Feast It

Top tips

Everything you need to know about marquees

There's something very special about an outdoor event or wedding. Even in the UK we can be lucky enough to have blues skies and sunshine to add that extra feel-good factor to your big day.

When making plans for your event, you could be considering the benefits of a hiring a marquee. We love the fact that a marquee is a large enough to host your guests together in one space to give a real party atmosphere, and if the weather is in your favour, the marquee can be opened up to bring the great outdoors right into your venue.

We’ve got a wealth of experience in connecting event organisers with our hand-picked suppliers, and we’re sharing our top tips on what you should consider when hiring a party or wedding marquee.

Interior of marquee

Check what services the marquee company offers

There are many marquee hire companies to choose from and it’s essential you select a company that meets your requirements. Ask yourself if you would like the provider to simply erect the marquee at the venue and leave the rest to you, or would you prefer a company that provides extra services such as a dancefloor, tables, chairs and venue dressing.

Scope out the venue

If you own the land where the marquee is to be erected, then you’ll need to survey the area with your marquee provider to check it is the right terrain, and that there's access to utilities such as electricity and water. This scoping of the site will help the marquee company suggest a suitably sized structure that will work with your venue and whether you'll need generators or a water butt.

A flexible layout

One of the biggest advantages of a marquee is the flexibility of the structure and layout options it provides. The largest area should be for the guests to dine, dance and mingle in, but there are other key areas to think about too. If the marquee needs to accommodate bathrooms, a catering area and the all-important bar, then thought should be given to how these will work within the structure.

Top Tip: If you want to keep the catering away from the main buzz of the event, consider hiring a smaller tent for the caterers.

Ready, set-up, go!

How far in advance of your wedding or event should your structure be set up? This depends on the scale of your event and how much preparation is required to dress the marquee. In some instances a simple set-up could be completed the day before, but a more complex marquee for a large wedding should be in position at least two or three days beforehand, especially if you need to co-ordinate with venue dressers, lighting technicians, caterers and bar-staff to give them enough time to set up their areas.

Consider the lighting and electrics

On a sunny day, a marquee provides a great source of natural light. However, it's best to be prepared with additional lighting in case the weather is a little gloomy. Inside the structure you can opt for elegant chandelier-style lighting, or maybe romantic soft shaded lights for an intimate feel. The catering unit, DJ and live band will all require power. If your structure is not near a direct power source, speak to your marquee provider about generator options.

Top Tip: Stay safe – consider battery operated candles inside the marquee, rather than real candles.

The Great British weather

We all have our fingers crossed for a lovely sunny day, but realistically it’s best to be prepared for all weather conditions.

If it does rain, make sure there is adequate room within the structure for everything to take place indoors. For Spring or Autumn events where there may be a chill in the air, you could ask your marquee provider to supply heating.

If your event falls in the middle of a heatwave, opt for a structure that has open sides so that the temperature inside the marquee doesn't get too stifling.

Top Tip: If the weather is wet, it’s a nice touch to provide umbrellas for guests to use, especially if the toilets are located outside the main structure.