Regulars to my blog may already know that I have a passion to marquee style weddings and parties. Probably due to my location on the North Essex/Suffolk borders. I suspect the reason I especially love marquees is due to the fact the client and I are in total control, we can transform the look of the marquee depending on my clients theme. I love the logistics involved in, its like a puzzle that needs solving. If you are having a marquee wedding don’t underestimate the amount of work involved not only in the organisation but in the actual set up as well. It’s a much greater challenge than a hotel or venue because you have to organise everything from scratch, with no professional to guide you along the way. If this is not something you want to undertake talk to us about how we can help you.
Things to consider before meeting marquee companies
What style marquee you prefer, framed, traditional, tipis or perhaps clear roofed marquees? Will you want windows and doors or completely open on one side? What type of flooring would you prefer? The ideal solution is a hard floor on its own or with carpet/Hessian on the top, this provides a solid and even surface for guests to walk on. Do you prefer round tables or long banqueting tables? Do you have a feature in the garden you want to incorporate? For example perhaps you have a tree, pond or flower border that is in the area of the proposed marquee?
Don’t forget the practical solutions you need to organise like mobile toilets, a generator, a skip, a catering annexe and an area where guests can park. Think about lighting the way to the toilets and car park, and perhaps laying stepping stones across the grass. Alternatively house the toilet in a marquee attached to the main marquee, you could also create a vanity/grooming area. Check with all suppliers how much power they need to ensure you hire the right size generator. Who will run all the cabling for you and will these be laid down safely?
I’m assuming you will want the drink reception in the garden grounds but what if it rains? Think about a contingency plan whether you hire an additional tent or hold the reception in the marquee on the dance floor if uncovered. If space and budget is not an issue then you can have a special lounge area in the marquee with a partition to the wedding breakfast, this is then unveiled at the special moment
Love thy neighbour
Ensure the neighbours are aware of the wedding and anticipated noise. If they are not invited then why not pay for a night away for them? That way you should reduce any requests for music to be turned down, well worth the £100-200 it will cost you.
Do you have sufficient parking? If parking is in a nearby field then provide a solid walkway for guests in case it is raining, walking across a sodden field in heels is not much fun. Ensure there is good signage so people know where to park. And don’t forget lighting, people need to ‘find’ the carpark at night! If you do not have the parking on site then is there a nearby public carpark guests can use?
Seriously think about having a planner to assist with the planning or at least project manage the wedding day for you. Venues have banqueting managers to deal with problems but you will have no-one. A planner can decorate the venue, take delivery of goods plus manage the day itself so if any challenges occur they are dealt with in a professional manner leaving you to relax and party.
When hiring certain suppliers think about the access available to them. A classic mistake is only measuring the width of vehicles but not thinking about the swing needed, this is especially true of mobile toilets and generators.
If access if narrow and deliveries have to be scheduled in, make sure suppliers know the relevant time slot they can deliver and explain any difficulties with the access available.
Back of House
Think about where suppliers can park, many will need to be near to the marquee for unloading and easy access. Is there an area at the back of the marquee, unseen, but suitable for some cars/vans to be parked? You many have a number of suppliers that require a changing room and an area to eat. Is there such a building nearby, like a stable block or summerhouse for example? If not, ask your marquee company to build a staff room/changing room for you.
A practical tip I have is to make up a cleaning basket ready for spills or messes. Give to your wedding planner or caterer so they are prepared for any accidents that occur. Think about having some cleaners the morning after to assist with the inevitable mess.
Is there a room in the house that can be locked? If so use this for valuables and wedding presents, give the key to your planner or bridesmaid. If the marquee will be unattended before the wedding, for example if it is on premises no-one lives at then seriously consider hiring a security guard, this is not the time for all your hard work to be spoilt by a local thief.
I use an amazing company for most of my marquee events, so from the practical to mood enhancing it might be an idea to hire a specialist or ask your marquee company what they can provide.
Don’t forget to light up pathways to key areas at night like the exit, car park but also if you have a hog roast outside don’t forget that will need light. I’ve lost count of the number of times the hog roast has been trying to operate outside with just a few candles as the exterior lighting has been forgotten.
Check with your caterers what size catering tent they need to service your wedding proficiently. Ensure your caterers have access to fresh water, this can be simply an extendable hose into the catering tent. Reiterate to the caterers that all wastage, including water from the urn should be taken off site and disposed of, otherwise you may be looking at a hefty bill for damage to the lawn.
I always produce a schedule for my clients so they know what is being delivered or collected and on what day. Think about the logistics, for example furniture cannt be delivered until the flooring has been completed. The lighting will want to have clear access before table decorations are in place. As a rule of thumb my marquees are put up on a Wednesday leaving the Thursday for lighting and marquee lining. Friday is for lounge furniture, linen, flowers and bar structure.
If you would help with your marquee event it would be my pleasure to assist you. I’m an event planner in Essex who organises events all over East Anglia. Pop on over to my website for images of past events along with a guideline on the services I can offer.