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May 04, 2020Best In Tents

No matter what kind of outdoor event you’re planning, incorporating a party event tent will pull everything together and ensure a great experience for your guests. When you begin looking into rental tents, it should be a simple process to determine how you want your tent to look, feel, and function at your event. Once you begin planning your layout and seating chart, however, you might be left wondering: what size tent do I need? From wedding tent sizes to cozy parties, keep reading the following tent size guide to find out!

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Size of the Tent

Size of the Venue

Before you get your heart set on a venue, first think about event tent sizes. You’ll need not only enough room for your tent, but you’ll also need space around your tent for staking and for your guests to move in and out of the tent. Will you have portapotties? You’ll want to make sure the venue has plenty of space for discreet placement, preferably out of immediate view from the party.

Number of Guests

You don’t want your guests to be too close for comfort! That’s why you should keep your guest list front of mind when thinking about what size tent you wish to have for your event. When in doubt, opt for a larger size tent. The good news is that you’ll find a wide variety of tent rental sizes. Consult a tent expert to discuss different party tent sizes and which will work best for your next event.

Right size tent

Location and Weather

All of the planning in the world can’t change the weather forecast. Take that into consideration when considering party tent sizes. After all, you’ve spent a lot of time planning your event and you don’t want to cancel if mother nature doesn’t cooperate. After you’ve determined your guest list and the number of attendees, think about how much space you’ll need if your guests can’t leave the comfort of the tent due to weather.

Your Vision

Close your eyes and envision your dream event. Does it include a formal sit-down dinner with white tablecloths and lavish centerpieces? Or, are you planning a festive party with a DJ and dance floor? Do you want to give your guests the ability to socially distance themselves if they choose to do so? Whatever your vision maybe, you’ll need to make sure you have enough space in your tent to make it a reality.

Feeding Your Guests

If you are planning to feed your guests, you’ll need to factor into what size tent you will need. If you plan on a buffet-style brunch, you will need to have enough room for warming trays, fruit plates, and coffee and tea stations. For a sit-down dinner, you’ll need to figure out seating arrangements in advance. If you plan on light hours that deserve cocktails, you’ll still need space for a spread as well as a bar.

Don't Forget The Extra Tables

Once you’ve determined your seating arrangement and the number of guests for your event, you’re not done! You’ll still have to add in all the additional space required for different event spaces. Some questions to ask yourself include, 

  • Will you have a bar?
  • Do you want a DJ booth?
  • Will there be a gift table?
  • Do you want a dance floor?
  • Will your event include vendors? If so, they will need space to display their items.

These are just a few considerations. It may help if you put together an itinerary for your event to help create the final equation to find the perfect tent size for your event.

How Can You Determine the Correct Tent Size for Your Event Type?

At the start of the tent-hunting process, many customers believe they’ll have to go only off their guest count to determine the correct tent size for their rental, but this is only one part of the equation. While the amount of guests you have at your event is essential information you’ll need to take into account, the seating arrangement is also just as instrumental in determining the size of tent you’ll need for your outdoor event.

For example, the wedding tent size for 150 guests at a banquet-style wedding will be a much different tent size than if you were hosting a sit-down dinner with round tables for the same 150 guests. If you’re trying to determine a tent size for 100 guests, think about what activities you’re planning at the event (e.g., gift table, open bar, etc.). To ensure you get the best tent size for your wedding event, you’ll need to determine the number of guests you have and the seating arrangement you’ll have them in, even if it’s only a tent size for 50 people.

Here’s a helpful chart to reference as you begin to plan:

event tent sizes

As you can see from the chart, seating arrangements are just as important as the number of guests at your event. If you’re not set on a seating arrangement yet and want more of a breakdown of these arrangements, guest counts, and tent sizes, the following is a more thorough guide to help you choose the best tent size.

