Tenting 101

Tented events are my favorite!  Tented events allow you to completely customize your event.  Essentially, a tent is a blank canvas (that can be white or clear, I might add, depending on what style tent top you utilize!).

There are two styles of tents.  The first style, and most traditional, is the pole tent.  Pole tents are marked by the inner poles or “peaks” of the tent.  This type of tent can only have a white canvas top and you will need tons of open space.  The inner poles of this tent can make it tricky to place dance floors and staging because you have to work around those poles.  Make sure to have your rental company create a CAD drawing of this tent that indicates the placement of the poles in relation to the dance floor, staging and any head tables.  On the other hand, many people love the look of the magnificent peaks in this tent, as they make for a very dramatic ambiance and give you another element to decorate!   See below for pictures of a pole tent, both inside and outside views.

The second tent style is a frame tent.  Frame tents are shaped more like the structure of a house with poles only around the perimeter of the tent (no internal poles or peaks).   An advantage of using frame tents is that they come in many different sizes ranging from 9’ widths to 100’ + widths.  This means if your party is going to be in a yard with strange angles or trees, you can easily build the tent to fit the yard!  This may mean having a few “connector” tents, or marquees as they are called by your rental company.  Marquees are also a wonderful addition to any tent in the even of rain.  They are like mini covered walkways.

Frame tents can have clear or white tops.  However, clear top tents can only be used during cooler months as they tent to trap heat, much like a greenhouse!  In NC, I never recommend using a clear tent in the months of May, June, July and August.  September and April can be questionable because you never know what the weather will do.  Typically, it will be cool enough at night that September and April do just fine.  Regardless, the bracing (metal beams) will show in the top of a frame tent, unless you decide to add a fabric liner or “swag,” either of which I highly recommend!  They make all tents more graceful and elegant.  Because of the bracing on the top of the frame tent, it is also much more conducive for hanging chandeliers, chinese lanterns, or any other decorative element.  See below for images of clear and solid top frame tents.

All tents regardless of the style can have walls.  Tent walls (commonly referred to as tent flaps) come in solid panels (shown above), clear panels (shown above) and window panels.  Most rental companies cary all three and will let you decide what you prefer to use.  Additionally, you can always decide to add air-conditioning or heat to your tent!  Keep in mind tent walls and air conditioning or heat are always an additional fee.  I like to think of tents as a customized ballroom in the location of your choice!  Happy decorating!