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Houghton Lake Tent and Table

Need a Tent? Call Pauli at 989-965-3274 (direct) OR 989-366-5004 (message)
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Canopy tents serve as a beautiful addition to the outside entertainment area for parties or events. Canopy tents feature at least four corner poles and a center pole for stability. Canvas stretches over the center pole to the side poles of the canopy tent, creating the perfect area for socializing out of hot sun. Houghton Lake Tent and Table's canopy's feature Sunblock to more thoroughly block the sun for a notably decrease in temperature under the tent.  Decorating a canopy tent involves deciding on a theme or simply choosing neutral decorations that will complement the landscape.

Please visit our Preferred Vendors page to find local vendors we count on for your additional event needs.



One of the key differences between a tent party and indoor parties is that you can use the surrounding landscape in your decor.

By letting the outside in, you are immediately stamping your event with a natural outdoors theme.  While a tent feels right outdoors, adding lights, using nature as your center pieces, the blue sky as your backdrop, and the scent and sounds of the nature around you, makes your special day authentically an "up north" themed wedding.

Having a tent event engages all of the five senses and so have of the creating is done for you in creating your ambiance.  You need only add minimal decorating to create a phenomenal "up north" themed event.


Adding lights
provides ambiance to your canopy event and alleviates the need for additional lighting.
  Especially if your event will take place in the evening, you will want to ensure that your tent and its occupants are lit very well. But light can also be a decoration. Project colorful shapes and patterns onto the ceiling of the tent with colored gels and spot lights. String hanging garden lights throughout the tent to add to the mood of the event.  Add clear white lights for a subtle look or add colored lights, perhaps matching the colors of your event, for a more dramatic look.

Connect an extension cord to the electrical supply at a location that won't trip visitors when approaching the tent.  Make sure the cord reaches a corner of the tent near one of the support poles.  Cover the extension cord at ground level with an exterior rug for additional protection.

Most people simply use strings of Christmas tree lights inside their tents.  Some people chose a single string and icicle lights look stunning in any color.  You might choose lights that match the color in the theme of your event.  It is important that you choose lights that are not going to get hot and burn or melt the fabric of the tent, because remember you are responsible to keep the tent safe from any damage. Plug in the string lights and position the ladder close to the support pole.  There are two popular ways people string lights in the canopy tents.

Many people string lights along the valance of the tent.  The tents have a thin rope that runs along the valance and people use the rope to clip the lights to.  We have seen people use clothes pins, garbage bag ties, or purchased decorating clips to attache the lights to the valance.  Icicle lights look stunning along the valance in any color.

Other people choose to stretch the lights up to the ceiling point.  When this type of light stringing is used the lights are typically hung loosely to create a 'draping' effect. You will need to fashion some type of security at the top of the pole to hold the lights in place.  Most people simply use duct tape.  Beginning at the side post stretch the lights up to the center ceiling support and secure.  Proceed with each support pole with all lengths of lights to meet at the top of the angled canopy.

One of our customers got very creative and created a really stunning paper lantern chandelier for the center of the tent.  Although I am not sure how this particular customer did it, I searched for a website for you that shows you how to make some that are similar

Some people use floor or table standing spotlights and focus them on a key focal point in the tent, such as a floral centerpiece, a wedding or graduation cake table, or a sentimental table displaying a graduates diploma or awards.  Please be aware that a spot light will be too hot and heavy to safely suspend to or attach to the tent.  You should arrange a safe and protected area to place the spotlight.


Establish the walkways into the canopy to determine placement of tables and chairs.  Allow room for visitors to move seats backwards to enter and exit chairs.  Position all tables and chair in the correct spot and cover each table with a table cloth.

