If you're struggling to find a wedding venue that suits your style, why not consider a wedding marquee instead?
Marquees come in all shapes and sizes, providing you with a completely blank canvas to create your perfect wedding reception. They provide greater flexibility without breaking the budget, and with less unexpected costs than many traditional wedding venues.
Choose your own caterers, pitch it on your favourite spot, decorate it how you like and party the night away with no restrictions on a closing time!
But before you run off and book the biggest tent you can find, here are five things to consider when choosing a wedding marquee.
1. Marquee size
You need to have an idea of how many guests will be attending your wedding, as this will be the main consideration when hiring a marquee. Marquee suppliers will be able to advise which size is right for the number of guests you're expecting, and don't forget you'll also need space for the band and dance floor, a bar and perhaps a chill-out area. There's no point leaving it until the very last person has RSVP'd – just like regular wedding venues, marquees book up quickly from May to September, so get in there early.
2. Your budget
Wedding marquees come in all shapes and sizes, so it's easier to work around your budget. You also won't have to worry about additional costs such as corkage, which may catch you off-guard when hiring a more traditional wedding venue. Ultimately, the price will depend on how big your marquee is – you need enough space to ensure your guests are comfortable, but don't get too carried away, it's a wedding not a circus!
3. Marquee venue
The best thing about booking a wedding marquee is that you can pitch it practically anywhere you like. Many couples opt for home weddings if their families have big gardens or expansive land, while some venues with outdoor space offer the option of pitching your own marquee. You could even ask for permission to host your wedding reception in your favourite beauty spot.
When picking a venue, it's important to consider the practicalities – is it easy to get to? Where will your guests park? Is camping allowed? Out of courtesy you should also consider your neighbours – some opt for a marquee wedding so they can party all night, but you might receive complaints if you're in a residential area.
4. Marquee style
If you've never booked a marquee, the choice can be a bit overwhelming. There's framed, trapeze, traditional and even Chinese Hat marquees, as well as stretch tents – and no, you're not expected to know what all those are! From ultra-sleek to boho-chic, you can match your marquee to suit the style of your wedding. Do a little research before visiting suppliers, so you have some idea of what you're looking for, but the professionals will be able to talk you through all the options.
5. The practicalities
While hiring a wedding marquee allows you to build your perfect wedding from scratch, this means there are a lot of things to consider that you usually don't have to think about when booking a traditional wedding venue. From tables and chairs to toilets, write a list of everything you need and run through this with your marquee supplier – most will be able to provide these extras or make recommendations of where you can get them.
Depending on the date and time of your wedding, you'll also have to consider heating/cooling and lighting… and don't forget the power has to come from somewhere!
Bar and catering facilities are another consideration. Many marquee suppliers can provide outside bars, but you'll need to stock and staff it, and if you're having a sit-down dinner you may need to hire a catering tent to go alongside the main marquee. Another option is to book a hog roast or quirky street food vans to keep your guests fed and watered.
Need further help planning your wedding? Check out our Wedding Planning section packed with useful tips for planning your big day.