Events in Tents

Producing off premise events are always challenging and a great expense.  Whenever I hear that someone would like to throw a party at their home in a tent I think – Do they know what they are in for?

I don’t think people realize that when you have a party in a tent it’s very expensive.  Unlike having a party at a hotel, you now have to rent everything – the tent, the floor, the tables, chairs, silverware, china, cook tent, linens.  You name it, you now need to rent it.  Even your Decor may cost you more because tents are not very attractive and to line the inside will cost you as much as the tent itself! And don’t forget the air-conditioning or heating.  You could skip it if you want but your guests will either sweat or freeze to death.  You become a building contractor and decorator all rolled up in one!

Although there are extra costs in using a tent I love them!!!  Why you ask?  because they are a challenge and you get to create exactly what you want.  You get to chose the size of the room, the level(One or two floors),where you enter and exit and event the amount of bathrooms you want.  It’s all custom.  Tents allow you to have an event space in places where there are none!

Here are the lessons I have learned when working with tents:

Permit:  make sure you get a permit before you put up a tent. Check with your city for lead time.  It’s usually several weeks.

Exit sign:  make sure you are up to code on exits in your tent.  The standard red exit signs which need to be posted above each exit.

Flooring:  Place a tent on an existing flat surface.  Preferably on cement. Do not put carpet over dirt or grass.  If you do, your female guests will not be happy.  Most of them where heels and they will will be walking funny or falling.  Either scenario is not good.  I have actually poured a concrete floor with PVC piping for the electrical cords.  This was done for a permanent tent space and very expensive.  Using wood flooring and putting carpet on top is a much better solution.

Generator:  There is usually limited access to electricity so you have to rent a generator.  They come in different sizes depending on the wattage you need.  I always ask each vendor what they need first before placing an order.  When you place your order you need to make sure it includes the cables and hook ups.  And remember, never have just one generator.  Always have one on reserve for back up just in case.

Ceiling height:  A tent has an 8′ height at the entrance and progressively gets higher.  This means that you have to place your stage several feet from the side or in the center of the tent.

Tent Types – There are several types of tents.  First, there is the pole tent or as some of you will refer to it as the circus tent.  This tent has a large pole in the middle and several throughout its structure.  It is not the best for producing an event with a stage because of the poles blocking the view.  Next is the clear span tent.  This tent is not see thru but rather one that has a clear area inside it. In other words, there are no poles but a metal structure leaving the inside clear of any structures (poles).  To add to the look of a tent you can now have actual doors, see thru sides and tops, windows and colorful stripes.  Choose the one that best fits your event.

Bathrooms:  If your tent is located in a field all by itself, don’t forget to order bathrooms!  There are some fabulous portable sanitation units.  There are the single stall that will do the trick but are not very chic.  Then there are beautiful ones that have both men and ladies rooms in one trailer.  Some of these high-end trailers come with marble counter tops and even a stereo system.

Water:  If you are in a remote location make sure you have access to water whether you will need to have a water truck or bottles.  You are going to need it!

I love working in tents and if you have the budget you will too!

Happy planning!