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Can a Marquee be used in the winter?


The short answer is yes, there are lots of Marquees out there that will accommodate a winter wedding. However we personally don't offer our largest marquees for winter events, for reasons we will explain. If you have your heart set on a winter wedding there are lots of great companies who can help you. This article will give you some pros and cons of outdoor winter events. Plus we explain the reasons why we personally don't supply large weddings or parties during the winter.


Starburst winter lights hanging in trees

Pros to an outdoor winter wedding.


Ultimately the pros to having an outdoor winter wedding are much the same as an outdoor wedding anytime of the year, but with the hope of an extra magical feel. Maybe it's a dusting of snow that you long for or perhaps cosying up in a candle lit marquee with loved ones next to a log fire. It sounds wonderful doesn't it! This is possible with many structures, but not all, so it is really worth spending some time finding out about the different types of Marquees, Tipis and Yurts available and weighing up those pros and cons.


It is really important to talk at length with your supplier to fully understand the implications and risks involved when organising an outdoor winter event. Any supplier who is good at their job will speak honestly about these matters and advise you so that your event ends in success. If you feel that your questions aren't being answered or are avoided, then steer clear.


Some of the best winter structures can be framed or clear span marquees, which have solid sides, these are particularly good with heat retention. If you prefer something a little different Tipis and Yurts often are able to accommodate a fire or log burner within the tent, not only providing heat but also a wonderful atmospheric addition.


Many venues which allow outdoor winter events may have a semi permanent structure already in place, often on a deck or have hard flooring installed. This is perfect and venues like these will be well placed to hold your event and give you information about what to expect.


Scenic Beauty:

Winter landscapes can be incredibly picturesque, with the snow-covered ground and bare trees creating a serene backdrop for your special day. Marquees offer the opportunity to enjoy these natural surroundings while providing shelter from the elements.


Unique Atmosphere:

Winter weddings in marquees often exude a unique charm and atmosphere. The crisp air, cozy lighting, and potential for snowfall can create a magical ambiance that's hard to replicate during other seasons.


Flexibility in Design:

The blank canvas you get from a marquee wedding to allow you to design your dream wedding space. Your winter wonderland awaits.


Privacy:

Marquees offer a sense of privacy for your wedding celebration. Unlike indoor venues, you won't have to worry about sharing space with other events or strangers passing by.


Customisation:

With a marquee wedding, you have the flexibility to customise every aspect of your celebration, including the layout, seating arrangements, and décor. This allows you to create a truly personalised experience for you and your guests.


Connection with Nature:

Holding your wedding outdoors allows you to feel more connected to nature, which can add a sense of tranquility and beauty to your special day. Guests can enjoy the fresh air and natural surroundings, enhancing the overall experience.


Black bride and groom embracing at wedding
group of people outside enjoying drinks and sparklers under festoon lights


cons to an outdoor winter wedding.

 

We don't want to put a downer on the idea, but it is quite an undertaking for all suppliers involved, so it is good to look at the aspect of what winter can throw in the mix.


Weather:

The most obvious, of course is that winter weather can be highly unpredictable. Ranging from snowstorms to icy rain and bitter winds. Despite careful planning, there's always a risk of adverse weather conditions that could disrupt or dampen the festivities. Sudden changes in weather patterns might necessitate last-minute adjustments or even force the event indoors, causing logistical headaches and disappointment for the couple and guests alike.


Temperature Control:

An effect of the weather can be maintaining a comfortable temperature inside a marquee during the winter months can be a considerable challenge. While heaters can help combat the cold, they may not always be effective, especially in larger tents or during extreme weather conditions. Guests may find themselves shivering despite the best efforts to keep the space warm, leading to discomfort and detracting from the overall enjoyment of the event. That said, there are many Marquee options out there that combat this so as we mentioned before it is important to research this properly.


Challenging Terrain:

Another effect of the weather is how it influences ground conditions. Outdoor venues, particularly in winter, can present logistical challenges due to uneven terrain, muddy pathways, or icy surfaces. Navigating these conditions can be particularly challenging for guests, especially those wearing formal attire or unsuitable footwear. Elderly guests and those with mobility issues may find it especially difficult to move around safely, posing potential risks and discomfort.


Limited Daylight:

With shorter daylight hours during the winter season, couples planning outdoor winter weddings in marquees may have less natural light to work with. This can impact the timing of the ceremony and festivities, potentially requiring adjustments to accommodate the limited daylight hours. Moreover, photographers may face challenges in capturing optimal lighting conditions for stunning wedding photos, necessitating additional equipment and expertise to achieve desired results.


