If you’re planning a large outdoor event such as a wedding, a tent is often the best idea. Tents will give you shelter from the sun, rain, or other weather issues while still allowing for a beautiful view.
However, deciding what tent size to get can be tricky. Taking some different factors into account and using some standard calculations can help you choose a tent that will accommodate all of your needs.
Calculating Tent Size
Calculating what size tent you need for a certain number of guests is relatively straightforward. If your guests are seated at round tables, which can each usually seat eight people comfortably, you’ll need 100 square feet of space per table.
To figure out the total amount of space, simply divide your number of guests by eight to figure out how many tables you’ll need, round up to the nearest whole number, and multiply by 100. For 100 guests seated at round tables, the amount of space needed is 1300 square feet.
Square and rectangular tables take up slightly less space, so you’ll only need about 80 square feet of space for every eight people, or 10 square feet per person.
This means a party of 100 people will require a tent of about 1000 square feet.
Other Sizing Factors
Choosing the right tent size doesn’t stop after calculating for tables and seating. You’ll also want to take into account any other different seating arrangements or extras that you’ll need space for.
For example, a buffet table usually requires about 100 square feet, so add this amount per buffet table to your tent size. DJ or band areas and dance floors also require extra space.
Bridal party tables also usually require more room than other tables. Four people can sit comfortably at each head table, so calculate how many head tables you’ll need and then multiply that number by 100.
What Size Tent Do I Need?
Once you’ve figured out what extra space you need to calculate for, add it to your seating calculations. You may want to round up or add a little extra space, particularly if you plan on having a band or dance floor.
This ensures that no one will be sitting too close to loud music. Your final number is the tent size you need. If you’re seating 100 guests at round tables, with, for example, two bridal head tables and two buffet tables, you’ll need a 1700 square foot tent.
Tents come in a wide range of sizes. Usually, the smallest tents offered are 10 feet by 10 feet, and sizes go upwards in 10-foot increments from there.
If your calculations are complicated or you’re not sure quite what you need, you can also use a tent size calculator or chart to help you select the best option.
Tent sizing chart – person capacity
Notice the tent size for 100 person capacity highlighted in red.
|Tent size (feet)||Area (sq. feet)||Standing w/ cocktail tables||Sitting at round table|
|10 x 10||100||15||10|
|10 x 30||300||45||30|
|20 x 20||400||60||40|
|20 x 30||600||90||60|
|20 x 40||800||120||80|
|20 x 50||1000||150||100|
|30 x 40||1200||180||120|
|40 x 80||2400||480||320|
|40 x 100||4000||600||400|
Square vs. Rectangular Tents
Available tents are usually either square or rectangular in shape, and you can often choose which dimensions you’d like, particularly when it comes to smaller tents.
While rectangular tents are a bit more common, square tents are often a better choice. A square tent ensures that no one feels excluded in the back.
In addition, square tents usually have higher ceilings, which are a better option, particularly in the summer, when it comes to keeping things cool. The hot air will rise to the center of a tent with a high ceiling instead of lingering around your guests.
Although you may not be able to pick a perfectly square tent, it’s often a good idea to choose a tent that’s more square than rectangular.
Consider Walls, Windows, and Clear-Top Options
If you’re planning an event that will take place during a cooler or damper season, you may want to consider adding walls to your tent. Walls can keep warmth inside the tent and water out, so they’re a good idea if there’s a chance the weather will turn. Most tents don’t come with walls but are instead open to the elements.
Walls can be solid or clear, or you can opt for cathedral-style windowed walls. If you’re planning your event in a pretty area, consider windowed or clear walls so you and your guests still have a beautiful view.
Tents are also available with either solid or clear tops. Clear tops often seem like a great idea because they make the space feel larger and more open, but they still protect guests from rain or snow.
However, clear-top tents used during the daytime can cause the sun to glare down on guests, and even during colder weather, this can make for uncomfortable brightness and heat. Instead, consider a solid-top tent for daytime use.
Clear-top tents are an excellent choice for evening parties, so guests can view the stars or moon after the sun goes down.
Flooring is also an option when choosing your tent, but it can be very expensive, and it’s often unnecessary. You’ll also need to place your tent on a perfectly flat area for solid flooring.
Soft flooring such as carpeting can become rumpled, but it’s sometimes a good choice for aisleways. Solid flooring is ideal for tents placed on beaches, where the sand makes walking a challenge.
If you plan to place your tent on a grassy or concrete area, however, consider getting flooring only for the dancing area.