Tented weddings are a growing trend for many reasons. A tent offers flexibility, protection from the elements and it allows for creativity in the decor. One of the most common places to have a tented wedding is at home – right in your own backyard! But before getting too excited and putting a deposit down on rentals you need to be prepared to answer a handful of very important questions. Oftentimes these questions aren’t asked until you already have your heart set on a backyard wedding only to find out it won’t work logistically or will cost a lot more than you had initially thought. So to help avoid this, we have outlined the questions we at Regal would ask, to help you decide if this is a realistic endeavour or just a pipe dream!
How much of the space is useable?
The ideal location for a tent to be installed is on even ground without any obstructions. A setting contrary to this does not necessarily mean you can’t have a tent but it may demand some creative or strategic planning which may also translate into extra costs. Before you do anything, you want to determine if the space you have in mind is suitable for a tent. You need to consider whether your deck, pool, garden, trees or other obstructions could interfere with the placement of the tent. In addition you will want to consider the spaces outside of the backyard to see if they are useable in any way. For instance, you could have cocktails inside the house or inside an additional smaller tent set up on the driveway. Or you could have a clear floor installed over top of the pool which of course is stunning but is not necessarily for the budget conscious. There are always solutions but to find them you need to first identify the useable space available to work with.
Do you have the power?
There is the music, the lights, the air conditioning, the microphone, the cappuccino maker…do you have enough power for it all? If not, you need to budget for a generator so that you aren’t left powerless. To find out if you have enough power you need to know the wattage of each of those elements that are using power. Along with budgeting for a generator you also need to account for the physical space it will use. If you have a band for example, having the generator too close to where they are set up could damage some of their equipment like amps and mixers. Talk to your rental company about the wattage required and any logistical questions you may have about how much space is needed for the generator as well as how loud it is. You will want to ensure you are renting a generator that is relatively quiet.
Do you have enough washrooms?
Depending on the size of your event you may need to bring in additional washrooms. The chart below gives a good idea of how many are needed depending on the expected attendance and duration of the event. It is also important to consider whether or not the washrooms will need to be hooked up to the water supply or if they need to be plugged in (then add the washrooms to the list above of things that need power!). Depending on the style of the washroom (they range from the good old porta potty to luxury washroom units) you will need to allocate space. You might also have to consider accessibility for any guests who may be in wheelchairs.
Is it safe to start staking?
Tents can be anchored in a few different ways but most often they are staked into the ground. Before staking it is required that you identify and mark any underground cables whether public or private. Many backyards tend to be full of private lines for irrigation, sprinklers, garden lights and pool lines so it is important to have a private locating company in to locate and mark those lines before a tent is installed. Irrigation lines are often difficult or impossible to locate because they are made of plastic and don’t always have tracers so you run the risk of hitting a line while staking. A helpful tip is to ensure that your water and sprinkler system are turned off before the first stake goes in.
Is your backyard accessible?
Installing a tent involves a lot of equipment. So logistically you need to develop a plan for the installation crew to go about transporting the materials off the truck and into the backyard. You would need to examine what the current situation is and then if necessary (and possible), brainstorm ideas to improve the process. For instance, the initial plan might be to walk the items across the front yard to the 38” wide gate that leads down a set of stairs into the backyard. From that point you could look at ways to improve the process maybe by making a plywood roadway across the lawn to protect your grass or removing a small section of the fence to widen the entryway. Again, it is important to consider these things sooner than later in the process to determine whether or not it is feasible and to get an accurate idea of the costs.
There really is a lot to consider when planning a tented wedding or event but the end result can definitely be worth it! By reviewing these items early on in your planning process you will find out if the site is workable as is or if adjustments need to be made. You will also be able to budget more accurately and avoid any last minute charges tacked onto your bill. Something else you might want to keep in mind…your neighbours! It’s always a nice idea to approach your neighbours prior to the event to let them know when the wedding is taking place and maybe drop off a bottle of wine or some earplugs!