What size of tent do I need?
- Determine how many people you want to accommodate at any one time for your event.
- Then refer to our recommended seating capacity chart for easy guidelines.
- Add extra space for such things as a buffet table, bar area, stage, dance floor or whatever your situation may call for.
- Add all those numbers up for the total size needed.
- Find the tent that has close to (or slightly larger than) the square footage. Link to tents.
As a rule thumb, allot 10 sq. ft. per person for backyard, beer garden or festival use. We recommend 12 sq. ft. per person for events such as weddings, corporate openings or high-end sporting events.
Typical tented events scenarios and suggestions for tent type and size
|Event Description And Expected Attendance||Suggested Tent(s) (measurements: feet)
|Stand up BBQ party in the backyard for 40 people||20×20|
|Dinner for 80 people using 8′ banquet tables and you don’t mind a bit of a tight fit||20×40|
|Wedding ceremony of about 90 to 100 people, seated in rows of chairs only||30×30 or 34 hex|
|Sit down wedding for 150 guests using 5′ round tables. 16’x16′ dance floor and room for buffet tables. You would also have room for a small DJ platform as well or head table riser.||Jumbo Track 40×60 Hip or Gable end|
|Corporate or building opening event for about 150-200 people, small stage at front, some buffet food tables, limited seating.||Jumbo Track 30×50 Hip or Gable end|
|Wedding ceremony for 200 to 300 guests, chairs in rows with quartet music ensemble. Bride would walk down the centre aisle with no obstructions or unsightly poles and there would be room enough at front for the wedding party.||Jumbo Track 40×60 Hip or Gable end|
Here are a few other important things to consider when planning to rent a tent for your party.
Allow a minimum of 5 ft. around the perimeter of the tent for setup. That means if you order a 20’x20′ size tent, for proper installation you should have a 30’x30′ area in which to install it. We can of course work with smaller areas than that but please advise us so that we can be prepared when the crew arrives. Don’t forget to look up to see if there are any tree branches hanging down, power lines across the area or perhaps a fixture on your house that may interfere with the top of the tent.
20′, 30’ and 40’ wide Jumbo Track tents are another case where you have to allow enough room for guy lines and stakes. The tents themselves are 20′, 30’-40’ wide but then you have to add an additional 5′ on top of that for work area. Some of the pictures in the photo gallery will show examples of what they look like. We will also require drive up access with our truck for larger size tents due to the sheer weight of them so if that is going to be a concern with your location, please let us know in advance so that we can plan accordingly.
When you order a tent, try to plan out in advance where the most logical place to install it on your property is. (ie. don’t put it on the your sloping back yard where all the water drains from the house) One of the best ways to do that is to use or create a site plan to aid everyone in placement of the tent(s) and what items you plan to have in it. It’s not necessary to do that for something as small as a 20’x20′ but if you are planning a 40’x100′ for a wedding with catering tents, and walkway canopies its a very good idea. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just as long as we have a basic understanding in relation to the other things in and around your house or commercial property so that we know of any conflicts or things to avoid *before* our installation crews arrive there.
For most installations we will have inspected the site prior to delivery.
Underground and overhead utilities are always important to watch out for when erecting a tent. More than a few times over the years we have arrived on a site to discover very large power lines overhead of where our customer wants their tents installed. Due to a code, that states we must be 7 meters from any power lines, we have had to move the tent to a safe location. Our actual company policy for this is not closer than 30 feet so anything less than that and our crews are instructed to phone the office and we will check with our customer before any work can proceed.
‘Call Before You Dig’ (1-800-474-6886 or cell 6886 or www.bconecall.ca) is a free service provided by the utility companies to locate any power, water or gas lines on your property. This is a great service and once completed we request a copy be forwarded to us prior to our installation crew going on location. They provide a “no conflict in work area” report. If there is a conflict then the appropriate course of action, which includes marking the utility lines or designating a setback that is safe, must be completed. Once you’ve booked your tent with us, it is usually a good idea to call ‘Call Before You Dig’ right away so that it is done as far ahead as possible.
Proper ground conditions for stake anchoring is required for all tent installations. When you inquire or reserve a tent we will ask you what the setup surface is; be it grass, dirt, asphalt, concrete pad, interlocking patio bricks or a wood deck – we have seen it all and there are special methods and devices that we use for various situations. In some cases weighted ballast for the tents are needed and we have ways of doing that within the limitations of a safe installation. Not every situation can be accommodated depending on the potential exposure to wind should there be a storm so please understand that our policy is designed for the safety of everyone concerned.
