It is best to think of marquee decoration as but part of the overall look for an event.
Marquees are flexible enough to carry classic styles, romantic styles, functional, funky, vintage... as well as many themed looks.
You need to decide on a style or theme and then pick table centrepieces, flowers and other items to suit. Not simple, but there are a loads of resources on the web to help.
For inspiration, try:
- The American wedding website The Knot. It has lots of photos of tents to look at.
- Corporate marquee ideas are harder to come by. For inspiration try a Google image search for corporate tents inside the exclusive Birdcage at Australia's Melbourne cup. The event is reknown for its opulent corporate marquees.
- The decoration section of our own photo gallery also illustrates lots of decorative ideas.
Hanging things from the roof of marquees – especially leaves – is one of the most popular decorative strategies of the moment.
Foliage is often interwined with strings of fairy lights or larger festoon lighting. There are other options:
- paper lanterns – combined with flowers for this wedding
- ribbons or origami strings (can look surprisingly effective)
- balloons – pirate ships in this pirate themed corporate marquee event)
- novelty items – we have hung bicycles, upturned parasols, wine crates and giant Venetian Carnival masks
- Have a look at our Pinterest board which has lots more hanging decoration ideas
You can also hang things down marquee walls as in the lower photo with sprays of flowers prettily dangling down.
What happened to vintage:
A few years ago, most of the wedding marquees we set up looked a bit like a village fete with bunting featuring heavily and hanging lanterns almost as popular.
Both are still used but nowhere near as much. And the vintage style seems to have evolved away from boho towards a more rustic look with more variation. Popular components include, amongst other things, wooden chairs or limewashed chiavari chairs, rich dark-coloured trestle tables, simple pretty flowers, table runners...
Very popular elements currently are strings of festoon (bigger) or fairy lights (smaller). It's understandable. They create a magical atmosphere as night comes on.
This vintage style wedding marquee has some of the features described above but has a unique overall feel with a hanging leaf canopy with coloured glass bowls dangling through the leaves.
This vintage party marquee takes a historical approach to the vintage look with furniture and bunting designs from the early twentieth century.
Marquees can also be completely or partially blacked out, typically in combination with a starlight ceiling.
The effect is dramatic and fun — and popular for evening parties.
Coloured lighting can enhance the effect by spreading washes of colour across the black.
Walls, windows and poles:
Other marquee specific items to consider include:
- Opening up the walls in summer: drawing back the walls allows the landscape around to be part of your decor while still enjoying the protection of a tent. See this question or this photo for more examples.
- Windows: a similar outdoors effect can be achieved on colder days with lots of windows.
The upper of the two window photos alongside shows Georgian style windows. The lower windows photo shows Panoramic windows which make a whole bay clear so you can enjoy a view unimpeded.
See this photo for another example of lots of Georgian windows. Or this one of a funky party marquee for an unusual use of panoramic windows on a marquee attached to a house.
- Poles: for traditional tents or on open sides of frame marquees, poles provide another opportunity to make a decorative statement. They can be draped with material, or garlanded with flowers, ribbons or what you will.
The photo alongside shows two different ways of decorating poles with flowers in a blacked-out open sided marquee.
See this photo for simple, pretty twirled leaves in a traditional style marquee.
Marquee roofs can be lined, blacked out or transparent. All three types can be decorated with fabric overlays which can be multiple for a striped effect.
The upper photo alongside shows a clear roof with fabric overlays.
The lower photo shows multi-coloured overlays combined with festoon lighting for a bright, cheerful atmosphere.
Bunting or flags in all sorts of fabrics can be strung across or around the roof of a tent (as in the two photos alongside), often as an element of a vintage style design. Bunting can also radiate from the high centre of a traditional style marquee.
Bunting can be custom-made with your choice of fabric, or bought off the shelf. If you are looking for decoration ideas, we maintain a Pinterest board to show some different bunting styles and also some howtos for DIY bunting.
This case study is an elegant example of the shabby chic with custom-made bunting look. This vintage party marquee features unusual bunting hand made from William Morris and Charles Renee Mackintosh designs.
Marquees can be lined, a natural accompaniment to formal or traditionally-styled events. Please see this frequently asked question for a photo showing the difference between lined and unlined marquees.
Marquee lining with decor
County Marquees' standard linings are pleated and ivory-coloured. They are an ideal backdrop for most styles. They can be set off with swags, roof swags, bunting (see below), as well as with lighting effects, theming accessories and bespoke printed linings. We also stock flat ivory linings.
Chill out areas:
Events can be exhausting. And the experience of sharing a table with the same small group of people for hours can feel a little intense.
As a way of helping guests relax for a while, chill out areas have become popular features of long weddings and parties.
Chill out areas can be in a separate small marquee (chinese hat marquees look fun and are the ideal size); or they can be in a more or less screened-off section of the main marquee.
Sofas, soft cube seating and low tables are common furnishings. And different or striking decor is sometimes applied to chill out areas just for fun.
Swags are available in a wide range of colours to suit the overall look of your event.
The photo alongside shows a selection. Ivory for a pretty wedding, red to warm up a winter party, grey for an elegant corporate do and so on.
We can match pelmet colours as well if required.
Flowers, balloons, theming, corporate branding:
Light and leafy
View in gallery
Light and pretty with bunting
View in gallery
View facebook album
Colourful Indian style
View case study
Where to start? For further marquee decoration ideas, see:
- the marquee decoration section of our photo gallery
- or some real life marquee case studies
- we also have more photos to look at on our Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Flickr pages.
Here are a few examples from around the web that we found interesting to set your creative juices flowing:
- One hundred and twenty five examples of wedding marquee decoration!
- Opulent tent with illuminated red roof and dramatic high table centre pieces
- Simple tent roof decoration of grapevines and small paper lanterns
- Crescent Moon offer sumptious marquee decoration. Browse their gallery for ideas.
- Jay & I Services offer fantastic Indian inspired marquee decor ideas including mandap decoration.
Although County Marquees does not stock theme items, flowers etc, we are happy to take on the task of organizing supply, and then integrating them with all the other elements of marquee design to create the look and feel you require.
Or please contact us for advice on your particular requirements.