What Size Tent Do I Need For 100 Guests?

Tents For Rent At McDaniel College
20ft x 40ft HP Pole Tent At McDaniel College

Choosing the right tent rental size for your event can be challenging if you’re a first-time renter. While there is no right answer here, this article will cover everything you need to know when choosing the best tent size for 100 person size event. The number one thing you’ll want to consider is, “What Do I Plan On Using My Tent For?” This will quickly help us decide the right size.

An event with 100 people but you only need seating will require a different size tent than an event with 100 people with seating, a bar, a dance floor and gift table. So let’s dive in and help you choose the right tent size. But FIRST, if you’re looking for the short answer… the most common tent rental size for an event with 100 people is a 20×40 or 40×40 tent. But let’s dig into why this varies.

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What do you plan on using your tent rental for?

The first step to choosing the right size tent for 100 people is deciding how much space you’ll need coverage for. Such as, seating, dance floor, food and drinks, etc. You may be hosting a fundraiser and you don’t need seating space for all of your guests which will be a different size tent than an all inclusive outdoor wedding.

Luckily for you, we will breakdown the most common tent layouts for you below. If you still have questions after this article, you’ll want to contact an expert for more assistance and our team will be in touch.

Standing shade only tent size for 100 people

A general rule of thumb for “standing only” space requirements is 2-4sqft per person. In my personal opinion, I don’t agree with this as I still think this would be quite tight. For example, if you have 100 guests and only require standing space only than you would need a tent size of approximately 200 to 400 sqft. Most articles online will mention this rule of thumb but if you ask me, I think it’s too small. Just because you can likely squeeze 100 people into a 20ft x 20ft or 20ft x 30ft tent, this wouldn’t be my first choice.

Recommended Tent Size: 20ft x 40ft

20x40 Party Tent Rental
20ft x 40ft HP Frame Tent

Seating 100 people with rectangle tables

You’re able to fit MORE rectangle tables underneath a tent as oppose to round tables because they do not require as much space. Which is good news because you can essentially keep your costs down by renting a smaller size tent without sacrificing enough coverage. 

You can fit 8-10 people at an 8ft rectangle table. Which means to seat 100 people, we’ll need either 12-13 tables. (100 people / 8ppl per table = 12.5 tables). Now the question is, what size tent fits 12-13 tables? The MAX amount of rectangle tables that fit under a 20ft x 40ft is 12. So… you can go this route but this will leave you with little space left over. Or you can go up to a 30ft x 45ft tent for that extra space to move around. If you ONLY need space for seating (such as a crab feast or something) then you’re just fine with a 20ft x 40ft. But to be on the safe side here, your better off with a 30ft x 45ft.

Recommended Tent Size: 20ft x 40ft (for max seating purposes) or 30ft x 45ft (for a more comfortable seating option)

30ft x 45ft HP Pole Tent
20ft x 40ft HP Pole Tent

Seating 100 people with round tables

This part can get a little tricky. The most commonly rented round table for seating is a 60in round table, which seats 8 people comfortably. Therefore, we STILL need the same amount of tables for 100 people BUT this time… we need to increase our tent size. In the last section we stated that you can fit up to 12 8ft rectangle tables in a 20ft x 40ft size tent but you can only fit up to 8 60in round tables in a 20ft x 40ft tent. After some quick math you’ll realize that this only allows us to seat 64 guests with max seating under a 20×40 with round tables (8 tables fit in a 20×40 x 8 people per table = 64). 

Therefore, we have to increase our tent size. It gets even trickier… Not sure if trickier is even a word but you get the point. It plops us right between various tent sizes. A 30ft x 45ft only fits 11 60in round tables (so seating for 88 people) which isn’t enough and a 30ft x 60ft or 40ft x 40ft can fit up to 16 round tables which allows seating for 128 people, which is a tad more than we need. Nonetheless, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. So the recommended tent size here would be a 40ft x 40ft.

Recommended Tent Size: 40ft x 40ft

40x40 Navi Trac Frame Tent Rental
40ft x 40ft Navi Trac Frame Tent

Seating 100 people with extra space needed

It’s time to make some decisions. Up to this point, it’s pretty simple to determine the best size tent for 100 people if you only need space for seating. But what if you plan on needing more space for other things? Well, ultimately the question remains “how much extra space are we talking?” This will all depend on YOUR event. 

However, there is a fairly simple technique to consider here. A 40ft x 40ft tent is 1,600sqft which is essentially just two 20ft x 40ft tents together. So if we can fit up to 16 round tables (or 24 rectangle tables) into a 40ft x 40ft tent but we want to add only a dance floor then it’s simple. We just go up one tent size to a 40ft x 60ft. BUT, now we want to add a dance floor AND a buffet section for food and drinks. No problem, we just increase our tent size by 20ft. Which means you’ll now want to consider a 40ft x 80ft tent. The general rule of thumb here (subjective to your own requirements) is to go up another tent size for each major space requirement you need. For example, adding a dance floor and you go up one tent size. Add a buffet and bar, go up another tent size. Add a live band, go up another tent size and so on.

Recommended Tent Size: 40ft x 60ft or 40ft x 80ft depending on how much “extra” space you need.

40ft x 80ft HP Pole Tent

Choosing the right tent rental size for 100 people

One more curveball coming your way before we wrap up. Hopefully by now you have a better understanding of what tent SIZE to rent. But what about what TYPE of tent? We offer a variety of tent styles to choose from and each have their own pro’s and con’s. 

In order to keep this short and sweet… pole tents have “center poles” inside the tent to keep the tent erect, while a frame tent is what’s called “free-standing”. Free-standing means the tent does not have any center poles and it allows you to have a wide open layout underneath the tent. It stands on it’s own as you build a frame type structure. Why is this important? Because you may have the perfect plan for the size tent you want but if you go with a pole tent, the center poles may interfere. 

We won’t go into full detail on the difference between a pole tent and frame tent but you’re more than welcome to check out that article using the link we just shared. The important thing to note is, you can’t go wrong with a frame tent style. Pole tents are more cost effective and most popular but your frame tent style will be more beneficial for you.

In summary, the most common tent size for 100 person event is a 20ft x 40ft or 40ft x 40ft. Of course this will vary depending on your actual event needs which is why we’re here to help you with any last questions. Call us at (410) 881-2227 to speak with us about your upcoming event and we will make sure you choose the best tent for your 100 person event. Be sure to share this article if you found it helpful and if you are considering an outdoor tent wedding, use the form below or get a quote online.


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