By Cris Joseph, Classic Party Rentals, San diego

The request is always the same. “I want a tented wedding, but I don’t want it to look like a tent.” It’s a little riddle that an experienced event rental consultant can help you solve. Today’s trends in tenting and décor allow you to create an extension of the venue or home where the wedding is taking place. If your client’s home has modern or craftsman-type elements, the tent in the backyard can, too.

KEONI K PHOTOGRAPHY 01Many celebrities understand the allure. Couples like Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Matthew McConaughey and Camilla Alves, Carrie Underwood and Mike Fisher have incorporated tenting into their special days. One of the most appealing features to celebrities—and the rest of us—is the ability to create privacy and have complete control over the venue. Along with that control comes the responsibility of creating a venue from the ground up. Although it may seem like a daunting task, having an experienced event rental consultant as part of your team from the start will save you a lot of time and headaches and allow you to focus your attention on other special details.

Customize from the ground up
Wood floors for the entire tented area in the form of Pergo or laminate create a warm, rich foundation, and there are many different styles and colors from which to choose. Depending on the budget and build time, your clients can have their choice—from reclaimed wood to Brazilian hardwood to high-gloss, bleached pine, and so on. Custom decals and removable adhesives also allow today’s brides and grooms to truly put their mark on their wedding by creating floors that are one-of-a-kind. When envisioning flooring, keep the elevation and terrain of the ground in mind and know that a site survey with a trained event rental consultant will help determine the feasibility of the style you prefer.

CAMILA Y CHRISTIAN (29 AGO - 14-15-SEP 2012)0919
Many of today’s designers also are requesting wood veneers to cover the internal metal tent poles to “warm” up an event and bring inside a touch of the outdoors. There are also tent types with wood poles instead of metal and that incorporate sailcloth, a translucent fabric that allows natural light to penetrate the space. Many times, the sailcloth tents have rounded ends that may fit better into unusual spaces and backyards. In addition, some clients are requesting the exterior of the tent also blend with the venue. In those cases, tents are being constructed to resemble awnings complete with striped tops as well as tents in soft beige and muted colors. Once again, these tents are not as prevalent and before selling your bride and groom on a specific look involve a tented professional at the inception.

The icing on the cake
A tent ceiling is the perfect “canvas” for a designer’s creativity. A clear-top tent lends itself nicely to an industrial glam theme as well as a beach-like, see-the-stars look. A soft, pleated liner can create a romantic, vintage feel, whereas a custom drop-tufted ceiling can harken back to Hollywood glam.  With costs of printing techniques decreasing and new manufacturers entering the market, more options are available. Custom-printed Velon and fabrics that you would normally see in home décor are being used for ceiling treatments, liners, and wall drapes. Chevrons, wide stripes, and herringbone patterns very popular. Soft champagne and pewter palettes also provide an elegant backdrop for sexy lighting and are a little more current than the standard white.

Light up the night
Chandeliers and lighting fixtures are not only functional but can add another design layer to tented weddings. Just about any lighting fixture that you see in home décor can be utilized in a tented wedding. Chandeliers are no longer regulated to the big brass monsters of the 1990s, but can be made of crystals, hand-blown glass, or wrought iron and can incorporate fabric lampshades in custom-dyed hues. While most tent structures allow for multiple rigging points, involve your event rental consultant in the design process to determine feasibility and capacity, especially when pairing chandeliers and liners, which may restrict rigging to certain areas. Many rental companies also carry LED lights that work beautifully to create stunning ambience while drawing less power than standard par lights, an important feature when you are working with a limited power supply in a tented venue.


As they say, the sky’s the limit on tented weddings. With the right budget and lead time, just about any dream can come true. ••

Your Tented Wedding Checklist

  • Irrigation and underground power/utilities. Make sure your tent company calls a digger’s hotline or underground service alert before staking anything.
  • Proximity to buildings and cars. The fire marshal in most areas will need to approve a fire permit. There are regulations on how close you can be to certain objects or structures.
  • Overhead power lines, trees, and awnings. These must be clear of the pitch of the tent.
  • The terrain and elevation of the tented site. Most rental companies can even out terrain with adjustable subfloors, but this can become costly.
  • Load-in and load-out of the tent as well as the equipment to erect it. Many large structures require forklifts and heavy machinery to install them.
  • Long winding driveways. These may make it challenging to get trucks close. Added labor will need to be figured into the pricing.
  • Tenting on a downtown rooftop. This may require city permits and police assistance with traffic control around the crane that is used to hoist equipment to the roof.
  • Power source and distribution needs. Often, a generator, or two, is needed to pull off the event.

Photo Feb 09, 12 52 29 PM

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