What’s the difference between a Marquee, a Pop-Up and a Jumbo Track tent?
- A Marquee usually refers to high peak 10×10 thru to 34 Hexagon tents. They feature a design with a “floating centre pole” to create the distinctive lines of this type of tent. These tents are waterproof.
- Pop-Up tents fold out from tight 14” square, 5’ tall bag into either a 10’x10’ or 10’x20’ structures that a very simple to erect. They must be either weighted down with sandbags or tied down because of their lightweight nature. These tents are not completely waterproof.
- Jumbo Track tents are aluminum box beams that enclose a track where specific tops and walls can be pulled through. Unique structure tents that can be 20′, 30′ or 40′ wide by any length with a variety of tops in clear or solid.
What types of sidewalls do you have for the tents?
We have 3 kinds:
- plain white, which is just a standard fabric wall that you can’t see through.
- clear window that is usually the preferred choice for weddings or in some cases where you want to let the light in or see out of.
- solid white with Cathedral windows cut in.
We can also make either of these types of walls on slider cables so you can open them up (they slide sideways like a shower curtain) or close them up if it’s windy out. For the Jumbo Track tents the walls slide in the built-in tracks.
How do you anchor tents?
We use steel stakes that are 20″ to 36″ long driven into the ground – that’s also the reason why we require utility locates. The actual number of stakes and the size of them will vary depending on what size of tent it is, how much wind load they may be subjected to and the length of time they will be set up. There are other things that we can do depending on the situation but the end result has to be within the manufactures anchorage guidelines and above all, secure if a storm does arise.
Do stakes damage my asphalt parking lot?
No, it will make a hole about 3/4 to 1 inch in diamter which can be repaired if needed with special asphalt plugs. There are some city locations where we have been installing the same size tents for many years and we reuse the holes over and over again with no problem. If you have a concrete patio or sidewalk area we can use concrete construction anchors that use bolts and washers to take the place of stakes. These are permanent once installed but are very clean and a hex nut can be put into them flush with the ground if you want to use them again some time later.
When do you install and remove a tent for my party?
If your party is on a Saturday for example, we usually install 2 or 3 days before your function starts. Installation also depends on weather factors and how many projects might be scheduled for that week and where they are located. Pickup is most often scheduled for Sunday or Monday but we will ask you for the event start and end time to determine exactly when the best time for pickup would be. Another example would be for a Friday night dinner party that starts at 6pm. In that case we might deliver everything on Thurs or Friday morning and pickup on Saturday. For most events, there is no cut and dried time for installation & strike because of many different factors but we always strive to be flexible and accommodate the needs of our customers balanced with what is possible for our tent crews to do at any given time.
For commercial projects we usually try to install everything in one day, several days prior to your event and then strike it the day after. The actual timing can vary widely and will depend on what other services you have to coordinate inside such as stages, flooring, electrical, decorating, table settings, audio visual etc. All these activities take time so please plan accordingly.
What happens if a rental item gets damaged or lost at my party?
Missing or damaged items are charged at retail replacement cost or the cost of materials & labour to repair it. We also have a damage waiver fee of 8% to cover accidental damage. This waiver covers chips but does not cover breakage of items such as glassware and china or burn holes in linens or skirts. Please call our office for further details.
Do I need a floor in my tent?
In most cases you don’t, especially if you have a really nice lawn – why cover that up? Sometimes you might want a floor other than for dancing on, and we can provide information on alternatives.
Do you provide decorating service for tents?
We have pole drapes, liners, and special lighting to fancy up your event. We can also refer you to some of the professional decor people that we work with on various projects if you’re looking for something more extensive.
What about setting up or taking down tents outside of normal hours and holidays?
Most events are pretty straight forward but sometimes we do have challenging time-lines that must be adhered to for one reason or another. When this is the case, please contact our office for information.
I want to have you set up a tent on my freshly laid grass sod?
Grass sod usually takes at least a month before it really takes hold on your lawn. Anytime less than that, and should there be heavy rain, the grass strips will tend to separate and turn into a muddy disaster if people and tents start tromping around on it.
