Questions to Ask Your Wedding Marquee Supplier Before Booking

Written by Caitlin Hoare
Anyone looking into a marquee structure for their wedding reception will soon realise that the possibilities are near-on endless!

From structure size and layout, to the decor – marquees are the perfect blank canvas for a bespoke wedding venue.

But what are the crucial elements to consider when choosing the best, and most suitable structure for your wedding day? We are delighted to welcome founder of the Arabian Tent Company and tent-expert, Katherine Hudson to the blog. She is here to walk us through the key details, how to find your perfect marquee, and the pros and cons behind the various options available.

Questions to Ask Your Marquee Supplier

What size marquee should we have for our number of guests?

This is the fundamental question to ask. You will want enough space for a stage and dance floor, as well as your seating plan, plus comfy break-out areas for lounging later in the evening. For each event the team at the Arabian Tent Company starts by creating a CAD drawing. This process ensures the layout and décor are designed accurately for each structure, location and event type.

We advise that you’ll need roughly 1.8m square for each guest. This is enough to accommodate a place at a dining table, as well as milling/dancing space too. Our Oyster Pearl structure fits up to 300 people for dinner and dancing, but all of our frame tents can actually accommodate up to 260 guests. You’ll find that stretch tents and clearspan marquees tend to be more flexible on capacity, depending on the space available.

We always encourage couples to share any inspirational images that they have gathered so that together we can create the ideal vibe. It’s a very tailored process.

Which marquee will best suit the space we have available? Can you do a site visit to check suitability?

This is crucial in making your marquee decision!

We have worked with many different structures over the years so we are happy to guide and advise along the way. We will always recommend the most suitable structure to suit the site, as well as your vision, and our 3D plan is the perfect tool to help you visualise where everything will go on the day. We want to make the planning process as inspiring and fun as possible for our couples, at every step of the way.

Our range of different structures ensure we have a marquee to suit every eventuality. From the most undulating piece of land to a vast open lawn. For open lawns and gardens, we would recommend our Dana Pearl or Oyster Pearl tent. They are both perfect for sprawling lawns, with their high vaulted ceilings and extension options. For smaller areas where space is tight, we would definitely recommend a stretch tent, a frame tent or a clear span marquee. We find that stretch tents are particularly good for irregularly-shaped, awkward spaces.

Can the marquee be opened up if it’s really sunny? Or closed if it rains?

You should definitely ask about the possible variations for the marquee you are interested in. Certain styles are more suited to fair weather – like stretch tents that don’t have proper walls, than others. Many of the Arabian Tent Company’s structures have add-ons such as verandas, or extensions for secret rooms and chill out areas.

Each event is assigned a dedicated Project Manager who will check in regularly in the build up to the event. Long-range forecasts are always useful when factoring in extra heating, covered walkways, or more outdoor furniture for glorious sunny days.

How will it be lit?

Another key question to ask is how the company are planning on lighting the space. The Arabian Tent Company are a one-stop shop where décor, furniture and props are concerned.

We work with you on exactly what you want for your big day. Be it hundreds of twinkling fairy lights, spotlights, LED par cans, light-up trees, projections onto tent walls, colour washing or all of the above!

For example, our pole tents are lit with fairy lights which trail down the ceiling and walls underneath the lining, and our frame tents come with feature chandeliers, and up-lighters dotted around the edge. Don’t forget to ask your marquee company for pictures of how it’s lit at night. Whether it’s warm white or cold white light can make huge difference to the ambience.

What will the footprint of the marquee be?

This is important to know so that you can plan your outside space effectively. In addition to the internal floor space, some structures such as pole tents, stretch tents and to some degree frame tents, require between 1m – 4m additional space around the edge for guide ropes. Ensuring you’ve accounted for this is really important.

Don’t forget to also consider how much space you need outside for seating, a chill out area with fire bowls, days beds, foliage, lanterns etc.

Will you be involved during the event?

It is important to know how your marquee company will operate. Will they build the structure and leave you to decorate? When will they de-rig? Here at the Arabian Tent Company, we are around to ensure that everything runs smoothly on the day of the build. We also liaise with your other suppliers to make sure our schedules don’t clash.

Once the build is complete couples sign it off and receive a handbook to help answer any questions. Some companies, us included, offer the option of having a site co-ordinator for the duration of the event. This way we can help with things such as removing tent walls, light candles and move furniture.

The de-rig of the structure happens swiftly in one day, and we are always careful to leave without a trace!

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