Top Ten things to know if you fancy a Marquee Wedding

Can’t find a venue to suit all of your needs? Or just fancy parking your ‘venue’ where you’ve found the best view?  If you’re considering a Marquee for your wedding, here are some things you’ll need to think about and some questions to ask your marquee supplier.

For info, where we refer to a ‘marquee’ during this we mean any form of non permanent structure .  They may have small differences but the below should give you guidance on whether or not a ‘tent’ is for you!

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♥ Timing
It can take anything from one to three days to build a marquee. This will depend on size, structure, add ons, internal bits, flooring and so on.  Then a day to take it down. So you’ll need to set aside up to 4 days for security etc.  You’ll also need to be there to make sure it’s going where you want, how you want and have a tour of the electrics so factor that into your plan.

♥ Hang on – you mean it’s not just one tent?
First, best not call it a ‘tent’ to your supplier, they might get upset! But yes, usually you’ll need a pod for your welcome drinks (or reception area), a pod for your loos (not always necessary but nice for your guests if it’s soggy), a catering pod. That’s about usual, but there may be other add-ons you want.

♥ Grass or Hard Standing?
Either!  A marquee will have a degree of flexibility so a totally smooth surface isn’t necessary, and if your chosen grassy site has a little slope that’s ok! But do check about erecting it on concrete in case any drilling takes place for anchors.  Most marquee companies will offer a free no obligation site visit, so take advantage and discuss best locations.  A marquee shouldn’t damage grass for the 3-4 days it’s up; there might be a colour change but once exposed to the elements again it will soon recover.

♥ Different Types
It’s not just ‘a tent’.  You’ve got marquees that need guide ropes, marquees with internal support poles. You’ve got clear span marquees where there’s neither of those.  You’ve got sperries, and you’ve got teepees (or tipi, or tepee!).  Your numbers will likely dictate the kind of structure you require, but talking to your supplier is the best way to figure out what will suit you.

♥ Access and Security
You will need to hire someone to guard the site from erection to take down.  Your supplier can usually recommend someone. You’ll need insurance too.


You’ll need to consider how your guests will get to the marquee (I mean walking across the grass – is there a mat, a red carpet…what is provided to stop heels sinking into mud and keep your dress clean?). The quality (and, sadly, cleanliness) of this can vary so check out what’s on offer.

♥ Parking and Transport
Does your chosen pitch site have parking on it, or nearby? What about taxis?  Make sure your guests realise they’ll be turfed off the site by security at a set time so they should have their home transport organised!  Have you thought about someone to direct the parking?  Maybe putting on coaches would work for you?

Hiring a Fairy Wedmother can take care of this. Not only to we make sure your day is perfect, we make sure your suppliers are doing what they should, your parking is sorted and your guests are where they should be when they should be!

♥ The Elements
Weather is a huge factor with marquees.  If it’s sunny it’s likely to be hot in there. The sides may roll up which will help (sidenote – don’t do this until everyone is seated or you might find a rogue gust of wind blows your beautiful table settings around) but it might be worthwhile hunting out some fans or some form of aircon.

On the flip side it could get cold so see if your supplier has heaters you can use.

Marquees can withstand a decent amount of wind but it’s worth keeping an eye on any storms and taking advice from your supplier.  Snow is fine but can build up and be quite heavy on the roof. Keeping the structure warm will help prevent this and melt any snow that lands.

♥ Budget
You need EVERYTHING if you hire a marquee. Tables, chairs, table cloths, cutlery, crockery, glasses, bar, dance floor, toilets, generators, lights, trays, ice buckets, ice, fridges – the list goes on. Check out our free handy Marquee checklist, it will help you to sort out your budget and know if the marquee route is for you.

♥ Licences
Do you need them?  Well, according to Marquee Tent Hire the short answer is maybe….but as you’re not selling tickets to your wedding or charging for alcohol then you probably don’t. BUT do check into it, you don’t want to be caught out at the last minute!

The only licence you won’t get is one to hold your ceremony in the marquee. If you want to do this you’ll need a celebrant.  For a legal ceremony to be held the venue or structure must be permanent with four walls and a ceiling. As most marquee are not always there, you won’t be able to get a licence for it.

♥ Hire a Planner or a Coordinator
Yes I know, you’ve read all of this and now I’m pushing my services on you!  But can you blame me?  We know the ins and outs of planning marquee weddings, we know what works and what doesn’t and we have a super list of great marquee suppliers to help make your day perfect.  And if you want to plan it yourself, brilliant – but do consider a Fairy Wedmother to coordinate on the day. You don’t want to know if your generator has quit, or make sure your caterer has water, or give a family member the job of standing out in the sun (or rain) to direct the parking!  Let us do that for you

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