This week, I thought I'd distract you from the snowy weather outside with tips on choosing a marquee for your summer wedding. Inspired by a long chat with Bill Preston, who has 46 years of experience in the industry, I've put his helpful hints into a short snappy list so you run through them and find your dream marquee.
He really knows his stuff, and it was thanks to his guidance that my cousin, Harriet (who got married last year) had a marquee that matched her heart's desire, and wowed all the guests - me included. So listen up - these tips are for you..

First things first, sit down and decide on the following:
1) number of guests
2) the reception format (e.g. sit down dinner or buffet? band or disco?)
3) the site for the marquee
This will help the marquee company determine the right structure for you.

Get quotes from 2 or 3 different companies, but for a true price comparison make sure they are all quoting for marquees with a similar specification.

Marquee company recommendations from friends are a safe bet, but it's also worth asking your caterer. While most marquee hirers won't be there on the day, the caterer will and it's in their best interests to have a marquee of the correct size with a workable layout. It's likely they will have worked with different hire companies in the past, so will know which have high standards.

Choose a company that has lots of marquees in different sizes to suit all spaces. You need a marquee to suit your space and guests, not one to suit the marquee company because that's the only one he has available the date of your wedding.

For peace of mind, ask your marquee company whether they're a member of the trade association MUTA. If so, they will be subject to regular inspection of their premises, stock, working practices and training.

For top marquee hire companies, check out our online Address Book.