7 Marquee Event Tips By Marquee Monkeys [Guest Post]

July 02, 2020

There is nothing like the anticipation of a marquee event to create a festive atmosphere. Literally a blank canvas space for you to transform, this space can be created into a range of venue options.

Here we interview Dominic Ellis of Melbourne-based Marquee Monkeys for his seven tips on booking marquee tents for your event.

We've left booking a venue too late. Now what? 
Luckily, in this situation we can bring a venue to you, and better yet you can design the space exactly as you want. Of course, you do need actual land for your marquee, which is the slightly trickier part of the equation.

You can erect your marquee over your driveway, lawn, pool or tennis court. If you don't have those and you've exhausted your network of suitably sized private venues, friends with tennis courts, a family farm, even some suburban backyards, then it's time to find a space you can hire.

The land within or adjacent to hotels, resorts, surf clubs, golf clubs, tennis clubs, bowling clubs, community halls, schools, and universities are some options.

Other options for your marquee in Melbourne include rooftops, carparks, factories and warehouses.

How long would it take to install a marquee for 100 people for a sit-down dinner?
This really varies. Some 100 person sit-down dinners can be completed in three hours, some can take two days. It depends on what you are hiring and how many different suppliers need access.

Generally though we ask for a full eight-hour day to install most marquees. Please note you need to allow us this full eight hours BEFORE anyone else can come and style the area.

When booking a space ensure that you have spoken to the marquee provider about their time needs as well as all the other suppliers.

Our property is not perfectly flat - can we still have a big marquee? 
You absolutely can, although obviously there are limits to how great a fall (the degree of land slope) the marquee can cope with and adding standard timber bearer flooring to the equation also can cause some issues with uneven ground.

Luckily we have integrated levelling floor systems which we can use on uneven gradients if a standard option isn't possible.

With a quick site visit, or some photos we can quickly work out what is and what isn't possible and then detail the pricing for that option.

I want lighting such as festoon or fairy lights or a chandelier in my marquee. What do I need to know?
Firstly, it is important to understand how you want the lights hung. You need to provide us with photos, diagrams and dimensions of lighting setups you want to replicate from the start, to really help us design your dream lighting plan. 

This can then ensure we plan for adequate light all throughout the night - ensuring you can see at dusk but not be blinded when the dancing starts! It is crucial to ensure you have a dedicated, adequate and isolated power source.

Commonly a generator will be used; either way it is vital to test overall power the day before to ensure there is no overload. Power outages at events are a disaster.

Are clear plastic marquees hotter in summer than white marquees? 
They can be. If it is above 28 degrees and you intend to use the marquee before 5.30pm in summer, we suggest you will be impacted by the heat. 

A simple option is for us to hold white roofs as a backup and enable you to swap if it's going to be too hot. Opening the walls is another option but won't do much if there isn't a breeze - but if the breeze is too strong it can cause havoc with styling.

Another option is we cover marquee with a tarpaulin and remove the tarpaulin just prior to the reception. This means the marquee doesn't heat up during the day as much as it would. We can assess the need and best option at a site visit and then in the week leading up to the event when the forecast is issued. 

We're expecting rain - which marquees are the most rainproof?
All of our marquees are rainproof, that is of course the point! There are however a few tips to help with the rain. We install all walls as standard so if it does get wet they can be closed to protect the guests. 

You should also plan to have the entrance and exit at a flat gable end so water running off the roof doesn't cause a waterfall at your entrance. However if the marquee doesn't have a flat gable end then make sure your supplier installs an adequate gutter to stop this becoming an issue.

Lastly, water falling off the roof needs to travel somewhere. To ensure it doesn't puddle under the walls of the marquee, order a timber floor system which is raised and will allow water to travel below and not impact the guests under the marquee.

We want a marquee with real wow factor - what do you suggest?
Marquees are a blank canvas for you to create magic. You can start the anticipation with a red carpet entrance and cool signage, perhaps with lanterns lighting the pathway. Think what you want to do - eat, talk, dance, drink, take selfies etc and work out a floor plan that includes excitement and intrigue at every corner.

Marquees typically have high ceilings so to create the visual drama you could install floral chandeliers, festoon lights or fairy light strings, use colourwash lighting to create dramatic colour explosions, or hire high floral stands so your guests can see each other.

With a clear marquee, everyone gets a view of the outdoors. Allow enough space for a chill-out lounge and bar, as well as a dancefloor.  Your stylist or event planner has done it all before so get their tips and always remember to ask us too!

Enjoyed this? Discover the advantages and disadvantages of booking your event in each season, starting with winter.