How Big of a Tent Do You Need for Your Wedding?

Make sure you have enough space for your guests and event staff
Read Time: 4 minutes
Feb 26, 2024

A tent is a must for an outdoor wedding. It not only provides a venue for your guests to eat and socialize, but it’s also protection against any weather that could come up. It’s therefore essential to know exactly what size tent you need to rent. Too big and you’re spending money that you don’t need to, but too small and you won’t have enough space for your guests.

How to Calculate Tent Size

a large outdoor wedding tent with tables and chairs set up underneath it

How large a tent you’ll need for your wedding depends on the number of guests you’ll have, the number of tables, and how much space you need for things like a dance floor and the caterers and musicians.

Step 1

Take a Head Count

The first step to calculating what size tent you need is to get an accurate head count of your guests and any staff that will be working at your wedding. This includes caterers, musicians, a DJ, serving staff, the photographer, and anyone who will be at the wedding in any capacity.


Typically, you need 100 square feet for 8 guests.

Step 2

Consider Table Sizes

tables and chairs arranged under a tent for a wedding reception outdoors

The next step is to think about how you’d want the tables to be arranged and what size tables you’ll need. Standard for guests could be 60” round tables. This size would fit with the 100 square feet per 8 guests measure. However, if you’d like the bridal party to be seated at a head table, you’ll need to add extra space for that. A head table would be 8’ long, but you may need more of them, depending on the number of people in the bridal party. An 8’ table can accommodate four people.


Set aside 100 square feet feet for each head table that you need.

Step 3

Allow Room for Music and Dancing

wedding guests and the bride and groom dancing outside of a wedding tent

If you’re hiring musicians to play at your wedding, you’ll also need room for them to play. A stage can take up a lot of space, as can a dance floor. Since your wedding is outdoors, will the dance floor be outside or underneath the wedding tent? You’ll want to consider having space underneath the tent for a dance floor and a stage, even if it’s as a backup plan in case of weather. Leave extra space around the stage and dance floor. This is because none of your guests will want to sit right on top of your musicians.


Add at least 16 square feet of extra space around the dance floor and stage.

Step 4

Make Room for Catering

catering staff serving food at an outdoor wedding

Some indoor venues have kitchens that your catering staff can use, but that’s generally not the case for outdoor weddings. This means that you’ll need space for your catering staff to work and, depending on how they’ll be serving the food, you may also need space for a buffet table. Buffet tables are typically the same 8’ table that would be used as the head table for the bridal party.


Each buffet table will use 100 square feet of space.

Step 5

Consider Additional Spacing Needs

You may also have additional tables at which guests won’t be sitting. For example, a table to hold the wedding cake, tables for gifts and cards, and more. You’ll have to determine exactly how many tables you’ll need that will be dedicated to non-guests and take those into consideration as well.


Add 100 square feet for every 8’ table that you need.

Step 6

Add Everything Up

Once you know the number of guests, how many tables you need, and how much space you’ll need for a dance floor and stage, it’s time to add everything up. Divide the total number of guests by 8 and then multiply that number by 100 for the amount of square footage you need just for the guests. Then, add 100 square feet for every 8’ table, including a head table, buffet table, etc. that you need. Factor in the dance floor and stage, plus extra space around it so no one has to sit too close.


Add up all of that square footage for the size tent you’ll need. Then, choose the closest tent size that is larger than your total square footage.

What Shape Tent Should You Rent?

Long, narrow tents are only a good idea if that’s the only shape tent that fits in your venue. A square tent will be easier for guests to move around in and will also be easier to keep cool if your wedding is in the summer. This is because the ceiling often ends up being higher in a square tent than in a longer tent.

Planning the Layout of Your Tent

Once you know what size tent you need, you’ll also need to plan the layout in advance. That way, on the day of the wedding, everything can be set up smoothly. Fortunately, there are online tools that can help you. iRentEverything’s tent planner tool can not only help you plan the layout of your tent but also help you to learn if the tent you chose is the right size for your needs before you actually rent anything.

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For informational purposes only.