Options for your marquee essentials: lining, lighting, flooring and heating

As the ultimate blank canvas, a marquee gives you scope to personalise your wedding like no other venue can. Just add cool props and soft lighting and let your imagination run riot

It turns out that changing the look and feel of a marquee is actually a fairly simple task, but it can be amazingly effective nonetheless. Marquee suppliers and venue décor stylists can transform what is the very definition of a blank canvas into something spectacular through the use of carefully placed props, the right accessories, attractive lighting, proper furniture and solid flooring.

It’s amazing at what a few well-placed props and decorations can do for a marquee. As the bride and groom, if you opt for a marquee, it will be entirely up to you to decide on your theme and how you’d like your wedding venue to look. “Our marquees have a plain ivory finish, so it is down to personal preference how it’s brought to life,” says Janet Fletcher of Tents and Events.

This is a dream task for creative types, but even if you wouldn’t class yourself as artistic, you’ll find much to encourage you in decorating your marquee. First stop, the internet! “There are so many interesting props out there to help personalise a marquee,” says Kimberley Wright of Central Marquees. “I always recommend a look at wedding blogs for inspiration.”

It’s not just props that can change the scenery of your wedding marquee. If you want luxury, think draping and linings, as Katherine Self of Troon’s Finesse Marquees suggests: “Linings can really change the look of a marquee, and there are so many options in regards to colour, style (flat or pleated) and areas that can be covered.” For example, lining walls hung over windows create a private feel with lovely silhouettes balanced with outside light. This can completely change the appearance of the marquee.

Stiletto heels on grass are a cardinal sin, so laying flooring in your marquee is a must. Your theme will go some way to dictate what you choose. “Varnished wood floor­boards are very vintage and provide a base for all sorts of themes,” advises Katherine.

But if you’re looking to create a more relaxed feel, with a softer look in the dining area, carpeting would be your best bet. “Our carpets come in charcoal grey and dove grey,” says Kimberley. A tonal grey carpet creates a really chic layout and is a strong base for fun props and furniture.

If you’ve booked a band, you won’t want wall-to-wall carpeting – a dancefloor is a must. “A wooden dancefloor is a good, straightforward choice,” says Katherine, “but you could have a fun black and white or LED option instead.” A light-up dancefloor to show off your best moves? Bring it on!

We all know that when it comes to snapping your selfies, the lighting has to be perfect. Marquees are no different; without the right lighting, they won’t be able to show off their best side. “There is no shortage of lighting options when it comes to marquees,” says Kimberley. “You can have everything from luxurious chandeliers to kitsch festoon lights, and all can be adjusted to suit the overall feel of the wedding and the time of day.” So what will it be? A warm summer glow to accompany the meal followed by a dramatic, dimly lit dusk for pre-dance mingling?

Dimmer switches and multiple sources of light will give you control over the atmosphere, but it doesn’t have to be mega-complicated, as Katherine points out: “If you stick to a simple ivory theme, use lighting to create sparkle, drama and effect.”

It’s not just lighting that can change the feel of a wedding. A stray breeze sneaking in through a flap can cause havoc. So plan heating solutions for when day turns to night. “Marquee heaters are very effective nowadays – they sit outside the structure and blow warm air through vents,” explains Janet. This system runs on a thermostat so the perfect temperature is maintained.

“By creating an ambient warmth that spreads gently through the whole marquee, you can avoid hot spots and chilly corners,” advises Katherine. Who said tents were difficult? Me? I stand corrected.