What type of marquee should I have for my party?

What type of marquee should you hire for your party? Where do we start…? Marquees come in a variety of shapes and sizes and this article’s aim is to give you a non-biased overview of what’s on offer in the marquee market.

As luxury party planners, we don’t own any marquees ourselves, but we work with some of the UK’s leading marquee companies, so you get access to our best suppliers. We specialise in transforming their marquee structures into stunning venues for your event. From Tipis to Big Hats, clear roof, house extension marquees to traditional marquees, we know the perfect structure for your event. We can talk you through the pros and cons of each and help you decide which type of marquee is perfect for your party.

Stretch tents

Stretch tents are a flexible alternative to a traditional marquee. These freestyle structures cover any shape or area you like including steps or uneven ground. They can fix onto a building to provide a transition between indoor and outdoor space, or can be set up as a freestanding structure. Striking, eye-catching while still practical, stretch tents suit all kinds of party, providing the ultimate blank canvas.

Advantages of choosing a stretch tent for your party
• Elegant, attractive and visually interesting, especially with well-chosen lighting
• Available in a huge range of sizes and colours
• Flexible space to fit any area
• Weatherproof and waterproof
• Faster to install and take down than a traditional marquee

Disadvantages of stretch tents
• Once set up the structure can’t be altered – decide in advance if you need sides, a fully enclosed tent or a simple shelter
• Set up with sides reduces the overall space inside
• Needs to be staked down or bolted to a permanent structure or tarmac floor

Tipi tents

If you’re looking for a party marquee with the wow factor or a festival feel, a tipi tent is ideal. These spellbinding structures provide an atmospheric alternative to a conventional marquee. With a distinctive cone shaped appearance, tipis come in all sizes, from small tents suitable for camping or breakout groups to large marquees to fit all your wedding guests, corporate delegates or party-goers.

Advantages of a tipi marquee
• Cosy feel even in cold weather, ideal for winter celebrations
• Great for a quirky look

Disadvantages of tipi tents
• Generally more expensive than other marquee types
• The thick fabric and enclosed structure means you’ll definitely need additional lighting

Chinese Hat Marquees

Also known as pagoda marquees, Chinese Hat marquees are named for their distinctively shaped roof. They are an attractive and modern style of tent, ideal for small, intimate events or to be used in combination with a traditional marquee as a bar, reception area or entrance porch for larger celebrations. Pointy-topped Chinese Hat marquees can be open, roof-only structures, or have sides with or without windows for ultimate flexibility.

Advantages of choosing a Chinese Hat Marquee
• Can be joined to other marquees and linked to create larger spaces
• Use without sides for sunshade or weather protection
• Add sides for an enclosed space
• Don’t need guy ropes
• Suitable for use on a variety of surfaces
• Inexpensive to buy or hire

Disadvantages of Chinese Hat Marquees
• Restricted to a small range of sizes – for large events this is unlikely to be your main party tent

Capri Marquees

Capri marquees offer a spacious and modern design which has no need for ropes or guy lines. They can be linked together to create a large and flexible party area with removable walls for weather protection. If you’re looking for a funky and alternative outdoor venue for your party, Capri tents are a cost-effective and eye-catching solution to add style and drama to any occasion.

Advantages of choosing a Capri Marquee
• Significantly more cost-effective than other marquee types
• Simple to dress or leave plain for a sleek contemporary effect
• Walls can be added or removed after installation
• Quick and easy to install and dismantle
• Modular design means flexibility in layout options

Disadvantages of Capri Marquees
• Can be cold in winter without additional heating

Big Top Circus Tent

Big Top marquees are a popular choice for the larger outdoor events with large guest numbers. Apart from looking visually stunning, they also hold a very practical use for covering a huge circular area and with a blackout effect inside, perfect for the summer festivals in the sunshine!

Advantages of choosing a Big Top Marquee
• Ideal for large events
• Available in a variety of colours and styles
• Can be dressed to suit your occasion, formal or funky!
• Plenty of roof space for lighting, decoration or sound rigs
• Stunning and memorable party location

Disadvantages of Big Top Marquees
• Installing and taking down is a major undertaking requiring a professional team and lots of extra time, which all adds to the cost

Clearspan Marquee

A Clearspan Marquee is a versatile structure which can be used as a temporary building for long periods of time. Many wedding or party venues may already have a clearspan marquee in place in their garden or grounds, or as an extension of their indoor space. These large marquees are a popular choice because unlike traditional marquees or other kinds of tent, they have no poles on the interior to obstruct proceedings, and don’t require ropes or guy lines externally. They can be lined to look just like a permanent building and dressed to suit your party theme. Whether you want windows, a clear roof or even coloured walls, anything is possible!

Advantages of choosing a Clearspan Marquee
• Ideal for large events
• Available in a variety of colours and styles
• Solid and sound structure, designed to be weatherproof
• No poles, ropes or guy lines to get in the way
• Modular design places no limit on size
• The ideal blank canvas with lots of add-ons and personalisation options

Disadvantages of Clearspan Marquees
• Expensive to hire and install if there isn’t one already at your venue

Marquee size guide for parties

Size is important!

Too many people crammed into a small place is both uncomfortable and unsafe; conversely too large a space can make your event seem empty.

Use our rough guide for approximations on what size marquee hire you might require for your event:

Number of Guests

Standing

Seated Theatre Style

Seated at Long Tables

Seated at Round Tables

(10 per 5ft round)

Banquet

(8 per 5ft round)

25

4m x 4m

5m x 5m

6m x 6m

6m x 6m

6m x 9m

50

6m x 6m

6m x 9m

6m x 9m

6m x 9m

9m x 9m

100

6m x 9m

6m x 15m

9m x 12m

9m x 12m

9m x 15m

150

6m x 15m

9m x 15m

9m x 18m

9m x 18m

12m x 15m

200

9m x 24m

9m x 18m

12m x 20m

12m x 20m

12m x 20m

300

12m x 15m

12m x 20m

12m x 25m

12m x 25m

12m x 30m

500

12m x 25m

15m x 25m

15m x 35m

15m x 35m

15m x 45m

1000

15m x 35m

20m x 40m

20m x 50m

20m x 50m

20m x 60m

2000

20m x 50m

30m x 50m

30m x 60m

30m x 60m

30m x 75m

(These figures are to be used as a guide only)

Don’t forget, you need to allow room for a stage, dance floor, DJ, catering, reception, cloaks, toilets etc. Try to keep the length of the marquee to no more than three times the width to ensure maximum stability and to avoid a “tunnel” effect.

A few final things to remember when booking a marquee

Here are a few final things to consider when your host your event in a marquee: catering, invitations, photography, flowers, transport for guests, parking for guests, lighting, P.A. system, heating, entertainment, toilets/cloakroom, stage, security, insurance, bar, cake stand, table linen, inform neighbours

Don’t forget, MGN events are here to help with your marquee hire, and we can provide marquee hire to anyone anywhere, it doesn’t matter how uneven your plot of land is, we can make it work! Why not get in touch with us and talk to us about our marquee services.

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