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Marquee Weddings: Where To Start

Image courtesy of Marquee Weddings in Ireland

Ah, marquee weddings… those gorgeous tents can’t help but impress. Classy, beautiful and versatile, whether you pitch one next to your venue as an alternative space for the guests (providing the venue approves it!), or host your entire reception in one at home for instance, it’s fabulous way to celebrate.

If you do decide to hire one (as opposed to booking an actual marquee venue), there are certain things you must keep in mind. A marquee is very different from an actual venue. It may seem no different than a big room at your local hotel or a countryside manor, but in fact a lot of logistics go into ensuring everyone is as comfortable as if they were in an actual building. That’s why you should never hire a marquee from non-professionals – you don’t want any disappointments on your special day.

Here’s a list of essential things to keep in mind if you’re thinking of hiring a marquee for your wedding.

Before you book a wedding marquee

• Remember that the demand in the spring and summer is very high – don’t leave your booking until the last minute if you’re getting wed in high season.

• Do you know how many guests are coming? This will determine the size you need to hire.

• Is it a buffet or a seated reception?

• Where is the tent going to be pitched? A field, a golf course, your parents’ garden? Do you need any special permits?

• Will it be easy for the guests to reach the marquee site? Is parking available?

• If you’re pitching a marquee next to your venue – what’s the distance between them? Many venues have a designated space for marquees and won’t allow you to put it anywhere else.

• Do you want to have a separate dance floor and dining area, or are you content to have tables and chairs moved around after the meal?

• Do you want a completely enclosed tent, or one with walls that open?

• What kind of entertainment do you have in mind for your wedding?

• Consider all the extras you may need to hire – tables, chairs, sound equipment – make sure to make room for these in your budget.

• Professional companies have their own insurance – but you may want wedding insurance of your own for total peace of mind, if so you will need to get some quotes. Be sure to tell the insurance companies it’s a marquee, not a venue.

• Consider the toilets – can they be hired together, or can the marquee company recommend a reliable supplier? Are there any restrictions as to how close the toilets can be to the marquee?

• How and where will you store your valuable items – gifts, cash envelopes, etc?

marqueeweddingsireland

Image courtesy of Marquee Weddings in Ireland

Booking a marquee for your wedding

• Ask for a list of all the things included in your hire price – everything  from furniture to dance floor to power generators.

• Is your chosen tent going to be hired to someone else just before your wedding? If yes, will they be cleaning or freshening it up for your wedding?

• Ask the marquee company for references from previous brides. If possible, ask if they’re holding any events in your area soon, and go to see the marquee for yourself.

• At a venue, the guests can go to another room to get away from the music or noise – it’s not as easy in a marquee unless you have a chill-out area. Is this something you want? Can the hire company provide this if so? Can they provide furniture, like couches or chairs?

• Can your marquee accommodate your décor and theme? Does it have any poles or beams that may need covering?

• Does your marquee company have full insurance to cover any unforeseen circumstances? What’s included in the policy?

• What are the payment terms?

• What are your catering options, and can food be prepared near or inside the marquee?

• Are there any restrictions on catering – for example, an open-fire bbq, a hog roast? And, will your caterer be able to supply his services to a marquee?

• Will heating or cooling be provided to ensure you’re as comfortable as possible?

• Will fire extinguishers be provided?

• Can your marquee accommodate and provide a bar?

• Can the marquee company provide the dance floor?

• Will a sound system be provided, a space for a DJ, or a raised area for a band?

• Are there any extra charges for last-minute changes – for example, fewer/more guests coming, change in entertainment, etc?

• How secure is the marquee in case of rough weather?

Image from Anna & Colly’s real wedding, Photography by Eden Photography

On the day

• How soon before the wedding will your marquee be erected, and when will it be taken down? You must check this with whoever is managing your chosen location – there may be restrictions.

• Who will clean up afterwards – are you responsible for this, or will the marquee company take care of it?

• Remember to arrange removal of all other items you may have hired – chairs, decorations, toilets etc; all those suppliers will need to coordinate with the marquee company – so you can avoid paying extra charges for delays.

Looking for venues that have their very own onsite marquee? Click here to see our Top 8 Venues!

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Rachel Green

If you think the bride should always have the last word, then Rachel is on your side! A devoted fan of everything quirky, unusual, colourful or crafty, she loves scouting WOL's real weddings for unique and fun touches. When not gazing at pictures, she's dispensing no-nonsense advice on everything from reception entrance songs to bridesmaid problems.

Latest posts by Rachel Green (see all)

  3 comments

  1. Aoife says:

    I had a marquee for a reception at home for everyone after our wedding abroad in Malta! It was fantastic and worth all the effort! People commented that they could have been anywhere once they were in it, it looked great! Would recommend!

  2. We have done several marquee weddings on our grounds and a couple of words of caution – don’t underestimate the amount of work or how the additional costs can add up. Many suppliers simply drop off the equipment and you have to sort and stock. Or if your caterer is doing it, there are additional staffing costs. Also one of the biggest unexpected additional costs could be a generator. If you are building a catering kitchen, it needs 3 phase power which may require a generator running 24 hours a day for fridges etc.

  3. wow.. what gorgeous tent..the totally white colour is looking so pretty… and the decoration is also awesome . thanks for sharing it !

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