If you’re struggling to find a venue that suits all your needs or you have some space but no roof over your head then marquees are a really flexible option for your wedding reception. With yurts and teepees added to the mix the humble marquee has come on in leaps and bounds giving you more to think about when booking.

1. ‘Traditional’ Verses ‘Frame’

The traditional marquee has the canvas as part of the structure and needs guy ropes to hold it up giving it a more vintage feel and is great for tea party or village fete themes. The frame marquee is more structured and relies on the frame to hold it up giving it a structured sleek effect. It has the added advantage that you don’t need to account for space for the guy ropes. The frame marquee offers the option of window sections and wooden doors to make it feel more like an ‘event room’ and let in natural light. Another option is the Clear span marquee which are made of aluminium box sections but are only really used when the marquee is over a certain size and is likely to be there for a while.

Cavendish Marquees

2. Yurts and Teepees

Yurts, circus tents and Teepees have been growing in popularity over the last few years and are great for a festival theme. Many can be joined together to form large spaces or ‘lounge’ areas for a bit of peace and quiet away from the main wedding party. Fabulous as well if you want wedding guests to be able to camp overnight as many companies hire out small versions for big sleepovers.

YurtsUp, Tonbridge

Cavendish Marquees

3. The Up’s and Down’s of Access

When deciding on what marquee to go for you’ll need to know how long it takes to put up and dismantle and work this in with any ground hire fees (unless it’s your own land of course!) plus a schedule of timings for all suppliers. Caterers will need to provide information about plug sockets and any electrical requirements they have so the marquee company can provide the correct generator and right amount of plug sockets. You’ll need to be clear on your layout plan so the sockets go in the right place and you don’t have a mass of leads trailing all over the marquee. If you’re having a DJ or band you’ll need to factor in electrical requirements for them as well.


4. Check how the land lies

Ideally your marquee should go on the flattest surface possible. Check for bumpy surfaces and don’t put your bar or cake table on uneven ground otherwise you might lose your top tier halfway through the ceremony! Remember to account for access – is the site easily reached for workmen and vehicles? Also consider what flooring and furniture you will need. Carpet and wooden dance floors are the favourite option but make sure your supplier leaves you a hoover. Once all the set up has been done it’ll need a little spring clean to make it wedding ready.


5. Get comfortable

Consider if you need heaters – there’s nothing worse than freezing wedding guests and if the weather turns a bit chilly you’ll be surprised at how cold marquees can feel even when packed full of guests. If the marquee is in your garden you might not have enough toilet facilities in the house to accommodate all your guests. Portable toilets are a great option but you’ll need to consider access, plus who is going to make sure they are kept clean during the day and top up those toilet rolls!

6. I can see the stars from here!

Popular across the pond “clear -roof” marquees are now making an appearance in the UK. They look similar to a large elegant greenhouse and are fabulous for summer weddings where you can enjoy the light evenings safe in the knowledge that you’ll stay warm and dry inside if the heavens open. These are slightly more complicated though in that they will get hot if the sun shines so you’ll need to make sure guests don’t eat directly under the clear section and that any dance floor is covered over until the sun has started to set.

Academy Marquees

Marquee companies will be more than glad to sit down with you to work out what options are suitable for you. You’ll need to be extra organised if you do want to manage your own marquee hire as you are essentially recreating a venue in a field! Just be clear about what you need from the outset and have a good budgeted plan.