If a backyard wedding is your heart’s desire, putting a tent up is a great way to create something special for your wedding.

There are lots of types and styles of tents, and many sizes. A good tent rental company will take the time to carefully assess your needs and recommend the best tent for your wedding.

I’m a big fan of clear tents. Looking up at trees, buildings, and sky through a clear canopy is an almost transcendent experience! A clear canopy and sides make your tent as invisible as any tent could ever be, and allows views of nearby gardens, trees, and architecture.

Once you’ve decided to use a tent, there is a lot you can do to dress it up!

Decor – Lighting is key. Perimeter lighting around the edge of the tent is de rigueur, preferably using LEDs. Pin spots shining on the tables, twinkling lights wrapped around the poles, or paper lanterns hung inside and around the edges, all can help set the mood and add excitement. If you’re using a liner in your tent, which I recommend you do, lighting the liner will look great and light the whole environment beautifully.

Furnishings – In tent furnishings, more is better! Cocktail-size tables, both high for standing and low with seating, go great in tents, as do larger and more elaborate dining tables. You can ramp it up with fancier seating, including sofas and other casual pieces. Both vintage and modern furnishings can be rented.

Melanie Brzozowski, senior event producer for large-scale events at Select Event Group, suggests that you use linens that take advantage of all of that lighting. Key word: sequins! Linens that reflect the light, either with sequins or metallic embroidery, will look great. You can couple them with reflective centerpieces for a deep, shimmering effect. Melanie says to mix it up. You don’t have to do a lot. At the very least, colorful linens go a long way, and they’re not expensive!

Flooring – If you’re positioning your tent over a brick or stone surface, all is well, and no additional flooring is required. But if you’re putting it up over grass, renting flooring is essential. Why? Three reasons: mud, dancing, and stiletto heels.

As anyone living around here can attest after last week, it rains, and sometimes a lot! Every wedding photographer who has photographed a tented wedding has a mud story, often involving cute boots and a happy-go-lucky couple. What you don’t hear about are all of the guests, with their ruined shoes and mud-splattered clothing, not to mention tables and chairs sinking into grass that has turned into a muddy, soggy mess. Don’t let that happen at your wedding!

Even if your tent is positioned over an existing hard surface, you may want to rent a separate dance floor. Stone and the like aren’t the best or the safest dancing surfaces.

It’s the rare lawn that will support a person in stiletto heels. People wear them, even when told not to, so be a good host and keep your guests from sinking backwards into the grass!

Heating and Air Conditioning – If the temperature is going to be in the 50s or below, you may want to add a heater or two. Consider air conditioning for a summer wedding.

Cost and Installation – Expect to pay at least $2,000 for your tent and accessories, including installation and removal. Installation takes a couple of hours, minimum, and is sometimes scheduled for the day before your event, with removal the day after. Cancellations usually cost at least 50% of your deposit.

When to Order – You’ll want to reserve your date with the tent company at least a month ahead for events held during April, May, or June or in September or October.

A tented backyard wedding done well can be a fabulous and unforgettable experience. Plan with care, and yours can be one of them!

Next time: Music for your wedding.

David L. Egan is the proprietor and steward of Chase Court, a wedding and event venue in downtown Baltimore. Visit Chasecourt.com, and follow ChaseCourtWeddingVenue on Instagram and Facebook.

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David Egan
David Egan
David L. Egan is the proprietor and steward of Chase Court, a wedding and event venue in downtown Baltimore. Visit Chasecourt.com, and follow ChaseCourtWeddingVenue on Instagram and Facebook.