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FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions about Marquee Hire

Below we have assembled a quick overview of the areas to be considered when planning an event using a marquee. We hope this information will address the most common questions that arise when seeking choosing a marquee company. If you have additional questions not covered here please get in touch via our contact form.

Positioning a Clear-Span Marquee

  • Clear-span marquees can be pitched on hard or soft surfaces. Weights and anchor pins can be used to secure the marquee on hard surfaces or soft surfaces.
  • Any of the sections of the marquee can be used as an entrance. Window and wall panels can be removed to create entrances in an as many sections as needed on the day of your event in response to weather condition.
  • On sunny days having the windows and walls open will create an informal atmosphere allowing guests to drift in and out of the marquee
  • Catering staff always use a separate entrance and should have an independent catering tent to minimise their impact on the guest experience in the main marquee area.
  • Clients that boast large gardens should position the marquee across their lawn to create a 'courtyard' effect in front of the marquee.
  • Small trees and shrubs can be incorporated inside a marquee and will add some unique character and decoration. You will loose at least the equivalent floor space inside the marquee.

Marquee Furniture

  • For an informal meal 5ft round tables can seat 8-10 guests. If the meal is a formal occasion with place setting that includes a side place then you may have to reduce the people on the table or increase the size of the table. Bear in mind that if you increase the size of the tables you may require a larger marquee.
  • Top tables are traditionally trestle 6ft tables. Using 6ft trestles means that don’t have your backs to the other guests as you would using round tables.
  • To avoid queues when guests arrive consider having two easels with seating plans on.
  • Garden parties would normally require furniture for between a third or half the guests if the average age of guest is over 40 years.
  • You will need to hire in coat rails and an extra table for presents.
  • You can gain extra space for dancing after you have eaten your meal by moving a few tables. Most marquee companies supply tables with folding legs and chairs that stack.
  • If you are planning to have wooden chairs and tables outside you will need to ensure they kept out of the rain or they can be damaged. Resin tables and chairs are designed for outside use.

Grades of Marquees & Furniture

Event hire stock which is offered to the public is generally rated by letter grade for age and condition. Faversham Marquees has a policy of only offering "A" grade items. For high volume suppliers B and C grade equipment is often the norm.

  • A Grade - Less than two years old - Only for weddings and events of significant importance.
  • B Grade - Between two and five years old. Typically with chipped paint visible on chairs and furniture. Chairs would benefit covering with fabric covers if used on weddings or events of significant importance. Marquees take on a generally grubby appearance and show marks.
  • C Grade - More than five years old, nearly at the end of their useful life, chipped paint and rickety furniture, for use outside, and can be left outside in damp conditions, (but not rain). Marquee canvass have many dirty marks, carpets and linings are often holed and different colours.

Marquee Linen, China, Cutlery, Glasses

  • China – When you look into hiring china cutlery and glasses you should ensure that you hire quality china. Churchill china is used by most restaurants and hotels in the UK. It is good quality, strong, and dense. The more dense the china the longer it keeps the heat in the plate. Cheaper china is typically not pure white and is noisier to eat from and clear away. Keeping noise to the minimum is important when you have 100 – 200 guests all eating at once.
  • Cutlery – Pattern cutlery is standard and should be hired from a reputable hirer that sanitises all cutlery.
  • Glasses – Avoid borrowing from supermarkets or off licenses. Their glasses are often poorly washed and may show residue and lipstick marks. Waiting staff do not have time to re-wash hundreds of glasses because they are still dirty.
  • Linen – Linen should be free of holes and staining.

Marquee Flooring

These are the most common choices for marquee floor covering:

  1. Natural grass – cheapest and fine if the lawn is firm and dry
  2. Natural coconut matting
  3. Relay event carpet on grass laid on water resistant plastic membrane.
  4. Solid hard wood interlocking floor – bare natural look
  5. Hard wood interlocking floor with event carpet laid with secret carpet joins
  6. Plastic interlocking floor panels
  7. Parquet (wood) dance floor – beware of marquee companies that use plywood and wooden battens

Marquee Colour Schemes

There are many ways to introduce colour into your marquee:

  • Carpet - we can supply many colours of event carpet
  • Flowers and centre pieces add colour and enhance any event
  • Marquee linings - our standard colours are ivory but others are available and can be incorporated into the pelmet or curtains (additional cost applies)
  • Table linen and napkins. We can hire a large white or ivory tablecloths and small square coloured top cloth in the middle
  • Helium balloons are a great way to introduce a colourful accent to your marquee or pickup colours used in linens
  • Banqueting chairs can by hired with the standard red seat pads or with ivory or other colours. The chairs themselves can give quite a different look by choosing between gilt, natural or silver
  • Dimmable up-lighting - different coloured bulbs can be used in our Par 38 up-lighters to add dramatic colour effects to the whole marquee

Most weddings would be left as neutral colours - ivory, beige, gold etc., which gives a very elegant feel and allows the decorations like flowers stand out more.