You should protect guests from tent anchor ropes and stakes.  What many customers do is visit their own garden or another location or purchase a shrubbery or tall fern or large potted flower to place in the area of the ropes to prevent traffic through that area.   Plants are nice because they can be used to not only protect and disguise the ropes, but they can also add to the ambiance and match the centerpieces on the tables.  Other people chose to use garbage pails or tubs filled with ice and beverage.  This is nice for convenient access to either without cutting down the useable tent area.  Very often people purchase tennis balls and cut an 'x' into them then slide the tennis balls over the ends of the tent stakes.  Glow in the dark balls are a great idea for parties that will run into the dark hours.

The tent can't stand without support poles, so those poles aren't going anywhere.  Don't fight or ignore this fact.  Instead, incorporate the poles into your decor.  We try to help you do this by painting our poles white (except a few of our center poles are metal and unpainted).  If you are happy with the white, you need not decorate the poles.  However, if you feel you want to further incorporate the poles, one idea is to wrap them with colored fabric to match the colors of your event.  Keep in mind that depending on the size of the poles, you will need a lot of fabric.  Sheer fabrics such as tulle look fine without hemming, making it a good choice.

Take a look at how these two customers just used draped material gathered in the middle to use the poles to add ambiance.  I really like the idea of adding a ribbon with a flower arrangement like is done on the gazebo.  It is elegant but simple. 

How about winding a strand of leaves, or leaves with flowers, or a strand of lights around the poles?  How about colored gauze? or stripes of material? beads? tinsel?

There are no rules so experiment and see what works for you.Some people wind ribbon around the ropes as well.



Our clients use a variety of ways to organize their seating arrangements.  When calculating how to position your tables and/or chairs, keep in mind that you will need to establish those walkways.  Allow room for visitors to move seats backwards to enter and exit chairs. 

Every event has a goal. Some events are informational oriented and designed to allow a presentation to a large carefully arranged audience, such as wedding ceremony or maybe a memorial.There are other events that are more personal in nature and guests are encouraged to mingle,so seating is more informal.  The seating arrangement you choose will be largely dependent on the goal for holding the event in the first place.

A tent, like a hall, can handle any seating arrangement you choose.  In fact,in some cases it makes seating easier because you are able to use the entire space under the tent since there are no wall restrictions.

What kind of seating arrangements should you consider?  Here are some other ideas of how to arrange banquet tables:

Traditional Seating – seating is lined up in rows like a classroom with chairs and/or tables between the rows.  This is the setup most of our customers use as it is a practical setup.  Our banquet tables can seat 8-10 guests and most of our customers use seat 8 with 4 on each side of the table.  However, some guests maximize the seating by adding a seat at the end of each table. The seating in this blue and white tent gives a pretty good representation of what most people choose for seating style.

>> Random Style – people select a chair and set it up wherever they prefer to sit.  This is somewhat like a traditional setup except that the tables are not lined up and are instead somewhat scattered.  This is a great setup for a very informal party like a cocktail party.  You might have just a few tables arranged with horderves and/or a bar setup, then a few scattered tables. 

I like the idea of having a few bistro tables arranged for standup socializing with random style seating.  Although we do not have bistro tables at this point, Jessica at the Glass Slipper may know how to help you with this who should be able to help you with that.  The photo below shows how one customer used random seating with the bistro tables in this way.

>> Theater style – seats are line up in rows but without tables.  this is a great style for a wedding ceremony or a memorial; any type of event that is informational oriented.  The white chairs below are setup theater style.  I like the simple but elegant design for this ceremony.  For this client, after the ceremony the chairs were moved to under one tent with a classroom style seating for eating.  For the bridal party table, two banquet tables were arranged end to end.  A second tent was used for the band and dance floor.

>> U shape seating – tables are arranged in a u-shape and people sit on one or both sides of the tables.  I like this arrangement because your guests will be facing each other and this unconventional setup encourages socializing.

>> Square – seats are arranged in a square on 4 sides of the tent with the middle of the room used as the presentation area or food area.  I like this idea because your guests will be looking at each other and the seating is contiguous - it encourages socializing. 

