Of Tents, Marquees, and Pavilions

Medieval Pavilions

Perhaps it’s the romantic in me, but I’ve been thinking a lot lately about tents, and I’m not talking about the sort you’d find on a camping trip, unless you’re going on a Holy Crusade with Richard the Lionhearted. What I’m thinking about are those giant tents, sometimes called marquees, that are erected at weddings and parties.

Until I moved east, I rarely encountered a tent at a wedding. California brides, who know enough to not schedule their weddings in the rainy season, can be nearly 100% certain that they won’t get rained out. Head east, past the Rocky Mountains, however, and the April showers that bring May flowers last all summer long, meaning that the wise bride who wants an outdoor wedding reception must be prepared for a cloudburst or three. The same would be triply true for our friends in the United Kingdom, who enjoy glorious summer days, punctuated by scudding clouds shedding rain.

Hence the wedding marquee for hire, or as we would say here, a tent for rent. The key to renting a pavilion or marquee is that you have to make your arrangements in advance, way, way in advance, if you’re hoping to get married on the most popular dates in mid-to-late spring. I would suggest that if you’re doing a June wedding you should plan on contacting the rental company at least a nine months, if not a year, in advance to secure the marquee you need.

The variety of options and configurations a good rental company can provide are amazing. Here’s one with a checkerboard dancefloor:

Marquee with a dance floor.

Most of them can also supply accessories such as chairs, tables, sounds systems, lighting, virtually everything except the food, the band, and the guests. The keys, however, are careful planning and knowing exactly what you’ll need before you start booking tents.

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