For some tented events, the tent style choice can be straightforward. You may be trying to fit as many guest as possible under a tent while working within a limited budget, if so, the choice is simple. The renter will probably recommend a pole tent. Other times, a bride may have her heart set on a clear top tent with crystal chandeliers hanging from each peak. If this is the case, the selection may be more complex.
A Peaked Pole Tent is an elegant and budget friendly option for any event. Traditionally, pole tents cover more area for less money so they are often a popular choice for larger events such as festivals and for brides whose guest count is too high for her budget.
Frame Tents are more versatile in a defined space because of the “framed” structure of the tent. They can be set up against buildings or decks and do not require as much space around the tent to stake and require less staking in general. In addition, if needed, ballasts (weighted cement blocks) can be used if staking into the ground is not an option. Frame tents are desirable because the center poles are eliminated allowing guests to mingle and the event to be designed without the obstructive nature of the poles. Although mostly advantageous, frame tents tend to cost more because more man labor is required to set up the tent. Another disadvantage is that metal skeletons line the upper inside of the tent. If the event is a formal wedding, fabric liners are an easy solution and pole drapes can also be used to create a more intimate setting. Mike Lubas, CERP with Vermont Tent, suggests using earth tones in the decor to create a current look if the white tent draping is too presidential for your style or event.
“Diamond Series” or Century Pole Tents create a dynamic impression. Inside the tent is a smooth flowing, seemingly endless space. Outside the tent are futuristic curves and peaks that create a modern look for brides and event planners. Century Pole Tents are larger than regular pole tents, starting at a 40×40 and are recommended for festival or large corporate type events.
Clear Span Tent structures are designed to create an outdoor temporary structure that does not resemble a tent or canvas structure, but instead an actual building. These tents can accommodate larger crowds and range in size from a 30×30 to 66’x131′. Designers and renters have flexibility with the design, decoration, and effects with clear span tents because they do not have interior support columns that interfere with stages, tables, or other equipment inside the tent. The rafters can handle complex lighting and AV systems as well. Most clear span tents are “staked” into the ground with long steel tent stakes and therefore, do not require the ropes you typically see with pole tents. These large building like structures are designed to withstand up to 70 mph wind, heavy rain, and other adverse weather conditions.
If adverse weather should occur, track side walls are used instead of the flapping side walls used with pole and frame tents, which provide more effective heating and cooling needs.
There are several cons to renting a clear span tent. They are more expensive than pole and frame tents, ranging from $600 to $14,000 because extra man labor and heavy machinery is often necessary to help with set up. While the industrial appearance of the tents can be advantageous, it is not warm or intimate.
As there are several different styles of tents, most rental companies will recommend a tent within your budget and that suites your event needs. If you are still unsure as to which style will work best for you, do your homework!
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