It probably hasn’t escaped your notice, but here, at One Curious Dream, we’re HUGE fans of marquee weddings. Why? Because not only do you have total control of how your wedding day looks and feels, quite often, this style of wedding enables you to choose all of your suppliers and the location of your big day, meaning you really do get to do your day, your way!
If you’re thinking of planning a marquee wedding, it’s important to say from the get-go that there’s so much more work involved and plenty of challenges to overcome! As marquee wedding planning experts, let us share a few tips and advice to get you started with planning your marquee wedding.
Location, location, location
Firstly, you need to consider where you will host your marquee wedding – we’re so spoilt in Norfolk and Suffolk, in particular, where so many beautiful venues will hire their grounds for a marquee wedding. At One Curious Dream, lots of our clients host their marquee wedding at their own homes or on the land of family of friends. This is such a fantastic option as it means you’ll have more time to set up and complete flexibility about how and where your marquee is located. It’s important that you are able to manage expectations with any landowners – a marquee wedding can disrupt daily life with lots of suppliers coming and going so it’s essential that if you are borrowing land, you’ve discussed how this will be managed.
There are some other much simpler considerations too. Firstly, (and yes, we know it sounds obvious!) – level ground is important for erecting your marquee, nobody wants tables and chairs on the wonk because of seriously bumpy grass!
It’s also important to consider where the marquee will be located in relation to other essential elements, such as the loos. Having guests walk a long distance to an external toilet isn’t fun and won’t add anything positive to their experience, especially in bad weather. Having the loos located close by is essential and if there is a bit of a walk, flooring or matting should also be considered.
You’ll need to ensure there are useable access routes for supplier deliveries and collections and ensuring a fresh water supply is available for your caterer (a good old-fashioned hose works just fine!) should be high on your priority list.
Choosing your marquee
Boy oh boy, there are SO many different marquee styles available these days – from traditional tents, yurts, clearspan, stretch tents, etc – the list is almost endless! Firstly, do consider the style of wedding you’re looking to create – if you’re hoping for something rustic and relaxed, a traditional, unlined marquee could work nicely. If you’re hoping for a touch of glamour, an option that allows for draping and lining would be better suited.
As well as the marquee style, you also need to consider the size. At the very least, always ensure that you have enough space to not only accommodate guests for the wedding breakfast, but give plenty of room in case the weather doesn’t quite play ball and welcome or post-ceremony drinks receptions need to take place inside the marquee. Nobody wants to feel squashed so having enough space and going bigger is always going to be better!
It’s also a good idea to include a seating area internally so that guests can gather informally, and again, keep out of the rain if the weather isn’t kind. Sadly, getting married in the UK, even in the height of summer, doesn’t guarantee sunshine so it’s always best to be prepared.
You will likely need to hire a generator to ensure all of the equipment you’ll require can be powered. From ovens and fryers in your kitchen through to lighting and bar fridges in the marquee, you’ll need to compile a list of power requirements and ensure you have sufficient coverage with the generator you hire.
As well as ensuring the catering tent is joined to your marquee where possible, the caterer will also need access to fresh water and power. Generators will quite often cover the power element but water can be a little trickier!
Access for suppliers is key – your marquee provider will likely need access for a large lorry and they’ll need to be as close to where the marquee is being erected as possible. Having a supplier parking area is useful and when scheduling supplier deliveries, do ensure that they are staggered so that suppliers aren’t tripping over one another.
Also, consider the order in which deliveries are made – you’ll need a generator on-site at an early stage (so that lighting can be tested, for example) but also need to ensure you have enough fuel to supply both the setup phase and the actual wedding. Depending on the amount of power being used, you may wish to hire a backup generator just in case.
Think about lighting
One of the joys of a marquee wedding is that it usually takes place in a large open space – this, however, will almost certainly need lighting. Don’t forget that guests may need to find their way to toilet facilities, car park or glamping areas late at night so lighting the way is essential. Lighting can play a really important part in setting the tone and ambience at night, so chat with your wedding planner about the way to do this most effectively.
Marquee weddings usually have an extended build phase – your marquee company will likely complete their installation at least a couple of days before your wedding. From that point onwards, you’ll have a wide variety of suppliers visiting the site, many of whom will be leaving expensive equipment in the marquee. Therefore, it’s worth considering a security provision for the evenings to ensure all of the equipment and belongings are safe.
Finally, marquee weddings come with more logistical challenges than you might think! We would always recommend you purchase wedding insurance to guard against any adverse circumstances that might arise – chances are you’ll never need it, but boy, you’ll be glad you have it should you need it!
Our team of wedding planners are marquee wedding planning specialists – why not get in touch for a chat and to find out how we can help plan the wedding from your wildest dreams?