The Perks and Pitfalls of a Marquee Wedding
Updated: Oct 18
There’s a reason why Instagram and Pintrest are overflowing with images of magical marquee weddings – when they’re done right, they can be the most spectacular and enchanting wedding venues of all - but don’t be fooled into thinking that their often casual and rustic charm comes easily or on a budget. Below we take a look at the perks and pitfalls of a marquee wedding to help you decide if it’s the right choice for you.
Blank canvas – when it comes to deciding the décor you want for your wedding, a marquee allows for endless possibilities. You’re not tied into existing colour schemes or fixed stylistic choices that often come with more traditional venues. The only limit with a marquee is your imagination.
Flexible Layout – imagine a magical venue where you can decide where the walls are or even if there are any walls at all; where you can decide to create a separate room for a bar; or make the dance floor as big or small as you like. That’s a marquee! You can completely customise the layout to suit your needs in a fairly simple way. The sun comes out – roll up the sides; it starts to rain – roll them back down; the catering facilities are unattractive – draw a curtain across. Voila!
Capacity – guest lists are too often culled to accommodate the limitations of fixed structure venues. With a marquee, you have far more freedom to make the venue fit your dream guest list by simply hiring a larger marquee.
Affordability – this is a tricky one that will also appear on the pitfall list however, the flexibility of a marquee can also extend to your budget. The key factor here is where you erect the marquee. If you already have a private space such as a large backyard, your marquee hire will likely be cheaper than traditional venue hire, especially if you’re prepared to DIY everything else including food and alcohol.
Expensive – the biggest mistake people make is thinking that a marquee wedding is a more affordable option than a traditional venue. In reality, they often turn out to be significantly more expensive. To begin with, marquee hire is seasonal, suited best to events in spring and autumn when the prices are at a premium. Hiring a marquee in summer or winter offers little financial relief, as optional extras such as air conditioning and flooring become a must for the comfort of you and your guests.
More Work – much more work! The devil is in the detail and when it comes to a marquee wedding there are A LOT of details to think about that you can usually take for granted with a traditional venue. You’ll need to arrange the hire of every other facility needed for the event including tables, tableware, glasses, chairs, dance floor, lighting, guest toilets (and someone to keep them clean), a power supply, sound system and so on. Remember too that you’re liable for anything that might go wrong so you’ll also need to arrange things like insurance.
Time Intensive – marquees rarely go up and down in a single day. You need to allow days either side of your wedding to put it up and decorate, and then to clean up and bring it down. If you’re hiring a venue, this can be quite costly. If it’s on your own property, even if the marquee supplier comes to dismantle it, you’ll need to ensure it’s sufficiently clean and tidy for them to do so meaning the day after your wedding will probably be no honeymoon!
Noisy – marquees are not sound proof and weddings are loud! Depending on the location of your marquee and its proximity to other people, you may have to obey stricter time and sound limits or face the wrath of disgruntled neighbours, or worse, the police!
BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
This is not to say that marquee weddings are too much effort – in fact, when we relaunched For Thy Sweet Love with our own dream wedding, we opted for a marquee ourselves – after all, they have greater capacity to be anything you want them to be. We chose to hold our wedding at the exquisite Burnham Grove Estate, which offers the best of both worlds – they offer an on-site marquee set amidst the lush landscape with adjoining amenities including catering facilities and bathrooms. A beautifully restored 3-bedroom 1880’s house stands mere meters away providing dressing facilities as well as pre- and post-wedding accommodation.
With all the extra responsibility and sheer number of suppliers to deal with, however, it’s advisable to find a team of vendors practiced at working with each other on marquee weddings to ensure you’re not spending your big day sorting out logistics. Hiring a wedding planner to head up this dream team will ultimately save you time, stress and perhaps even money through economies of scale. At For Thy Sweet Love, we’re proud of the team we’ve bought together to bring dream weddings to life.
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