Marquee weddings: The top 10 things to think about

16 Jun 2014

Our guide to planning the perfect marquee reception

Image gallery

Image gallery

So, you’ve decided that a marquee either at home or in the grounds of a breathtaking venue is the way to go. There are bound to be things you haven’t considered so here’s our guide to making sure all goes smoothly.

1. What type?
There are numerous types of marquees available to hire – traditional pole tents, clearspan (or frame) marquees and the yurt and tepee are becoming more popular choices for brides who want something a bit different.

2. Size matters
The size of your marquee will depend on how many guests you invite, how you intend to use the space and how much space is available where you are erecting it. For 100 people seated you’ll need a marquee around 9m x 12m, but you might want to also consider adding on extras like ‘chill out’ tents as well.

3. Facilities
How will power and lighting be supplied? Talk to your venue about this, do you need to hire a generator for example? Make sure all health and safety regulations are in place and if you’re hiring a band or disco make sure there’s a power supply they can plug into. Avoid running equipment off one socket and make sure that extension leads and power breakers are available.

4. The practicalities
Is the ground level where you’re positioning the marquee? And is there room for suppliers to access it easily? Have you access to toilets at your venue? If not, or you’re having it at home you’ll need to hire portable ones for your guests.

5. Time
Make sure you know how long it’s going to take to put the marquee up, decorate it, clear it afterwards and take it back down.

6. Furniture and flooring
Think carefully about your flooring options, most guests including you the bride will be wearing heals, so carpet, matting or wooden flooring will work best. Think about if you want a separate dance floor as well. In terms of tables and chairs most marquee hire companies will hire these as well.

7. Catering
Choosing the right caterer for your big day is a big deal, make sure you meet at least two. They’ll need a catering tent – ask them how big this will need to be. You’ll need to know how many staff they’ll need to serve the wedding breakfast, clearing away and of course, the bar and whether they provide all cutlery, crockery and glassware. Do they provide their own cooking equipment and refrigeration trailers? Alternatively you may choose to offer a less formal wedding breakfast in the shape of a hog roast or barbecue. Either way, make sure they will remove all waste afterwards.

8. Comfort
Think about how you’ll set your tables out, what size and shape they are so guests have as much room as possible. Also think about heaters and air conditioners (ask your marquee company if they hire them) as marquees tend to get hot in the middle of the day and colder in the evening.

9. Decoration
Avoid chaos by making sure your suppliers don’t all turn up at the same time and think about you’re lighting. There are specialist lighting companies that specialise in marquee wedding lighting. You might also want to consider outdoor solar lights to mark out paths between areas.

10. Parking
Make sure there’s ample parking for guests nearby. If not, consider hiring a bus to bring them from the ceremony to the venue.

Photograph courtesy of Get Knotted,, for more information about styling your marquee click here:

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