Marquee & Event Glossary

This page contains definitions for many phrases associated with marquees and event planning. For more information which may help you planning your marquee event please view our FAQ Page.

Types of Marquees

  • Frame Tent: Aircraft quality aluminium framework with a white PVC canvas. Varying widths which can be extended by 3m extension bays. No centre poles or guy ropes to trip over.
  • Pole Tent: Canvas marquee with centre poles, side poles and guy ropes.
  • Traditional Canvas Marquee: Pole tent or Poled Marquee.
  • Chinese Hat Pagoda Marquee: Fixed size, square single peak marquee. Also called Witches Hat.
  • Pavilion Marquee: Frame tent, usually with a peaked roof profile, sometimes called an oriental marquee or tent.
  • Entrance Awning: Small awning at the entrance to the marquee.
  • Connecting Awning: Small awning or walkway joining two marquees or connecting to a domestic property.
  • Pop up Shelter: Small framed shelter with guy ropes that can be erected in less the 30 minutes. Sometimes used as catering tents.
  • Gazebo: Lightweight cover and frame with guy ropes with no walls used for light showers and sun protection only.
  • Catering Tent: Stand alone tent with sides. Frame profiles vary from 25mm steel box section to 150mm x 75mm aluminium box section.


  • Flat Lining: Interior fabric to hide framework, cables etc. No pleats or rouches.
  • Pleated Lining: Pencil pleats from the apex ridge. Obscures shadows and condensation rings that can form overnight.
  • Valance: Flat pelmet which covers the join between the roof and the tops of the walls.
  • Swags: A deeper pelmet gathered up at regular intervals to form a horizontal scalloped shape.
  • Columns: Vertical fabric that cover the legs of a Clearspan marquee.
  • Roof Drapes: Bands of coloured cloth from the marquee apex to tops of walls.
  • Curtain Divide: A screen which works similarly to a theatrical curtain.
  • Starlight: Blackout cloth with hundreds of tiny LED's set into the cloth which can produce a static or twinkling night sky effect if used through a DMX controller.
  • DMX Controller: Electronic device that programs hundreds of Starlight LED’s to give different lighting effects automatically.


  • Natural Coir Matting: Natural colours of woven coconut fibre imported from Asia.
  • Synthetic Matting: Multi coloured woven plastic matting – originated from the 60's
  • Plywood Floor: Interlocking plywood boards that can sometimes even out rough ground.
  • Interlocking Hardwood Floor: Used in conjunction with an under floor frame work system, this gives a flat surface over uneven ground.
  • Raised Beam Floor: A levelling system for very uneven ground and slopes up to 1:20. Can reduce waterlogged marquee sites.
  • Parquet Floor: Polished dance floor panels in rosewood or oak wood finish. Designed only for dry flat surfaces.
  • Chequerboard Floor: Laminated dance floor panels forming 600mm chequer squares.
  • Exhibition carpet: Single use foam back carpet in a range of colours.
  • Anti-Slip Flooring: High grip covering for use on boarded floor in catering tents.
  • Temporary Access Panels: Heavy duty plastic panels to protect grass from tyre tracks.
  • Steel Deck: Steel framed staging in modular units.


  • Bird Cage Chandeliers: Ornate black wrought iron effect chandeliers.
  • Pin Spots: Very narrow spotlight beams of light which pick out the table centre-pieces.
  • Up lights: Floor standing par 38 lamps emitting an upward parabola of light.
  • Codas: A general soft wash light. Can be fitted with subtly coloured gels for effect.
  • Profiles: A sharp, focused light for picking out flower displays or features.
  • Gobos: A filter which casts a shaped shadow within the light beam.
  • Birdie Bar: A rack of small spotlights for lighting bars and buffet displays.
  • Par 38 Can: A general purpose lamp often used for outside effects.
  • Fresnel: Theatrical lamp with 'barn doors' to define its area of coverage.
  • Coloured Gels: Coloured plastic sheet through which light passes and gains colour.
  • Rope Light Canopy: Strings of rope light forming a spoke pattern overhead.
  • Dapple Projector: Similar to a gobo, projects patterned light.
  • Spectrum Blaze: Digital, programmable light box hidden behind lining, which mixes primary colours.
  • Spectrum Set: Changing coloured light projected onto the dance floor.
  • Intelligent Scanner: Mirror heads reflect light in response to the music signal.

