Have you considered having a tent wedding? As wedding planners and designers, one of the first tasks that we will work on is venue selection. Depending on where our couple wants to get married, sometimes it’s hard to find a venue that suits what they are looking for, especially in Canada. We love planning and designing events and weddings with tents so we have put together this guide to share our experience on tent weddings in Canada and elsewhere.
One of the first things you would want to consider when having a tented wedding is the location of the tent. For venues, there are certain areas that are designated for tents and oftentimes there are sprinklers or other lawn protection regulations in place. Ensure that you have checked with the venue regarding the use of their outdoor space and whether or not a tent is allowed in a particular area. There might also be the need for a special events permit, additional insurance, or noise control bylaws that you will need to take a note of.
Depending if you are having a wedding in the cooler months or warmer months, the things you will need to consider will differ. There are various styles of tents that are more suitable for certain weather and situations. For the cooler and perhaps rainier months, you might want to source sufficient blankets, portable heaters and other things to keep your guests comfortable. We will also suggest choosing a tent with a wall option to help keep your guests dry and warmer. For the warmer months, things like fans and providing sufficient shade will be important so that your guests don’t feel overheated.
With the beautiful natural light during the daytime, depending on the venue, you will most likely need additional lighting when the sun goes down. The lighting inside the tent not only helps you guests dine in comfort, but it also provides a warm ambiance as the night goes on. We will also highly recommend considering the lighting for the areas surrounding your tent. The pathway for your guests to the washroom, the parking, or exiting the venue should be well lit to ensure the safety of your guests.
As we begin the wedding planning process, one of the things that we tell our couples to consider first, or if you look at our wedding checklist, the first thing we suggest is the venue and location. Along with this is the consideration of whether or not you would want a tented wedding.
Being Outdoors Under Cover
Tented weddings are a beautiful option for couples who want to have an outdoor wedding and reception with an intimate and romantic atmosphere. Having a tent not only provides protection from the outdoor elements, but it is also a part of the whole visual design and feeling it gives to your guests. Especially for venues with large open space, having a tent creates a focal point and helps to gather your guests together in an intimate setting to celebrate.
As a wedding planner, there are a lot more logistical and design elements involved with a tented wedding. However, there are also many things about a tented wedding that we particularly love. One of our favourite things is the amount of natural light that is incomparable to an indoor wedding. Especially with a clear top tent, the tent is filled with warm sunlight that allows photographers to capture all the beauty with ease.
A Blank Canvas
Another thing that we love about tents is that it gives us a blank canvas to work with. In terms of designs, you have more freedom in terms of changing the ambiance by adding in hanging decor. You also have more control over the colours and patterns so that you won’t have to worry about a carpet colour and ceiling lights that don’t work with the overall design.
Here is a list of venues where you can have your tent wedding in Canada.
5251 Oak St, Vancouver, BC V6M 4H1
Located in the center of Vancouver, this venue hosts many weddings throughout the year and has a big lawn where you can have a tent for your wedding.
6804 SW Marine Dr, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4
This venue is located at the University of British Columbia campus, and couples can have their tented wedding either on the Contemporary Lawn or the Main Lawn. See Adrienne and Kenneth’s wedding at UBC Garden here.
610 Pipeline Rd, Vancouver, BC V6G 1Z4
Many couples choose Stanley Park for the iconic house as the backdrop and there is actually a side lawn where a tent can be placed. See what we designed for Sarah and Sean’s tented wedding at Stanley Park.
3350 SW Marine Dr, Vancouver, BC V6N 3Y9
This golf club hosts a variety of events including weddings and the venue is situated in beautiful Point Grey area.
One of the most popular options is having a tented wedding at your estate or parents’ estate.
185 Graydon Hall Dr, North York, ON M3A 3B1
A very popular wedding venue in Ontario, this venue not only has a stunning mansion but can also accommodate a tent option.
1217 N Muldrew Lake Rd, Gravenhurst, ON P1P 1T9
A luxury resort and golf course, this venue will be perfect for a tent wedding with accommodations for your guests.
3288 Line 9 N, Coldwater, ON L0K 1E0
With different activities offered through different seasons, this beautiful venue is a great choice to have a tented wedding.
16006 Niagara River Pkwy, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON L0S 1J0
This property reminds us of California and is a great place for a tented wedding.
Similar to private estates in Vancouver, a tented wedding has the flexibility of being anywhere you want it, provided that it is in line with your city’s requirements.
How long does it take to set up a tent?
Depending on the style of tent you are looking to have, it can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. However, keep in mind that you will still need time for all the decor and other elements to go in after the tent is set up. If it takes a day for the basic structure to be set up, you will probably need another day or two for the other large decor and hanging items to be in place.
Are there different types of tents?
Depending on the size of your wedding, the feeling you are looking to create, the weather that is typically expected for that season, there are a variety of tents to choose from. Two of our favourite tents are the clear top and the sailcloth tents.
For the clear top tent, it is done using a frame tent with a clear top added as the ‘ceiling’. This type of tent creates a bright and airy feeling thanks to the abundance of natural light and it gives a romantic atmosphere at night with the moon and stars peeking through. The lack of poles in the middle of the tent is also another main point of this style. As it is freestanding it gives you more options of where to place the tent but also more open space to create a variety of designs.
Sailcloth or tidewater tent is a beautiful tent with vaulted ceilings and gives off a wonderful open feeling. Although the tent is in cloth, the translucent fabric allows sufficient light to shine through to give that natural light glow. The tall poles are often used as part of the design elements and the impressive height that it has makes this tent an elegant and timeless style.
Is having a tented wedding more expensive?
Yes, having a tented wedding will be more expensive. A lot of the expenses that come from a tented wedding is due to the additional vendors and team members that are needed to help ensure the success of a tented wedding. However, having a tented wedding really does elevate the outdoor wedding experience and many couples decide that this is something they want to splurge on.
During covid, there were many restrictions to indoor weddings, so our couple decided to have an outdoor wedding with a sailcloth tent. This beautiful wedding was held at the UBC Botanical garden and with its expansive outdoor space, it was the perfect setting for the sailcloth tent. This wedding also took place at the end of summer when the weather was turning cooler, so the sailcloth gave it a much more intimate feeling.
For a summer wedding we did at Stanley Park Pavilion, we went for a clear top tent. As the area for the tent was more limited, we went for the clear top to maximise the space and also allowed the guests to enjoy the natural light as much as possible. We also added in soft drapes at the top and opened sides to ensure plenty of airflow for the warm weather.
If you are considering having a tent at your wedding and event, you might be interested in seeing this short clip of a before and after tent transformation. You can also connect with us to see how we can plan and design for your special day.
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