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Article about Wedding Marquee Hire

Holding your summer reception in a marquee is a popular option if you have the space available.

There are nearly one thousand tent rental companies in the UK and almost all of them provide marquees for receptions. Add to these companies, the unknown number of hotels and venues who own or rent in tents for the summer, and the choice is not as exclusive or expensive as you might first think.

Many event contractors have good working relationships with local venues (such as hotels, county houses, castles or farmers fields); so even if your garden is not suitable or large enough, you don't need to rule out an outdoor reception.

There are many types of wedding tents. These include aluminium frame tents (also called "frame marquees", "clear span tents", "clearspan structures" or "pavilions"); traditional marquees which come in either canvas ("traditional canvas pole tent") or the newer style American tent made from PVC (also mostly called "traditional tents"); small tension structures (made form PVC and a lightweight aluminium frame and also called "Capri tents" or just "party tents").

To find out more about the two most popular please see our articles on Frame Marquees or Traditional Marquees.

The remainder of this article deals with the practical implications of holding a reception in a temporary structure including the space required, catering facilities, furniture, stages, dance floors, electrical installations, power generators and portable toilets, etc >>



Space required: Your available space or special site conditions may determine which type of temporary structure you will be able to choose.

If you need to join (butt up) to a building you will require a frame structure. Likewise, if your site is not grass or not flat, you will also require a frame structure. Uneven or sloping sites may require a suspended floor which can only be fitted to a frame tent.

If you have a large flat area of grass you can choose any type of tent. If space is limited bear in mind that a traditional marquee has guy ropes around the outside and will require an extra 2 or 3 metres on all sides.

Framed tents are slightly more flexible in respect that there are no centre pole
s in the middle of the structure to interfere with your table plans and doors and windows can be placed almost anywhere around the structure.

Catering Facilities: Caterers need room to work. This is usually achieved by having a "catering tent" joined to the main structure. For guest numbers of up to 75 guests a 3M x 3M, or 150 guests a 6M x 3M catering tent will usually suffice. This is based on ready prepared buffet style food. If your caterer is preparing hot food on site, or your guest numbers are more, you will require much larger catering space.

Don't overlook the fact that wedding catering for outside events will also require water, power and light (read more below about electrical installations).

Furniture / Linen / Chair Covers / Crockery: It is usual for the event contractor to provide tables and chairs, some even hire table linen.

There are also a number of companies in the UK who hire event furniture, table linen and wedding chair covers. No event rental company can carry every style of chair to suite every customer's needs, so don't be shy in asking if you can rent chairs separately from a furniture hire company or via your tent contractor (they usually have access to most things).

Staging / Dance Floors: The majority of tent rental companies provide portable stages and modular dance floors if you are having a DJ or band for your reception.

Crockery & Glasses: These are usually provided by your chosen caterer; however, they can be hired separately.


Power, Light and Generators: Some power in the marquee will be required.

The things that use the most power are water boilers for coffee (3kW each), kettles (3kW), lighting (allow at least 2kW), DJ (allow 3kW), a band (anything from 2kW to unknown).

Already, we see you may well need to hire a generator?

To give you an example of how good planning makes all the difference; say for example you have 120 guests who will want coffee after the reception. This may require 3 water boilers which together will consume around 40 Amps (which is more than your household supply could cope with). This is just coffee! Check with your caterer about which appliances they will be using and which ones are electric and which are gas.

If your caterer is preparing hot food on site he or she may be using 3 phase ovens or gas ovens. If the caterer wants to use 3 phase ovens then you will need a 3 phase generator (20 kVA or more) and 3 phase electrical distribution. Where 3 phase ovens are not being used, a single phase generator will usually be sufficient.

Wedding Tents

Toilet Facilities: If you are planning more than about 75 guests in your wedding marquee (or you are remote from toilet facilities) you will need portable toilets or individual toilet cubicles. There are a number of companies providing luxury toilet trailers for upmarket receptions. These units also require power (allow 2kW)

Summary of the practical implications: Wedding marquees can be a memorable and highly successful alternative for  receptions. An upmarket tented reception is always going to be more expensive that a hotel and for larger guest numbers it is essential to use experienced contractors and to take their advice.

Don't be tempted to cut corners by running dangerous extension cables from the house or assuming 100+ guests will be fine using one toilet in the house which is across the field from the tent!

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