So you’ve set your wedding date, booked the church and now your attention turns to a venue, you are thinking of a marquee for your wedding but you are just not sure you can organise and co-ordinate it or even if it’s the right choice? Let us help guide you through how to plan the perfect marquee wedding.
A marquee venue has so many advantages over a more traditional hotel venue, it will allow you to be more flexible with your numbers especially if you have a larger number of guests you’d like to invite, you are unrestricted by hotel regulations so can party into the night if you so wish. Remember by choosing a marquee venue you are creating a magical and bespoke venue, something you can truly stamp your personalities on.
To begin I would create 2 spreadsheets or lists, one for costings and one to list all the wedding suppliers involved with their contact numbers on, being organised from the start will make the whole process so much easier and less stressful. You may want to consider an on the day wedding co-ordinator who will be there on your wedding day, ensuring everything from the florist to the caterers turn up and keep the day on track, although an added expense it can easily be covered from the savings you’ve made by choosing a marquee wedding.
Ask to attend a site visit with your marquee company, they are the experts and can discuss the way it will face to maximize spectacular views, they can advise you on access and suggest car parking for your guests.
The basic items you will need to think about for your marquee is a generator, lighting, heating, tables, chairs and flooring. We would always advise flooring as you just never know what the great British weather will throw at you, coir or coconut matting is the most used option. Your marquee company will be able to help and advise you on all of these, ask them for a quote, they will often do a package price if you are hiring the marquee from them.
One of the biggest advantages of a marquee wedding is you have a free hand in your choice of catering, many hotels insist they do the wedding breakfast as well as an evening buffet, some even insist on doing the cake. Bringing in your own caterer’s will save you a lot of money, and give you the freedom to do exactly what you want, of course you can still have a traditional wedding breakfast but so many other options are open to you, such as a hog roast, BBQ, an afternoon tea serving sandwiches and delicious cake, or how about hiring a pizza van, Paella company or fish and chip van, you’d certainly be popular with your guests. Look at different catering options, find out how much they charge and what their requirements are, such as a catering tent, electrical requirements etc. Also find out if they can supply linen, crockery and glasses, if they don’t they may recommend a company they regularly use.
Are you using the marquee in a garden or on private land? You can provide alcohol for your guests but do check licensing laws to see if you can sell alcohol, if you are hiring a bar they will sort this out for you, or you could consider a free bar, many local breweries sell kegs of beer at a very reasonable price.
Toilets are very important and something often given little thought, if your marquee is in a purpose built wedding venue there may already be toilets there but if not an old fashioned port-a-loo just doesn’t cut the mustard. There are many companies who offer luxury toilets which are clean and spacious.
Once all the basics are in place it’s time to turn your attention to the pretty stuff and extras, such as decoration. Where do you start with turning a huge space into your dream venue, first of all decide on a colour scheme and theme, this will be the basis on which the décor will be based on.
Talk to your florist and local venue styling companies, they often supply all the little added extras such as chair covers, centre pieces, bunting, drapes, post boxes and so much more.
A marquee venue really lends itself to something a little bit different, a sweet cart or ice-cream bicycle might be a lovely touch for your guests.
When discussing your cake with your cake maker, the location of the cake may influence the design, certain cakes don’t fare well in the direct sun light.
Chat to your transport company to check they are happy with the access to your venue, maybe driving over a field could cause them problems?
For photographic purposes, it might be a good idea to visit the site with your photographer, he can check out good spots for those all-important stunning photos.
As for entertainment there are no restrictions in a marquee, a live band is a very popular choice for evening entertainment, but for the day time how about a barber shop group, 50’s style singers, or a musician. Think also about the outside space, village fete style games like a coconut shy could be lots of fun or how about something to keep the children amused such a lawn games or a bouncy castle.
Finally, how about ending your perfect day and hire bell tents for you and your guests for a spot of glamping. You won’t need to worry about transport home on the wedding night and can wake up in the company of all those people who have shared your special day.