If you’re planning an outdoor celebration, researching tents should be at the top of your to do list. Why? For starters: the one thing (OK, maybe one of the things) you can’t control about your wedding day is the weather. There’s no point of spending your life’s savings on a perfectly planned wedding only to have it ruined by summer rain showers. And two, a tent creates set boundaries for the event, thus enclosing your guests in an imitate, party-ready space. But when considering a tented wedding reception, there are a number of things to consider—the budget, the setting, the rentals, et cetera. Basically, you’re creating a wedding venue from scratch when you pitch a tent. This means you’re responsible for bringing in all of the decor, including essential things like flooring (something your girlfriends will be very thankful for when their heels don’t sink/stick in the ground) and lighting that are a given in any other venue. Lucky for you, you can use this to your advantage as the walls, the floors, and the ceiling are the most crucial elements of any tent, structurally and décor-wise.
Take a look at the gallery below—in which we stalk BRIDES.com’s real weddings coverage for the prettiest tents—to gather inspiration. You’ll see pole tents (which have peaks created by center poles), structure tents (which have sides like a room), and clear-top tents (which let you see the outside even when you’re inside). You’ll also see boho lanterns, classic draping, and greenery that’s perfect for a romantic garden party. So as you look through, take note of what you like (and don’t)—and remember, it’s OK to mix styles and ideas (within reason). After all, this is your chance to create your perfect wedding space, from scratch.
At this Miami wedding, Spanish moss and greenery were draped from the top of a clear structure tent to mimic the venue’s surrounding gardens.
Why stop with the inside of the tent? Pro planner Tara Guérard decorated the outside of this dreamy tent with pillar candles.
Every tent should have a proper entrance. Charleston-based Kristin Newman created a statement arch for this tented affair at Montage Palmetto Bluff.
If you and your groom are party animals, this is the tent for you. The string lights up above basically insist on one serious dance sesh!
Hanging drapes and greenery-covered chandeliers add warmth to an otherwise sleek structure tent.
If you’re pitching a classic sailcloth tent, play up the ceiling’s beauty with unique lanterns, like these Moroccan-inspired ones.
Greenery garlands and circle light fixtures add symmetry (and warmth!) to this sailcloth beauty.
If your wedding location is known for beautiful weather, consider this tenting option! Here, a structure was installed but not completely covered. The alternative breezy drapes are perfect because they enclose the space just enough to feel intimate but also allow guests to see the sure-to-gorgeous setting outside.
These mega lanterns (seriously they’re the size of the windows behind!) make a major statement in the center of the tent. Plus, how fun is this seating arrangement?
This white tent, surrounded by candles in white paper bags, blends perfectly into its beach setting. We love the flags up top—and the clear sides, which prevent guests from being splashed by crashing waves nearby.
At this Aspen wedding, the couple concentrated on the bottom of the tent, setting up wood flooring and covering tabletops with pretty blue linens and glassware. It’s a refreshing take on tent decor because it lets the beauty of the simple, sailcloth tent shine.
This one is serious tent #goals. We love how the lighting shines through the overhead drapes!
Don’t be afraid to bring the outdoors inside. This seating set up—featuring boxwoods, patio furniture, and an actual fountain—makes guests feel like they’re lounging in a (very chic) garden.
Greenery, beige linens, and bistro lights up above make for one cozy tent.
Again, string lights rule. This tent is proof that a simple idea can go a very long way!
We love how the bistro lights inside this tent flow in the opposite direction of the tabletops—an unexpected twist on the simple setup.
This tent combines three of the previously mentioned ideas—drapery, statement hanging installations, and lanterns. The mix has potential to overwhelm but this tent’s small scale and simple color palette make it work, perfectly.
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