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Home -- Blogs -- Tent Vs. Venue Wedding: Which Is Better for You?

Tent Vs. Venue Wedding: Which Is Better for You?


Executive Manager: Plays a crucial role in strategic decisions and business growth.

Updated: May 24, 2024
Published: May 14, 2024

Getting married is one of the most exciting times in a couple's life. As you plan your dream wedding, one of the biggest decisions you'll make is choosing between a tent or venue. Both options have unique pros and cons to weigh when deciding what's best for your big day. Here's an in-depth look at the differences between tent and venue weddings.


One of the most important factors for most couples is budget. Tent weddings are typically more affordable than venues. You'll save money by renting a tent plus tables, chairs and other décor instead of paying for an all-inclusive venue.

Tents range greatly in price depending on size and features. On average, you can expect to spend $5,000-$10,000 to rent a high-end tent. Extra lighting, flooring, climate control, furniture and accessories will be additional costs.

Venues often charge $10,000-$15,000 on the low end, with luxury sites running $25,000 or more. The venue cost usually includes most features like tables and seating. However, you may pay extra for certain amenities.

When weighing tent vs. venue cost, also consider the number of vendors you'll need to hire. Tent weddings require rental companies for all furniture, caterers, lighting designers and more. Venues often include most of these services and only require hiring a caterer.


Venues provide an instant elegant backdrop for your wedding. Sites like barns, vineyards, hotels and banquet halls have inherent charm. The décor and lighting are usually built into the existing space.

With tents, you start with an empty canvas. This allows you to fully customize the aesthetic. Tents can range from minimalist and chic to over-the-top glam. Rentals allow you to select the exact tables, chairs, linens and lighting.

The main downside is that tents lack character and architectural details. You must build the entire ambiance from the ground up. It takes more effort to make a tent feel special compared to an inherently romantic venue.


Outdoor tent weddings leave you at the mercy of the weather. Rain or wind can instantly ruin the look and vibe you worked hard to create. Cold snaps or scorching heat make guests uncomfortable.

Having a backup tent or indoor area is key. Be prepared to make the call to move everything inside based on weather forecasts. It's wise to keep your wedding day décor simple enough to transfer indoors if needed.

Venues provide protection from the elements. You typically have your ceremony and reception in the same space. Guests can comfortably enjoy themselves no matter the weather.


Venues often accommodate larger weddings of 200+ guests. Their buildings and event spaces are designed for optimum capacity. Tents usually fit around 150 people or fewer to maintain a comfortable layout.

If having a longer guest list, venues make more sense. You'll have ample room for large families, long dinner tables and space to mingle and dance. Tents can get crowded quickly at big weddings.

For more intimate weddings, tents provide a cozier feel. You can create a more vibrant atmosphere when guests are condensed into a smaller space.

Tent vs. venue wedding

Location Flexibility

Tents allow nearly endless location possibilities, especially if you have the budget. Rent a tent and bring the wedding decor to farms, vineyards, gardens or wherever your dream lies.

Most couples place tents on private property like a backyard. You can customize the setup and layout. Another perk is having the reception immediately outside your ceremony site.

Venues limit you to their location. Barns, ballrooms and other sites have a fixed ambiance. Make sure you love the character and layout of a venue before booking. The ceremony and reception spaces are often separated as well.

Vendor Rules

One frustration of venues is that you must use their required vendors. You'll likely have little flexibility with catering, bartending, rentals and other services.

Tent weddings let you handpick all vendors. Bring in your favorite caterer, rental company, and more. Just coordinate deliveries and setup processes. Beware that you'll manage all vendor relations rather than having the venue handle it.

Insurance Needs

Venues carry their own general liability insurance. As long as you don't cause damage, you don't need added coverage. The venue is responsible for safely securing their property.

With tents, you take on the liability for any injuries or issues. It's essential to purchase a special event insurance policy to protect yourself. Otherwise you'll pay out of pocket for any claims or lawsuits.

Make sure the policy covers all vendors you bring on site as well. Discuss liability with the tent rental company and confirm everything is covered.


Outdoor tent weddings often pose accessibility issues. Grass or dirt terrain may be difficult for elderly guests or those with disabilities. Venues are required to meet ADA accessibility standards with ramps, elevators and paved paths.

If having a tent wedding, put down plywood or flooring to ease mobility issues. And provide shuttle transportation for guests from parking areas if needed. Select a flat event site to minimize tripping hazards.

Versatile Space Solutions

Permits and Restrictions

Most venues are already zoned for wedding events. They contain facilities like kitchens, restrooms and bars that meet local codes. Venues handle permitting matters, so you just show up and enjoy your day.

Tents aren't plug-and-play-like venues. Be prepared to potentially navigate permitting with your local government. Rules vary widely, but may include restrictions on music, alcohol, hours or number of guests.

Also check homeowner's association rules if tenting on private property. Don't assume you can erect a tent just anywhere. Know regulations before committing to a location.

Load-In and Load-Out

Setting up and tearing down a tent wedding is a demanding process. It requires large crews to work for 1-2 days prior to the event for loading in. After the wedding concludes, everything must be dismantled and removed.

This process is invisible at venues - setup is done behind the scenes by staff before you arrive. After your exit, the venue team handles cleanup with no hassle.

If renting a tent, be prepared for the load in and out to be hectic. Make a detailed schedule with your rental company for deliveries and pickup. Have a point person to oversee vendors and confirm everything happens on time.

Cost of Tent Weddings Factors to Consider

The Bottom Line

Tent and venue weddings both have wonderful benefits. Choosing between the two comes down to your priorities and wedding vision.

Tents provide ultimate customization for brides and grooms who want control over every detail. You hand select every element to create a unique affair with personal touches. For those who value convenience, venues simplify planning with most features included. You instantly have a beautiful space ready for your dream wedding.

Weigh your options carefully when deciding between tents vs. venues. Identify your must-have features, cost considerations and overall wedding style. Then choose the option that best fits your needs for a seamless and joyful celebration.

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Contact Us

Make On-Demand Space Solutions Easier, Faster

SHELTER has a great team of skilled architects ready to support your project or Event at any time.

When you’re ready to start your next business, get in touch with us now, and our architects will get back to you with a quote as soon as possible.

Business Email

      [email protected]

Phone Number

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No.1 Huanghe Section,Songshan Road, Chao Tian Industrial Zone,Shilou Town Panyu District,Guangzhou