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Under Cover: Three Seattle Wedding Experts Weigh In On Everything You Need To Know When Renting A Tent

Allyson Reedy

Rain may mean good luck on your wedding day, but that doesn’t mean you and your guests have to get soaked if you’re getting married in the great outdoors. Here’s everything you need to know about renting a tent, from why you probably need a covered venue to when to book one to all of your options for making that space magical.

“Tents are a great way to create a venue anywhere that is special to you. Maybe you want to hold your wedding at the beach where you had your first date, or your family farm where you grew up. With the right tenting plan, you can bring all the comfort of a building to many unique locations,” says Robin Denny, director of sales for CORT Party Rental. And, of course, the tent will make sure you and your guests are covered—literally—in the event of inclement weather, which in the Pacific Northwest can hit at any time.   

Kate Price        

“We recommend people book at least six months in advance for peak times [from Memorial Day through the end of September],” says Denise Novak, customer relations manager at Alexander Party Rentals. Next steps include a site visit with the tent rental company so it can make recommendations for types and sizes of tents and determine whether you need any permits. “The state of Washington has a fire code that states that anything over 400 square feet needs a permit. Cities have different regulations and costs—some are per tent and some are per site,” says Novak. Your tent rental company should be able to help you navigate the permit process.

Alante Photography

“The most important thing is for a bride to think through what’s happening in the tent at what time of day or night,” says Eddie Redman, general manager at Grand Event Rentals. “We tell people to factor everything in—DJ or band, buffet, cake table, bar, dancing, head table. If it rains, will you do the ceremony and reception in the tent?” All of these things are factors in figuring out what size of tent you’ll need (and how many tents), how much power will be necessary to keep things humming and even where the tent can be situated.

“Tents can be swagged with all sorts of gorgeous details, like leg drapes, liners and crystal chandeliers,” Denny says. To create the feel of a ballroom, you can add carpet or hardwood flooring to your tent, too. As for the tents themselves, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from a simple canopy frame to vintage-inspired Tidewater tents. Tent sides can be clear, to let in gorgeous views, or canvas, to hide not-so-gorgeous views.

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