Cost of a marquee wedding or party

If you are organising a marquee wedding or party at home you might be curious how much this will cost.  Having a wedding budget is vital, but there are no sample budgets for your marquee wedding. So just where do you start? I’ve organised hundreds of weddings and parties since 2002 and trained 600+ wedding planners.  The majority of my events are marquees in clients gardens.  at the bottom of the post are some usual link to additional blog posts to help you with your marquee wedding or party.

marquee wedding suffolk

 I feel there is a misconception on how much a marquee costs with many thinking a marquee will be “cheap”. I know from my talks at the National Wedding Shows on wedding budgets hardly any couples know what they will spend on a wedding, and even fewer will produce a budget for their wedding. It worries me couples will start to organise a marquee reception with no real concept of what it will cost. In this blog post I hope to guide you more on what is typically needed for your marquee wedding or party with approx. 100 guests. 

Read this post for general wedding budget advice.

Marquee wedding planner 

  1. Your structure.   The cost will depend on what structure you use.  Look at this blog post for advice on what style will suit you.  This is one of the hardest to cost as literally depends on your style but also depends on how many sub structures.  But allocate at least £4,000 but be prepared to spend up £10k depending on the level of finish required.
  2. Toilets. You really don’t want 100 guests traipsing into your house so always hire mobile toilets. They simply need a 13amp socket to run off and have the water already contained so no need for a hose. A good guide on cost is £500-900 for a luxury mobile toilet trailer.
  3. A generator is another must.  You might well have enough power in your house but “what if” you’ve spent all this money on the wedding and theres a power cut? Also bear in mind that items like water urns, deep fat fryers use up a lot of voltage and your residential power might not be enough thus could trip on the day.  Cost for a 40kva generator (sufficient for this size wedding) is £400
  4. Drink. As the marquee is at home you might decide to buy your own drink if you wish to.  Read this blog post on drink quantity.  It is hard for me to give you an estimation on cost as depends what drink you want on the day, so use my drink quantity blog post to work it out.  For most of my weddings we hire a mobile bar company all inclusive rates meaning they bring in all the drink, staff, glasses, garnishes, chilling on an unlimited package. Thus we just pay a per person rate, this can work out more expensive but again it gives reassurance on the day. As a guide this can be approx. £40pp for the drink day AND evening unlimited.
  5. Drinks Reception
  6. Your food This does depend on where the wedding or party is, plus the type of food you want. For example £60pp in Essex or Suffolk is a fair price for a (VERY GOOD) 3 course meal with staff and table settings.  Canapes are around £6 – £10 pp.  Often equipment fee of £850-1k. Like everything it does depend on type of service required (buffet, BBQ or hog roasts will be cheaper), how many courses and whether you require upgrading linen and table settings.
  7. Catering annexe.   As well as your main marquee you need a smaller annexe for the caterers.  Normally around £500-800. 
  8. Furniture can be how long is a piece of string!  Standard chairs are £4 a chair with more contemporary trendy ones at £12 per chair.  Trestle tables for kitchen, present table etc are £4 each and 5 ft 8 rounds are £8-10 each. Of course there is additional furniture like lounge seating, bar tables, garden furniture but I’m not including that in this estimation.
  9. Linen is one area I don’t think you should assume will be ok.  Ask to see a sample from your caterer if they are providing.  You do not want square starched linen on round tables and you must have cloths that reach the floor.  As a guide, expect to pay £1 per napkin, £4 per trestle cloth and £10-£15 per round cloth. 

10. Lighting is something I prefer to hire an external company for as they have more choice and at times produce unique items for my clients.  Think about practical and ambience lighting required.  This will be between £500-4k but of course could be less if just a few chandeliers, OR considerably more if complex lighting is required. 

11. Marquee Event Planner – And finally, even if organising yourself, think about a planner to help you.  I have a 3 month service which is £1.7k which many marquee clients find helpful. Or visit the UKAWP to find a planner in your area

Items you might be hiring..

  • Marquee structure with lining
  • Hard flooring and/or carpet
  • Furniture: garden, casual areas, tables, chairs
  • Bar with fridges
  • Mobile Toilets
  • Catering equipment
  • Generator
  • Internal & external Lighting
  • A System
  • Stage & Dance floor
  • Staff room/band changing area
  • Walkways to field car parks
  • Security
  • Electrician or marquee attendant on the day

Helpful links

Training courses for wedding planners

Marquee Receptions online training 

Other blog posts

How does a wedding planner help with marquees

What goes into organising a marquee wedding

Wedding budget advice

Different Marquee Structures 

Drink quantity advice 


Photo Credits

Max Burnett

Kerry Morgan

Tim Bowden

Tracey Hosey

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