What Size Tent Do I Need?

Tents come with endless options.

You can seriously create any shape and size of space that you’re looking for if you put them together in the right way.

But where do you start and how do you choose?

Let me walk you through it.


Event tents come in endless shapes and sizes, but there are a few that your local rental company probably keeps in stock.  They’re always measured in feet.

First are the squares…10×10, 20×20, and 30×30 are the basics here.  

Little 10x10s are really just a sun shelter for a table or two.  

20×20 can comfortably fit around four tables when you fill the whole thing.

A 30×30 is just right for a smaller event, and can fit up to twelve standard rectangular tables, making max capacity about 100 people.

Then you get into the bigger rectangular tents.  They usually come in 40′ feet wide, and can be extended in twenty foot lengths.  This lets you fit a lot more people, plus the bigger span comes with a higher peak so you get a really open feeling and have lots of space for draping.

The tents can be set up next to each other to create a custom space.  I also love to set them up with a space between them and hang lights across to create a courtyard.


Often the limiting factor on tent size is space.  You need a relatively flat space with at least 6-8 feet around the perimeter of the tent.  You’ll need to keep in mind overhanging trees, which can rip the canopy, and overhead power lines, and I don’t need to explain the obvious problem there.

Also think about where traffic will flow.  You’ll need ample space for people to get to and from the parking lot, the bathrooms, and anything else you have planned.  Have a good idea of what you can fit before you start booking things.


While making a floor plan doesn’t need to be done till later, you do need to have an idea of how much space you’ll need for your various items.  

You can start with some basic numbers.  These are per person areas based on different event styles:

  • Theatre seating: 8 square feet
  • Cocktails: 8 square feet
  • Banquet seating (no buffet): 12 square feet
  • Banquet seating (with buffet): 14 square feet
  • Dance floor: 4.5 square feet

Then you need to take into consideration space for additional items.  Here’s my list of things you may need:

  • Head table
  • Podium
  • Projector & Screen
  • Buffet
  • Bar
  • Beverages
  • Desserts
  • DJ/Band
  • Guestbook
  • Gifts
  • Displays
  • Decor Installations


Once you’ve estimated the amount of space you’ll need per person, and added some for anything else going into the room, you’ll have a basic number to start working with.  This should be the absolute minimum amount of space you look for.  More is always better!

I know you’ve been to events with not quite enough space and how uncomfortable that is.  Don’t do that to your guests!

Armed with your minimum space requirements, you can work with your tent professionals to figure out the best solution for your space.  You’ll even be able to customise your choice of walls and lighting to create the exact space you’re looking for!

Download our Tent Rental Guide today to get see all the tents we have available. Then get in touch to chat with us about finding the best option for you…we’ll even take care of the math for you!

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