We all like a good marquee, whether it's a pre-wedding function in the back garden or a full on drapes-and-chandelier-affair on an English Heritage site. They’ve become a popular choice for Asian weddings because they can be customised to suit any event, while eliminating the issue of guest numbers and limited capacity. But since they don’t come with all the facilities of more a ‘permanent’ venue, Marquees can end up costing a great deal more. So what is it that bumps up the price and are they worth all the expense?
Why they’re great
Marquee weddings can bring a degree of flexibility as well as sophistication, if done right. And by flexibility, we mean the option to be out in the sun without risking getting rained on. We’ve all experienced a summer Marquee event where the one of the side panels have been opened out so guests can enjoy drinks and canapés on the lawn. For those of us who don’t have the liberty of a destination wedding, this is a great solution to be outdoors without exposure to the ‘elements’.
These types of weddings are almost always sold to us by Event Managers who don't have the room to cater for an Asian wedding within their venue. Traditional English wedding venues are increasingly granting permission to erect marquees on their grounds in order to secure their share of the Asian wedding market. This means we have the option to get married against the backdrop of majestic castles, palaces and country manors without having to compromise on the guest list.
Why they’re not so great
Of course, the price tag is the only thing that works against a Marquee wedding. So why are they so expensive? To start with, all of the following things need to be taken into consideration:
Heating – quips about British weather aside, summer evenings can still hit lows of 3°C. You may not require it in the end, but it’s still worth factoring in the cost.
Bar – as well as the main structure of the bar you are paying for all the ‘back bar’ tables and fittings to cool and dispense drinks throughout the function.
Flooring – most Asian weddings are formal events so you will need to put carpeting down. Unless you’re having a barn dance theme, in which case grass will do just fine.
Lighting – even though you’ll be spending most of the evening on the dance floor with the lights turned down, they are still a necessity.
Kitchen facilities – not a major concern if your marquee is connected to the main building, but your caterer will need adjacent facilities to heat food and keep it warm before service begins.
Among other furnishings, you also have to hire chairs, tables and mobile WCs.
All of these things are, more or less, a given in a hotel venue or banqueting hall (where all you have to do is hand the reins over to your fiancé for flowers and decor). So it does tend to cost more and involve a lot more organising. Of course, the sheer logistics of it all and the manpower required also need to be taken into consideration.
But don’t let that put you off if you have your heart set on a marquee event. If cost is an issue, try to look for venues that have a permanent structure on site. This will mean that the power source and access to washroom and catering areas will have already been factored in. Erecting a Marquee from scratch will be invariably pricier.
So is it worth it? If it means you can have your ideal venue without having to trim off a third of your guest list, we’d say it’s worth it! But you do have to be willing to accept the expense, because a marquee wedding without all the trimmings will lack atmosphere. So, jump in feet first or avoid it altogether!