Tented weddings are trending, according to area event experts, but there’s a caveat — these affairs require careful planning.
“The tented option allows people to create something really personal at any price point,” said Claire Bean, owner and creative director of Claire Bean Events, a boutique event planning and design firm in the Hamptons.
“You want a tent that makes you feel like you’re outdoors in something beautiful,” said Steve Clarke of Sperry Tents Hamptons. They have some of the industry’s most elegant, made of sailcloth, with varnished amber wood poles and signature pennant flags.
On average, a tented affair for 100 to 150 guests runs $8,500 to $16,000, he said, in tent widths from 24 to 66 feet and up to 146 feet long.
Lighting factors into pricing, too. There are affordable bistro lights, Japanese lanterns, and string lights, or “next level” wrought iron and crystal chandeliers, said Clarke.
Features like flooring influence ambiance as well. “We can use an English chestnut floor with richer, darker tones for a formal event or a whitewashed look for a boho-chic or country style,” said Clarke.
Tent companies can supply electricity and heat, although expect to pay up for air conditioning, which is a whole other level and can run $10,000 to $20,000.
Municipality issues such as tent permits, music ordinances and parking rules must be complied with, which your tent company should take care of. Be aware of local laws, too.
“There’s an 11 p.m. standard music ordinance for amplified music, but if you want it to play longer, consider whether or not you have neighbors who will complain,” said Clarke.
Pay attention to the decor, said Marie Danielle Vil-Young, owner of À Votre Service Events of Somerville, NJ.
To maintain a formal, black-tie style, “start with key elements like chairs, which will make or break the look you want,” she said. “Linens and tables set the tone and feeling for a space.”
Flowers are important. “We pay attention to backdrop and seasonality,” said Vil-Young, who will lead a pop-up floral design class at the Short Hills Mall, NJ on Thursdays through June.
“I use a lot of botanicals and plant life, not just fresh-cut flowers,” she said. “You can do garlands and branches around poles. Trees provide ‘wow’ moments. Bundled lavender, mint, rosemary and other fragrant herbs make for stunning bouquets and smell amazing.”
For help scouting the ideal spot for your tented nuptials, think outside the box said Jeanne Stark, owner of Hudson Valley Ceremonies in Rhinebeck, New York.
Stark said that some picturesque destinations include Glenwood Farm, Buttermilk Falls, Nostrano Vineyards, Hasbrouck House and Shakespeare on the Hudson, and many of these sites double as accommodations for those interested in hosting a “wedding weekend.”
“Our tents serve as a beautiful, pop-up hotel,” said Rebecca Martin, CEO and founder of Terra Glamping, which offers tent rentals and fully produced glamping events.
Martin’s 12 -by-16-foot sleeping tents come with memory foam mattresses, down comforters, fine linens, rugs and furnishings, plus restroom trailers with shower kits storing robes, towels and toiletries. “Camp butlers” are designated to take care of you during your stay.
Here are the top tips for having a glamorous outdoor wedding in 2021.
Site visits are a must
Always have tent vendors come to your site prior to committing. Some grounds aren’t level enough, or you might think you have a large enough yard, but don’t. Consider whether vendors can get trucks up to your tent to unload, or if it means carrying loads by hand, which will increase your costs.
Peruse the property
Make sure irrigation systems will be switched off and the lawn has been manicured in advance, said Clarke.
Check for footprints
Literally. Inspect tent rentals for dirt marks and wear and tear, said Vil-Young.
For when you’ve gotta go
There are Porta Potties, or there are upscale restroom trailers — these are actually required when you have 75 people and up. Styles vary and can include marble vanities, wainscoting and driftwood flooring. Try Norsic and Son in Southampton for a quote, said Clarke.
Beware of clear tent tops
Don’t use them in July and August – you and your cake will cook and flowers will wilt. They’re awesome when properly lit, but best used in spring or fall, said Clarke.
Have a timetable
Don’t schedule all of your vendors to arrive too soon or all together. “Where are you going to put tables and chairs if the tent isn’t set up yet?” said Clarke.