Tent Fabric

Understanding the Different Types of Wedding Tents

Your wedding tent transforms any outdoor area into a functional space. Understand the different types of here so that you can choose the right one for you.


Have you been given the exciting task of orchestrating an outdoor wedding? The prospect of nuptials in a natural setting is a blank canvas for creating a stunning, deeply personal event for a couple and their guests. The absence of a conventional indoor venue grants you the freedom to craft a truly unique celebration, from the choice of location to the layout, lighting scheme, and libations. Whether it’s a beachfront affair or a backyard rendezvous, a wedding tent can transform an open-air expanse into a functional space; a bespoke venue where loved ones can joyously commemorate the union of two souls on their special day (or night).

Before you start envisioning your dream wedding, it's crucial to consider some key factors to select the type of wedding tent that will best suit your outdoor party needs. These factors include space, surface, and structure. While wedding tents come in all shapes and sizes, the most common and basic variations usually fall into two categories: pole tents and frame tents.

Pole Tents

As its name suggests, the pole tent is supported by one to several poles that create elegant, mountain-like peaks along the top of the tent’s silhouette. Pole tents are typically placed over grass, as they must be staked into the ground; this means they cannot be set up over hard surfaces like concrete.

Some benefits of pole tents are:

  • Traditional Appearance: Pole tents have a classic look with high peaks and swooping lines.
  • Spacious: They offer a spacious interior with no obstructive center poles, making them ideal for larger weddings.
  • Outdoor Charm: Perfect for outdoor settings like gardens or open fields.

When considering a pole tent for your outdoor location, it's crucial to factor in the high ceilings and the positioning of the pole(s). This is particularly important when planning seating arrangements and lighting schemes. You can use the tent’s poles as part of the wedding decor itself, garnishing them with flowers, lights, or other party decorations. Alternatively, you can use them as general markers to divide up the wedding space as you wish. This thoughtful planning will ensure a seamless and visually appealing event.

Frame Tents

Another standard option for wedding receptions is the frame tent, which is versatile for outdoor events. Unlike pole tents, frame tents can be set up on a variety of surfaces, such as grass, pavement, and decks. They are freestanding and do not require center poles for stability; rather than stakes that cut through the interior space, peripheral supports ‘frame’ the structure without obstructing the reception layout.

Some benefits of frame tents are:

  • Versatility: Frame tents have a sturdy frame structure without center poles, offering flexibility in layout and placement.
  • Weather Resistance: They are stable in various weather conditions, making them suitable for weddings year-round.
  • Customizable: Can be customized with various wall options, flooring, and décor to match wedding themes

While pole tents can provide more vertical space, frame tents make up for what they lack in ceiling height overhead with more square footage on the ground. Additionally, frame tents offer an open floor plan to customize a party space completely. Want to maximize the room you have for a dance floor, photo booth band, or DJ? A frame tent might give you the space to factor these party essentials into the reception layout.

Clearspan Tents

Clearspan tents, also known as clear span structures or clear span tents, are a type of temporary structure used for events and functions. They are distinguished by their design, which allows for a vast, unobstructed interior space without the need for interior support columns or poles. This creates large, open event spaces that can accommodate a variety of layouts and designs. Their aesthetic appeal, coupled with their practical functionality, makes them a preferred choice for upscale events and gatherings.

Some benefits of clear-span tents are:

  • Modern Design: Clear-span tents have a contemporary appearance with a clear, unobstructed interior space.
  • Large Capacity: They can accommodate large gatherings without interior support poles.
  • Stable and Secure: Designed to withstand high winds and inclement weather, ensuring comfort and safety for guests.

Sailcloth Tents

Sailcloth tents combine functionality with aesthetic appeal, offering a unique and memorable setting for weddings and other upscale events. Their blend of natural light, rustic charm, and versatility makes them a favored choice among couples and event planners seeking an elegant outdoor venue.

Some benefits of sailcloth tents are:

  • Elegant Aesthetics: Sailcloth tents feature translucent fabric that allows natural light to filter through during the day and creates a warm glow at night.
  • Rustic Charm: They often have wooden poles and soft, billowy fabric, offering a rustic yet elegant atmosphere.
  • Outdoor Appeal: Ideal for outdoor weddings, especially in scenic locations or near bodies of water.

Marquee Tents

Marquee tents, also known simply as marquees, are versatile and popular temporary structures used for various events, including weddings, parties, corporate functions, and exhibitions. Their adaptability to different settings and ability to create a comfortable and stylish environment make them popular in the event industry.

Some benefits of marquee tents are:

  • Modular Flexibility: Marquee tents come in various sizes and configurations, offering flexibility in layout and design.
  • Easy to Customize: The space can be customized with different flooring options, lighting, and décor to create a personalized wedding experience.
  • Urban Settings: They are suitable for urban venues or locations where traditional staking is not possible, as they can be weighted down or anchored.

No matter which tent type you choose, one crucial additional question to ask is whether or not you want to add side walls to the perimeters of your tent. Side walls help make the reception area more intimate. They can protect wedding guests from the unpredictable and undesirables of the great outdoors, including rain, wind, intrusive sunlight, or even unattractive sights near the reception area you would like to block from view.

It’s crucial to consider the wedding day weather and make the appropriate tent shape, material, and accessory decisions when planning an outdoor celebration. If you decide to add side walls to either a pole tent or a frame tent, note that neither must have walls added on all sides of the structure - you can choose to ‘seal’ sure edges with side walls and leave others open, depending on your desired layout. Both pole tents with side walls and frame tents with side walls offer additional security against the elements of outdoor weddings that some couples may prefer.

Pulling an Outdoor Wedding Together

Once you have settled on the type of tent that best suits your needs and location, you can decide about more specific tent details, like the fabric of the tent and the exact size you’ll need based on the anticipated number of guests and desired square footage. It goes without saying that for many, a wedding day is one of the most important and sentimental milestones in a lifetime. And for those who envision this occasion in an outdoor setting, a wedding tent provides the foundation for the entire celebration.

No one would pick just any fabric for a wedding gown or table linen, so why settle for subpar tent material? Quality fabrics ensure that your wedding tent stays durable and beautiful. Download our free whitepaper, ‘Why It's So Important for Your Wedding Tent Rental to Have Quality Fabrics' today.


Similar posts