Do you have tents for the raised patio deck of my house?
We can look at tent installations on decks less than 2′ off the ground but unfortunately anything higher is not possible. The 10’x10’ and 10’x20’ pop-ups work great for this and they’re quick and easy to setup. These are great for party guests to have an outside shelter for smoking, beverage service or whatever things you might need to cover on the outside during your party. Check the pricelist for rates.
Can we barbeque under a tent?
Yes we have specific tents (10×10 and 20×20 only) for that but you must tell us in advance and we’ll make sure it’s one that we set aside from our regular inventory that you can BBQ under to your hearts content. If you damage one of our nice white tents with greasy smoke or ruin one of our wedding tents in this manner we will charge you for the replacement cost of the fabric since it is now essentially useless for anything else – forever! The burned charcoal or grease smell will last about a year or so and the white tent that we installed is now smoky grey on the inside roof and cannot be cleaned or repaired.
All you have to do is put the grill at least 10 feet outside the tent so that the roof doesn’t trap the smoke, grease or heat from the BBQ. If you do have to be under the tent for BBQing just tell us and we’ll make sure that there isn’t a problem.
What size of customer install tents do you have?
We have 10’x10′ and 10’x20′ for do-it-yourself pop-ups as indicated on our price guide. You can combine them if you need larger. 10’x10′ pop up tents can go into the back seat of your car as it’s overall length is just 5′-3″ folded down very similar to the size of a golf bag but taller.
What about security of tents from vandalism or other damage?
Fortunately we have had very few incidents over the years but here are some points to keep in mind while a tent is installed on your property:
- You are responsible for any damages or missing items caused by vandalism or unruly guests to any of the rental equipment. This is a very rare occurrence because most events are either in a secure location or have overnight security service. A little common sense is all that is needed usually to avoid any potential problems.
- After considering the location of the tent, the type of function and the time it will be on site, we can suggest what will work best.
I want to rent your 20’x20′ and set it up myself, will you do that?
Sorry only our experienced and specially equipped tent crews handle large tents.
If you send a supervisor and I supply some volunteers to help put it up, will you do that?
This depends entirely on the scope of your event and what size of tents are involved. Please be aware that over the years we have been in business, there have been past problems with “volunteers” or “friends of friends” not showing up especially for tear down and packing up. If we can determine that you have access to qualified labour for your project then we can discuss options with you.
When are site inspections required?
In most cases tent sites are inspected and reviewed prior to the install date.
If the area that your event takes place in is a flat grass area without any obstructions within the desired tent area, a site inspection is probably not needed. Keep in mind that we require drive up access for our trucks and allow for a minimum 5′ to 15′ around the perimeter for guy-lines and general working area in order to install your tent properly.
If you use common sense, it’s usually pretty simple. If there are trees too close, sidewalks or other things that may be a problem please advise. We can also use the report from ‘Call Before You Dig’ to alert us to any potential problems. Remember to look up for overhead obstructions, tree branches and mention any underground septic field or irrigation systems that we should know about since ‘Call Before You Dig’ will not mark those types of things because they are your responsibility.
What about a site inspection for out of town locations?
Google Maps works well for many locations, but for out of town projects we will ask you for a site map (hand drawn is fine as long as it’s clear) which describes where on your property you want the tent installed. All we need is for the location to be clearly marked in relation to other structures on your property or land features that can be easily identified so our install crews know how to get on to your property and where to put everything if you aren’t home at the time. Placing pegs in the ground to indicate the four corners of the tent works well too and makes sure there is no mistaking where you want the tent placed.
If the site has large trees, man-made obstructions or other features that may interfere with the proper installation of the tent then we will evaluate out of town site visits on a case by case basis.
About truck access to the site.
Please remember that most tent installations require us to be able to drive right up to where we need to work because of the size and weight of the tents that we may be setting up for you. For large scale commercial projects this usually isn’t a problem but does bear mentioning in case there are restrictions for access that we don’t know about. If we do need to transport materials more than a minimal distance from the truck, and we are not notified ahead of time before our crew arrives, our company policy requires our driver to phone the office for authorization. Again, we try to be flexible but we have had instances where our truck and work site were 250 yards away with 7000 lbs of tent fabric and materials that needed to be hand carried. This also has an effect on schedules and in many cases will cause a cascading effect and result in unplanned delays.
