Hosting your wedding in a marquee provides the opportunity to create the day of your dreams. Your perfect location no longer has to be restricted to brick and mortar buildings. Now, the woodland-style day you’ve always wanted can become a reality. And, no matter the décor you’ve been pinning to inspiration boards, you’ll be able to recreate this in a unique and useable space.

When you first start to plan a wedding, one of the main considerations to make is your budget. How much do you have put aside to implement everything you’ve envisioned? And how do you make sure you’ve covered all areas and have everything you need on the big day. In this guide, we’ve pulled together the key marquee wedding basics you’ll need to account for an approximate costing. Most reputable marquee hire companies will be able to provide a fully comprehensive package or will have access to a database of reliable contacts to help as you plan.

The Location

The first thing you’ll need to consider is where you want to hold your wedding. If you’re lucky enough to own a large plot, hosting your wedding there will significantly reduce costs. Don’t forget that, in the UK, you cannot legally get married in a marquee. The actual wedding venue must be a permanent structure with a roof that is approved for marriage and is accessible for anyone to book for their marriage. However, a marquee is the perfect place to host your reception or blessing.

You’ll want to make sure the location is fully accessible for all guests, including those in heels. Consider providing Heel Stoppers on the entrance to help everyone keep their outfits clean. The location needs to be large enough to comfortably house all essential items on this list. An experienced marquee hire company, such as the team here at Carron Marquee, will be able to help you plan the layout out accurately. Make sure that the site is flat and grassy – this will ensure the marquee can be fitted securely through the entire event.

The difference in price here can differ drastically. If you or a family member own the chosen site, you’ll probably save a significant amount from your overall budget. However, if you have to hire the site, this is where a vast majority of your spend will go. Some popular sites can have rental prices upwards of £10,000 while others could be as little as £800 for the day. Shop around to find the best deal and remember to look at the potential of a site – the right marquee and dressings can transform even the drabbest of

Wooden poles resize
12m Frame Marquee
Garden pond and flower beds inside the circus marquee

Marquee Hire

There are a wide range of different marquee styles to choose from, each of which will come with its own price tag. Consider the look you’re going for and the number of guests you expect to have. Both of these factors will help you to decide on the marquee style and the relevant cost. The larger the marquee, the more expensive you can expect the hire cost to be.

An example of different hire prices are:

  • 6m Pagoda Marquees for 40 guests: £396
  • 9m x 18m Clearspan Marquee for 80guests: £1310
  • 12m x 24m Clearspan Marquee for 150 guests: £1848
  • 15m x 33m Traditional Marquee for 330 guests £3173

Please note, these prices are an example of marquee and carpet only (excluding lining, internal dressings or VAT) prices.

As you can see, the type of marquee you choose will impact your budget. A professional marquee hire company will be on hand to help you plan and choose the perfect style for you.

Catering Tent

We’ll touch on food later on in this guide but it pays to consider where your catering staff will perform their role. With a single room marquee, there is only so much space to accommodate all guests, a dance floor and dining tables and chair. You may want to consider hiring a separate tent specifically for all the cooking equipment.

Discuss the requirements with your catering company. They will be able to advise you on how much space they need for all the ovens, fridges and essential appliances. As our marquees come in a range of different sizes, it is sometimes suitable to hire a smaller version of your chosen marquee style for this job. Expert fitters, like our team, will be able to integrate the small marquee into your overall style so it doesn’t look out of place. And, we’ll make sure the waiting staff have a clear access route to the dining tables for the main mean.

An example of the cost of small marquees is:

  • 6m x 6m Clearspan Marquee (with lining, flooring, lighting and baffle screen) – £264+VAT

Lining

Marquee linings not only conceal the supportive bars and framework. They can also be used to create the wedding décor of your dreams. Whether you bring the shimmer of a star-ridden sky inside or drape the entire structure in your favourite colour, linings are an essential part of any marquee wedding. Again, there are a number of different options available, each of which will come with their own price tag. When designing your wedding, consider whether you’re leaning towards classic, modern or unique style. Do you have a wedding colour that you want to accentuate? Do you want the lining to merge into the background?

Prices vary and you’ll find that most marquee hire prices include some form of lining. An example of pricing would be:

  • 12m x 18m Traditional Marquee unlined: £1536+VAT
  • 12m x 18m Traditional Marquee lined: £1938+VAT

Lining difference cost: £402+VAT

For bespoke lining styles, expect the price to go up.

Matting

If you hire a location for your marquee wedding, chances are the ground surface will have been smoothed out. If you’re hosting a wedding reception on private land, uneven ground may present an issue. In both scenarios though, wooden flooring can be used to create a flat and usable floor for your guests. On damp floor, it offers a weather resistant barrier to protect everyone’s shoes and is also strong enough to stay put – no matter how many guests walk across it.

