New marquee product ideas required

We’re always looking to improve both our products and our product range. The original designs and most of the improvements come from our own marquee hire experience but many key features have come directly from customer feedback.

If you have an idea for a new marquee product or an improvement to an existing product we’d love to hear from you any time but now especially. Around this time of year is when we start planning the products we’re going to put in to testing next year for full scale production the year after.

Anyone who’s been to view the marquees at our factory recently will know we’ve had a prototype new style of marquee up which looks to have passed all testing and should be ready for next year (we may have a demo at the showmans show, not sure as yet).

So if you’ve got an idea or wondering why something doesn’t already existing in the industry doesn’t exist then please let us know. If we agree with you then we’ll start designing a solution along with the latest batch of other ideas and improvements we’ve had.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

The Showmans’s Show 2013

The Showmans Show is again at Newbury and will be held on Wednesday 23rd and Thursday 24th October.

For those of you unaware The Showman’s Show is the one show aimed at marquee hire companies. Any serious supplier to the marquee hire trade will have a stand there and it’s well worth a visit, you can meet specialist companies in marquee hire insurance, furniture, heating, flooring, staging and just about anything else you can fit in a marquee.

New products are usually launched at The Showman’s Show so it’s worth keeping an eye on even if it’s not something you need immediately just knowing what’s going on in the industry can help greatly.

We’ll have our usual stand on Avenue E so do pop in and have a chocolate. (our stand from last year circled below)

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Different top table options in wedding marquees

As a marquee hire company you need to offer your customers choice. One particular decision is what type of top table to use at a wedding. Not only do you need to offer different options but you also need to be able to discuss the pros and cons of each:

Traditional long table:

Usually made up of 3 6ft trestles with seating on one side and positioned on one side of the marquee.

  • Gives a traditional/formal feel to the seating layout
  • Easy for speeches
  • Easy for you to set up
  • Good for photographs with a marquee wall behind
  • Can be difficult to talk to best man/bridesmaid on the ends
  • Difficult to change the seating arrangements from bride, groom, parents, best man and bridesmaid(s)
  • People on the table are facing guests backs if the remaining seating is round tables
  • Space required in marquee: 3x6m

Round table:

Usually a 5ft, 5ft6in or 6ft round table in the middle of all the other round tables

  • Gives a very informal feel to the layout
  • Very social with other guests in all directions
  • Easy to change seating arrangements if circumstances require it (for eg no need to have parents/in-laws on the same table)
  • Not ideal for photographs
  • Not ideal for speeches (often having to walk to one side to make them)
  • Space required in marquee: 3x3m

Oval Table

Usually constructed of several trestle tables with a ‘D’ shape table at each end and positioned at one side of the marquee. Seating is usually in a horse-shoe on 3 sides leaving the front clear

  • more sociable option than a traditional top table (people at the ends are now facing towards the bride & groom)
  • can be formal or informal
  • leaving the front clear makes for good photographs
  • Surface can be uneven with so many tables next to each other on uneven ground
  • Space required in marquee: 3x6m

Remember a popular option is to have the top table on the dance floor. This means that all guests are positioned around the top table and when it is lifted away after the meal everyone is then automatically positioned around the dance floor. It’s best to use the top table for this as the idea is that everyone on it will spend the rest of the evening socialising.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Marquee electrical problem

A good marquee electrical problem was posted on the forum, unfortunately it was lost in a database error just before the forum closed. I think it’s worth posting here not to scaremonger but to reinforce my post of a couple of weeks ago stating you should only tackle electrical tasks you are confident in.

This was originally posted by Dean from the excellent Style marquee:

We work as health and safety advisors to several venues. I recently turned up to one of these venues to find the marquee supplier (not us I should point out) had run the electrics out from a barn. The barn had a 63amp socket, a 32amp socket and one 13amp socket. They had plugged in to the 32amp socket with an adapter down to a 16amp plug then run a mixture of 2.5mm & 1.5mm blue arctic cable leads to the marquee. This was then supplying the lights, bar, DJ and catering equipment (including tea urns and ovens) for the whole marquee.

Dean then went on to explain how he’d replaced all the electrics to make it safe despite it not being his marquee. His actions almost certainly prevented a major incident.

To explain, the main issues with the set up were:

  • The lead was overloaded. There is far far too much electrical equipment going through a lead of that size.
  • A chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link, in this case it’s the 1.5mm cable – that’s where the cable would melt/catch fire when everything in that marquee was turned on
  • Lack of protection. The 32amp socket would be protected by a 32amp trip. Fitting an adapter down to 16amp plugs/sockets/leads means those plugs/sockets/leads are going to get damaged before the trip comes in to play.
  • A very minor point compared to the above is the use of arctic cable. Most of the industry still use it but we recommend best practice is to always use 2.5mm HO7 cable for any 13 or 16amp leads

Possible Solution:

Dean was able to run an electrical supply from the 63amp socket out to a distribution board in the marquee that then safely supplied each element of the marquee. This is the best and safest way of supplying everything required in that marquee.

Unless you work at particular venues or run power from generators regularly you are unlikely to have or be trained in this sort of equipment.

If you turn up to a venue like this (and it is rare, usually venues use the same marquee companies repeatedly) with the power requirements listed above and are not sure how to handle it my recommendation is to get an electrician in to handle the electrics and charge that as a service on your quote. If it’s somewhere you’re likely to work at regularly then you may want to go on a course and buy the required equipment yourself (see our friends at Essential Supplies).

Of course if the only power required is your lights then that’s easy to run the extension lead across to plug in to that single 13amp socket and no electrician is required.

