Marquee Weddings-some hints and tips.

Nothing epitomizes an English country wedding more than a marquee in the garden of a parent’s home.

Marquee weddings can be costly but do offer a lot of flexibility, especially with the number of guests you can invite, as a marquee can go as big as your site will accommodate.

So how can you make this dream into a reality and what are some of the pitfalls to watch out for.

Firstly the garden needs to be suitable, it needs to be big enough for the number of guests you are thinking of having. A good rule of thumb is to allow a minimum of 15 square feet per person for a seated event or if you are just going to offer a buffet then a minimum of 8 square feet per person should be allowed. However on top of that you would need to add in space for a dance floor, caterers, band etc. Access to the site also needs careful consideration, will the suppliers and their vehicles be able to access the site easily without destroying your garden? If the site isn’t perfectly flat though, don’t worry, companies can work round this just as they can incorporate certain features in the garden such as borders and patio, these may even be able to feature inside the marquee.

I would recommend that you see at least three companies, ask about and get recommendations, have a look at adverts in bridal magazines and spend time looking at their websites. Many will have photo galleries, which will show you what they can do and previous events they have worked on. When you speak to them check how long they have been in business and if you can speak to previous clients. They should all offer to do a site visit and this will be the best way to find out how their services differ. A few useful questions to ask are: –

What type of flooring do they use and how do they ensure the floor is level? (This is very important, as you don’t want anyone tripping or the cake falling over).

What layout would they suggest for my numbers?

How long will it take to assemble the marquee? (Usually 3-4 days) When will it be complete for handover and who will be available if there is an emergency? (This should be done the day prior to the event).

Will they provide a plan of the interior and the exterior?

What access do they require and is ours suitable?

What is included in the price? Can we have a price list for all the extras? (Extras usually include chairs in a choice of colours, tables in a choice of sizes, some lighting, staging, reveals etc). Can these be broken down in the quote?

What do they suggest re power (a generator is usually required), water, space for the caterers and their equipment?

Can they provide the toilets and can you see them prior to the event? (It is not a good idea to use the toilets in the house; in fact it is usually best to keep the house out of bounds except for immediate family).

How will the band/DJ access the marquee? Bearing in mind that you will not want them walking through the wedding breakfast area. An access panel is usually put in at the rear of the marquee close to the dance floor if you are having one.

This will hopefully give you a good starting point for your conversations with the different companies and make you aware of some of the things you need to consider. One final thing to mention is that you will need a TEN, a temporary events notice to hold your event and you will need to contact your local authority to get this. Of course if you don’t fancy all the hassle that goes with arranging a marquee wedding but still want to have one this is an ideal area where a wedding planner can assist.

Words by – Andrea Swift of Fabulous Day


  • Louisa says:

    “if you don’t fancy all the hassle that goes with arranging a marquee wedding”???

    What hassle??? There is no hassle!!!

    Having a marquee wedding or event adds no more “hassle” than having your wedding or event at a venue. All good marquee companies will look after all the arrangements, and be there on the day to oversee the days celebrations and assist other suppliers.
    The last paragraph of this article needs to be removed, as it portrays marquees in a bad light, and puts people off having one, when there is really no need. Having worked in both sectors, I can hand-on-heart say that I have seen more successful weddings in a marquee, than I have seen in some venues!

  • Caroline says:

    I read this article and my heart sank! It sounds like a marquee wedding will be a disaster without a Wedding Planner, and that isn’t the case! Having recently attended my cousins marquee wedding, I have to agree with the comments below from Louisa. It was an amazing day, and was run so smoothly. In fact it was so fantastic that I have just booked a marquee for my own wedding in 2015!! 🙂

    Also, I should point out to other Brides considering this, that you to NOT need a Temporary Events Notice (TEN) as stipulated on the article above! That information is incorrect.

    Looks like the author of the article is making marquee’s look like hard work, just to get extra work for herself. Not very ethical really….and a little unfair on wedding industry suppliers who DO have a passion for what they do, and work hard at it. My marquee supplier is bending over backwards to give me ideas and accommodate all my requests, I couldn’t be happier, or more confident with their service and their ability. So far, my experience has been nothing but pleasurable and exciting. There’s been no hassle at all.

    Sorry if it looks like I’m being mean, or having a rant, its just the article is a little unfair, inaccurate and misleading. It is unfair on us couples, as most of us have budgets we need to stick to, and this makes out that to have a successful wedding, we should fork out more money for a Planner. I personally don’t have the budget for one, and neither did my cousin, and her day was perfect.

    Don’t be disheartened girls, if you want a marquee, go for it!! xx

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