Everything you need to know about marquee weddings

Be honest, you’ve been crushing on pictures of gorgeous outdoor weddings on Instagram right? There are so many benefits to holding your wedding reception outside in a marquee: You get flexibility of sizing to suit your number of guests, it’s a blank canvas to style to your hearts content and you can pretty much put one up anywhere to create your perfect reception venue. Marquee weddings can require a little extra planning though, so we got some tips from industry experts Mid North Party Hire on how to have the most amazing marquee wedding reception ever.

Marquee wedding done right by Auburn Party Hire. Photo by Nadinne Grace Photography.

Where will you put it?
The great thing about marquees is you can turn an unused space into the perfect reception location. But be aware of the logistics this might involve. “If you’re using your own property, think about the workload that may be required to get the surrounds tidy and looking ‘wedding ready’. You will also need to consider power and water access, and space for your caterers,” says Kym from Mid North Party Hire. On the flip side, if you’re putting up a marquee at an existing venue, you might not need to worry about these things, but will need to be clear on what’s included in your venue hire charge and what needs to be brought in.
Also think about the surface your marquee will be set up on. Kym says there are a few questions to ask yourself when considering the location of your marquee: “Will it be boggy if wet, or dusty if it’s dry? Is it flat? Would flooring be required? Is there fire danger in summer, or restricted access if it rains?”

Epic marquee set up by Mid North Party Hire for Brooke and Matt’s farm wedding.
Photo by Kerry Rose Photography

Heart set on a clear marquee?
They’re absolutely stunning, but there are a few things to be aware of with these beauties. Kym says clear marquees are more susceptible to weather so in temps over 25 degrees you could be getting a hot-house not a wedding reception! “Your florals or greenery installations may need to be placed last minute, and we recommend having an area outside for your guests to enjoy canapes before moving to the marquee when the evening cools down.”

Marquee by Auburn Party Hire. Photo by Nadinne Grace Photography

What will it cost?
Sure, you might be saving on venue hire, but a marquee is an investment in itself and you want to make sure you’re getting what you need so that guests are comfortable. Expect to pay from $5000 for a full set up. Make sure you’re clear with your supplier what’s included – custom lighting, flooring and weights if the marquee can’t be pegged into he ground may add to your costs.

Sarah and Aaron’s marquee in the Clare Valley was set up by Festival Hire.
Photo by Dave Pascoe Photography

Who is bringing what?
Generally when you’re setting up a your wedding reception in marquee, you’re starting from scratch, and will need to arrange lots of little bits and pieces so that your reception goes off without a hitch. Make sure to communicate with your hire company, caterer and other suppliers to ensure everything is covered. From heaters and linen to salt and pepper shakers and generators, there are a multitude of items that may need to be arranged. We know one couple who realised the night before their wedding they had no water jugs for their reception! The complexity of marquee set ups can sometimes be best left to a professional wedding planner.

Marquees can be open or closed depending on the weather, like this one by Auburn Party Hire.
Photo by Nadinne Grace Photography

Our final tips
1. Make sure you’re working with an experienced hire company with a reputation for clean, quality equipment, safety and excellent customer service
2. Ensure the marquee is comfortable for guests – don’t scrimp on the size to save money
3. Lighting can make or break your marquee set up. Speak with your hire company or an experienced lighting designer to make your marquee shine at night

With a bit of planning and attention to detail, and working with the right suppliers to bring your vision to life, your marquee wedding reception will be memorable for all the right reasons.

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