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May 04, 2020Best In Tents

No matter what kind of outdoor event you’re planning, incorporating a rental 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 determining 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?

Right size tent

Determining the correct tent size is essential to throwing a wonderful outdoor event, but this process can be intimidating, especially if you’ve never rented a party tent, or hosted a large outdoor event before. Not to worry, though, because the experts at American Tent have all the insider tips, tricks, and information you need to find the perfect tent size for your event!

How Can You Determine The Correct Tent Size for Your Event? 

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 tent you’ll need for your outdoor event.

For example, hosting a banquet-style wedding with 150 guests will require a different tent size than if you were hosting a sit-down dinner with round tables for the same 150 guests. To ensure you get the best tent size for your event, you’ll need to determine the amount of guests you have and the seating arrangement you’ll have them in.

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

Tent Capacity Chart

As you can see from the chart, seating arrangements are just as important as the amount of guests at your event. If you’re not set on a seating arrangement yet and want more of a breakdown on these arrangements, guest counts, and tent sizes, here’s 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

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

Pole Tents

  • 1142 guests: 40’ x 200’
  • 900 guests: 40’ x 160’ 
  • 665 guests: 40’ x 120’

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 weddings that are entirely cocktail-style, 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

  • 150 guests: 30’ x 45’ 
  • 100 guests: 20’ x 40’
  • 50 guests: 20’ x 20’

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.

What size tent you need

If you’re planning a big event and want the best bang for your buck when it comes to choosing the size of your party tent, banquet seating is a perfect option. Because the straight tables take up less space while still giving your guests enough room, you’ll only need 10 sq. ft. per person. This is slightly less than if you were having your guests sit at round tables, and can save you space.

Tent sizing based on a guest count for banquet-style seating:

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’ 

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’

Don’t Forget The Extra Tables

Once you’ve determined your seating arrangement and the amount 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. A bar, DJ booth, gift table, separate cocktail area, sing-in area, and anything else will need to be calculated into your final equation to find the perfect tent size for your event. 

We hope this helps 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! 

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If you enjoyed today’s entry, be sure to bookmark our blog page and check back frequently for the latest updates.

We regularly post helpful resources that can help you plan great events and learn more about our event tents.

Our friendly customer service team is always happy to answer any questions you have about pole tents, frame tents, and sidewalls, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need more information!

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