We love a magical marquee wedding! Top tips for capturing a creative, innovative and truly beautiful best day of your life… in a tent!
If you are planning a wedding celebration but would like more flexibility than a traditional hotel venue can offer, a marvellous marquee wedding may be the perfect solution. Top quality wedding marquees come in an array of styles and sizes and are endlessly customisable to fit the theme of your nuptials and the personality of the bride and groom. A far cry from getting married in a tent, you’ll be on Cloud Nine in your Canvas Castle, celebrating your Big Day in the Big Top!
Of course, before you can set foot in your fabulous wedding marquee, you need to create the magic first, and this is going to take some organising. Guest contributor Dakota Murphey provides you with a rundown on the main things to think about…
Choose your marquee
Take a look at the vast choice of marquees available before you make a decision. Would you prefer a sturdy and spacious framed marquee, or a traditional design with a pole in the centre? What about rustic yet chic alternatives such as yurts or bell tents?
Whether you choose a standard white marquee as a traditional wedding tent, an ornately decorated Moghul Marquee or a clear roofed canvas structure so you can gaze at the night-time stars, you’ll also need to decide if you would like windows and doors, or have the marquee open on one side.
When choosing the best location, bear in mind that you need grounds or a private garden that’s more than big enough to accommodate your marquee and any ancillary requirements such as a catering tent, toilet facilities and perhaps parking too. Is there a specific garden feature you wish to incorporate into the venue design, such as a tree or a pond?
Don’t forget to calculate the time (and skill!) it takes to assemble, decorate and disassemble the wedding marquee, or get professional help. You should draw up a detailed schedule to be followed for the logistics of setting up the marquee. Think about it – you don’t want the furniture to arrive before the marquee has been assembled and the floor installed, while lighting needs to be put in before table decorations. As a general rule, put up the marquee on Wednesday, lighting and marquee lining on Thursday, furniture, table decorations and bar on Friday for a Saturday event.
Think about proper flooring
What sort of flooring do you prefer? Many of your guests, including the bride, will be wearing heels, so solid flooring is a must. You don’t want anyone sinking into muddy grass! The ideal solution is a hard floor, either on its own or covered with carpet or Hessian so your guests have a solid floor to walk and dance on. Whether you choose round tables or long banqueting tables, level flooring is essential for tables and chairs to stay flat.
In addition to creating a magical marquee venue for celebrating, it’s important not to neglect the less glamorous practical side of things – the generator, mobile toilets, a skip and refuse facilities, a catering area and, of course, parking for everyone.
Electricity will be needed for lighting, heating, and also for the sound system and catering. Will the venue be able to provide power to your marquee including all the cabling and will these be laid down safely? If you need to organise your own generator, check with all your suppliers as to their electricity needs so that the right size generator can be obtained.
The car park, toilets and exit should be clearly signposted and paths properly illuminated, particularly when it’s dark. Marquees can overheat in the middle of the day and get chilly at night. Who is providing heaters or air conditioning?
Unless there are indoor toilets available in the venue, or your home, you will need to organise mobile toilet facilities. Alternatively, the toilet block could be housed in an annexe attached to the main marquee, where a vanity/grooming area could also be created.
It is safe to assume that most guests will arrive by car, especially if you’re planning a countryside wedding. Providing adequate parking nearby is essential. If there is a field for parking, make sure that there is good signage and lighting, so everyone can find the car park, particularly at night! Alternatively, perhaps there’s a public car park nearby that your guests can use?
Ideally, there should be a room in the house that can be locked, where valuables and wedding gifts can be stored safely. Nominate a keyholder to take responsibility for the contents. If the marquee is unattended before the wedding reception, it’s a good idea to hire a security guard just to make sure there is no chance of a nasty surprise when the wedding party arrives.
Unless there is a large indoor kitchen that can be used by the catering company, you need to provide a suitable catering tent, complete with access to fresh water, cooking and chilling facilities. Be very clear about what happens to all waste. Will the caterers take all the rubbish with them or are refuse facilities provided on site?
Organising a marquee wedding means a lot of different suppliers arriving, delivering, assembling… all taking up space near the marquee. Think about access and parking for them. Is there an area at the back where cars or vans can park? Will vans or lorries be able to deliver? Do you need to schedule deliveries so there are no bottlenecks?
If your entertainers need a changing room or a place to eat, is there a building nearby that can be used or will you need to create an annexe to the main marquee for this?
If you are hosting the wedding at home or at a venue with nearby neighbours, make sure you keep them onside! By inviting them to the party (or alternatively paying for them to spend a night away), you will minimise any complaints on account of loud music!
Some excellent food for thought here… our thanks to Dakota for these top tips!