Marquee Heating

  • Indirect Heating: Warm air ducted from outside the marquee through large tubes and then through diffuser grilles inside the marquee. Can be thermostatically controlled.
  • Direct Heating: Very noisy and dangerous way of heating a marquee with bare flames inside a restricted area. Usually run continuously.
  • Infra Red: A method of heating small areas with a red light powered by electricity.

Event Power

  • Emergency Standby: Stand alone generator which is wired ready for an emergency failure. Standby generators are only normally powerful enough to operate up to 50% of a peak power requirement.
  • Super Silent Generator: Modern silent running generator which is able to run an entire event without the need to wire into a mains supply.
  • Mains Supply: Domestic or commercial 45amp connection to a 100amp power supply taken from a mains supply by qualified electricians.
  • Peak Power Supply: A calculation of the maximum power required at any one time at an event.
  • RCD and MCB: are Residual Current Devices and Miniature Circuit Breakers which are designed to cut the current supply to a device if the electronic detector in the RCD or MCB detects a fault in the wires or device that is being fed with electricity.
  • Power Heavy: Term used for identifying parts of the event that require vast amounts of electrical power. Usually caterers that have hired incorrect equipment or bands with large amplifiers and effective lighting systems.


  • Baffle Screen: Method of obscuring utility areas from guests view. Does not stop any noise from kitchen area.
  • False End: An additional floor to ceiling partition to create a hidden area with one marquee. Can be used for storage or as catering area.
  • Generic Pod: Marquee square section that is connected flush into the side of a marquee so as to provide extra square footage without cluttering the main marquee.
  • Window Wall: Clear panel in a wall section which has a Georgian design.
  • Infill Gutter: Section of matching marquee canvass that creates a shower proof and wind proof connection between walk ways and pods.
  • Catering Pod: Usually a 6m tent joined onto a marquee via a short walkway or infill gutter.
  • Bar & Drinks Pod: 6m or 9m extension to the marquee. Either joined flush to the marquee or attached via a walkway.


  • Part Time Caterer: A person that works from home and hires everything required for an event. Often has to rely on domestic kitchen appliances preparing and pre-cooking days in advance. Has no back up in case of illness and often asks for a cash payment. Answer phone contact is often used whilst at their full time employment. Is often seen in the local supermarket. Blames their suppliers and quality of equipment when jobs go wrong and equipment fails.
  • Professional Caterer: Operates a 6/7 day a week service with a fully staffed office Monday to Friday. Will respond rapidly to enquiries and can be contacted 7 days a week. Will have the necessary legal paperwork available on demand and will have at least one refrigerated vehicle. Prepares food on site and uses fresh vegetables and quality fresh meat from professional meat suppliers. Mostly uses organic and free range produce. Has trading accounts will most national organic meat and vegetable suppliers
  • Cash & Carry Caterer: Already has a full time job. Shops at the local cash & carry buying pre-cooked and frozen food. Will prefer to buy ready made catering tubs of salads which have extended "best before" dates in conjunction with the use of preservatives and additives. Can by large quantities of "close date" meat and vegetables and stores overnight in a domestic garage or lounge.
  • Spit Roast Caterers: Professionals will have been established for many years and operate CE approved equipment. Able to transport whole pigs and lambs in their refrigerated vehicles.
  • Spit Roast Caterers: Amateurs do not have professional equipment and can not be contacted during normal office hours. Often insurance is avoided and no refrigeration is used to transport or store un-cooked or cooked meat. They will often falsify testimonials and let down clients at the last minute in favour of more lucrative jobs.