Dreaming of a garden wedding? While the great outdoors can make an amazing scenic backdrop for your wedding ceremony or reception, if your wedding venue requires a tent (or if you need one for a weather backup plan) your wedding tent costs can add up quickly. Those added dollars can put your dream wedding venue over budget if you don’t plan accordingly. So, just how much do wedding tents cost? I’ve included some general prices below to help get you started as well as questions you should plan on asking a prospective wedding tent company (as well as your wedding venue). There are also easy ways to save A LOT of money when it comes to wedding tent cost, so read on!
What You Need to Know When Figuring Out Your Wedding Tent Cost
Wedding Tent Type:
The first thing you should know is that wedding tents are basically broken down into two different types: pole tents and frame tents. While the materials they are made out of as well as their overall shapes/designs can vary widely, you can get a better idea of the style of tent you’re looking for by deciding which one of the two you like better. Here are the basic differences:
Pole tents: These tents typically go on grass since they have to be staked. They have at least one center pole but can often have several (which many couples decorate with fabric, flowers/vines, or other materials).
Frame tents: A frame tent is more versatile since it can go on multiple surfaces (including grass, asphalt, concrete or a deck). Since there are no poles inside the tent, it will give you more square footage inside since you don’t have to plan your seating around the poles.
Also keep in mind that Sperry Tents—a pole-style tent made of sail-cloth fabric vs. a traditional vinyl—are pretty much in a category of their own. While you might prefer one type of tent over another, you will have to go with the wedding tent type that works best for your space. For example, tent frames are best for narrow spaces, whereas pole tents work best for spaces that are at least 30” wide.
Wedding Tent Size:
There are a ton of formulas out there to help you determine what size tent you’ll need, taking into account what types of tables you’ll have (square or round), and whether or not you’ll have a dance floor among other considerations. However, I wouldn’t get too wrapped up in that considering you’ll most likely get all of that information from the tent company during your first meeting/call.
However, so you have an idea below are general size requirements you can expect to use for pole tents:
- Up to 100 guests – a 30×60 pole tent
- Up to 140 guests – 40×60 pole tent
- Up to 200 guests – 40×80 pole tent
In addition to your basic wedding tent structure, you’ll have to decide which of the following additions you’ll need:
- Side walls
- Catering tent (if your venue does not offer a kitchen/covered set-up area, you might need an additional, smaller tent for this)
Before you will be able to figure out how much a wedding tent will cost you, you should be prepared to ask your wedding venue and tent rental companies the following questions…
For the wedding tent company:
- Is labor included in the tent rental cost?
- If not, what is your estimated labor cost?
- How long is the tent rental period?
- Does the tent require a permit or is it included in the cost?
- Is the tent weatherproof?
- What’s your cancellation policy?
- How are last-minute orders handled?
- What are your delivery/pickup fees?
- What size do you recommend?
- Are sidewalls/flooring/lights or other components included?
- Are there any discounts for renting other equipment from you (tables, chairs, etc.)
For the wedding venue:
- Am I required to have a wedding tent for the ceremony and/or reception? If not, what is the venue’s weather backup plan?
- How many hours do I have for setup/breakdown? (As a general rule, tents can take around 6-8 hours for setup, and half that time to break them down.)
- What is the cost for additional rental hours if needed?
- Is there a power source for a tent or do I need a generator?
- What are the measurements of the space we would be tenting?
- Am I required to use a specific tent rental company? If not, which ones can you recommend?
Here’s a snapshot of some general wedding tent rental costs*:
Basic tent structure cost: $500 for your smallest tent (like the one you might use for your caterers) up to $5,000+ depending on size, type, etc.
Flooring: Tent flooring can run anywhere between $1-$2.50 a sq. foot., so estimate between $300-$2,000+ depending on the type (plastic, wood, etc.)
Side walls: These are charged by linear square foot, which can range from $1-4. You can expect to pay around $400+ for a 40’X60′ tent.
Tent liners: According to Pacific Party Canopies, a general estimate for liners in a 40’X60’ tent is around $1,080.
Tent heaters: $125+/each
*NOTE: Keep in mind that as is the case for most wedding vendors, pricing tends to be regional (meaning what you’ll pay in New York City is way different than what you’ll pay in Detroit).
Things to remember:
- If you’re picking a venue because it’s less expensive than other ones you’ve seen but it needs a tent, you’ll want to factor that price into your venue budget. Depending on the cost you could potentially go with another venue that is more expensive but won’t need a tent.
- Ask the wedding venue or caterer who they recommend for wedding tent rentals. It’s much better to go with a tent rental company who has worked with the space before and knows the lay of the land.
- If your entire wedding reception is outside and caterers have to set up a kitchen, you’ll have to factor in the cost of a catering tent as well (listed above).
How to Save:
- Skip the liner. While these look gorgeous, they can cost you as much as the price of the tent in many cases. Instead, go with a pole tent if you’re looking for that drapey look.
- Fabric walls will cost you more. Go with solid, clear, or windowed walls to keep the price on average.
- Don’t get flooring for your entire tent. Instead, opt to have just a dance floor.
- While heaters are a must in cold months (and are inexpensive), air conditioners will cost you a fortune (and tent companies rarely suggest you get one). Instead, opt for fans to cool the tent down if necessary.
- Frame tents can be more expensive due to the intricate ceiling and the fact that you’ll most likely have to line them (unless they’re clear). To save money, opt for a pole tent instead.