Planning a tented wedding is unique in that you get to plan your venue – from start to finish. While this prospect can be thrilling, there are also plenty of logistics to consider. One of the first things you’ll need to determine is how you’ll layout your entire event, which may include the wedding, cocktail hour, and reception – or any combination of these. A well-thought out layout will allow smooth transitions between events, maximize space for eating, mingling, and dancing, and allow your wedding to run as smoothly as possible.
Here, we’ll talk about unique wedding tent layouts, offer tried-and-true tips for organizing your tented space, and provide CAD drawings from real events for inspiration.
Define Your Spaces
The first step in designing your event space is to determine each of the phases of your wedding, and list the spaces needed for each of those phases. Here are some examples:
The Wedding Ceremony – For the wedding ceremony, you will likely need chairs or benches for guests, an aisle, and a focal point where the vows will be exchanged. While this is not typically a tented portion of the event, you should be prepared for inclement weather and have a backup plan. Define where the ceremony will take place, and decide how many rows of chairs or benches you will need based on the guest count and available space.
The Cocktail Hour – If you’re planning a cocktail hour, decide how you’ll transition guests from the ceremony to the cocktail hour. The location of the cocktail hour should be a seamless flow from the ceremony, and obvious to guests so they don’t find themselves wondering about the property. The cocktail hour should include an arrangement of tables (often cocktail tables, which encourage mingling) and sometimes a lounge-type seating area.
The Reception – The reception is often the tented portion of the wedding event, and should be spacious enough to accommodate all of the evening’s activities. Consider where you’ll place the head table or sweetheart table, guest tables, a dance floor, wedding favor table, DJ or band set up, a cake table, bar, and a gift table. Also consider if you’ll need separate tent space for your caterer or a waiter station. Any other activities should be accounted for – such as a photo booth.
In the event of inclement weather, all of your event spaces can be connected by Marquee Tents, creating protected pathways throughout your event space.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to laying out and designing these spaces, but we especially love an unexpected and unique wedding tent layout.
Spacing and Capacity
As a rule of thumb, round banquet tables should have 60 to 80 inches of space between each other, and chair backs that face each other should have 52 to 66 inches of space between them. Rectangular and square tables should also have 52 to 66 inches of space between them.
Generally, you should plan the following tent sizes depending on the guest count:
- 100 guests – 1,600 ft
- 150 guests – 2,300 ft
- 200 guests – 2,800 ft
- An additional 100 ft for each additional 10 guests over 200
Tent Exits & Entrances
Plan to have obvious entry and exit points to help the flow of traffic. Create clear pathways that direct traffic by leading to entrances and exits. You’ll also have tent poles to work around and cords to manage. We always recommend planning your space to group cords in the same area and away from walkways. For example, place the DJ near the caterer to group cords – but not near areas where you encourage socialization, like the bar – because the loud music can inhibit conversation.
Don’t Miss the Details
Don’t forget the less glamorous details like trash cans and recycle bin placement, restrooms, and heaters and/or air conditioning,
Keep scrolling to see some example CAD drawings from real events that we helped to design: