softer look with a sewn fabric roofing instead of traditional vinyl. Though they tend to be more costly, they are the perfect focal point to any event space!

Allison Hanson Photography

Other Tenting Considerations

There are other times that you may need a tent at your wedding even if it’s not being used for the wedding itself. In many cases, your caterer will require a separate, more discreet place for their kitchen, so they may require a kitchen tent in order to execute dinner service. You may also be planning to have a DJ or band for your big day! In order to make sure they can play without any hindrance; they may require a small tent to be under so they can ensure their equipment is kept dry in the case of inclement weather.  

Not quite sure where to start? That’s what our Duvall Catering & Event experts are here for! Contact us to start planning today!