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Capri Marquee vs Clear Span Marquee – What’s best?

We’re going to meet some resistance here, especially from those with framed marquee hire companies, so I’ll brace myself. The reality is, we’re in a pretty good position to make these assessments. We started out with clear span marquee hire in the early 90’s and ran the clear span marquees until 2010, at which point we decided to sell that side of the business. During this time we successfully completed hundreds of clear span/framed marquee installs, from small garden party’s using Chinese hats (pagodas), to huge corporate events and weddings, covering up to 1000+ guests per week through the summer months.

To add to that, we’ve been entrusted by one of the largest companies in the USA with the European distribution rights for the Capri marquee and have been since the early 90’s. We’ve assisted with the setup of capri marquee hire businesses all over Europe and alongside the distribution, we run our capri marquee hire business (Eureka Hire), covering up to 30 miles from Tunbridge Wells. We’ve installed thousands of capri marquees! Wedding marquee hire, garden party marquees, marquees for film shoots, gazebos for birthday’s – the list is endless.

We’ve been installing marquees for nearly 30 years!

Now before we go any further, let’s be absolutely clear, every marquee structure has its pros and cons, but more often than not, the Capri marquee wins and here’s why.


We’ve lost track of how many times we’ve spoken to a new client, only to hear the words “we just want something different” and “traditional box marquees are so boring”, or words to that extent. The reality is you can create a phenomenal looking clear span marquee, if you have the budget. Split level floors, starlit linings and dance floors, stages, false walls (gable ends), separate hidden areas, plus they have plenty of places to hang decor, flowers etc.

What we’re talking about here often runs into tens of thousands of pounds, which most people just don’t have. If you place two structures, a capri marquee and a clear span marquee next to each other and ask a client to choose, I can almost guarantee 9/10 they will choose Capri marquee hire.


We’ve touched on this already, but for us this is super simple. A Capri marquee can cover 100 guests for £495, including delivery, installation and collection. It can be installed by one man in around 20 minutes, stored in in a 4ft x 4ft space and be transported in the boot of a Peugeot 106. Yes, this really was done in the early days!

A traditional marquee covering the same number of guests is likely to cost at least twice the price and still isn’t going to look anywhere near as aesthetically pleasing as capri marquee hire. To dress the traditional marquee you’ll need to add linings, luxury matting and lighting, increasing that budget once again.

Not only does decorating a clear span marquee increase your budget, but the man power to install them and cost incurred by the marquee hire company to store to equipment. The long part of a clear span can be around 5m in length, which will require an industrial unit. A clear span marquee hire company will need a minimum of 3 people to install its tents and these people need to be paid. The business expenses are stacking up quick, which means your expenses are too!

Installation and Take Down Time

Here’s a scenario we come across regularly. You’re planning the wedding of your dreams, it’s on a Saturday in July, peak wedding season, but the venue have a wedding on the Friday too. You’ve been granted permission to hire a marquee and install it on a nearby lawn, to act as a champagne reception marquee providing shelter from the sun. However, you can’t install it until Saturday morning due to the wedding the night before.

You have 100 guests to cover, which structure will be installed first and with the least amount of fuss? You guessed it, the capri marquee.

We can install a 28ft x 38ft Capri marquee in as little as 20 minutes. A clear span marquee you’re looking at a couple of hours at least and that’s without linings, lighting etc. This makes party tent hire the perfect solution for any time sensitive occasions.


Ok, we’ll give this one to the framed marquee suppliers. When it comes to durability traditional marquees win every time. Clear span marquees are generally rated to winds up to 50mph, where capri marquees are around 35mph. After all, our party tents are essentially a massive sail, which is part of their appeal. Once we reach these wind speeds it’s critical that we take additional measures to ensure you and your guests are safe; this will always remain paramount.

It’s incredibly important that when hiring a capri marquee, or any marquee for that matter, that you use a reputable company for your special occasion. Covid encouraged a huge number of new companies to enter the events industry and with this comes inexperience, lack of knowledge and worst of all, carelessness. Any marquee hire company worth their salt will have a decent history of reviews from an independent service; Google, Feefo etc. Do your research before parting with any of your hard earned cash.

Impact On The Venue

Regularly we receive questions such as, what’s the installation time? Take down time? How many vehicles are arriving to site? Will there be damage to the grounds?

A lot of venues take great care in their lawns and gardens and one question we regularly hear is, will my grass turn yellow if there’s matting down? Not just from venues, but private grounds too. The answer to this is really dependent on how long the matting is installed for and its critical that all grounds are respected. Capri marquees are generally installed on the Friday and taken down on the Monday.

Economic Factors

Yes, this plays a part, now more than ever!

Those who have the budget will still be happy to pay for an extravagant clear span or traditional marquee installs, but over the next 2-3 years the industry is going to take a bit of a hit as the masses think more acutely about how they are going to celebrate. During the financial crisis of 2008, our clear span bookings were noticeably down due to tighter purse strings. As party tent hire is more affordable, it naturally became the preferred choice.


If your dream is to have an extravagant wedding marquee with starlight linings, chandeliers, split level floors and a silver service, then you should absolutely go for it. When great care has gone into the decor of a traditional marquee, and devil is in the detail, they can be spectacular. The downside is that you’ll need a very healthy budget that can and often does run well into 5 figures.

Capri marquee hire provides the perfect solution if you’re looking for an elegant, beautiful marquee hire during the summer months, that isn’t going to break the bank. The elegant, sweeping design of the capri marquee means you don’t need linings and due to the ease of installation and our minimal storage overheads, we can cover 150 guests for dinner and dance for under £2,500 – that’s a quarter of the cost.

We also rarely need longer than 3 hours to install and that is for a large wedding, this leaves you more time to decorate removing huge amounts of pressure. More often than not, we’ve fully installed from start to finish within 90 minutes.

Here are a few pictures from recent weddings and if a rustic wedding is what you’re looking for, where the team for you! Rustic Wedding Blog

Thanks for being here,



Simon Reddy

Author Simon Reddy

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