About deposits on tents and event rentals.
Our standard policy is 25 % to 50 % initial reservation deposit (refundable up until the 15th of December for the following year) to secure the rental items you want. This acts as security for us to reserve the equipment and schedule crew labour and trucks for what we are going to supply in a professional and orderly manner. In many cases, the project we are supplying involves a very significant commitment in terms of inventory, planning and man-hours of preparation to ensure the success of your event. If you cancel then we have to be compensated for the time and service that we have prepared for you already and for lost opportunity for other customers.
What about permits for tents?
Each municipality and regional district has different regulations so it will vary based on where the event is taking place. Customers are responsible for obtaining any and all permits that may be required.
I need a specifically timed delivery for my tent installation so that I can meet the crew there. Can you do that?
We will try to accommodate your request within reason for in-town set ups during regular business hours. In general, please allow at least a four hour window in the AM or PM for scheduling of our crews. This can also depend on the time of year and how many projects are taking place that day. We can estimate to some degree the timing of deliveries and pickups but it’s never exact due to traffic or weather conditions or sometimes a customer.
We do have phones for our delivery personal so we can usually keep you apprised of the situation or give you a ‘heads-up’ call that they are on the way. If you require a specifically timed delivery or pickup an extra fee may apply, please call the office in advance and we’ll see what we can do.
Can you set up a tent in the winter?
Yes we can. However, we do charge higher rates then summer season because of the extra labour and cleaning that is needed to keep the inventory in top shape. As a rule of thumb, we charge an additional 50 % of the summer rate for anything setup from mid October to mid April due to the extreme weather that can be encountered during those times.
What about heating tents in the winter?
Yes, we can heat tents as well without any problem but there are a few extra things we have to do regarding winter rentals. The best thing to do is call our office with some specific details so that we can advise expected, anchoring and other important considerations depending on the situation.
Can you join together different size tents?
Yes we can. We have special gutter/joiner systems that work with both Marquee tents and Jumbo Track tents to join them all together for walkway canopies, catering tents or reception areas. They work great and are seamlessly integrated into the whole line of tent inventory that we carry.
Can you plan my wedding, price quote it and send it to me via email?
Yes we can provide a personal quote of your needs via email. We can provide and you can review our tent wedding photo gallery for ideas first and go from there. Most likely there is a project already listed similar to what you’re planning for your own wedding. After checking out some of the pictures and layouts, then determine the size of tent you’ll need by referring to our seating capacity guide.
The most common things to keep in mind are:
- Is the tent being used for dinner or ceremony, or both.
- How many guests are you expecting at the most.
- Are you having a head table platform, if so how many people for the head table.
- Are you planning on having dance area and or DJ or band, how much room do you need for that.
- Are you having the people serve themselves via a buffet line or is it being served by a caterer.
- Allow room for all these things and add them up so you have a total square footage that you need. Then refer to the square feet capacity for tents and that is your starting point.
After you determine what size of tent will fit adequately on your property, then you’re ready to review the on-line price guide for budgeting. If you follow these points, you will be well prepared for the next step which is to drop into our showroom so we can show you in person all the linens, dishes, and additional pictures of tent weddings that will really help you decide exactly what you want.
We can also give you some suggestions and hints of what works best for your own particular situation. If you can, bring a printed copy of the price guide with you to make notes on and we can show you pictures of other recent parties we’ve supplied that is similar to what you want to do. From there, it will all start to take shape and you’ll see why we can only supply the basic info via the web page and specifics need to be conducted in person or via email using a check list of exactly what you want.
Planning for a wedding can be very involved so please remember to review the guide first, and have a look at the tent wedding section on our web page. You will find that area to be very valuable for planning.
Experience, professional equipment and knowledgeable staff is important.
We have been in the rental industry on Vancouver Island since 1990. Since then, our entire event business has grown to be one of the largest on the island for special events, weddings and corporate functions of all kinds. We have the experience to know what we are talking about when it comes to doing small tent installations or large scale events where we are setting up thirty tents in one day (yes we do that a few times each year). If your question is not answered on this page, please call so that we can add the answer to this FAQ. Most importantly, if you follow the above guidelines for any “tent event” that you are planning you will know the reason why and how we do certain things so that your event is safe and professionally installed by our knowledgeable staff.