Carpeting can be different colours, with the most popular being beige. Again, prices vary depending on the type. This can range from £174+VAT for a 6m x 12m space through to £473+VAT for a 12m x 24m space.

Again, any marquee rental company should be able to provide carpeting during the installation process. There should be no need to source this externally but it is worth understanding exactly what you’re paying for.

Lighting

Lighting is one of those essential and aesthetical parts of wedding marquee planning. It allows your event space to be used for longer and can create the perfect mood for everyone. There are a range of lighting options available, depending on the style you’re going for.

LED Uplighters are effective and simple. We provide them in a chrome finish with a range of settings to give over 60 colour options. If you need them to be dimmable or programmed to change with the beat of the music, this is also an option. On top of this, if you want a crisp, white light, we have dimmable Halogen uplighters too. We also have uplighters (white and coloured) for the garden to help illuminate paths and turn your marquee into a magical site.

Our Starlight cloth can be hung from your ceiling to bring the night sky in. It is a black cloth with white and blue twinkling lights which can be controlled by a speed remote. There’s no denying that this sort of lighting really emphasises a romantic setting such as a wedding and will have guests staring up in awe.

Our Chandeliers are classic and elegant. We have them in gilt, ivory or black to suit the theme of your wedding. These can also be controlled using a dimmer setting so you can create a different mood as varying times throughout the event.

Pinspot lights are bold and dramatic. They are the perfect choice for weddings with entertainment booked. You may also consider having them shine down on the Head Table – because who doesn’t want to feel like a superstar on their big day?

Snowflake lights are ornate balls which suspend from the ceiling and glow delicately. This style is ideal for weddings, pairing well with white and ivory colours to a Winter themed wonderland. And, if you’re focusing in on a specific colour scheme for your special day, Festoon lighting is available in a range of tones from purple to green and through to traditional modern white.

Again, depending on the lighting setup you choose, the price will vary. However, to give an estimation of this cost, some examples are:

  • Standard lighting solution for a 9m x 9m Frame Marquee – £214+VAT
  • Standard lighting solution for a 12m x 21m Traditional Marquee – £ 420+VAT

Dance Floor

Your first dance is one of those moments you’ll remember forever. So, ensuring you have the perfect dance floor is another marquee wedding essential. As with lighting, there are loads of style options to choose from, each of which will impact the pricing accordingly.

For traditional weddings, wooden dance floors can cover a wide area while being both robust and hardwearing. The carpeting we use and our installation process ensures they won’t slip, shift or move during use, allowing you to relax into the music.

If you’re looking for something more dramatic on the eye, our retro black and white dance floor allows you to carry over your unique style. It has a high gloss finish which, when paired with a heavy light system, reflects the scene around it.

Dance floors can be priced at anywhere from £100 up to £1800+. The most distinguishing factor here is size – the larger the dance floor, the higher the cost.

Furniture

A marquee provides the sheltered space you need. Now you need to dress it into an event location. And, the quickest and most effective way to do this is through your furniture. When you make your initial checklist, some items of furniture are easily rememberable – dinner tables and chairs for example. However, have you considered a cake table? Or bar chairs for guests to relax on later in the night? Here is our checklist of some of the most important furniture items to consider:

  • Head table for you and your newlywed
  • Dinner tables for your guests
  • Dinner chairs for your guests
  • Cake/Guest Book/ Gifts table
  • Table or appropriate set-up for the DJ
  • Bar stools / Bar tables
  • The bar itself

As with any furniture costing, the price will vary depending on the style of wedding you choose. However, here is a rough estimate of furniture costs:

  • 120 chairs – £370+VAT
  • 12 round tables (for guests dining) – £90+VAT
  • 6 trestle tables (for catering staff or dressed for gift stand etc) – £30+VAT
  • 1 cake table – £4+VAT
  • Table linen – £60

Another area to consider when hiring furniture is whether you need to get kitchen-specific items for your catering staff. With a normal wedding reception building, these are available in the existing cooking area. Marquee’s don’t have this privilege. If you’re working with a caterer who is accustomed with marquee weddings, you may be able to hire the equipment directly from them. Most reputable catering companies will supply their own ovens, fridges etc. However, if not, you’ll want to consider hiring items such as a catering station, fridge and oven. The catering company may be able to point you in the right direction of a respectable company so have this discussion with them early on.

Heating

Even if you’re hosting a Summer wedding, marquees are non-insulated and can feel the chill into the evening. This is where you’ll need to consider heating options to suit your needs. Electric heaters pump warm air into your marquee which circulates and helps to create a comfortable environment for all guests. Here at Carron marquees, we also have fire pits for outdoor events. As well as entertainment and creating a place to socialise outside of the marquee, they can also be used as ashtrays for your smoking guests.

