• There are a number of types of tenting options available on the rental market today. A tent, given the size of your crowd and budget, can easily become one of the larger single investments you will make. There are three basic types of tenting that you must be aware of when looking to rent. Getting familiar with these types will leave you one step ahead
Canopy Tenting: These tents are light and come in several construction varieties, but all serve the same purpose. They are traditionally used for covering food stations, prize areas, guests, etc. from the lighter side of the elements and are great for providing shade. They are not meant for the long term installations, are not good in high winds and heavy rain situations. They do not usually have sidewalls, since the extra weight on the sides can easily cause the tent to droop and sag. Also sidewalls can increase the tents susceptibility to wind and weather (as with all tents). They are traditionally secured by rope and staking into the ground.
Frame Tenting: These tents are made for versatile indoor or outdoor installations. They are composed of a thick vinyl stretched over an aluminum frame to produce a tenting arrangement that has no obstructing middle poles for support. These tents are either staked or weighted down dependant on the situation. Staking is always preferred whenever possible, and generally it looks more appealing as well. In addition, on certain models, the legs can be extended or retracted to install evenly over any kind of terrain. They are very useful for use on gravel, driveways, over decks and other items that make staking and logistical positioning difficult.
Pole Tenting: This is a more typical style of tenting, which is supported with a number of perimeter and center poles. They come in all sizes and colors, but are mostly used for flat grass or gravel type installations. They can be installed over blacktop and staked in, but usually there are some additional charges that apply.
• Do your research before contacting a tenting rental company. They will immediately ask you what type of event you are planning, the style of seating, the activities to take place under the tent, the area of space they have to work with, the grade or slope of the installation site, and a number of other items that you may not have anticipated. Luckily they will usually come and inspect your event site for little to no charge, and oftentimes the charges will be credited towards your tenting rental if you decide to go with their services.
• Do not make assumptions that your tent will be big enough without consulting with the professionals. Many veterans can tell you off the top of their head what size of tent you will need. Others prefer to use a CAD system to draw out your event in detail so you have a picture of the event before a stake touches the ground. Do not forget to take into account room for your head tables, cake tables, gift tables, registration areas, performance areas, bar service areas, buffet areas, dance floor areas, walkways, and anything else that could eat up the space you have under your tent.
• Do not forget to get all the details as far as the costs for your tenting installation. Some rental companies leave out delivery and installation charges, and others have bad weather charges as well. Stay informed and ask the right questions. Get it in writing.
• Typically tenting companies prefer to install the tent several days before the event. First of all they have busy schedules, especially on weekends. Second of all, it works better for you if you have to contract another company to do table/chairs and other items. Another reason is that it gives you a good feeling of the space you have to work with, it gives you time to decorate or reposition items to your liking, they may also want to do this to help the ground remain dry in the event of inclement weather.
• Make sure to see if your tent comes with sidewalls or not. The sidewalls are 7’ – 9’ vinyl drapes that surround your tent and protect the contents from possible theft, vandalism, and weather conditions among other things. In the event of bad weather they will quickly become a necessity.
• Flooring may be another component you may want to consider. Possibly to reduce the slope of the installation site, to cover patches of uneven terrain or to simply cover the grass, sand, or gravel that would otherwise be your floor. Also if it is your lawn, you may want to prevent damage by heavy traffic of guest in certain areas.
• Carpeting may be necessary to cover your flooring, or if you have relatively even terrain it may give you a better look to the tent and prevent grass and dirt stains on your guests formal clothing. It is not typically used on grass, gravel, or sand installation, but is frequently used on asphalt and concrete installations.
• Dance flooring is an additional item that can help section your guests and reduces injury that can be caused by uneven terrain or slippery floors. It comes in a number of varieties to fit you event needs. Colors range from solid color tiles, parquet wooden grain floors, and a number of other special varieties.
• Take into consideration large trees or other obstacles that could make the installation difficult or impossible. Also take into account the location in relevance to the distance the tenting company will have to carry the tent. Some will charge you extra if they have to haul it at all. They prefer to be able to unload and install straight from the truck if at all possible.
• Consider the climate of the tent. There are heaters and air conditioning units available for tenting installations as well. Consider the type of dress that your guests will be wearing and try to gauge the level of comfort. If you have any concerns consult a professional. A true professional can respond to your event weather conditions very quickly, and if on the day of the event it is particularly hot or cold, they will be able to help you.
• General square footage estimations include providing about 15 square feet per person for a typical wedding reception or similar event. A cocktail party with minimal seating, food and bar stations, and cocktail tables only requires 10 square feet per person. Ceremony seating with room for the ceremony area, aisle ways, etc. is usually estimated at 8 square feet per person. Standing room is even less space, and usually requires about 6 square feet per person. Remember that every event is unique and there is no quick fix to estimating a tent size until you know everything that is going underneath it. Again, most professional will lay things out on a CAD program so you can see exactly what your event will look like.