I love a marquee wedding! There are so many benefits to having one. They offer complete flexibility. You can tailor them to your specific requirements and numbers and they create the most beautiful setting for a summer garden wedding. However, there is a lot to consider if you’re thinking of opting for one for your wedding. So, that’s why I thought I’d share 10 things to consider if you’re having a marquee wedding.
It’s important that you consider the land your marquee will be placed on. Your marquee company will want to conduct a site visit to make sure the ground is suitable and there is sufficient space for your numbers and requirements. The ground will need to be level and if possible, well-draining. The grass will need to be cut a couple of days prior to your marquee being erected to make sure the ground underneath isn’t spongy or uneven.
It is also important to consider how your suppliers will gain access to the site. Your marquee company, toilet provider, caterer and bar company will need to be able to drive onto the site to offload their equipment. If there is heavy rainfall on the run up to your wedding, then it will be key to discuss how this may affect set up and pack down.
When it comes to choosing the right structure for your celebration it comes down to a few different elements – ground type (e.g. grass, gravel, tarmac), your guest numbers, aesthetics, and the season. It’s important you do your research, so you understand the practicalities of each one. The ones you may be most familiar with are – pole tents, frame tents and stretch tents. It’s important you choose the right structure for your day and requirements, so don’t be afraid to approach marquee companies to discuss this further before deciding.
Where will guests and suppliers park on the day and how may cars can you accommodate? Can they gain access 24/7 or is this limited to certain times? Your suppliers will also need to be able to drive up to your marquee to unload their equipment so it’s important you’re mindful of this too.
You will also need to make sure this is well lit!
4. Furniture & Styling
Now it’s important to consider what the inside of your marquee will look like and the functionality of the space available. I like to think of a marquee as one continuous space divided into 3 sections.
Section 1 – Your dining area, normally where your wedding breakfast will take place. This typically consists of long or round tables or a combination of the two.
Section 2 – Your bar area. The position and style of your bar will normally be dependent on the style and size of your structure and guest number. This acts as your reception area which will normally have enough space for guests to grab a drink at the bar and dependant on space you might also have some lounge seating or poser tables.
Section 3 – Then there’s your dancefloor and in some cases your stage. This is normally where you’ll spend the evening partying the night away.
Your marquee company and wedding planner can help you to establish what you can do to maximise the space available. Some couples even look to create multiple spaces or ‘rooms’ with additional or connecting marquees/structures, however this will all come down to your budget and what you are wanting to achieve with the space you have available.
*If you are having an outside ceremony, you will also need to consider what your plan B will be if it is wet weather. Some couples choose to have an additional structure erected just in case (which can then be turned around and re-used in the evening) with others deciding to use their main structure and set up in the reception/dancefloor area. Every wedding is different, so this is something best discussed directly with your marquee company and wedding planner.*
Please don’t forget the toilets! This is something which slips couples minds. It may be that you already have toilets onsite, but if not, this is something you will need to hire. There are a few different options available including port-a-loos, urinal blocks and trailers. All offer different features at varying price points.
You will need to consider if they require electricity and water and where they are going to be positioned in relation to your marquee. My tip would be to make sure these are kept out of sight, round the back of your marquee would be ideal. It’s also worth noting that if they are positioned on grass you might want to run some matting to them in case of wet weather. You will also need to make sure these have adequate lighting too.
6. Power & Water Access
Make sure you are aware of your supplier’s power and water requirements. This can drastically affect the service they are able to provide. Make sure to liaise your supplier’s requirements with your marquee company and wedding planner. That way they can make sure this is distributed correctly during set up.
You will most likely need to provide a catering area which is attached to your marquee. This is normally done in the form of a catering tent (your caterer will be able to advise how big this will need to be). You will also be required to provide trestle tables and lighting for in here too.
This is an absolute must, so don’t think you can save a few pennies by not including one.
The first question to ask yourself is who is providing the drink (alcohol and soft) for your wedding? Are you hiring in a bar company to do this or are you providing your own?
If you’re providing your own then you will need to look at hiring a bar and staff who can chill and serve this on the day.
If you aren’t providing the drinks yourselves then you will need to hire in a team who can provide everything you need.
There are so many beautiful lighting options from Edison bulbs to festoons and fairy lights. The options are endless, so speak directly to your marquee company who will be able to advise further.
It’s also important to consider what else may require lighting e.g. your toilet facilities, the car park etc. It will most likely be dark when guests leave, so it is important to consider how they will make their way offsite safely.
10. Wet Weather
My advice would be to always have a backup plan! You never know what is going to happen weather wise so being prepared for all eventualities is key. It could be that you need extra matting running from the car park to the marquee. Or that you need to have a backup plan for your outdoor ceremony and drinks reception.
Having a plan B results in a lot less stress and panic on the lead up to your wedding. If you’re unsure on your plan B then get in touch, I’d be happy to discuss this with you further.
I hope these 10 tips have helped you to make sure nothing gets missed when planning your marquee wedding. If you’re still a bit unsure or want to double check you have everything accounted for then get in touch. I’d love to hear all about your marquee wedding.