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19 Creative Ways to Decorate Your Outdoor Wedding Tent

Who knew tents could be so Insta-worthy?
sarah hanlon associate editor the knot
by Sarah Hanlon
sarah hanlon associate editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
Associate Editor
  • Sarah is an Associate Digital Editor for The Knot, with special focuses in fashion, pop culture and wedding trends.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Sarah was a contributing writer for Bravo at NBC Universal.
  • Sarah has a degree in journalism and resides in New York City.
Updated Mar 18, 2021

Forget everything you think you know about wedding tents. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, more couples are taking their nuptials outdoors to keep guests and vendors safe. Whether you're getting married in your backyard or at a scenic outdoor venue, consider investing in a wedding tent to protect against inclement weather. While you may have preconceived ideas of what a tented wedding looks like, you can easily transform any tent to fit your style or theme. Wedding tent decorations have evolved over the years, especially as couples place more emphasis on event design and the guest experience. You might associate wedding tents with plain white interiors or plastic flaps, but that's far from what they look like today. 

If you're planning an outdoor wedding, your vendors will help make your tent feel special. If applicable, talk to your venue about tent rentals and any on-site suggestions they might have. Hire a tent rental company to supply the main piece of equipment—they'll guide you through the process of choosing the best event tent with the right square footage for your space. The location, number of guests attending and time of year all dictate what tent style is right for your big day. Pricing varies for different kinds of party rentals, so it's important to work with a vendor who understands your needs. 

Once you've secured a tent for your wedding venue, collaborate with your florist and event planner (or day-of coordinator) to organize wedding tent decorations. Lighting, floral arrangements, lounge areas and creative tablescapes can transform the look of your wedding tent. To get your ideas flowing, we've rounded up our favorite outdoor wedding tent decorations from real weddings. Use these photos to inspire the design for your own wedding tent. Once you have a vision, work with your team of vendors to create a scene that'll wow guests (and look great on the 'gram). 

Entrance With Statement Florals

First impressions are everything, which is why we love this grand sailcloth tent entrance that's brimming with fresh florals and lush greenery. If there's a better way to set the tone for an incredible party, we haven't heard of it.

Suspended Flowers

Consider this one of our favorite outdoor wedding tent ideas. Wedding flowers have the ability to transform the look of any venue, including a tent. Utilize the space at the top of the canopy to make the most of your tent size. While eye-level details are important, give some love to the highest points of your canopy too.

Wedding Tent Swings

Go back to your childhood days with a set of swings for your wedding reception. Not only is this a photogenic decor idea, it'll have the entire wedding party lining up to take turns.

Tall Pampas Grass Centerpieces

Invest in towering centerpieces to create a spectacle. We love these earthy pampas grass arrangements, which pair nicely with gauzy pink drapes and hanging Edison bulbs.

Rattan Chandeliers 

Since outdoor tents tend to have a relaxed vibe, crystal chandeliers might not be the best fit for your wedding day. Instead, go for something a bit more low-key like boho rattan light fixtures. This neutral texture will add a casual, earthy feel to the interior of your wedding tent. 

Vibrant Seating Area 

A dance floor will keep some guests occupied during your wedding reception, but others will appreciate having alternative activities to do in between speeches and group dances. Consider having a designated seating area to allow guests to mingle with each other away from their assigned seats. Make the space feel cozy and inviting with plush couches, chairs, throw blankets and candles. 

String Lights 

String lights are a must for an outdoor wedding. When the sun goes down, small bulbs will illuminate your space with a warm, romantic glow. We love how these bright string lights pop against this clear-top tent. 

Illuminated Tree Centerpiece 

If you have a high tent canopy, utilize the space above with a tree centerpiece. Cover the branches in delicate string lights for a whimsical touch. A grand decoration like this will be the talk of the evening. 

Raised Candles 

Take your lighting to new heights by suspending candles above tables. This innovative decor idea will make your wedding tent feel intimate regardless of the guest list size. 

Ivy-Covered Center Pole

A few garlands of ivy will seriously transform a pole tent. If you're worried about an obtrusive stick in the middle of your reception space, incorporate it into the ambiance by wrapping it with leafy greens. We're all about wedding tent decorations that serve a purpose. 

Modern Chandelier

Innovative lighting is one of the biggest wedding trends of 2021, but it's especially important for outdoor weddings. Since natural daylight is limited, additional light will keep the celebration going into the evening. If you're looking for unique overhead fixtures, try hanging a few modern chandeliers like this. Contemporary designs will add a sleek, modern touch to your wedding tent. 

Garlands of Greenery 

Open-air wedding tents are definitely a thing, and they're a great option for warmer climates. If you're worried about heat getting trapped under your canopy, consider a tent with open slots in the top. While it won't protect against weather, it'll emulate the tented look you're trying to achieve. Add texture to the top by intertwining the canopy flaps with garlands of greenery. The finished product will make your tent feel like a lush greenhouse. 

Faux Tree Tent Pole Covers 

Live your cottagecore wedding fantasy with tent pole tree covers. Guests will be transported to a woodland oasis with this lavish outdoor wedding tent idea. 

Subtle Uplighting 

Illuminate your tent from all angles, including the ground. While it's important to focus on light sources from above, strategic uplighting will cover your tent in moody shadows. Arrange clusters of lanterns or tea lights around the base of your tent—just avoid open flames to prioritize guest safety. 

String Light Canopy 

Who says you need canvas or fabric to create a wedding tent? This Instagram-worthy idea might not provide any coverage from the elements, but its beauty makes it worth the risk. Work with your wedding vendors to create a canopy of string lights that stretch above the tables and the dance floor for an unforgettable evening.  

Moroccan-Themed Lounge Area 

Earthy and bohemian, this outdoor wedding tent decor would fit right in at Coachella. The plush poufs make for versatile cocktail hour seating too. 

Draped Fabric Ceiling with String Lights 

Perhaps the most classic version of any wedding tent setup, this design is nothing if not timeless. Stretch chiffon, silk or organza across the top of your wedding tent for a luxurious feel. Add strings of lights in your wedding colors. The impact will become more dramatic as the evening grows darker.

Boho Rugs 

Start decorating your wedding tent from the ground up—literally. Layered vintage rugs will give your space an eclectic look. Additional earthy accents like macramé lighting, dried floral bouquets and clusters of thick branches will accentuate your boho theme.

Colorful Draping

Lean into your wedding color palette by hanging thematic drapes from the top of your tent. A subtle pop of color will look great against a white tent—add delicate fairy lights to make your special day feel even more ethereal. 

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