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  • Writer's pictureKatharine Snowden

Venue wedding or marquee wedding? - P&B weighs up the pros and cons

Updated: Feb 27

If you’ve just got engaged and you’re looking at dates a couple of years ahead you’ve got plenty of time before you need to start thinking about the finer details of your wedding. Although, in weak moments, it can be hard to resist extensively Googling wedding favours and playlist suggestions. It is, however, a good idea to decide on where you will have your wedding early on.

Perhaps you’ve booked the church or registry office, and you’re now thinking that for the reception you’d like a marquee in your garden, or another site big enough for the number of people you’d like to invite.

You already know, and are perhaps constantly reminded by certain well meaning but officious relatives, that there are pros and cons to hiring a marquee compared to a venue, such as a hotel or barn. But, the flexibility a marquee offers is a huge advantage, right? Then again, you'll probably have to do more of the organisation yourself. You’ll need to hire the actual marquee, and then there's the furniture and flooring, caterers, catering equipment, bar, waiting staff, bathrooms, and probably lots of other things that you haven't considered. Oh, and don’t forget to do the garden up a bit!..... Aaaand breathe.

We understand that even though your heart may be set on a marquee, your head might have doubts as to whether it's the right thing to do. Well, we're here to help ease the overwhelm and put a stop to those spiralling negative thoughts. Below we’ve listed the pros and cons of marquees and venues, so you can make an informed choice and feel reassured that your dream of a marquee wedding is the right path for you.

Should we hire a marquee instead of a venue for our wedding?

Pros of hiring a marquee

  • Find the right fit

With a marquee, you’re not confined when it comes to guest numbers. Ten extra guests could be a deal breaker in a venue, but with a marquee you can choose a size and layout that meets your needs. So, if you go ahead and book a marquee, your wedding dictates the space rather than the space dictating your wedding.

Inside a Peacock and Bow pole and canvas marquee, wedding guests sit at long trestle tables, they laugh  and applaud beneath the flower dressed canopy.
Photo credit - Kate Lowe Photography
  • Blank canvas

While venues have their own unique style and decor, a marquee is a blank canvas that can be transformed to match your own personal vision for your big day. With endless decor and lighting options available, choosing a marquee will enable you to bring your dreams to life and create a unique and joyful experience for your guests.

Inside a Peacock and Bow pole and canvas marquee, wooden cross back chairs sit at long trestle tables that are dressed with white linen and colourful flowers. A few guest are relaxing in the chairs, above them yellow Chinese lanterns hang from the canopy.
  • Choice of suppliers

When you hire a marquee you’re free to choose a rockstar team of suppliers who can put your wedding together exactly as you want it. Venues often have their own in-house catering and prefer you to choose suppliers from their preferred list. This reduces your chances of finding the perfect suppliers who are aligned with your vision and you may end up having to make compromises.

Rows of pink champagne are neatly lined up on a Peacock and Bow handcrafted oak pannelled bar as a waiter fills them up from the bottle.
  • Changeable layout

A marquee allows plenty of flexibility in all aspects of a wedding, especially when it comes to layout. For example, you can roll up the sides and let the outside in. You can create different areas such as the dance floor and stage for the band, a comfortable seating area and a food and drinks area. If you choose Peacock and Bow as your marquee supplier you could use our reveal curtain to create a sense of excitement as daytime turns to party time. You could also expand the space by opting for a spill out area to provide a chilled outdoor space where guests can take a breather or create a separate acoustic tent or additional bar with our pavilion tent.

Cons of hiring a marquee

  • The hire checklist

Hiring a marquee means hiring the facilities and furnishings that go with it. Your hire list could include tableware, a dance floor, tables and chairs, lighting, a power supply, a stage, a sound system, and bathroom facilities. A reputable marquee hire company should be able to put together a bespoke package that includes a choice of all these items. They should also make sure you don’t miss anything.

  • Make some nooiisseee!

It's inevitable that your wedding is going to emit some pretty high decibels, which might be an issue if your marquee is in your parent’s back garden. You may have to conduct a serious charm offensive on the neighbours beforehand, or better yet, invite them! Handled properly you should get a pass, seeing as its a one off and a special occasion. And remember, most venues will have a strict cut off time that there's no getting around.

Inside a Peacock and Bow pole and canvas marquee a jubilant bride and groom are lifted on their wedding guest's shoulders, the canopy is awash with pink light and fairy lights.
  • The clean up

If you’re holding your marquee wedding on your own or hired land, you will likely be responsible for the clean up afterwards. Any reputable marquee hire company will take care of cleaning the marquee themselves, but you will be responsible for clearing up any litter and broken glass from the surrounding area before they arrive to dismantle the tent. Now, we're not suggesting that you swap the glad rags for a pair of marigolds and a bin bag, that's no way to kick off married life! So, make sure you hire someone to do this for you.

Should we hire a venue instead of a marquee for our wedding?

Pros of hiring a venue

  • Logistics are taken care of

With a venue, all the basics are in place. Kitchens, tables and chairs, bathrooms, parking, all sorted. It could be a purpose built venue like a barn, or somewhere with a different main use, such as a school, a museum or a gallery, if they’re in the business of event hire, they’ll have the logistics down to a fine art.

  • Tried and tested wedding design and decor

Venues will have real world experience of what works and what doesn't in their specific hire space. They’ll be able to share examples of how others have used the venue well in the past and help you to follow the same formula.

  • Less stress on the day

The venue’s experienced team will take care of everything from serving the food on time to making sure the bathrooms are well stocked. If they're a well oiled machine, you and your wedding party don’t have to worry about anything.

  • No clean up

When it's time to head off into your new life of married bliss, you can simply gather up your wedding presents and skip out the door. The venue staff will handle all of the clean up for you.

A pristine Peacock and Bow pole and canvas marquee stands majestically against the clear  blue sky. Guests gather on the lawn between the marquee and a grand Georgian country house.

Cons of hiring a venue

  • Availability

Venues get booked up well in advance. You’ll need to plan ahead if you want to secure a dream venue in the right location, that can accommodate your guest list and is available on your desired date.

  • Not so flexible

Venue rules are not made to be broken. Venues have health and safety policies to adhere to and won’t offer much, if any, wiggle room when it comes to things like last minute changes in guest numbers.

  • On the stroke of twelve the spell will be broken

It could be later or it could be earlier, but generally venues have a fixed time when the celebrations have to end. This is usually due to noise restrictions and alcohol licences, so it's unlikely that they will make any exceptions, even if you say the magic words…bibbidi-bobbidi-boo!

A Peacock and Bow pole and canvas marquee is lit up against the dark blue night sky, it gives a warm glow as wedding guest party inside and gather under parasols outside.
Photo credit - Kate Lowe Photography

Here at Peacock and Bow we understand that the idea of organising a marquee wedding can seem daunting, so our mission is to make your wedding planning experience as stress free and enjoyable as possible.

If you’d like to know exactly how we go above and beyond to ensure our couples have a smooth and happy wedding journey from 'yes' to 'I do', check out our client testimonials. Choosing Peacock and Bow means you can have the marquee wedding of your dreams without the extra admin.


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