Whether you’re planning a winter, spring, summer or fall fete, a tent is the perfect venue and one that will accommodate you rain or shine. But it’s tough to know where to start when you begin researching tent styles and ideas. That’s why we called the expert—Daniel Chase, cofounder of Chase Canopy—to get his tips on the range of options available to you when you book a tent.
Be sure you know the range of styles to choose from. There are two basic types of tents to consider: 1) A push pole style tent and 2) a structural frame type of tent. A push pole tent uses poles to support the top and perimeter, giving you high peaks and soaring swoops. A structural frame type of tent uses aluminum frames and fabric panels, making it easy to seal the side walls and hold in the heat (ideal for chillier months). No matter what, tents are rain-proof, but different types are better suited for different seasons.
Material counts, too. Once you settle on a style, you’ll want to think about the fabric. Sail Cloth has become increasingly popular in the last 10 years. It’s made from the material used to create actual sails and is slightly translucent, which allows sunlight to steam through a bit, which can be nice for spring or fall weddings when it’s not too hot outside. White vinyl is more traditional and perfect for mid-summer because it blocks out the light, which helps keep things cool. Another option to consider for off-season weddings: A clear top. It’s perfect for the cooler months, like September or October. (In cooler months, it can create a greenhouse effect.)
Make sure you trust who you’re working with. You want to be sure that the company you’re dealing with offers quality wedding equipment. For example, a tent that is great for a horse show isn’t great for a wedding. You want a white tent that’s pristine, not one that’s off-white or dirty or worn with holes.
Don’t forget to plan out the logistics. A lot of times, we set up tents in nothing but a big open field. That’s no problem for us—we can supply everything from equipment for the caterer to a deck that levels out an uneven slope on the ground—but you want to make sure you plan for all the possibilities. You need power, access to water for the caterers, restroom trailers if there aren’t any nearby. It can be extremely labor intensive, but planning ahead will save you money in the long run.
Celebrate the fact that you have full control. Unlike a traditional venue or function hall, a tent gives a bride 100 percent control over the site. A lot of the brides that we work with will have the tent installed on a Friday and use it for the rehearsal dinner and then keep it up for the Sunday brunch, too. A tent gives you a ton of flexibility. It’s also beautiful. A lot of the events we do are at people’s private homes. It’s such a wonderful way to show off the property and the landscaping and give you a chance to get married in your own backyard.
Keep in mind that anything goes. A lot of brides worry that their backyard won’t work for a wedding based on it’s shape. You’d be amazed how creative you can get, even if you can’t fit one large tent because there are trees in the way. You can break it up—have cocktails in one tent, dinner and dancing in another.
Rain won’t ruin your big day. With a tent, we’ve got you covered—literally—no matter what the weather is outside. Brides tend to melt down over bad weather, but trust us, everyone’s going to stay dry and have a fabulous time.