The chances are this is something you will never have done before, not only planning a wedding, but planning a marquee wedding! Planning a marquee wedding can be quite a daunting prospect and there are definitely lots more things to consider than if you hire a traditional venue, like a hotel. I have condensed my experience and advice into ten handy pointers below to give you a handy checklist of how to plan your marquee wedding:
Pick your marquee style.
There are loads of different types of marquees, this blog will help you work out which one might be the best option for you. You will need to think about a rough guest number and the location of your marquee. Your marquee company will be able to provide a free of charge site visit to help you with the finer details and to advise you on the best location.
Find out what your caterer needs in their catering kitchen.
Most catering companies will not bring all their equipment and although they may have done some of the prep work in their own kitchen they will still need to do a certain amount on site. Find out how big they need it to be. Always add a carpet, an overhead light and some exterior lighting so they can find their way in the dark! Your marquee company will be able to provide these items. Your caterers will need trestle tables or metal catering tables to work on. You will need to consider things like fridges, ovens, hot cupboards, deep fat fryers, dustbins, oven trays and so on but your catering team will help you and most of these items will be available to hire from the hire company who are providing your tableware.
Once you know what catering equipment you will be having and roughly how you want your day to run, you can think about your power source. The chances are you will need a generator which in most cases your marquee company can provide. Once you have all your suppliers booked you can then confirm exactly what power will be needed and the location and size of sockets in your marquee.
You will need portable toilets which will need a 13 amp power supply. Access for this is usually fairly straightforward, they are delivered on the back of a 4×4 vehicle. Quite often you can source these through your marquee company.
Your catering team will require access to fresh drinking water. Each catering team has their own preferences for this, but sometimes an outside tap with a new hose pipe can suffice, alternatively you can hire in water from a supply company.
Once you know you have you basics in place you can begin to recruit the rest of your wedding team. Always make it clear that you are holding a marquee wedding so that your suppliers are aware – there can be different logistical plans which need considering with a marquee so it is good to forewarn them.
Think about the interior layout of your marquee.
You may decide to have an entrance area, a cloakroom, a greenroom, a bar area, dance-floor, casual seating area, a location for your cake and obviously enough space for your wedding breakfast guests to sit. You may wish to think about your wet weather plan at this point because you may need to plan some inside space for guests to stand in if it rains during your drinks reception. Here is more information about planning for a wet wedding.
Create your style!
Get creative and design the space. Think about investing in one focal point if budget is a concern – it’s better to put money into one show stopping, eye-catching display rather than spreading it out over more smaller displays. This could be florals, prop hire or lighting. This blog goes through styling your wedding marquee in more detail. Don’t forget to design your marquee and your ceremony location so that there is a consistency between the two. This is even more important if guests are travelling between the two locations (ie you aren’t all on one site) because you don’t want your day to feel too disjointed.
What drinks will you be offering your guests and which options fit with your budget? Your lowest cost option will be to hire in a bar company to take care of this for you. They will offer you various options depending on your budget. You can pay for a certain number of bottles/have a package price per head/have a pay bar/have a limit on a bar tab for the wedding/offer all alcohol free to your guests so you just pay a bar to serve them. Research the level of service each bar offers and work out which fits with your vision and budget the best. Other things to look out for are whether the bar company will apply for a TENS licence for you – this is a Temporary Event Notice and is necessary if you are celebrating in a venue where there isn’t already a license and you are selling alcohol. Will your bar company provide glassware in their fee? Do you have any choice of drinks they serve, for example you may have a favourite spirit/beer?
My final tip would be to employ a professional with experience of marquees to ensure your day goes exactly how you planned and so you can relax and enjoy your special time with all your family and friends. Even the most thoroughly planned weddings can have disasters here are just some examples.Having someone look over your timeline, your supplier contracts and all your plans will give you a polished day and the reassurance that nothing has been overlooked.
If you would like to get in touch to chat about how I can help you then please do email me: firstname.lastname@example.org