Rent a Tent

The Wedding Guru Judy Lewis fields this week’s wedding questions. Today: Getting married outdoors? Here’s what you need to know about renting a tent

No word describes wedding planning the way “details” does. There are so many details involved, it’s easy to feel in over your head. However, if you approach each as a pleasant challenge, the process will be much more stress-free… trust me.

A Valley bride asks: “I’m planning an outdoor wedding. Before I talk to rental companies… what size tent do I need? What size dance floor will be large enough for my guests? Do I pay a rental fee on the chairs and tables I get? Oh, and one more thing — are all tents white? Help!”

» Read “Little Party, Big Place” make efficient use of the space of an oversized reception room or tent

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Dear Valley bride: Slow down! Most party supply rental businesses are honorable, so if you give them the correct numbers, they can explain what you need.

Let’s talk numbers (use this as a general guide): The tent size, of course, depends on the number of guests you’re inviting. For a stand up cocktail party, figure between five-to-six square feet per person. For a stand up buffet, estimate seven-to-eight square feet. A seated dinner, where guests sit at 60-inch round tables, will most likely require eight-to-12 feet per guest. Finally, if you set tables for 10 guests, I’d say 10 square feet per guest is appropriate.

Now for your dance floor: Two-to-four square feet per person ought to do it. Opt for more space if you have a serious dancing crowd, and keep in mind the kind of dancing they’ll be doing. Slow dances, for example, take up less space than folk dancing in the round.

Rental companies usually charge for table-and-chair delivery only if you’re not also renting a tent. And, to answer your last query: Not all tents are white! They’re often available in different colors and stripes — but white is by far the most requested color for weddings.

Now, go ahead and find a rental company you like and leave all the details to them!

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