Marquee hire is often very necessary for large outdoor events or even entertaining in your garden. Hiring a marquee is a very popular these days with a good many party organisers. So rather than be under the catering and space restrictions of a hotel or established venue you may prefer to hold your event or party in a beautifully decorated marquee; perhaps in the grounds of a stately home, castle or even your own garden. Marquees have come a long way since the old-fashioned poled tents we used to see at the local flower show or village fete.

For example the modular Clearspan design is very adaptable. Built in sections, this modern aluminium framed marquee can be erected almost anywhere, and with the aid of scaffolding and a solid wooden floor even a gentle slope presents no real problem.

The advantages of Clearspan marquees is that there are no internal poles or posts needed, thus giving the maximum possible working space inside. Also they are more resistant to high winds and take up exactly the space of the marquee with no extra area needed for hazardous guyropes.

They can be ‘tied down’ to a broader range of surfaces such as tarmac, tennis court or gravel (traditional marquees need stakes to be driven into the ground) and there are often more options with regard to interior options such as linings etc. Reliable and experienced marquee companies should offer a full range of services including full erection and dismantling, flooring, heating, lighting and insurance.

Some companies will even include furniture and linen hire, so it is always best to look around for the best deals as hiring a marquee of any sort is never going to be cheap.

After you have established the location of your event and the number of guests attending your party the marquee supplier will make a site inspection, which is normally free of charge, to help you choose the style of marquee, number of windows, colour of lining, type of dance floor and table layout, etc.

The beauty of the modern marquee is that the only limit is in your own imagination – you can have anything from an oriental Pagoda style or the see-through Crystal Clear, to covered walkways and two-storey marquee “buildings” with solid wood doors.

With all the advantages of state-of-the-art heating your temporary party venue will become a snug haven, even in the bleakest weather, while in high summer the installation of good quality air conditioning will ensure that you and your guests have a welcoming refuge from the glare of the midday sun.

One of the main advantages of a marquee, apart from the luxury of lots of extra space, is that you can, through application of clever props and intelligent lighting, indulge in any fantasy you dare to name. With clever planning a marquee interior can take on your own persona and feel bespoke to your style of party or event.

Important Points For Marquee Hire:

• Check out the site where the marquee is to be erected – is the ground boggy or sloping, does it have good access? Ask yourself honestly if the site is suitable for all weather conditions or will there be too many costly problems to sort out.

• Sloping sites can be adjusted with the aid of scaffolding, but it is costly.

• Damp walkways can be overcome by solid flooring – but beware of boggy ground as the flooring will definitely sink in the mud.

• Size should be carefully calculated.

• Consider what colour and style of marquee you would like and if it is truly appropriate for the setting, e.g. a modern bright blue hexagonal marquee would look out of place in the grounds of a beautiful stately home.

• Once you have chosen your supplier make sure they will do an on-site estimate.

• It is always advisable to put down proper flooring, preferably with carpeting on top. Check the quality of flooring and carpeting offered by your marquee company.

• You will probably need a dance floor and staging for any speeches and entertainment. Don’t forget to allow for this when calculating the space you need for your party.

• You will need to hire-in dining furniture, but table linen, crockery, glassware and cutlery should be provided by your caterers. If however you are doing the catering yourself, or prefer to choose your own style of table settings, you will need to hire these in from a good quality event hire company.

• It is always best to line your marquee, but remember the colour of your lining can dramatically influence the style and feel of your party e.g. you could have very traditional pretty pink and white stripes or you could use deep red to create an Arabian Nights or Moulin Rouge atmosphere.

• Lighting allied with coloured filters and gobos (see under lighting) can create almost any kind of atmosphere from cosy to exotic. Plain interior lining can be used as a blank canvas for imaginative colour washes and effects.

• Check there is sufficient power supply for all your needs.

• A marquee will require power for a catering annexe, heating and air conditioning, interior and exterior lighting, sound and PA systems. You will also require extra power for mobile electric-flushing toilets.

• If there is insufficient power supply (say from a mains cable run from a permanent structure) you will need to bring in a generator or even two.

• You may wish to attach your marquee to the side of a permanent venue or house, this works well provided the marquee company can guarantee absolutely that no rain will leak through the “join” to soak your guests!

• Alternatively you can link to a permanent building by the use of covered walkways which can be decorated internally with fresh flowers.

• Check with the marquee company how long they will take to set up the structure and how soon can it be dismantled after your party. Also make sure you have a company helpline available for any emergencies that may arise.

• Find out from the company how quickly you need to confirm your booking, what deposit is required and the legalities of their cancellation policy.

• You may have to pay the full amount for the marquee before the party but some companies allow you to settle after the event. Check whether VAT is included in the quoted price.

• Confirm all dates, times and details in writing and check your contract with the marquee supplier thoroughly before signing.

• It is advisable to take out insurance, in fact some companies will insist on it before they will allow you to hire.