Party events generally have much bolder colour schemes and you can have many colours coming from more sources inside the marquee.

Indirect Marquee Heating

Marquee Heaters require powerful fans to distribute the heat into the vast space of a marquee. Small electric heaters or gas space heaters are insignificant and of little use inside a marquee. With new regulations in place the most popular and safest method of heating is to situate the heater outside the marquee and duct the warm air into the marquee via a diffuser or several low level diffusers. Direct heaters produce a flame and are dangerous to use in certain areas and situations.

We offer and recommend the Arcotherm EC40 or EC70 indirect heaters which are the most respected in the industry. These heaters sit outside the marquee with warm air ducted in through 14” and 16” flexible air pipes. Thermostatic controls are also available which will regulate the temperature and save you money on fuel.

Marquee Power & Electrical Supply

Power can be supplied to a marquee in a few different ways.

Good quality Extension leads are easy to set up and are the cheapest option. Although extension leads can be overloaded and fail. The power source for extension leads is normally a domestic house consumer unit which is mostly controlled with Residual Current Devices (RCD’s) or Miniature Circuit Breakers (MCB’s). Make sure you check that the extension lead is rated high enough for the power you require. Do Not under any circumstances plug electrical devices into an extension lead that is still wound up.

  • Ensure you do not exceed more than 3KW (13amps) from any one extension lead or ring main. You may have to operate more than one extension lead. If you join two leads together the voltage will drop across the length of the lead.
  • If your 13 amp sockets are not protected at the consumer unit with a 30mA RCD’s you must always fit an RCD adapter to each extension lead.
  • All plugs and sockets should be protected from the water or liquids of any kind.

Temporary circuits that are wired into your consumer unit or household fuse box fall under “Part P” regulation so must only be connected by a qualified electrician. It is now more economical to hire a generator instead of paying an electrician to wire up and decommission a temporary supply.

Getting enough voltage and having enough amps available at your event is the most important requirement over anything else. Imagine a power failure….no catering, no lights, no music, no event!

Supplying enough power for a few lights is normally okay from a domestic source. If you need to supply event power for music, catering, lighting, conveniences, and indirect heating you will require a 32A or 64A distribution board. That will be your single power source point. We can liaise with all the different suppliers at your event to calculate their power consumption.

Electrical Calculations

Typical current requirements for electrical items:

  • 13amp Caterers Turbo Oven / Coffee & Tea Urns
  • 16amp EC40/70 Indirect warm air heater
  • 13amps Luxury Conveniences – water heaters and pumps
  • 13amps Disco lights, Marquee lights, Speakers & Amplifiers

Generators

Modern generators are easy to set up, but can be noisy if you hire the wrong one :

  • Super silent generators are considerably quieter the older less modern ones
  • When you order your generator you will require a competent person who understand three phase 415V and knows how to wire up, test all the appliances and make sure each phase is evenly distributed across the current demand.

Entertainment & Music options

The following are popular approaches to providing music for your marquee event:

  • Disc Jockey - They will need a power supply and an independent entrance to the marquee if they are arriving after the guests.
  • Band - Some people love bands others hate them. Often your taste isn't for the majority. Good bands normally charge a sensible day rate for each band member plus traveling expenses.
  • iPod - hire an amp and speakers or connect to your stereo, set up a play list and you don't need to touch it again all evening.
  • Stereo CD Player - easy to set up but CD's but require a bit more attention to ensure the tracks playing are appropriate to the guest mood as event progresses.
  • Jukebox - available to hire as a centre piece but not really practical for all evening music.
  • String quartet - Jazz band – Harpist - Steel Drum Band – We have provided services for event which have incorporated all these different styles of music and more. Each can add a different dimension to you event.

Autumn – Winter – Spring – Summer - Marquees

Marquees are increasingly being used for all four seasons. The four seasons are unfortunately unpredictable in respect of rain and warmth.

Certainly during the winter it is imperative that you have a well constructed marquee that keeps out as much wind and draughts as possible.

It takes a good hour to heat a marquee up to a temperature whereby ladies in dresses feel that they can take their coats off.

For autumn and winter events guests will arrive with large coats and or hats so consider having a coat rail or some kind of cloakroom area to put these in. You can hire a small 3m x 3m pop up tent that should do the job.

Flooring is essential in the winter. If the ground is prone to water logging then consider having a solid floor which raises the level up slightly.

 








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