Theater Style Seating

Theater-style seating is just as it sounds: seats are arranged in rows, all facing the same way towards a stage, ceremony arch, or other focal points. These rows can be broken up into two parts to form an aisle for a wedding or can be kept together for outdoor concerts, conferences, and more.

Because this type of seating arrangement allows seats to be close together and doesn’t require a large space for tables, you’ll be able to fit the most people in this arrangement compared to the others. Referring to the chart, theater-style seating can accommodate double the amount of guests as a sit-down dinner arrangement. Just remember that this doesn’t include tables or eating areas, and this type of seating is typically only used for ceremonies at weddings, or outdoor staged events.

Here are some quick references for the tent size you’d need for the following number of guests if you’re planning theater-style seating:

Frame Tents

Pole Tents

Tent sizes


Cocktail set-ups usually include tall tables for guests to rest and converse at, and are generally standing-room-only, with perhaps a few chairs scattered around. This set-up is perfect for adding a cocktail hour for wedding guests, and some couples even host entirely cocktail-style weddings, with appetizers served instead of a full buffet or meal.

Guests still only need about 8 sq. ft. per person, according to the chart, for this seating style, though you must also account for the tables guests will be able to eat and drink at. You’ll still be able to accommodate a large group of people without needing a massive tent if you want to include a cocktail area at your event or host an entire cocktail-style event for your guests.

Tent sizing based on a guest count for cocktail seating:

Frame Tents

Pole Tents

  • 900 guests: 60’ x 180’
  • 800 guests: 40’ x 160’ 
  • 600 guests: 40' x 120'

    Banquet Seating

    Whether you’re planning a lavish event, medieval-themed party or intimate wedding, banquet-style seating is perfect for you! This set-up usually includes long tables for guests to sit at, and gives an open, family-dining experience for your guests. It’s the perfect option if a buffet is included in your event, as the long buffet tables will fit perfectly within your arrangement.

    Frame Tents

    • 150 guests: 30’ x 45’ for a tighter fit, and 30’ x 60’ for more space
    • 100 guests: 30’ x 30’ 
    • 50 guests: 20’ x 30’

    Pole Tents

    • 600 guests: 40’ x 180’
    • 533 guests: 40’ x 160’ 
    • 400 guests: 40' x 120’

    What size tent you need

      Sit-Down Dinner 

      Sit-down dinners are the popular choice for many weddings, company picnics and parties, and corporate events with catered food. Generally, sit-down dinner seating includes round tables for your guests and allows for caterers to either set up the tables with the meals to pass around or bring pre-plated meals to your guests. This seating arrangement takes up the most space because of the round tables your guests will be sitting at, and you’ll need about 12 sq. ft. for guests in this setting. Tent sizing based on a guest count for sit-down dinner seating:

      Frame Tents

      • 150 guests: 30’ x 60’
      • 100 guests: 30’ x 45’ 
      • 50 guests: 20’ x 30’

      Pole Tents

      • 480 guests: 40’ x 180’ 
      • 373 guests: 40’ x 140’ 
      • 320 guests: 40’ x 120’


      American Tent hopes this help you as you find the perfect tent size for your outdoor event. No matter what you’re hosting, there’s a tent that can accommodate it. Have more questions on tent size? Contact us and our tent experts will be able to help you through the process. Happy planning!

      Tony Ehrbar's headshot

      Tony Ehrbar

      Owner & CEO

      Tony's entrepreneurial spirit is woven into the fabric of American Tent (an Inc 5000 company), shaped by his experience running a successful event venue & tent rental service. His recognition as the Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2019 is a testament to his impact & dedication to his community. As the Co-founder and CEO of Renegade Plastics, Tony is leading initiatives in the tent industry to integrate eco-friendly, recyclable materials. Contributing as a board member for the Advanced Textiles Association (ATA) & the Green Bay Area Public Schools Foundation and being featured by Entrepreneur, Oracle, & Modern Weddings, Tony plays a pivotal role in enhancing the growth and success of the textile industry.

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