I LOVE a private estate tent wedding full stop. To me, it's like hosting all your loved ones in your living room for an evening of celebration. We've all seen the rolling hills wedding photos followed by cocktails during sunset and dinner under the stars. How romantic is that!? It's also A LOT OF WORK. I repeat, IT IS A LOT OF WORK. You're creating an entire venue out of a backyard or private estate property. In my opinion, it's totally worth it as long as you're willing to put the work in. Below are my top 5 things that you should consider when planning a tent wedding.
Those beautiful string lights, catering ovens and A/V all require a significant amount of power. If you're tent isn't directly connected to your home, you will need to rent a high power generator. The average price for a generaor is $450+delivery+HST.
You will need a minimum of 2 on site. My preference is always 4 as it reduces lines aka more guests on the dance floor at all times. The average cost of a wedding portable washroom trailer is $1,200 +delivery + HST.
3. Rentals & Staffing.
Tables, chairs, linens, glassware, lighting, flatware, dance floor, A/V, catering ovens, ice, bar supplies, heaters, fans, bartenders, servers the list goes on. The average cost of rentals for a wedding based on 100 guests is $9,000 - $11,000+HST.
4. Set up and tear down.
Most of my estate weddings begin set up on the 3-4 days prior to the wedding day. On Wednesday, the tent arrives for installation as well as the washrooms. Thursday, the deliveries arrive and the lighting and dance floor are installed. Friday, we set up the tables, chairs, backdrop, receive the alcohol delivery and conduct the wedding rehearsal.Saturday morning the flowers arrive, additional decor elements are set up, the caterers prepare cocktail and dinner service and the remainder of the vendors arrive for set up.
Sunday, the clean up begins. The rental company generally will come to grab the smaller items such as chairs, tables, glassware and decor. This is also when you collect your personal decor items and unopened alcohol (you can return that to the LCBO)! Monday, the tent, lighting and flooring are uninstalled and the washrooms are picked up. Don't forget that if you're celebrating into the early hours of the morning, there is bound to be garbage that will need to be picked up too.
If you don't have a planner, this will all be left up to you to set up and coordinate. Let's be honest, you should be getting your nails done not counting all the rentals as they arrive.
You need to be OK if it rains and have a solid back up plan that you're happy with if it does. During the planning process, I go over the options with my clients to ensure they know what those options are, and best and worst case scenario for each one . Once we've decided what option is best, I will design the floor plan accordingly. In most cases we order a tent that is large enough to host a ceremony and reception and simply conduct a room flip. With the help of the caterers and some fantastic draping installs, the guests are simply ushered from one end of the tent to the other without distraction.
The amount of work and attention to detail is generally much greater than having a wedding in an already existing venue. For this reason, we've curated an estate wedding package so you can enjoy all the benefits of this type of wedding without all the work and worry. After all, you should be a guest at your own wedding!
Photo by Abby White Photography