Tim Sperry is president of Sperry Tents, the leading provider of sailcloth tents in the U.S. A trusted leader in executing top-notch outdoor weddings and events since 1996, the company's signature rental tents are the backbone of some of the country’s and world’s most beautiful celebrations.
Tented Events Offer Flexibility and Extensive Options for Distinctive Experiences
When it comes to corporate events, tented outdoor affairs have seen an increase in popularity. In the ever-evolving pandemic area, where clientele may favor space and expansive layouts, tents provide a type of comfort and aesthetic that cannot be found in a typical indoor meeting space, such as a ballroom or banquet hall. Here are a few of the advantages of tented events and ways to utilize tents to host successful, memorable experiences.
Using Unique Layouts and Floor Plans
When working with a tent provider, you have the freedom to put forth layouts to accommodate your guests and the designated flow of your event. With a variety of sizes that work for intimate options, such as a single keynote speaker, to large-scale options fit for multi-day conferences, tents can generally range in size from a small 24-foot by 44-foot oval to an expansive 66-foot by 146-foot canopy.
Embracing Your Geography
Tented events allow you to embrace the outdoors like never before. Building your event from the ground up gives you endless options as it pertains to the location and add-ons like clear-paneled sides to bring the outdoors in and enhance your overall aesthetic. When compared to a venue such as a ballroom, hosting your event outdoors breaks up the typical status quo.
Expanding Your Footprint
If you are planning a multi-day event with hundreds of attendees, you’ll likely need a large-scale floor plan to avoid congestion and give guests ample space for meetings, cocktail hours, sit-down meals and more. Utilizing tents and canopies can give you the depth of space needed to account for what a multi-room venue would allow. It will also liven up the schedule of events, offering the chance for team building, mingling and other activities to take your meeting to the next level.
Previous clients have used multiple tents to create breakout spaces and a designated dining area, while encouraging movement among guests. For corporate events that require registration areas, consider a larger tent where you can incorporate some lounge furniture as well, which will transform it into a hybrid space with some grab-and-go meal kits as well as swag bags and favors that can be displayed beautifully.
Making It Yours
Once your theme is established, work with your tent company to select lighting and flooring that compliments your desired style. Very intricate event designs are typically executed by a team of vendors, including specialty furniture, décor and lighting companies. But no matter your budget, there are infinite ways to get creative with a tented reception—and that’s all part of the fun. We’ve seen everything from balloon installations to whole trees used for décor, to logos projected onto tent canopies. You can even have the iconic pennants atop your tent custom ordered with your company’s colors and/or logo.
Mastering the Forecast
If your event locale or date tends toward gray skies, you should talk to your sales manager about a “rain plan.” This is a list of extra equipment that is needed only in the event of rain, such as tents or extra covered walkways to ensure the comfort of event staff and guests. A “rain plan” is typically deposited separately for a lesser percentage, and the balance payment can be canceled beforehand if the equipment is not needed. Similarly, if your date has the potential for temperature extremes, discuss reserving fans or heaters. Also, clear sides protect against wind and bugs without interrupting landscape views. A little forethought can save a lot of last-minute panic.