A tent wedding at home, or on the perfect site you’ve spent weeks trying to find, may seem like the perfect plan for a venue but in reality planning a tent wedding can be stressful, confusing and actually quite a costly. Today, to help ease any confusion I’ve gathered the 12 must have tent wedding basics and just as importantly how much each costs for a tent wedding for 120 people in The Maritimes.
Photo Credit: Commerical Tent
1. The Right Site
Ideally, the site should be a flat, grass area with easy access. If you’re not hosting the wedding on land belonging to family or friends, you will need to find a private hire site. These can be pricey, so if you don’t have a site of your own or belonging to family and friends, be sure to factor in a reasonable amount for this cost.
• Cost: $0-$10,000
2. Your Tent
You will need to decide on what tent size you’d need for your wedding and ensure it comes with a suitable floor. Maritime tent companies offer a wide range of tent sizes to fit any wedding guest list but you need someone you can trust to keep your tent standing come rain or shine!
• Cost: $2000-$6000
If there are no toilet facilities on your site, you will require 3 toilets for every 100 guests. Do not be tempted to cut corners and avoid the rental of these facilities, even if you plan to locate your tent near to a house – trust us, it’s not worth it! Costs vary considerably, depending on how fancy you want these to be. Don’t forget to factor in delivery costs and if you require a wheelchair accessible option.
• Cost: $175-$275
Photo Credit: Commercial Tent
5. Generator & Electrics
You will 100% need electricity, for your band and catering equipment. Double check in advance if your generator is supplied by your tent company and who exactly is responsible for the set up and safety sign off. If you are responsible, you will need to hire an experienced electrician.
• Cost: $500 plus tent wiring costs
Even if you’re having a summer wedding you’ll more than likely need some form of heating for later on. It gets really cool especially after July in The Maritimes so to keep your guests comfortable don’t forgo this must have. Heating comes in various forms from indoor electrical heaters to thermostatically controlled units located outside of your tent. Most tent rental companies can supply you with your heating requirements.
• Cost: $100+ per heating unit
Photo Credit: Commercial Tent
7. Catering & Furniture
This is where things get complicated…
Once you decide what kind of food you’d like you’ll have to pick your caterer and make sure you have all the necessary space and equipment.
You will need a large kitchen, or catering tent, with stovetops/ovens, fridges for your caterer to use. Your caterer will provide you with the full list of requirements – what they have already and what will need to be rented from your tent company or a specialist hire company.
You’ll also need furniture and tableware: At a basic level you’ll need: a bar including fridges, your catering station, seating, tables, table linen and a dance floor. This can sometimes be provided by your tent marquee company or hired from a separate hire company.
Don’t forget tableware and serving equipment: Cookware, glassware, cutlery and serving equipment. Your caterer will provide you with a standard list of requirements, these are sourced from a cater hire company through your caterer, directly by you or via your tent company.
If you wish to create any unique design elements in the space (a special cake display table, a lounge area, outdoor tables and deckchairs etc.), you will need to design the space and prepare your own order for hire or hire from the tent company. Many of them in The Maritimes offer this in addition to their tent rentals.
Your caterer will often provide the staff for the event, usually this is billed as a separate item and should be broken down into hours and tasks (waiters, cooks, bar staff, kitchen porters etc).
• Cost: $80-$200 per staff member depending on hours worked
Photo Credit: Commercial Tent
9. The Bar
If you plan to serve alcohol you will need a bar. When it comes to bar service there are three options:
• Run it yourself – You will need all of your own equipment (gas, bar taps, bar itself, ice, fridges, glassware, dishwasher etc.) and alcohol (bottles/kegs), plus staff to man it on the day and tidy up / wash glasses. If you’re charging for alcohol be aware that you need a license.
• Ask a local bartender to do run it for you – they will often run the bar free of cost, and simply charge your guests for drinks like they would in their own pub/bar. They will need to transfer their license to your premises for the day.
• Ask you caterer to do the honors, which should be then added into your staffing costs. Again, check licensing requirements with your caterer if you are charging for alcohol. We ended up going with this option for our wedding because we wanted a professional and knowledgeable bartender. This ended up not be expensive at all and SO worth the cost.
The cost of your drinks bill will depend on what option you go for, and how much your guests drink so the sky is the limit for drinks to be honest. Make sure you factor in wine during the meal as well. Grab your calculator for this one, but the minimum for 120 would be…
• Drinks Cost: $1000+
If you’re getting married on your own property you may already be covered by your current insurance, but it is worth double checking. You should check with your tent company or wedding planner if you will require public liability insurance.
• Cost: $250+
Whether for a tent, hotel, barn, wedding costs are impossible to predict. At a most basic level you can expect to pay into the hundreds. For more elaborate décor, double or triple that number. If you’re thinking of having a lot of décor then please hire a stylist! The cost of a stylist will be worth it when they focus on buying and hiring the right things that will really make an impact and will relieve a lot of stress for yourselves.
• Cost: $300-$1000+
12. A Back-Up Plan
Last but not least, always plan for the worst. Add contingency of 10% into your budget to cover unforeseen extras. After all this planning it could rain, a storm could brew, or the wind and snow could put a literal dampener to your day, so plan for this. Although the tent should be fine, at certain times of year it can be good to have an ‘indoor’ area just in case.
Overall Cost: $10,000+
Did you have a tent wedding? What other factors should couples take into consideration when having a tent wedding?