Often our clients ask us to recommend the layout for their marquee, something we’re happy to do, of course, as we have years of experience handling marquees from planning to setup to finished layout on site.
We have many images of past marquee layouts and we will share these with you, but we will start with a conversation that will include these points:
What you need in the marquee
You’ll need to allocate space to whichever of these items you need when planning your marquee layout –
– Dining tables (round, square and long are the usual options)
– Top table (long, round, curved or oval)
– Bar (9sq.m. per 150 guests is our recommendation)
– Dance floor (at the end of the marquee or in the middle)
– Band and DJ
– Chill-out area
– Reception area (this could be the dance floor if you don’t need a reception area throughout the entire party).
– Other (photo booth, chocolate fountain, present tables, etc.)
A nice tip is to think of your marquee in thirds –
– Reception, bar and chill-out area (nearest the entrance)
– Dining tables
– Dance floor (the party area)
Sense of space is a subjective thing. Too little space and it can feel cramped and uncomfortable whereas too much space can dampen the atmosphere and make guests feel isolated. We will help you to achieve a balance.
The most successful marquee layouts flow nicely between areas and don’t create bottlenecks which make the event feel disjointed. You’ll need to be mindful of how your guests like to party – are they the type that like to stand and chat all night, prop the bar up or dance until dawn? If the first two, having the bar and entrance at one end might not be a good idea because guests will congregate there and potentially ignore the dance floor. It might be better to have the entrance in the middle with bar, dance floor on one side and tables on the other.
You’ll need to be mindful of where the best views are from your marquee and where windows should be placed. This is a moot point for evening events unless you have outside lighting in place but for daytime events you’ll probably want table and reception areas to have the best views available.
Do you position the bar at the far end or have it near the dance floor? We’ve seen both options work well and it really depends on how much your guests like to drink and dance (and both at the same time). Having the bar near the dance floor encourages guests to dance with their drinks but smashed glasses on the dance floor is not much fun. If this can be minimised and you’d like the bar to be an integral part of your event then it can work very well.
There is an element of theatre here. What is the first thing you want your guests to see when they enter the marquee? Tables? Bar? View? We like to see a bit of empty space for people to congregate in, browse the seating plan and admire the view.
The Great British Weather
Given our sometimes challenging weather, it is a very good idea to plan for bad weather. If you’re planning to have a drinks reception outside the marquee, what will you do if it rains? Is there space in the marquee and will you let guests stand on the dance floor or force them to huddle around tables? Distance to toilets and parking will need thinking through. If it’s windy and you don’t have doors on your marquee it would be wise to position entrances/exits so they aren’t facing into the wind.
If you’re planning a wedding, you’ll want to ensure that everyone is as close to the action as possible and that they can see the top table easily during the speeches. Nobody likes to be on the draughty table by the entrance which is furthest from the bridal party!