Tent Accessories – What you need, what you don’t

Tent liner: You see these a lot in bridal magazines. It’s a floaty, parachute-looking lining, usually white or ivory, Pole Tentthough you can get insane colors for insane prices. Even in your basic white, these can get pretty expensive, usually 1x-4x the cost of the tent itself. Bridal magazines try to make these sound as essential as a best man and a marriage license, but fortunately, like sterling silver flatware, this is a fancy detail 98% of people can skip. Instead of a liner, get a pole tent. Check out the picture: the peak is made via one single pole instead of lots of interior frames and what-not, so you don’t even need a liner. And if you do get a liner, don’t blow a ton of money on a custom fuchsia-colored one with your name all over it, when you can use lighting effects on a normal liner to get a similar look.

Walls: $1-3 per linear foot (the perimeter of the tent). The perimeter of our imaginary 40×80 tent is 40+40+80+80, so you’d need 240 foot of wall. Solids, clear, and cathedral are standard. Fabric walls are nice, but they are strictly for decoration–they will not keep you dry.
Whether or not you need walls depends on time of year. The dead of summer? This is North Carolina. Skip the walls–they’ll just make your tent hot, and add fans instead. The winter? Get walls and heat. Some people try to use patio heaters inside tents, but don’t do that–get an actual tent furnace. These have a thermostat built in, just like the heat in your house, so you don’t have to keep adjusting it during your event, and 90% of it sits outside the tent so it doesn’t take up space. Plus you don’t have to worry about somebody knocking it over.

How much tent do you need?

40x80 tent exampleAnd you thought you’d never find a real-world use for geometry.

Probably the number one question our customers ask about tents is, what size do I need? While we are more than happy to figure this out for you if you call or e-mail, many people have requested a how-to so they can do some preliminary planning on their own.

We carry everything from 10’x10′ on up, moving up in 10′ increments. Don’t be intimidated by the huge range of sizes; the great thing about having your wedding or party in a tent instead of in a building is that you can build the space that works for you.

This is going to take some math, but don’t worry, it’s easy math. You can also use a program like this one to help you out. It even has a simple sketch program to let you arrange your tables and chairs inside the tent. You can also check out our main site, where we’ve got pre-made layouts to help you visualize. Layouts for small weddings | Layouts for 75-200 | Layouts for 250+ Weddings

1. Take your guest count. If you’re seating people at 60″ round tables, you need 100 square feet per 8 guests. If you’re seating them at long tables, you need 80 square feet per 8 guests. Example: 150 guests, divided by 8, comes to 18.75 round tables (if you don’t get a whole number, round up because you can’t sit at half a table). 19×100 = 1900 square feet.
2. You need room for your head table & buffet tables. Assuming a 12-person bridal party and 3 or 4 buffet tables, Add 800 square feet.
3. Other items: Are you having a stage for the band? Are you having a dance floor? All of these are going to take up real estate in your tent. For stages and dance floors especially, you need more than the actual size of these items, since nobody wants to sit two feet away from the stage. If I was using a 12×12 dance floor, I’d give it at least a 16×16 area, adding 256 square feet to the tent.
Total square footage: 2856
This number is the minimum square footage you need. If you get a tent smaller than this, you’re going to have problems.

Now you know your square footage. Now, all you have to do is match it up to the appropriate tent. If you are thinking about a 40×60 tent, multiply 40 x 60 and get 2400 square feet. That’s not big enough, in this case, but a 40×80, at 3200 square feet, is.

A Question on Tent Sizing

Some of our sharp-eyed customers have noticed that we carry multiple tents with the same square footage. For example, we carry both 20×60 tents and 30×40 tents (both have a square footage of 1200). Is there a reason to choose one over the other?

We recommend getting the squarest tent your site allows for two reasons:

1. Your guests will have an easier time mingling and all will feel included during important parts of the evening, like the cake cutting and the dances.

2. Wider tents are higher at the peak. This both looks better, and does a better job of keeping you cool. A 40’x60′ tent will be higher than

Wider. Is. Better.

A 40×40 tent in a parking lot.

a 30’x80′ tent from the same manufacturer. Use a long skinny tent if that’s all that will fit in your space, but if you have a choice get the wider tent.
That’s why it’s important to draw out what you’re actually doing. Graph paper works, but this program is easy to use and is a huge help.