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Hiring a marquee for your wedding

A marquee is the ultimate pop-up wedding venue. It offers flexibility, is great value and can be erected in a wide range of venues, from your mum’s back garden to the grounds of a country house.

Traditional marquees are a white, blank canvas upon which you can stamp your personality, but these days you can hire anything from a Bedouin tent to a tepee.

If you think a marquee might be right for your wedding or reception, here are ten things to think about before you hire it:

1) How many guests?

Although a marquee is not always a budget option, it can work out cheaper than a traditional wedding venue. Before you approach a hire company, it’s a good idea to think about how many guests you’ll be inviting so they can work out a rough size. Also think about any furniture such as tables and extras like cloakroom space and a dance floor.

2) How long will I need it for?

Of course, the length of hire time will affect how much you’ll pay. Ask if tables, chairs and the time needed to set them up will be included in the price. Or do you need extra time to decorate it yourself? Also think about how much there’ll be to move out and clean up afterwards.

3) Will the weather affect my plans?

A marquee is a lovely choice for a summer wedding, but can also be suitable out of season. Hard flooring is always a good idea as dry weather can never be guaranteed, but also check what plans a supplier has for heating and lighting and confirm they’re satisfied with nearby power supplies.

4) How can I give it an ‘indoors’ feel?

Lighting can make or break the atmosphere, taking your venue from a tent to a cosy or glamorous place for guests to party and relax. Chandeliers can give a classy look and uplighters make the light look softer and relaxing. Of course, if the view outside is amazing, it might be worth opting for a marquee with windows.

5) What else will help create a great atmosphere?

Play around with your colour scheme. All white might seem like a good idea, but can look bland rather than clean and sophisticated. Add splashes of colour with bunting or flowers, or find out how much it’ll cost to hire a coloured marquee lining, which will also help to hide joins or poles.

6) What about the noise?

Do your research and find out whether there’s a curfew for the area and how close any neighbours are, as having to shut down your disco at 11pm rather than 2am can be a massive disappointment on the night.

7) Where will meals be prepared?

This is an important element to factor into any costing. Perhaps you’re planning to erect the marquee in the grounds of a venue which has big kitchens, or maybe you’ll need a separate catering tent, too.

8) I don’t want a standard marquee, so what are my options?

If space or budget is an issue, consider a gazebo instead. Or if you’re looking for something a bit more unusual, a Moroccan or Indian-style tent can provide a colourful alternative.

9) Who cleans up afterwards?

Agree this beforehand! Any good marquee hire company will let you know what’s involved and how long the marquee will take to clear and dismantle. But also think about the surrounding area – and who’ll be left to clear up your mum’s garden when you jet off on honeymoon.

10) Do I need insurance?

Yes. If your supplier doesn’t cover it, a good wedding insurance policy will. Look into it carefully before you hire.

How can John Lewis Wedding Insurance help?

John Lewis Wedding Insurance can help to give you peace of mind on your big day. We offer Marquee Cover as an optional extra – covering it against damage or vandalism. Our Wedding Insurance can also cover you for failure of suppliers – eg, if the marquee hire company goes into liquidation or lets you down on the big day.

For further tips and advice, please see our quick guide (PDF).

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John Lewis Insurance is a trading name of John Lewis plc. Registered office: 171 Victoria Street, London SW1E 5NN. Registered in England (No. 233462). John Lewis plc is an appointed representative of Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc. John Lewis Wedding Insurance is underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc (No. 93792). Registered in England and Wales at St. Mark's Court, Chart Way, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1XL. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (Financial Services Register No. 202323). Calls may be recorded and monitored.

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