Planning a wedding is exciting. There’s the wedding outfits, your first dance song and the list of people you want to share this special day with. And, of course, location. Marquees give you a whole new degree of freedom when it comes to creating the memories you’ve always dreamt of.

There are many different marquee styles to choose from, it can be a daunting process selecting just one. That’s where our handy guide comes into play. We’ll help you identify the perfect marquee for your wedding, using years of experience and our top tips.

Why are marquee weddings so popular?

We have definitely noticed an increasing number of couples deciding to host their wedding reception in a marquee as opposed to a fixed structure. And, there are a whole host of reasons why this type of celebration is becoming more and more popular.

Suits smaller budgets

While we still dream of having a big white wedding, the trend for more intimate ceremonies and celebrations is rising. Everyday life has become increasingly more expensive and alongside this, our focus has turned more towards fixed assets such as houses as opposed to one-day investments. Many couples choose marquee weddings due to their cost-effective nature. You have the flexibility and freedom to customise the location entirely to your needs, going as lavish or simplistic as you want.

More freedom with location

Fixed venues are just that – fixed. While you may fall in love with the site itself, the surrounding grounds may fall short of your expectations. Or visa versa. The beauty of marquee weddings is their ability to be set up in any location of your choosing. As long as you have permission from the landowner, you can opt for positions and marquee styles that fit effortlessly into the setting.

A blank canvas for styling

Marquees are entirely blank canvases. They can be personalised to suit your wedding theme easily, whether that’s through flags, bunting, lighting or marquee flooring. There is also the ability to personalise the seating areas and dining sections with theme-appropriate tables and chairs. The opportunities truly are endless, which is why marquees truly can suit every wedding.

More flexibility with guest numbers

Marquees can be constructed in a wide variety of sizes and shapes, meaning you won’t be restricted to the number of guests you can invite. Whether you’re leaning more towards a small, intimate celebration or something more grandeur, you truly can do anything.

What are the different marquee types?

When you think of a marquee, you’ll probably have quite a traditional image in your head. But, in fact, there are many different styles that can be customised to suit your special day.

Traditional Marquees

Probably the most recognisable of marquee styles, these traditional structures are ideal if you’re thinking of a rustic, vintage or woodland theme. They are favoured by those who adore nostalgic romance and can be used in all weather conditions. Traditional marquees can be paired with panoramic windows, starlight linings and colourful overlays, making it a very popular choice for weddings.

Frame Marquees

Also known as Clear Span marquees, these freestanding structures are ideal for locations with a variety of or unique ground surfaces. They are built without the support of a central pole or guy ropes, working well in minimal event settings. These marquees are ideal for large groups and environments that encourage interaction between all guests. They can also be paired with glass-effect roofs and walls to bring the outdoors in.

Stretch Tents

If you’ve chosen a less formal wedding theme, Stretch Tents may offer all the protection you need. They can be used in a variety of weather conditions and combined with sides if you’re worried about rain. We don’t recommend these structures are used for sit-down meals but they are a brilliant choice if you’ve chosen a buffet, bbq or hog roast, for example.


For those seeking something more unique and handmade, giant Tipis offer a truly breathtaking option. They have a circular seating area that encourages interaction and offers a rustic edge to your day. Pair with coir carpets and fairy lights to bring a touch of magic or consider external decorations so guests can appreciate these structures from all angles.

Bell Tents

Not suitable for full ceremonies, Bell Tents are a versatile addition to your outdoor setup. Essentially, they offer an additional private room that can be used as accommodation for guests travelling from afar or as a quiet area for the married couple to relax.

Pagoda Hat Marquees

Similar to stretch tents, Pagoda Hat Marquees are used to provide shade and a dedicated space to relax. They have a smaller dimension but can be combined with sides to create a children’s entertainment area or chill out area.

Things to consider when choosing a marquee wedding

When choosing the exact marquee your wedding needs, it’s worth considering the following points:

  • 1. Where will your marquee be located?

Some marquees need soft ground to be erected safely. If your site doesn’t have a suitable surface, you may need to consider something freestanding such as a ClearSpan marquee.

  • 2. How many guests do you expect to have?

Some marquees are smaller than others. Although most can be configured in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, you need to consider guest numbers. Large parties are perfect for Frame Marquees while intimate receptions may be better paired with a Pagoda Marquee.

  • 3. What sort of dining experience do you want guests to experience?

For some of us, there is no choice other than traditional sit-down, 3-course meals. For others, you may want a more informal setting and opt for a communal BBQ. Different marquees accommodate different needs.

  • 4. What weather is expected on your special day?

Most marquees can be paired with sides for use in any weather. But Stretch Tents, for example, are better suited to hot and dry days. Traditional Marquees are the best option when seeking out a structure that can withstand anything you throw at it.

Here at South West Marquees, we have an experienced team on hand to help you plan the perfect marquee wedding. Get in touch today and let us help you create memories to cherish forever.