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
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
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 poles
in the middle of the structure to interfere with
your table plans and doors and windows can be
placed almost anywhere around the structure.
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
overlook the fact that
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
There are also a number of companies in the UK
who hire event furniture, table linen and
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
hire company or via your tent
contractor (they usually have access to most
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.
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
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
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.
Facilities: If you are planning more than
about 75 guests in your wedding marquee (or you
are remote from toilet facilities) you will need
toilets or individual toilet
cubicles. There are a number of companies
providing luxury toilet trailers for upmarket
receptions. These units also require power
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
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