It's gonna get real - real fast!
I've planned some pretty crazy weddings this year! We've had venues that don't have parking, running water or even electricity. It's a monumental task that not even clients whom we have planned for- know what we as a team had to accomplish to make sure their day was absolutely perfect. I literally blow my own mind every single time with the amount of work it takes.
What I'm about to share is based on my 7 years of experience which also includes the not so awesome garbage picking, errand running, problem solving, dish busing, buffet serving...right down to being a personal therapist. And everyone thinks I have a glamorous job!
DID YOU KNOW that being a planner is considered by Time Magazine to be the most stressful job on the planet? I was a little taken back when I originally read it...but if you could walk a day in my shoes- you would agree.
I love my blog because I write it in first person. It's almost like i'm really talking to you right now one on one. Don't forgive me for my bad punctuation or spelling errors because really, quite honestly I don't have time to care. But I will take the time to provide you 100% unadulterated insight on the wedding industry. So listen up, all you newly engaged brides and green wedding planners! You'll benefit from what I'm about to say. And for all us oldies! - high-five for being able to kick it for sooo long, My hat's off to you!
The classic things I hear paired with "tent wedding" is:
- Oh it's cheaper!
- I'm going to DIY everything!
- I'm super organized
- I just want a simple wedding
Lies! If this sentence was paired with "I want a tent wedding". - you're lying to yourself. Setting yourself up for failure. Even though this is a blog post, I can see you glaring back at your screen rolling your eyes thinking- Why does she have to burst my bubble... she obviously doesn't know what I want...
Oh girl, but do I EVER know what you want! This industry is full of un-attainable ideas. I would know, because I too have fed the creative Pinterest monster with over the top style shoots and glamorous ideas that can quickly eat away an 80k budget..... Circling back, what you want - isn't what your going to get. But I can at least help guide you or even help you understand how to plan your wedding with or without a planner.
SO LET ME SHARE 10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW WHEN YOUR PLANNING A TENT WEDDING
So you think you have the perfect spot in your parent's backyard.! That's great- until you find out you need to re-level your whole backyard so that you have even ground. Sounds trivial right!? Well it's not. Uneven ground is wedding planner code for - we need to build you a sub-floor since you really have a "hill here" and the tent structure requires a flat surface. But hold on again! If you need to create a sub-floor and are essentially elevating the tent on a platform...you now need to have railings in any opening of the tent as well as stairs. - Wait did you say? Grandma's in a wheel chair..?!?.. now you have to build a ramp. Now wait a minute - your on a septic field? It ain't pretty but now your going to have to water barrel instead of having a nicely pitched tent.
Price Tag $5k-$8k
That even though you now have your tent you need to furnish it. That literally means every stick of furniture, linen, plate, napkins, glasses, chairs, tables, dance floor....oh and don't forget the salt and pepper shakers! And here's the kicker - that electrical outlet you think you're going to plug into for electricity - that's just a pipe dream darling! I've tried....
Price Tag $4k to 12k
YOU DIDN'T CONSIDER
You didn't consider how old your tent was and that it hasn't been washed in a decade, you can see all the whole patches from quick fixes over the years and that the wind is making your tent flap around like it might just fly away at any moment... The chairs you ordered are also wobbly and falling apart......
Girl, tell me you thought about bugs. I'm not talking about the wasps, mosquitoes, farm flies...no no no my friend! I am talking about the little kamikaze flies that look microscopic then suddenly fly into your eye....you know what I'm talking about! Yeah well they love to get lost inside you wine glasses.....or better yet just plain die on your linen.... how they do it, I will never know!
Have you heard about wicking!? The act: To absorb or draw off (liquid) by capillary action. Just a little heads up... your linen is going to do that.....from the dew in your grass.
YOU NEED TO LOCK YOUR HOUSE
A tent wedding can easily become a house party. There are all sorts of reasons why someone will want to go inside! These are the best ones I've encountered to date.
- I don't want to use the outdoor port-a-potty
- It's too hot!
- It's too cold
- The football game is on....
Oh yes my dears... I have heard it all!
So the weather's not looking too good, and it rains. If you haven't done your due diligence in raising your tent on a platform or re-surfacing your lawn you could be looking at a hot and humid tent with pools of rain waterunder your tables and even a soggy dance floor.
Washrooms, Ice and believe it or not, water are hot commodities. All of which will have you running for extra t.p, hand soap, to the corner store to restock ice for the bar and refilling water pitchers.
As your wedding day approaches your preliminary rental order doesn't quite cut it anymore. Your guest list has grown or maybe shrunken and now that all your RSVP'S are in, you need to re-adjust what you've ordered for tables, chairs, linens, cutlery, plates, bar glassware, the amount of bars you need, dance floor size etc etc.... let the onslaught of emails begin. It literally may feel like a second part time job. I hope your good with MS Word because someone is going to ask you for a floor plan...
So all your rentals arrive and suddenly you realize it's "drop off only" and it's up to you and your friends to set-up all your tables chairs, lighting, table cloths, centerpieces etc etc etc. Seems like its simple until you quickly see that you didn't leave enough space between the tables for chairs chairs and a decent walking path...or even worse!- the tent is too small for what you thought would work.
But before you put absolutely everything out, you're going to need to count EVERYTHING! Because if they short you on glasses - disaster... or if you notice that you didn't receive- for example: 250 glasses...the rental company will assume you broke them and CHARGE YOU! Yup! You only have a few hours after rentals have been dropped off to count and find out what your missing and if anything came broken and needs to be replaced.
What I'm about to explain is a HUGE thorn in my side! Caterers who are un-experienced, purposely under staffing to cut costs which results in poor food quality and lack of service. It never fails - my girls are always busing tables which is NOT in our job description. Please, what ever you do, don't cheap out on your catering. Because if we weren't there.,.. it would have been an absolute disaster! I don't care if it's just BBQ or a buffet - you need to order more staff then you think you will need!
Surprise! That's on you too! The day after should be for relaxing and nursing that epic hangover - after all you just planned the biggest party of your life! But no- you now have to pack everything up and wait for your rental tent company to come three days late to pick up your tent. I swear it's a tent rental company thing....
SO WHAT DID WE LEARN?
- Hire a planner - seriously!
- Mow your lawn at least 4 days prior to your wedding
- Put your linens out the afternoon of your wedding after the dew has evaporated
- Buy/rent a generator twice as big as you think you'll need
- Have a dedicated ice runner
- SPEND on a well vetted caterer!!!!!
- Invite or let the neighbors know your having a backyard wedding. (no bylaw). If they do come, keep the volume up but turn your base down- that's primarily what they hear anyways...
- Buy at least 24 bags of ice per 50ppl for the entire evening.... that includes cocktails, dinner and dancing
- You need one bar with two bartenders and 1 bar back for every 100 guests
- Count your rental inventory
- Hire an attendant for your portable washroom
- Make sure you have lighting not only in the tent but for pathways leading to the tent, for catering and for the bar
- Garbage cans and disposal! Make sure catering leaves with all their garbage!
13. Don't be a hero
Because if something is going wrong on your wedding day- it's already too late.