Just don’t try and ‘wing it’. There are many areas of marquee erecting where you can make it up as you go along (eg joining to a building, lining an unusual structure) electrics is not one of them.

In summary:

  • Only tackle electrical tasks that you are very confident in carrying out
  • Always check for power supplies at a site visit so everything can be planned in advance
  • Always confirm the power requirements of everyone involved with the event well in advance to avoid being on site and bombarded with last minute power socket requests
  • Only tackle electrical tasks that you are very confident in carrying out

Thanks for reading

Spencer

 

The Marquee Forum

The marquee forum has sadly had to close. Several people put a lot of energy in to it (especially MalP, Style & CascadeChris) but the take up in the industry just wasn’t enough to justify the work involved in maintaining it.

A facebook group has been set up for marquee companies here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/themarqueeclub/

If you’ve got any marquee related questions pop on to the facebook group, there are some very helpful members who have been there, done it and sold the branded T-shirts.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the forum.

Spencer

Marquee Electrics

Running the electrics usually comes under the marquee mans umbrella. It can be as simple as running an extension lead from the house, it can be complicated enough to justify getting an electrician in to look after the whole project.

The possible power requirements are:

  • Lighting (probably you organising this)
  • Music (DJ or band)
  • Bar (fridges etc)
  • Catering equipment (electrical tea urns and ovens can take a LOT of power)

It is always best practice to find out what electrical requirements there are before you turn up on site, personally I would mention it either at the site visit or in the quotation or both. Something along the lines of :

we will supply the electrical leads from the house for our lighting, if you require any other power in the marquee please notify us before the day of erection (additional charge may apply)

Whether you actually charge for additional power leads is up to you. It can seem a little petty but then running another couple of leads neatly can add another hour or so on to a job.

I strongly strongly recommend that you only tackle electrical tasks that you are confident in. I would also recommend going on an Essential Supplies marquee electrics course that they run out of season to learn best practice.

Running the electrical lead across to the house for our lighting is easy and straight forward. Running another power lead to the house (plug in to a different room) for a band or DJ is easy. If you start to need power for catering then it’s usually a job for a generator or electrician as they require so much power.

If in doubt then drop us a line and we’ll recommend what to do.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Cheap Marquee for sale

We have one of our deluxe marquees listed on an ebay auction with a starting price of 99p (no reserve).

Grab a bargain: 6x12m Deluxe DIY Marquee on ebay

The marquee itself is new and unused but the packaging is a bit scuffed up.

We’re also including a 6x10m second PVC roof. It was returned to us apparently with a small hole which we can’t find so we’re including it in this listing along with some repair PVC just to give flexibility.

Our commercial range exceed the standards of most marquees and party tents available, our deluxe marquees are a step up again in quality so there’s a lot of marquee available for potentially not much money!

Happy bidding

Spencer

Example site visit: Golden Wedding Anniversary part ii

My solution as hinted at in the original post would be to incorporate some of the trees in to the marquee. You have to be very careful they are small enough to do this and be very aware of where the trees would be inside (clearance is much lower at the sides than the middle).

In a clear garden seating for 100 would probably be in two 6x10m marquees or similar. Because of the loss of space to trees you have to go up a size to two 6x12m marquees. Whilst on site you should also measure how big a marquee can fit in without trees inside, a customer may not like the idea of putting a marquee up over their tree and would rather have a smaller party.

In the main trees give a lot of character to a marquee, theming companies often spend a fortune importing such things so why not use what is free and available.

  • Putting fairy lights in trees is very effective, remember to allow for running extension leads (often under the flooring)
  • Flooring around trees is a nightmare, the best option we found is to use marquee carpet so you can cut neatly round with a stanley knife
  • If the tree is slightly too tall then cut the tree back as you’re putting the marquee up so it is cut back only the minimum amount
  • Keep in mind these points on putting marquees up over obstacles

This is a good example of the above:

Marquees over trees

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Happy anniversary us

To the sound of a single party popper, the hurried scoffing of a jam doughnut and cries of ‘get back to work!’ we’re celebrating our anniversary.

Although I’d written about marquees in a few other places previously it was 5 years ago that we decided to put everything in one place and add this blog to our website. It was hoped that amongst all of the marquee drivel that spouted forth people may sieve their own nugget of useful information. It has generally proved very successful and as a result of this and our other advice there are now hundreds more members of the marquee hire community.

30 years ago my parents (the ‘C’ and ‘D’) decided they had best formalise the business they’d been running for the last few years in to a limited company before it grew completely out of control. To give you an idea of my status at this point I knew the ‘D’ stood for Dad but couldn’t work out what the ‘C’ stood for..

Thank you to all of our customers over that time, thank you to all of the staff we’ve had the pleasure of working alongside and especially thank you to the ladies who have been with us throughout the life of the business. These are the ladies who were in charge of me as a kid but who (technically if not practically) I’m in charge of now in one of those strange relationships you get in a second generation family business.

As always thank you for reading, my suggested solution to the previous post will be next week at which point normal service will be resumed.

Spencer

Example site visit: Golden wedding anniversary in a garden with lots of trees

Just to confirm it is not a marquee party to which many trees have been invited, just a lawn with lots of trees in it (that may or may not want to go to a party).

The lawn is covered in large, medium and small trees. To give away how to tackle this problem the large and medium trees are too tall to fit inside a marquee but the small ones can just about fit inside.

Well tended gardens filled with trees and beds are usually owned by the older generation (hence golden wedding anniversary). Family gardens usually have more open spaces.

requirements:

  • Lunchtime meal ideally for 100 but maybe less depending on capacity available
  • No lighting or dance floor required

My suggested solution next week.

Thanks for reading

Spencer