Long Table Setting– tables and chairs are lined up in rows but not facing the front.  This style is really good for parties where food is served buffet style.  I really like this style for a wedding when one long runner and a series of centerpieces  are used to span the line of tables.  It looks very elegant.  This arrangement is great for getting your guests to socialize since guests that may not know each other are encouraged to sit side-by-side.  This is what a long table setting might look like:


This customer used a tent liner and draping on the poles to create a very romantic or Victorian look in their wedding event.  If you are interested in tent liners or linens of any sort, we recommend you contact who we consider to be the best experts in our area for wedding coordinating and decorating Jessica (989-345-4125) at The Glass Slipper.  They are both experts at what they do and should be able to help direct you to what you need to create the special ambiance you desire.

Lining is not essential though, and particularly in an outdoor event where the nature of the tent event lends to being more informal or earthy, most customers do not use liners. Unlined tents are cheaper, and look plainer and more functional, which can work well with a modern or informal style of decoration, and simple draping of some tule or sheer fabric from the center of the tent to the poles can give a dramatic and more formal effect while staying with the

Table Coverings

You will need table coverings with rental tables.  For table coverings most of our clients use disposable table cloths.  The Dollar Daze Store on M-55 in Houghton Lake has a great selection of colors as does Sohn's Restaurant Supply in Houghton Lake.  If you prefer to have linen, you should contact  Jessica (989-345-4125) at The Glass Slipper  ;both do wedding coordinating and decorating and have supplies.  The companies also know each other well and work collaboratively to make weddings in our area outstanding events.


This customer used simply gazebos and created a very elegant outside wedding ceremony.  The photo shows you how the customer used simple draped material to dress up the gazebo's and used white chair covers with a simple pink ribbon on each chair to add elegance.  If you are interested in chair coverings we would recommend you contact Jessica (989-345-4125) at The Glass Slipper  ; both are guru's at wedding coordinating and decorating and can help you with your decorating needs.


For centerpieces, many people continue with the "let the outside in" idea and choose nature from the surrounding area.  You might consider cutting multiple 6inch branches from, for example, a nearby pine or fern to add a simple centerpiece to each table.  You might choose a few flowers from your blooming perennials or annuals.  Make sure to cut enough for the correct number of tables.  Place branches or flowers in the center in random, natural looking patterns.  The effect softens the expanse of the table without overpowering the simple design of the decorations.  Add a votive holder and candle in the center of each table, perhaps sitting on a mirror square to multiply the light effect.

Others go for a more formal approach to centerpieces.  We recommend you contact Elizabeth at Bloomers in Roscommon (989-275-4855) if you want some gorgeous centerpieces created.  Joanne would be happy to create centerpieces and of course, your bridal bouquet.  She really does a beautiful job.

Hanging Decorations

Plenty of lightweight items can be hung from either the ceiling of the tent or from the sides of the tent. Lengths of ribbon around the sides of the tent are simple and look nice in a light breeze. Hanging globes or sturdy paper cut-outs look better hung from the ceiling. A multitude of hung items can add to the magic of an event.


Most of our customers use Mother Nature for the floor in their tent.  However, there are a number of alternate options if you want to have a floor under your guests: 

  • Carpet: can warm things up or make an event more formal depending on the overall decor
  • Sisal or matting: the mid-range option. Works well with contemporary style wedding receptions
  • Astro-turf: cheap and fun
  • Hardwood floor: expensive and smart. A wise move if the weather might be poor and the ground wet.  To accomplish this, a customer might create their own hardwood floor out of plywood that is either stained or painted.
  • Nothing at all: can be nice for informal wedding receptions. But only really practical if the ground beneath is nice and smooth

If you do use a flooring, be sure to secure the seams so the flooring is safe for your guests in terms of tripping potential.  Remember that at a wedding, the ladies might have on shoes with heels that could catch in any slat or opening between sections of your flooring.