With the gorgeous weather we’ve been enjoying of late and the associated alfresco living we’ve been allowed, I anticipate quite a boom in ‘marquee in the garden’ weddings, and understandably so. Home-based marquee weddings are so incredibly personal and always beautiful, but they involve a lot of planning and work as you’re building a venue from scratch. Before you start designing your very personal blank canvas, this marquee wedding checklist will set you on the right path and help you stay on the right side of sane!
Think not only of where you’ll be dining and dancing when considering your marquee, but also areas you might need to use for other parts of the day, be it your ceremony or drinks reception. In an ideal world you will probably want to be outdoors, but with large numbers you can’t leave having no cover to chance. Think about simple Capri Marquees or Chinese hats which can be put up quickly, to complement your larger and more sturdy main marquee.
Your caterers will need somewhere good to cook and plate up, and typically a kitchen marquee is built onto the back of the main one. Consult your wedding caterer as to how much space they need; don’t just go with what the marquee company suggests as it could be too small for the realities of your menu.
Storage and Back of House
You may need space for a sound/lighting desk behind the scenes, and/or perhaps a small area for band changing facilities and suppliers to eat.
With a marquee wedding it’s important to think very carefully about floral styles. Even if you are opting for hard wooden flooring you are unlikely to have a totally flat surface, so tall flower arrangements are liable to topple; think about sturdiness! Also, too much white in a marquee can get lost.
I’m always talking about the virtues of good wedding lighting, and it’s so very important in marquees. You have a blank canvas which needs character, and coloured up-lighting is so very effective in adding warmth and, later on, a party atmosphere.
Look carefully at the different toilet options out there for your marquee wedding. You might be very disappointed if you end up with festival style toilets from your marquee company if you had posh loos in mind. There are lots of companies who provide some stunning temporary toilet blocks now which can be built within the marquee structure if needed.
Pathways and Parking
Think about the guests’ journeys from their cars to the different areas of the marquee. Even in dry weather some matting might be useful to mark out pathways (and you can dress with lanterns for a beautiful effect). Certainly in rain you need to think very carefully about covering grassy areas with matting or, if budget permits, using trakway on very high use parking areas.
Book a generator for your power requirements. I find that all my weddings require a fair amount of power these days, whether it’s the kitchen requirements, lighting and sound, or the band and/or DJ. Check power requirements from all the relevant suppliers and make sure the generator ordered is large enough, with a back up option.
Look closely at all the furniture requirements you need for a marquee wedding. You’re bound to remember your dining tables, but don’t forget you’ll need tables for a buffet, gifts, guest book, your cake, the DJ to use, and possibly a whole range of other uses, depending on your choices. Unlike in a venue where there is often some spare furniture around, you need to ensure it’s all there and ordered, with appropriate linen too.
Finally, don’t forget that good communication is the key to it all. Consult with your wedding suppliers and get their advice in pulling together your plans.
Guest post by Kelly Chandler
Marquee Wedding Styling: Pippa Mackenzie Photography
Marquee Lit Up at Night: Tom Biddle Design and Photography
Car Park: James Griffiths Photography