How to prepare for rain at a tented wedding

How to prepare for rain at a tented wedding

What started in the noughties continues to grow and we are hearing about more and more ‘tent’ weddings from our planners and wedding professionals. Yes, the traditional marquee wedding has been around for some time however, we are talking about the rustic feel, the yurts and tipis, the unusual tents stocked with more natural furnishings to give a truly cosy feel on the big day.

Why choose a tented wedding?

There are many reasons why couples choose to have a tented wedding. Naturally, the idea of wedding guests enjoying the big day in the green countryside is bliss for many. The tents may be erected in the grounds of a venue. The ceremony occurs inside the venue with the reception happening in the tent. Or the couple goes for it and erects tents in the middle of a field with no nearby buildings.

Tipi wedding with VW camper

The problem with hiring tents is they take time to erect and of course the world famous British weather. Chances are you won’t know about bad weather until a day or two before the wedding. This is usually when the tents are erected however, because of their popularity, many providers state advanced bookings are a requirement. So if you were having outdoor games and it was forecasted to rain, you can’t just ring up the tent provider and ask for another to be put up. So if it’s going to rain on the big day, what should you do in advance to ensure there is a solid backup plan?

Tented weddings challenges and solutions

After speaking to multiple tent providers, the number one concern is space. Yes the guests are all seated at the same time during dinner but afterwards, people will want to move around and if it’s pouring outside, everyone will stay in the tent. To overcome this possibility, compensate a little when ordering tent sizes or amounts. Ensure there is a little extra room on the outskirts for greater manoeuvring.

If you are considering modular tents such as Giant Hat Tipis, you may wish to attach a separate space which acts as a chill out room. This is usually furnished with beanbags or comfy rustic sofas laden with cushions surrounding a fire pit. If it rains and you were planning to have outdoor games, this extra room may have enough space to play in although you most likely will have to stack your furniture. This can work out well because the type of furniture typically used for tents is designed to be mobile therefore stacking is easy. Chances are your games will not go on into the night so the space can easily go back to becoming a chill out zone later on. Even if you are not having outdoor games, the chill out zone is always a great addition to your tent layout.

If a chill out zone is not possible you can use the dance floor. Many tent providers use DandyDura®, a durable special matting material. It is tightly woven so it can accommodate the pointiest of heels but it also makes a perfect surface for dancing. Again, you use the space for games before the night settles in and people want to boogie. Having said that, you must be wary of what games you decide to play. To be on the safe side, choose games that require minimal space:

  • Giant Jenga
  • Giant Noughts and Crosses
  • Break the Piñata (depending on roof beams for hanging)
  • Twister
  • Giant Connect Four
  • Beat the buzzer
  • Limbo

Table layout ideas

Most likely your tent plan will contain a central or large tent where the tables or benches will be situated. Locating the top table in the middle really creates an intimate atmosphere, especially when the speeches are delivered (you may not require a microphone depending on the size of the tent). This table layout also makes a perfect opportunity for optimal 360 photographs and videos, a trend that is starting to become more and more popular in the USA and may even break across the Atlantic.

Tented wedding layout example

Some professionals may argue that couples do not wish to have their backs turned to their guests hence why they choose a more traditional location such as the top or side of the tent. One solution could be a doughnut shaped table where top table guests sit on the inside. This would only be a viable option depending on how many guests will be sitting. A horseshoe shaped table could also be used.

Solutions for smokers and guests walking to the car

Other pointers you should consider is provide a covered area to the side of the tent for smokers. Ensure they can get to the covered area from the main entrance without getting soaked. Think about providing cover from the closest entrance leading to the toilet block. If this is not possible, ensure you lay down an aisle of matting to prevent mud on clothes and stock each end with plenty of umbrellas.

You may need to consider how guests are getting from their cars to the tent. Again lay down a layer of matting so people have a clear, mud-free aisle. You could even create alternating sub aisles of matting from the main walkway that mark out parking spaces and ensure guests remain mud-free right to their car doors.

People at a Tipi wedding

Many of our venues do offer marquees. We have seen huge marquees erected where a allocated space at the side side acts as a chill out zone as described earlier. However, to erect a marquee big enough to offer this space means the roof has to be higher. By all means this is a good solution however, with modular tents such as tipis, you can offer the same space but in a cosier manner. One could argue this is a better option for heating if it’s a winter wedding.

A big thanks goes out Tipi Chic for allowing us to use the above photos.

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