5 classic marquee wedding fails and how to avoid them

It wouldn’t be English summertime without marquees popping up in fields everywhere for country fairs, parties and of course weddings! But wedding marquees come in all shapes and sizes, and the logistics of booking a marquee are more than a little complicated! Here are some common wedding marquee fails – and tips to help you avoid them!


Wedding marquee fail #1 – the unexpected water feature in the corner

Think of your wedding marquee as a big tent. Remember camping? You know tent pegs? A marquee has a slightly bigger version – basically marquees are supported by long stakes which are hammered into the ground. If there’s an underground water pipe in the wrong place, you’ll get more than a sprinkling of confetti on your big day! (And the thought of the marquee company hammering into a gas pipeline is terrifying.)

How to avoid it

Make sure your marquee company does a site visit before you book or pay your deposit. Of course, if your wedding venue has a regularly used marquee site, it’s likely to be a far safer bet!

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Marquee fail #2 – when your tent runs out of fizz!

No, we don’t mean prosecco… but the awful scenario where there just isn’t enough electricity at your marquee to power the lighting, bar equipment, heating, and the band’s PA system. A wedding marquee generally means a field or outdoor space at some distance from the nearest plug sockets, and your lawnmower’s extension lead just can’t carry the juice you’ll need for everything at your wedding.

How to avoid it

You’ll probably need a generator to power everything in your marquee. Ask the hire company for advice!

Wedding marquee fail #3 – the sauna scenario!

Picture the scene: a glorious summer day with barely a cloud in the sky… and a standard marquee or tipi with sides that stay closed all day long. By – oooh, about 9am – that lovely canvas structure is going to get a little bit steamy inside. And by the time you’re ready for your speeches and the three course wedding meal, it’s going to be pretty unbearable.

How to avoid it

Situate your marquee in the shade if you can. Being in the middle of an empty field under blazing hot skies won’t melt your marquee, but it will frazzle your guests!

Choose a marquee with side panels which will open and let air circulate. A little breeze will make all the difference – just make sure any floaty items (place settings, paper menus etc.) are pinned down!

Wedding marquee fail #4 – the mega puddle

You can’t pitch a wedding marquee on a hill – you’ll need a lovely flat space so it sits just right. But flat spaces can occasionally have their own little issues, and one of those is the potential for flooding. If your marquee site visit happens on a gloriously sunny day, it might be easy to overlook the potential for a whopping great puddle appearing a few days before your wedding. And if it does, you have a major logistical issue which might mean your marquee arrives and can’t be erected… nightmare!

How to avoid it

Check with the venue owner if you’re situating a marquee at a wedding venue. Has the site ever flooded? If so, find an alternative spot for your marquee!


Wedding marquee fail #5 – like sardines in English summertime!

Quite possibly the most common wedding marquee fail of all, this is easily done, and easily avoided. You hire your marquee: you make it beautiful, but allow just enough space for your guests to enjoy the wedding breakfast, and then later the dancing. Because during the afternoon lull they’ll be outside playing garden games, sipping Corona on hay bales and chatting in the sunshine, right?

Well, almost. That happens on a beautiful summer’s day. But on an English summer’s day, rain is pretty likely… and on the odd occasion where it rains all day, your guests are going to be in your marquee for the duration. Just making sure they all fit isn’t enough: you need to make sure there’s space for everyone to breathe comfortably! Cramming everyone in to the space doesn’t make for happy wedding guests!

How to avoid it

Consider extending your marquee and adding a chill out area at the end, for example. (Your grandma will thank you when the band kicks in and she’s got somewhere quieter to spend the evening than next to the dance floor too!)

Images by Rachel Joyce Photography from the English Wedding archives. See more from Becky and Rob’s relaxed country chic marquee wedding

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.



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