A marquee wedding at home, or on the perfect site you’ve spent weeks trying to find, may seem like a great plan for a venue but in reality, planning a marquee wedding can be stressful, a little confusing, and as what may come as a surprise to many, quite costly. To help ease any confusion we have gathered the 11 must-have marquee wedding basics, that every marquee wedding needs and just as important, we explain how much each element will cost for 120 people. This is just an approximation, of course, but it’ll give you a good idea of how much to allow in your planning budget.
Marquee Wedding Must-Haves & How Much They Cost:
The Right Site
Ideally, the site should be a flat, grassy area with easy access. If you’re not hosting the wedding on land belonging to family or friends, you will need to find a private hire site. These can be pricey, so if you don’t have a site of your own or one that belongs to family and friends, be sure to factor in a reasonable amount for this cost.
- Cost: €5,000 – €8,000+
You will need to decide on what type of marquee you’d like for your wedding and ensure it comes with a suitable floor. Options include a tipi, a stretch marquee, a regular marquee, a yurt, or a kata. You need someone you can trust to keep your marquee standing come rain or shine! You’ll find a list of our recommended marquee hire suppliers here.
- Cost: €6,000 – €9,000
Depending on the number of guests, one tipi can hold up to 50 people seating. For a wedding of 120 guests, three tipis would be joined together creating an impressive set up. There may be additional costs if the base or floor is not suitable or fully dry. Sub-flooring would be provided by the company at an additional charge.
If there are no toilet facilities on your site, you will require 10 toilets for every 100 guests. Do not be tempted to cut corners and avoid the hire of these facilities, even if you plan to situate your marquee near a house – trust us, it’s not worth it! Costs vary considerably, depending on how fancy you want these to be. Don’t forget to factor in delivery costs.
You will need plumbing to get water from the water source or house to the catering tent, the bar, and your toilets. Plumbing will need to be piped and we’d highly recommend sourcing a professional plumber for this.
Generator & Electrics
- Cost: €500, + marquee wiring costs
You will 100% need electricity for your band and catering equipment. Double-check in advance if your generator is supplied by your marquee company and who exactly is responsible for the setup and safety sign-off. If you are responsible, you’ll need to hire an experienced electrician.
- Cost: €125+ per heating unit
Even if you’re having a summer wedding, you’ll more than likely need some form of heating for later on. Heating comes in various forms from indoor electrical heaters to thermostatically-controlled units located outside of your marquee. Most marquee companies can supply you with your heating requirements.
Catering & Furniture
This is where things get complicated! Once you decide what kind of food you’d like you’ll have to pick your caterer and make sure you have all the necessary space and equipment.
- You will need a large kitchen or catering tent, with hobs/ovens, and fridges for your caterer to use. Your caterer will provide you with the full list of requirements – what they have already and what will need to be rented from your marquee company or a specialist hire company.
- You’ll also need furniture and tableware. At a basic level, you’ll need: a bar including fridges, your catering station, seating, tables, table linen, and a dance floor. This can sometimes be provided by your marquee company or hired from a separate hire company.
- Don’t forget tableware and serving equipment, crockery, glassware and cutlery. Your caterer will provide you with a standard list of requirements. These are sourced from a cater hire company through your caterer, directly by you, or via your marquee company.
- Any unique design elements in the space (a special cake display table, a lounge area, outdoor tables, deckchairs, etc.) will need to be part of the space design and prepared in your order for hire.
- Lastly, your caterer will sometimes offer an on-the-day coordination service, to control the logistics of the wedding day (basically take on the role of a regular venue’s wedding coordinator for the day.) Alternatively, most planners and some stylists can provide this service.
- Food Cost: €80+ per person
- Table Setting Cost (crockery & glassware 10 – 14 piece): €5 – €6 per person
- Furniture Cost (tables, chairs, table linen based on 120 people): €850+
- Kitchen Hire: €1200 – €1400
- Day-Of Coordination Cost: €500+
- Cost: €100 – €200 per staff member per day, depending on hours worked and fuel.
Your caterer will often provide the staff for the event, usually this is billed as a separate item and should be broken down into hours and tasks (waiters, cooks, bar staff, kitchen porters, etc). If you’re having a second day, our advice is to book bar staff for a clean up time early in the day before guests return, as well as to man the bar later on.
If you intend to serve alcohol, you will need a bar. When it comes to bar service there are three options:
- Run it yourself. You will need all of your own equipment (gas, bar taps, bar itself, ice, fridges, glassware, dishwasher, etc.) and alcohol (bottles/kegs), plus staff to man it on the day and tidy up/wash glasses. If you’re charging for alcohol, be aware that you need a license/late license.
- Ask a local publican to do it for you. They will often run the bar free of cost, and simply charge your guests for drinks like they would in their own pub. They will need to transfer their license to your premises for the day.
- Ask your caterer to do the honours, which should be then added to your staffing costs. Again, check licensing requirements with your caterer if you are charging for alcohol.
The cost of your drinks bill will depend on what option you go for, and how much your guests drink, so the sky is the limit for drinks to be honest. Make sure you factor in wine during the meal as well. Grab your calculator for this one!
If you’re getting married on your own land, you may already be covered by your current insurance, but it’s worth double checking. You should check with your marquee company or wedding planner whether you will require public liability insurance and will need to get a quote on cost. For the low down on all things wedding insurance check out our dedicated post here.
Whether for a marquee, country house or pub wedding, decor costs are impossible to predict. At a most basic level, you can expect to pay into the hundreds. For more elaborate decor, double or treble that figure again. If you’re thinking of having a lot of decor, hire a stylist! The cost of a stylist will be worth it when they focus on buying and hiring the right things that will really make an impact and make the whole thing come together.
A Contingency Plan
Last but not least, always plan for the worst. Add a contingency of 10% into your budget to cover unforeseen extras. After all this planning, it could rain, a storm could brew, or the wind and snow could put a literal dampener to your day, so plan for this. Although the wedding marquee or tent should be fine, at certain times of year it can be good to have an ‘indoor’ area just in case, which could add extra cost.
Overall Cost: €25,000+
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