10 Challenges when planning an Outdoor Tented Wedding (Get Prepared!)

Cynthia Rose Photography

Cynthia Rose Photography

At McLean Events we consider ourselves tented outdoor wedding experts. Today we thought it would be  helpful if we talked through the 10 challenges of an outdoor tented wedding. An outdoor wedding can be so beautiful and we absolutely love planning and designing outdoor tented weddings, however there are challenges through the planning process. Whether it's not having enough power for your band or being left with bags of trash at the end of an event at your parents estate, we're going to walk you through the top ten challenges of planning your outdoor tented wedding.

We want to make sure that there is no confusion for your guests and the day goes seamlessly. Here are some of the things (in no particular order) that make the day go well! 


The first challenge, and these are in no particular order, is not having enough power for all of your vendors. Often times when we do a site visit at home people think that there is enough power to run the portable restrooms, catering needs, lighting, and entertainment. However, we are always going to bring in generators that can be whisper quiet, so that in the case of any fuse being blown in a home, we are well covered and your guests can dance under the stars all night long! To begin working with how much power is actually needed what we will do is confirm all of your vendor their power needs and make sure that each vendor has its own dedicated power.


You may have a large open space for parking we think it's absolutely crucial to have a valet service on-site to Park your car guest cars if requested and that's always our preference, but also to a sure that there is a Organization into the parking in that you're guess know exactly where to go.

Jenny Maloney Photography

Jenny Maloney Photography


While it might be obvious that you want to make sure that your tent has enough lighting for inside the tent, we find that most people tend to forget about the pathways outside of the tent. We always do is visit your property at night time to see what light currently exists on the property and then discuss supplementation. We love to up wash trees and create a well lit path to all of your restrooms and parking areas.

Michelle Lyerly

Michelle Lyerly

Wedding Cake

We are well aware of that butter cream icing is the top choice of most brides and grooms. However, we have seen far too many times a gorgeous buttercream wedding cake covered in gnats. As you can imagine, it is less than ideal and quite unappetizing for all of your guests. Which is why we always recommend a gorgeous fondant layer on top of your cake so that at the very least we can remove that fondant and give your guests a slice of gorgeous delicious, buttercream, gnat free cake. 


Private home and tented outdoor weddings will always cost more than you think they well. As a wedding planner planning weddings in North Carolina for over 10 years that is one thing that is always true. It is really important to have a firm grasp on what the actual cost of the wedding will be before beginning the wedding planning. When we are building and designing your wedding reception from the ground up we are essentially creating a ballroom for your wedding outside. So there are a lot of associated costs that come with that. The beauty of it however is that you can customize your wedding to be exactly what you want it to be and it will be a wedding that no one else has ever had. 

Noise ordinance

If you're planning your outdoor tented wedding at your grandparents home its critical to know whether or not the neighbors will call the police halfway through your reception!  You have to remember that if the police get any calls about noise complaint have to stop by your reception.  I don't mean for it to scare. If your neighbors are not invited to the actual wedding and reception we recommend stopping by their home with a cute bag of earplugs and some cookies. Let them know that it is just for one night event, and this will not be happening every Saturday forever :) I also want to check with your county to make sure that you are well aware of what the mandated noise ordinances are. If outdoor music needs to end at 11 PM we will work with you to plan your wedding day timeline around that. Nothing kills a party like blue and white flashing lights, so plan ahead!


Went it comes to executing a flawless outdoor wedding that can only happen if the specifics and detailed are well-planned leading up to the wedding weekend. We work closely with all of your vendors to coordinate and installation schedule so that your generator arrives before the tenant is installed. We want to make sure that there's power to test those gorgeous chandeliers. If it looks like rain might be in your forecast we always recommend that your tent and (if applicable)flooring  are installed earlier in the week before the rain hits!  

Trash Removal 

One of the first big lessons that I learned when I planned my first home tented wedding about nine years ago was about trash. I didn’t think about who is going to haul away all of this trash after the event!  I assumed, the kiss of death and all wedding planning mistakes, was that the caterer was going to take it with them. However because I was inexperienced  in home tented weddings I didn't communicate that with the caterer who didn't have a truck large enough to accommodate. You can certainly have a dumpster brought in prior to the event and tuck it away quietly near the garage or schedule a trash removal service. Just don't forget to plan for this!

Vendor accommodations

So, you planned the most gorgeous and exciting party for all of your guest to attend. You have to 15 piece band, gorgeous custom tent flooring, crystal chandeliers to accent your 24 person head table, but you didn't plan for where the band would change and either meals. We don’t want your amazing band to start off any grumpy mood! It's really important to make sure that you have all of your vendors well taken care of at a tented outdoor wedding. We always recommend that we do a separate tent just for your band, another for your vendors to be able to eat their meals and leave their belongings so that they're not in your main reception tent, and certainly the caterer will require a kitchen tent. We always say happy vendors make for a happy wedding!

Morning Wild Photography

Morning Wild Photography


We always recommend that your home is not open to all of your guests. Because  they will always go for your indoor bathrooms versus the gorgeous portable restroom trailers that you brought in. We always recommend that you opt for the restrooms that have a mobile air-conditioning unit fully working sinks and make your guest feel as if they've walked into your home. You definitely don't need to go on the total top-of-the-line however somewhere right in the middle seems to be the sweet spot for wedding restrooms!

I could go on and on about how much we love tented outdoor weddings, and could continue writing so many thoughts and tips! Stay tuned for more blog series make sure to follow our Instagram were oftentimes the pop on there to share tips and text! 

Happy planning!


Wedding TipsErin McLeanComment