The answer isn't what you want to hear because - it depends on so many factors, so it isn't possible to say a definitive yes or no.
Why are weddings so expensive? Do companies add £££ when they hear the word wedding? Can we save money by having a marquee?
We hear you - these are common questions when it comes to planning a wedding, so let's explore these questions by delving into the costs involved.
Is it true, do companies add £££ when they hear it's a wedding?
In short, no this is a common misconception. In some cases it may have a baring on the amount of work involved with preparing for your event but as a general rule, just because your event is a wedding doesn't change the job that needs to be done by most suppliers.
In our case as a marquee supplier, whether we are putting a structure up for a wedding, birthday, christening or funeral the costs involved are the same for us. Our pricing is carefully worked out and unlike some where the date might make a difference due to supply and demand, this is not applicable to us. Our weekend rates are the same as any other day of the week.
Understanding Marquee Weddings.
Before we dive into the costs, it's essential to grasp the fundamentals of a marquee wedding. A marquee wedding involves setting up a temporary structure, typically outdoors, to serve as the wedding venue. Essentially in many cases this will involve bringing in all the infrastructure, power, water, toilets etc. It does allow for a far more versatile canvas allowing couples to design a wedding environment that aligns perfectly with their vision, whether it's a rustic countryside affair or a glamorous soirée.
Factors Influencing Marquee Wedding Costs.
Several key factors can significantly impact the cost of hosting your wedding under a marquee:
Location: The geographical location plays a significant role in determining costs. Hiring land comes at a cost and prices will depend on location and facilities available. Some dedicated outdoor wedding venues will include power, parking, water and even toilets, but this will be reflected in the price. A farmers field with no facilities will be far cheaper but will also require the addition of these things added on for your event to run smoothly. We have another blog about where you can put a marquee for an event.
Guest numbers: The number of guests is probably the key figure here as it will affect most of the items to follow. The more guests, the bigger the space needed, the more food needed, the more toilet facilities...etc, etc.
Marquee: As mentioned your guest numbers will largely dictate the size marquee needed. But the style of the marquee is also a crucial cost determinant. There are many styles out there and prices can suit a tight budget - such as clear-span and capri marquees. If you are looking for a more bespoke feel in a unique styled structures such as Yurts, Tipis, Pole or Sailcloth Marquees then prices will be higher.
Customisation: Marquees offer a blank canvas, you to personalise the wedding space extensively. The more intricate the customisation, the higher the cost. Whether you chose to decorate yourself or hire in help will also have an effect on budget.
Season and Date: Some companies and certain suppliers will discount for out of season events, but essentially the cost to erect the marquee is the same whatever the time of year. In fact for us with natural canvas structures - times of year when the weather is wetter, often brings added cost in cleaning equipment. It is alway worth asking as it isn't true of all marquee suppliers, but don't be surprised if costs don't go down for mid-week of out of season dates.
Additional Services: Consider the additional services you might require, such as catering, decor, lighting, and entertainment. These services can contribute significantly to the total cost.
Infrastructure: Depending on the location, you may need to invest in supplementary infrastructure like generators, toilet facilities, and heating (yes, even summer evenings can get chilly), all of which can impact the budget.
The Average Cost of a Marquee Wedding.
According to Bridebook the average cost of a UK wedding in 2022 was £19184. It is important to understand however that marquee weddings often involve different factors from traditional weddings at static venues. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, we wanted to look at and provide a general idea of the expenses involved.
A Rough Guide to Costs.
Unless you or friend of family have a venue or garden you can use, there will be a cost associated in hiring some land. This can vary greatly on where you choose but generally you will be looking at upwards of £1000.
Average costings for Marquee Structures:
Basic marquee structure (excluding furnishings): £2,500 - £7,000
Marquee with furniture (tables, chairs, dance floor, etc.): £3,500 - £10,000
Luxury marquee structures (yurts, marquees featuring transparent panels, and additional embellishments): £12,000 - £20,000
These costs are general figures considering marquees of all types, not just the types of tents and structures provided by ourselves.
This is often a substantial cost involved depending on your guest numbers and style of food you want to serve.
You can expect to pay around £15 per head for hog roast style food, or around £60 to £90 per person for a 3 course wedding breakfast.
You can appreciate that these costs are really variable depending on guest numbers and style of food etc. It should also be a consideration that weddings are often long and people can need feeding more than once. If you have suppliers working on site such as photographers and planners it is good etiquette to feed them too. Some suppliers put this in their terms and conditions, others don't, but it is good to be clear on their requirements from the outset. Experienced caterers like Roger at The Chef's Table are well placed to guide you through menus, options and prices.
Your caterer may require a designated space for preparation, sometimes they provide their own, built in to costs but if you need to source one costs are normally around £300-800 depending on size.
You can be looking at around £500-900 for a mobile toilet trailer. These are absolutely essential if there are no nearby facilities. You can save money on the type of unit hired, but remember, would Granny want to use a builder's 'portaloo' in her best frock? Bedfordshire has some excellent providers, we can personally recommend Royle Flush and Any Occassion.
Cost for a 40kva generator is around £400 - you will need to source a silent one, as you aren't planning an event on a building site. Companies such as A&P Electrical Solutions can help guide you on what spec is needed or if you have a wedding planner, they can help with this too.
With the freedom of an outdoor wedding you can really go to town on what you "bring in". We have supplied weddings where whole mini festivals have been created. If you can imagine it, it's possible to create it!
Decide what is important to you as a couple, music, food, styling, photographer, number of guests... there is usually something that is important to you both - work out what that is and plan around it.
Advantages of Marquee Weddings.
While marquee weddings may entail varying costs, they offer unique advantages that can make the expense worthwhile:
Flexibility: Marquees provide the flexibility to choose your wedding location, allowing you to create a one-of-a-kind experience.
Personalisation: With marquee weddings, you have the creative freedom to design every aspect of your special day, from decor, layout to all over vibe.
Scenic Settings: You can select stunning outdoor locations, from picturesque gardens to enchanting vineyards, providing a breathtaking backdrop for your celebration.
Guest Accommodation: Marquees can comfortably accommodate both intimate gatherings and larger wedding parties, making them suitable for diverse guest lists.
So, are marquee weddings more expensive in the UK? We told you, it depends.
While marquee weddings may come with a different price tag compared to traditional indoor venues, they offer the chance to craft a wedding that truly reflects your style and personality.
Ultimately, your choice should align with your vision and financial considerations. It's crucial to plan meticulously, obtain quotes from trusted suppliers, and carefully weigh the trade-offs between cost and personalisation. With thoughtful planning, a marquee wedding can be a magical and memorable experience, set against the stunning landscapes the UK has to offer. As we said before, decide what is important to you and make that the focus to work the budget around.