You’ll want to consider both the hire and running cost of a marquee heater when you factor this into your equation. Most reputable companies will bulk this price together to make it easier for you. Prices vary from £130 – £600+VAT so make sure to confirm this and factor it into your budget early on.

Generator Costs

Every event needs electricity. Generators are the proven way of providing this to outdoor events and those that don’t have their own electricity supply. You need to take into account your electricity requirements, the site and the availability of other power sources. It helps to consider when the peaks in electricity use may be – for example, during your first dance where the DJ will be playing

A generator can cost anywhere between £400-£700+VAT to hire for the extent of your wedding. Make sure to confirm how long the generator’s power is expected to last for and factor in a contingency plan to account for power cuts or surges in power.

Bar License / Alcohol

Providing alcohol on your premises comes with its own legal requirements. The easiest way to do this on a unique wedding site is to pay for the alcohol up-front and have it shipped in with your bar/bar staff. This way, you don’t have to worry about licensing for the sale of alcohol and your guest can just enjoy themselves.

Depending on how much of a drinker you are will dictate how much of your budget you need to assign. Speak to your bar staff to decide what drinks you’re going to offer. Sticking to beers and wine may be a cheaper option. However, if you’re hosting a themed wedding, you may want to consider whipping up an impressive cocktail to impress your guests. And, if you’re looking to have spirits available, you want to ensure you also have a range of mixers and garnishes to complete any drink.

Remember, as your wedding reception may not be taking place in a recurring venue, there is little chance you can stock up on alcohol from a back-up source if it runs out.

On average you get:

  • 4 x servings of wine to a bottle
  • 18 x servings of spirits to a standard bottle
  • 165 x servings of beer to a standard keg

Wine is normally a popular option and can be drunk throughout both the meal and the evening reception. If we estimate that 50% of your alcohol supply should be wine, we can split spirits and beer 50/50. So:

  • Wine – 50%
  • Spirits – 25%
  • Beer – 25%

Accounting for a serving per hour for each person allows you to get an understanding of quantity. So, for a 6 hour wedding and 100 people:

  • 300 servings of wine – 75 bottles
  • 150 serving of beer – 150 single bottles or 1 keg
  • 150 serving of liquor – 9 bottles of spirits

This is a rough estimation. If you expect guests to dive deeper into the bar, increase your supply accordingly. If we take average costs, this set-up would cost approximately £2,000.

Catering/Bar Staff

Check with your caterer to ensure the package you’re interested in comes with bar and waiting staff. Most reputable businesses will either have people to hand or can point you in the right direction to find some. If you hire everything through the same source, this can cost as little as £20 – £30 an hour, depending on your individual requirements and the workload included.

When organising this, make sure to specify what your waiting staff’s roles will be. Do they need to clean up at the end of the day or is this covered elsewhere? Also, make sure all areas are covered. You may be aware of bar staff and waiting staff but do you need kitchen porters too? And does your head chef need additional assistance during preparation?

Within this, it’s worth discussing whether tableware is included in your package. Most people assume that cutlery, crockery and glassware will turn up with their food. However, in many instances, you’ll need to source this yourself or at least choose this option with your caterer.

Toilets

Making your guests as comfortable as possible is very important. You want to encourage guests to stay for as long as possible to enjoy the fruit of your labour. Portable toilets are self-contained units that can be dressed in to your location and stand independently from mains or sewage access points. Our toilets here at Carron Marquees have one requirement – an electric mains connection or generator. This is something we can hire out for you and include within the price, making it one last thing to worry about during the planning process.

When hiring toilets, make sure to check what they’re supplied with. Some key essentials include:

  • Toilet roll
  • Hand towels
  • Soap
  • Framed prints
  • Internal fittings

Carron Marquees toilets are supplied with all the above in situ.

The general rule is to hire 1 portable toilet per 50 guests. This can cost anywhere from £350+VAT for a 1+1 unit (up to 100 guests) – £800 for a 3+1 Unit (up to 300 guests).

Wedding Insurance

Wedding insurance should be an essential point for any wedding planning. However, it comes into higher importance when planning a marquee reception. As you’re not relying on the experience of an existing location, there is a greater risk of things going wrong. No matter how comprehensive your planning process is, with so many different suppliers, there is always the chance of one company failing on their agreement.

Pricing here depends on the levels of cancellation – essentially, at what point a cancellation comes into play and how much of a financial impact this will have. The most basic cover starts at around £15 and can be as much as £60. It’s not a huge factor in your budget and can provide cover up to £70,000.

Contingency Plan

In line with appropriate planning, factoring in a contingency plan financially will cover for any incidents. We recommend accounting for an additional 10% in your budget. This will cover situations such as realising you need an additional table at the last moment or changing your lining colour a month before the wedding.

Wedding costs can be considerably but with proper planning, you’ll be able to host the marquee wedding of your dreams and have the day you’ll always remember.

coloured lining
12m Frame Marquee
Marquee and chairs