Getting Pitched: Finding the Perfect Wedding Tent

What’s up with all those fancy tents? Tips and logistics for including a sensational shelter on your special day. 

Utah won the lottery in landscapes, but our mountain weather is, well, a little challenging. Slush in May, record heat in July, rains in August and surprising snows in September. How does a savvy host brace for bad weather?

Meg Griggs, Modern Expo

“Prepare for the worst,” says Meg Griggs, of Modern Expo in Salt Lake City. If any part of your wedding day is outside, this seasoned event pro says renting a tent is the best way to plan for finicky weather. “Order for the worst-case scenario. Act as if it’s a blizzard, even in June or September. Budget for the flooring, doors, walls, heaters. You can always scale back closer to the date when you get a more accurate weather forecast. Most deposits to hold require 50 percent down with the remaining due two days before your event.”

If you think shelter and shade seem simple, thing again. While tents are a sensational feature for wedding parties, they require permits, contracts, flooring, draping, chandeliers, setup and delivery–all coming at a cost, oftentimes $10K and up. Griggs gives us the low down of the high price of tenting. 

1. Look Into Tent Costs Before You Contract with Your Venue

“I’ve worked with brides that get Solon a space, not thinking about the weather. It’s not until after they’ve booked and met with a rental company that they realize how much these structures cost. They eat into their wedding budget well before they even get to catering, lodging and design,” says Griggs, who recommends rental services from Diamond Event & Tent, All Out Events or Olympus Tents.

2. Prepare for Permitting.

Party hosts need to meet fire and propane regulations, height permitting and conditional-use permits. “Park City and Summit county have very strict permitting measures for these temporary structure,” Griggs says. Fortunately, venues assist brides and grooms with their permitting to ensure everything is secure two weeks before the wedding day.

3. Factor In Labor Costs

Refer to the venue’s contract to know what time the tents can be delivered, when hey need to be removed and what access is available to the locale. “Stein Eriksen requires a crane to load structures in handout of, while St. Regis necessitates parts being hand-carried up the ski hill,” Griggs explains. “A [Utah State] Capitol wedding requires same-day load in and load out for their west terrace. There, you’ll also be charged to have a federal policeman available at all times during the event.”

4. Consider Flooring

La Fete Floral & Events‘ Allison Badly rented this Tidewater Sailcloth Tent from Diamond Rental turning this backyard into a fairytale wedding venue.

technically speaking, sub-flooring includes the plywood below a dance floor or carpet. Logistically speaking, it’s key to your tent rental contract. “One bride I worked with refused the extra cost of a sub-flooring, but on the wedding day, rain pooled up from the cobblestone and her gown got soaked. Her aunt–whose daughter’s wedding we were contracted to do the following month–called me the very next day to be sure sub-flooring was included in her costs,” Griggs says.

5. Don’t Forget About Heating or Air

“Clear-sided tents can act as greenhouses in the summertime. Your guests are like ants in a magnifying glass. They definitely need a cooling component,” says Griggs. Meanwhile, clear-glass walls risk shattering in the winter. “You can’t have clear vinyl without heat. It has to be kept above 52 degrees, otherwise, the chemical makeup of it freezes and shatters. You must pay for heat form the inception in order to be safe.”


Now, the good news: All these venues and their rental partners are experts int he intricacies of tent installation. That sail cloth or clear-sided tent you’ve been eyeing can be yours, as long as you factor it in your budget from the get-go.

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