Cost Considerations:

Contrary to popular belief, hosting a winter wedding in a marquee may not necessarily be a budget-friendly option. The need for additional heating, lighting, and weatherproofing measures can significantly inflate the overall cost of the event. Couples may also incur expenses for contingency plans, such as securing alternative indoor venues or renting additional equipment to mitigate weather-related risks.


Limited Availability and Accessibility:

Outdoor venues suitable for winter weddings in marquees may be limited in availability and accessibility, particularly in regions with harsh winter climates. Couples may find themselves competing for coveted dates and facing logistical constraints when it comes to transportation, parking, and guest accommodations. Additionally, remote or secluded locations may pose challenges for guests traveling from afar, requiring careful planning and coordination to ensure a seamless and enjoyable experience for all.



Photo of the feet of wedding guests in wellies on muddy ground

Photo: Howell Jones Photography • Venue: Hexton, Hertfordshire


Why we have chosen not to supply winter weddings.


We do get asked from time to time to provide a Yurt or Marquee for a winter wedding or special celebration, which sounds like a truly magical idea. In all honesty we would love to, but there are a few considerations which keep us from actually doing it.


Fires: We don't use open fires or log burners in our marquees or yurts. So one of those nice things we looked at about adding to a winter wedding is just something that we don't supply or allow inside our structure. This is mainly for fire safety reasons but also fires and log burners are dirty, smoke leaves a lot of residue on canvas. We are particularly precious about our canvases and try to keep them in tip top condition so that our tents look their best at every event. Fires would not allow this to happen.


Mud: For the same reason as above, it is extremely difficult to maintain a clean canvas when erecting a marquee, yurt or tipi in the winter months. Even dry days the moisture in the atmosphere means the ground will be wetter and dirt transfers very easily. We don't have spare canvases for our structures to be able to offer this.


Rain: Again, similar to above, rain increases the risk of dirty canvases but also requires the canvases to be dried out after the event. Our canvases are natural materials so take much longer to dry in colder months and need to be hung up to dry properly. Large marquees and Yurts have a lot of canvas! It is heavy and as you can imagine even heavier when wet. Manpower and hours to dry them is expensive and we have decide that we don't want to have to pass this to the cost on to our clients. Plus the canvas need to be bone dry before it is packed away to avoid mildew growth. Even rot proof canvas (like ours) can get surface mildew.


Snow: Even though we spend a lot of time hoping for a white Christmas is doesn't often happen in the UK. So that picturesque scene you had imagined your wedding day in may not happen as hoped. If you are lucky and it does snow, you then have snow loading worries for marquees and yurts. Although in reality there is probably not a high chance of thicknesses which would cause concern, there is always a chance, so it has to be considered. With climate change all too hot on our heals, the possibility is ever rising.


Wind: Although wind is not just a winter problem, in the UK there is definitely more chance of high winds during the winter months. All structures have a wind rating and there will be a wind speed in which it becomes too dangerous to remain in the structure. If this happens to be on your chosen day then plans would need to be canceled and hopefully you have a plan b to fall back on. Even if you do have a contingency plan, changing things so dramatically can be costly and is a cost more easily avoided if a less windy time of year is chosen.


Ground conditions: Even without added dirt, it is important the anchorage of the marquee is secure and sound. Ground conditions are really important for safety as you can imagine. If the ground is saturated from weeks or months of rain the hold which is required from the ground on the marquee stakes is weakened. We only offer matting flooring in our largest yurts and marquees so this isn't always the ideal solution to ground which has been wet for prolonged periods.


Our decision: All in all, as a small family business, we have weighed up the pros and cons from our perspective and our clients and we felt that winter weddings were not something we were going to offer. The absolute worst scenario for a supplier is to have to pull the plug on a special celebration. We wanted to lessen that chance so we just don't offer large marquee hire during the winter months. On top of that, we want all our structures, marquees, yurts, tipis etc. to be in the best possible condition for the summer season, so they gleam in the sunlight.


Smaller Structures in the Winter:


It's not all no, no, no in the winter though so don't despair. We can supply smaller tents for winter celebrations.


Smaller structures are easier to dry, do not impact our clients as much if cancellation occurs due to weather and/or have spare or different canvas coverings. It is also possible to have a log burner in our 24ft yurt and a solid wooden floor. Bell tents can accommodate small heaters for day time and evening use, which is usually adequate in heating a space when occupied. Our Jasmine Pole Marquee is a fantastic winter option big enough for 40 people.


So there you have it, don't give up on us completely. At Funky Monkey Tents we are here to help you, guide you in your decisions and most importantly we will only deliver and supply an event that we know we can do at the highest of standards.


If you are thinking of a winter wedding One Fab Day has some more great ideas to be thinking about.


24ft Yurt pitched with Christmas trees in foreground

Photo: Fields & Festoons • Venue: Woodland Hollow Weddings • Structure: 24ft Yurt

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