Set up camp
Tents can be pitched just about anywhere. Stake one in your favorite park or even outside a gorgeous mansion.
Pitching a tent
Whether you're going for formal or casual, tents come in all shapes, sizes and materials. Work with your local rental company to figure out what style fits your vision (and the venue's spatial constraints). And make sure you choose a tent that works on your surface—pavement, grass, sand and so on.
Renting the extras
Since tents are virtually a blank canvas, you'll probably need some extra things to finish the look. Decide what elements are most important to you and then figure out how to fit the items at the top of your list into your budget.
Keep bugs at bay
To control insects on your wedding day, think about having your site sprayed by an exterminator two days beforehand and placing citronella candles throughout the space.
Creating a relaxing space
Whether you've chosen a grand, grassy lawn or a small backyard, pick an area and make it more inviting with lounge furniture and lots of pillows. If you don't have room to bring in couches and plush chairs, arrange your dining area with smaller 4—person reception tables instead of larger 8— or 10—person tables to create a more intimate look and feel.
Cozy it up
The more you bring into your tent, the warmer it will feel. Colored linens, vibrant up- lighting and quirky knickknacks set a great vibe.
Lighting your site
To set the mood, add paper lanterns, pinspot lighting, twinkling lights or stately chandeliers. Light up surrounding walkways for easy access to the bathrooms. Think luminaries and small up— lights along the paths and Mason jars with tea lights hanging from nearby tree branches.
If there aren't any restrooms nearby (and even if there are a few), you should consider renting them. These days, you can find luxury portable restrooms with amenities like in—room music, granite countertops and air conditioning or heaters depending on the season.
Let the outdoor setting guide your music choice. If you're on the beach, you can't go wrong with steel drums. For a backyard reception, you might go for a folk or bluegrass group.
Creating the menu
Having an outdoor wedding gives you flexibility to get creative with your menu. Under a tent you might throw a New England clambake, a spicy Southern barbecue or even a Hawaiian pig roast. But you probably wouldn't even consider those options for a ballroom affair. Regardless what food appears on your menu, plan to have plenty of cold water and refreshing nonalcoholic drinks on hand—especially if the weather is hot and humid. Lemonade and iced tea are good staples.
Types of tents
Traditional fame tent
Small versions of these tents are typically the type used on residential patios in the summer. There are no interior support poles to obstruct views or furniture layouts, but the frame tends to be visible from the inside of the tent.
These tents have mountain-like peaks in the center plus one or two rows of interior poles, creating that lofted shape (something to consider when mapping out tables and the dance floor). They're often used for formal affairs and work well with vibrant ceiling up-lighting.
A fancier version of a frame tent, this kind has fabric panels with a scalloped edge that caps each end, creating a formal entrance way.