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How to heat your marquee / outdoor event

Date posted: 15 January 2015

Event planning can be a very time-consuming and potentially stressful task, and incorporating adequate heating is just one of the many major considerations.

For functions such as weddings and other large gatherings, however, where the comfort of guests is paramount, it is absolutely vital to take heating solutions seriously.

Creating a comfortable environment

With our unpredictable British climate outdoor temperatures can drop uncomfortably low even in the summer, so if you are organising an outdoor or marquee-based event you will need to do your homework to ensure you can keep all your guests comfortable. Your chosen heating solution will need to be one that is designed to warm up the necessary amount of space, or you may need to hire several units to position in different places to provide enough warmth.

Choosing a practical solution

Another key consideration is the safety of your guests. Some heaters are impractical and some just plain dangerous if they are used in high traffic areas, or any other locations where guests will be gathering.

Cabinet heaters, halogen heaters, and other types of infra-red heaters without a fan are unlikely to offer enough heat to cater for larger marquees.

Usually, several smaller heaters are more effective than a single large unit. You can then dot the heaters around the area to help create a more even temperature across the whole marquee. Aim one heater in the direction of the marquee's entrance to keep out cold air.

Marquee heating

  • Space heaters or LPG blowers are very popular marquee heating solutions and readily available for hire. They produce heat quickly and have powerful fans to ensure the warmth is well-distributed. Available in various sizes to cater for different sizes of marquee, they are usually portable and simply run on gas bottles.
  • Ducted heaters offer a more expensive alternative, also running on gas but with the option to position them outside the marquee and duct the air in. Those fitted with a thermostat enable you to set the desired temperature and then leave them to do the work of reaching that and simply maintaining it.
  • Another option is an indirect diesel or oil-fired heaters which will offer a good volume of heat without producing fumes. Again these are usually located outside the marquee with the warm air ducted inside.

Outdoor heating

Mains power may not be readily available or even an option when you are hosting an event outdoors, particularly in more remote locations such as a field. As a result, you will need to either rent temporary power (in the form of a generator) or use heaters that can be run on other portable fuel such as gas. If your event is outdoors rather than in a marquee, you could consider the following options:

  • Multiple patio heaters dotted around the area where guests are gathering. These usually run on gas and are best suited to smaller events where guests are gathering in a relatively small outdoor area such as on decking or a patio.
  • Powerful indirect oil-fired heaters, as described above for marquee heating, which will offer effective and efficient heating – although for safety purposes these would need to be placed at a reasonable distance from where guests are situated.


You will need to plan ahead a little when it comes to heating a marquee and test out your heating solution a number of days before your event at a similar time of day that the function will take place. This gives you the opportunity to make sure you have adequate heating to warm the entire space, and hire additional units if not. It also gives you the chance to decide what time to switch on the heaters before the event starts so that the marquee has reached a comfortable temperature by the time guests how up. This is particularly important in colder months when it could take a significant amount of time (e.g. one hour or more) to warm up the space.

In the spring or summer heating may only be necessary when temperature fall later in the day, and you may find you do not need them at all – but it is good to have them as an option on standby!

To view our range of heaters for hire please visit Best at hire, your national tool hire supplier. Next day national delivery is available.

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