Why rent a tent?

If you are having an outdoor wedding reception, unless your location has an alternate indoor space that can fit all of your guests, you need some kind of contingency for bad weather. Even if it doesn't rain, excessive heat or cold can kill a party. A tent makes it possible to have a party nearly anywhere. Instead of renting a banquet hall, you can have your party in a garden, or at a meaningful location like your grandparent's farm. Even if you are going to use the tent only if it rains, you still need to size it out and reserve it ahead of time.

How far ahead of time?

Louisiana law, as well as the laws of surrounding states, requires a work order for utility marking with the state's One Call department if you are digging more than a few inches into the ground. In the case of pole tents, tent stakes must be used because of the structure of the tent and the amount of tension required to keep it from flying away in the wind. Frame tents may be used with anchors, but anchors are generally an eyesore and carry the additional cost of rental and labor. Tent stakes are driven about three feet into the ground and require utility marking with the state. Most states have at least a three business day notice for this service, and while free, it still takes time to work through the process of getting this done.

Ark-La-Tex Tents & Events takes special care in making sure our tents are clean and in good condition before erecting them. Because of this, we usually need a few day's notice, as well, to make sure your equipment is ready for use and exceeds your expectations. If you are looking at the weather for your event, a good rule of thumb is take a look a week out if you're planning on adding a tent. If you've rented a tent and want to cancel, the cancellation fee is 25% of your rental and must be done the week prior to our preparing the inventory for your use. We have found that our customers do not mind the cancellation fee and are much happier being prepared for the worst as opposed to reacting to a dismal weather forecast.

How much tent do you need?

If you are doing banquet style seating, that is tables and chairs, you will need 12 square feet per person. Theater style seating is 8 square feet. That is, for a wedding with 100 seated guests, you would need at least a 30 x 40 space, and for a public auction with 100 seated guests, more like a 20 x 40. Some additional things to be taken into account for space requirements:

  • Are you seating the bridal party at the traditionally longer head table?
  • Are your food tables going under the same tent? What about the bar and/or cocktail area(s)?
  • Is a DJ or band going to be playing under the tent? If so, where, and do you want room for a dance floor?
  • Are you having decor or sculptures displayed as focal points?
  • All of these things require real estate in your tent. If there is anything you are unsure about, please ask us. We can even help you create floor plans and work with your caterer and other vendors to make sure everything is laid out and prepared for ahead of time. The fewer surprises on your big day, the better

This is going to come down to the logistics of your set-up, your budget, and your personal aesthetics. We've listed some pros and cons below of having each.

  • Frame tents require no center poles, giving you greater flexibility with the interior space of the tent, and therefore with the seating and floor plan.
    Frame tents can go on any surface as they can be used with anchors (water barrels or large concrete blocks). Technically, a pole tent can be used on concrete and asphalt as well, but we must have permission to drill into the concrete for tent stakes. Patch materials make the holes almost indistinguishable once we pull the stakes out, but drilling does leave a permanent hole in the original slab.
  • Frame tents are more expensive than pole tents; they are considerably more labor-intensive to erect. However, they can provide more framework to hang decorations and/or lighting from and do not require nearly as much maintenance when being set up for longer periods of time.
  • If the aesthetics of the interior of the frame tent bother you, we can also install liners, but keep in mind this is an expensive amenity.
  • Frame tents may be attached together. Why would you want to do that? If you're setting up a ceremony on-site and are fearing rain, you may attach a walkway tent from the ceremony site to the reception site. Food tents may be attached to the reception tent if you want separate stations for your delectables. If your area has a huge tree in the middle, an L-shaped space can be created around it. Restroom tents may be attached and closed off with sidewall to house convenient rest areas. Pole tents can't be attached because of the way they're built. This makes frame tents a highly flexible option for any type of space.

Frame tents can provide more framework to hang decorations and/or lighting from. In this tent, we hung fabric swags and draping to soften the look of the ceiling. Lights and trussing are hung throughout this tent, as well, taking advantage of the structural framework.

Attachment of frame tents is seamless. See how easily the walkway tent flows into the larger reception tent beyond. For the milder weather months, clear frame tents are a beautiful option as they allow in the natural beauty of the celestial scape without exposing you to the humidity or elements of the weather.