Marquees Vs Gazebos

There are now several different types of outdoor temporary structures and shelters available on the market, each with different styles, sizes, frame-types, purposes, and users. We’re talking Dome Tents, Stretch Tents, Bell Tents, Pagodas, Yurts, Awnings, Party Tents, Modular Marquees, Classic Marquees, and Pop-Up Gazebos, plus various others.

Each type of tent has its purpose, with Dome Tents, Yurts and Bell Tents gaining big traction with the rising popularity of Glamping, and unique garden structures to rival the classic garden shed or summer house. Stretch Tents and Pagodas are growing in popularity with hospitality venues and wedding planners. However, all of these will have to go some way to displacing Party Tents, Classic Marquees, and Pop-Up Gazebos from their perch as undoubtedly the most popular style of outdoor structure for temporary uses.

What's the difference between Marquees and Gazebos?

For almost 25 years, Gala Tent has supplied affordable luxury in the Original PE and Elite PVC marquee ranges. For almost 20 years, Gala Tent has supplied pop-up gazebos of different strengths, so it’s fair to say we know a thing or two about them!

Some of the big questions we are asked by customers when they call up to discuss their needs, is what is the difference between them? What makes one tent more suited to a job than the other? What benefits does a marquee have over a gazebo, and vice versa? So, here’s our definitive guide to the key differences between marquees and pop-up gazebos.

What is a Marquee?

A marquee is a luxurious, large structure that can be used for several purposes. Usually manufactured using a strong steel or aluminium framework, with a high apex along the centre of the roof. On this frame will often be robust covers made of Polyethylene, PVC, or occasionally a coated polyester canvas. There will be walls along the side, and doors at each end, although many users will create additional door sections by removing individual sidewalls.

Large marquees are most commonly seen at big-scale events where cover is needed for plenty of guests, such as weddings, festivals, or Christmas fairs. They have also become a key part of the British vocabulary due to the popularity of The Great British Bake-Off, and consumers have taken to purchasing smaller marquees, also known as Party Tents, to indulge in their own cookery contests amongst friends.

The very largest marquees available are known as Modular, or Clearspan Marquees, and will cover hundreds of guests. They are used at events such as Beer Festivals and Corporate functions such as awards ceremonies. Modular Marquees differ from classic marquees in that each section of the tent is set in sections, including the frame and the canopy. This allows the user to extend or reduce the size of the structure to suit the purpose, by removing a module from the tent, hence the name Modular.

Marquees in use

Marquees often require plenty of time to erect them, depending on the size, due to the beams-and-joints nature of their structure. A large 6m x 12m marquee, for example, will take approximately 150 minutes to erect, with a team of 6 required to safely lift the roof section onto the legs. In contrast, a 4m x 6m party tent may require only 3 people to erect it within 60 minutes. Due to their industrial strength framework and up to 9 metres of width, Modular Marquees tend to require professional assistance to erect safely.

Because of their large open plan interiors and luxury setting, users will opt to “complete” a marquee, using flooring to the protect the feet of their guests, satin lining in the roof section to make the tent feel more enclosed and elegant, and will often use safe outdoor heating and lighting to ensure the structure can be used throughout the day, night, and any time of the year. Then, depending on the use, they may furnish the structure with tables, chairs, and even a bar or food servery equipment, to ensure the tent can fulfil every need that an internal setting - such as a hotel function room - can offer.

Marquees are most popular with:

• Customers who operate event hiring businesses

• Wedding planners

• Scouting and Girl Guide groups

• Schools and educational organisations

• Festival operators

• Hospitality Businesses

Popular Marquee Accessories

What is a Gazebo?

A gazebo is a one-piece rapid-deployment structure that can offer shelter and shade in a matter of minutes.

They are used for countless applications, including as trading tents at outdoor markets, festivals and other outdoor communal events. They are equally very popular with street food vendors, motorsport teams, mobile valeters and dent removal experts, first aid providers, and by the police at crime scene investigations.

Cheap, disposable gazebos may be made using plastic poles and joints that fit together in a similar fashion to a marquee, with thin covers, but the majority are manufactured using either robust steel or aluminium. Occasionally the gazebo covers will be made using a PVC, although it is far more common to see them with canopies and sidewalls made from PVC-coated polyester, the quality of which will be measured in denier (the higher, the better).

In contrast to the multiple-parts nature of the marquee, a good quality gazebo tends to be a single unit structure that can be “popped-up” quickly, by one or two people, depending on the size. Their components will be connected by aluminium or nylon joints, and the structure is able to seamlessly expand in a concertina action, due to the scissor-like truss bars that make up the roof section of the tent.

Gazebos in use

Gazebos are usually much smaller than a commercial scale marquee, with the most common gazebo being 3m x 3m, 3m x 4.5m, or 3m x 6m, although improvements in material quality and market demand has seen larger sizes make an appearance, with pop-up gazebos now available as large as 4m x 8m.

A big difference between marquees and gazebos is that the covers of the latter can be customised according to the users’ needs, whether a simple logo on the roof canopy to promote the business beneath it, or a fully bespoke printing job that ties in with the brand guidelines. There are two ways in which a branded gazebo might be printed; vinyl printing and dye-sublimation.

Vinyl printing takes the stock covers of the gazebo and artwork is heat-pressed onto them wherever is required. This is usually the fastest and most cost-effective method of gazebo customisation. Dye sublimation is slightly more complex, and PVC-coated polyester materials will be first printed, then cut and tailored to fit the framework. Whilst it is often the more expensive method, it allows for far greater branding and customisation.

Accessories that a user might add to a gazebo include trade tables, flooring, flags, and even half-walls at the front of the tent that create an effective serving hatch and discourage customers from entering the structure.

Gazebos are incredibly popular with consumers for home and garden use, as they provide quick shelter from the sun or rain, and can be erected or packed away much more quickly than a party tent.

Gazebos are most popular with:

• Market and Outdoor Traders

• Street Food Caterers

• Motorsport Teams

• Outdoor Labourers

• First Aid Providers

• Mobile Vehicle Correction Experts

Popular Gazebo Accessories


What is the difference between Gazebos and Marquees?

Simply put, gazebos are easier and faster to erect, and better suited to businesses that require branding to promote who they are and what they do. They tend to be easier to store and transport in one piece in a storage bag. They are ideal for sole traders and small teams to erect safely, and can be packed away in minutes.

Marquees are suited for customers who require a larger structure that has a touch of elegance and class, whether for home or commercial purposes. They do require more people and time to erect them, and also to dismantle safely. However, marquees tend to be much cheaper in terms of cost per m², so can be the structure of choice for users on a budget.

If you’re still not sure which of the tents supplied by Gala Tent is best suited to your needs then our team is only a phone call away, on 01709 242454. Our experts are blessed with almost twenty five years of experience in our products, and will work with you to understand what you’re doing, and provide honest advice as to which tent you need. Alternatively, why not request a call back from our team by completing the form below?

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