Planning a Spring Wedding.
I love Spring and it is the kick-off for wedding season! However, planning a Spring marquee wedding is not as straight-forward as a Summer marquee wedding so it requires a little more fore-thought and planning. To make sure you cover all bases, and nothing is forgotten here is a run down of some of the key things you need to consider.
Marquees in the Spring.
If you are having a Spring wedding and are planning on having a marquee then the first thing you need to consider is your marquee site. Now, in England we can’t exactly predict a fabulously dry and warm Summer season so a lot of these points could hold true for a typical British Summer as well!! For your marquee site well-draining land is super important, as well as easy access for vehicles delivering. If the ground is a little soft and has a tendency to get water-logged then you may need to consider putting down some plastic track for the heavy vehicles so they don’t a) get stuck and b) don’t churn up the turf too badly. This time of the year the turf will be fresh and young, so not as hardy as in the summertime. Depending on the weather before your wedding it may not have been possible to prepare the ground as well as you would ideally need to (eg rolling, cutting the turf etc) so you may need to considering adding some extra into your budget for a hard-floor. It would also prevent scenes like this one:
The floor of the marquee unfortunately got so waterlogged that the water rose up from underneath the carpet and the waterproof membrane. This was the catering tent so you can appreciate the sterling job the catering team did on the day! Luckily the seating area for the guests in the marquee wasn’t too bad.
Heating your Marquee:
The temperatures in the spring also drop much quicker in the evening so extra heating is definitely advisable to keep the chill away and also the dampness. You can get various seating options for your marquee which will depend on your marquee provider and the style of marquee you have. Traditional and framed marquees can have gas heaters or more subtle floor heaters which can be on a thermostat. If you have a tipi you could have a fire-pit inside as long as there is the proper ventilation which, although provides a great focal point it doesn’t allow the heat to circulate particularly well. Other options could be to offer blankets or pashminas on the backs of some chairs for guests to use if they wish or in a creative display like this (image Pinterest):
Having a marquee wedding gives you so much more flexibility with how you want your day to run so you may arrange your day more inline with the season however, if this isn’t possible you need to be mindful that you may need some additional lighting for the evening as the sun will be setting earlier than with a wedding in the height of Summer. When I say lighting for your marquee, this also extends to any external lighting you may need, either for aesthetics or for safety (eg to highlight uneven ground or some open water). It is also important to consider where people exit your marquee site at the end of the night, for example is there a clearly lit route for them to travel down to reach the car park or taxi pick-up point? Lighting is also a great way of adding some atmosphere and styling into your marquee so don’t just consider this as something functional (images below Pinterest).
As I mentioned above, there is a higher chance of inclement weather in the Spring so make sure you plan for this and have a contingency plan all ready to go. So, the most obvious contingency plan is to hire a raft of umbrellas and let guests know to bring their own too! If the weather has been particularly bad for a prolonged period ahead of your wedding day, also make sure they understand stiletto heels and suede shoes may not be the best footwear options! Think about where your guests will be at each point of your wedding day and work out what you need to do to keep them warm and dry at each location and also during each transition from place to place. I am not suggesting you have a fully covered and heated walkway from the car park into the marquee but for example an outside reception is not going to work. You may need to hire an extra gazebo or smaller marquee for this or use space within your main marquee. If you do use space within your marquee consider how you are going to do this – do tables need moving? If so is this practical? Who is going to do it? Will your timings allow for this? Do you have money in your budget for extra staff if needed or is this a task your event team will do within their contract? If you do need to incorporate your reception drinks (or even your ceremony as well) into your marquee space then zoning is going to be even more important – if you are interested in learning more about this then I did a Facebook Live on this subject in my private Facebook group: Plan it Like a Pro. Image JMA Photography.
TOP TIP: make sure all your wedding suppliers who are involved with your actual day are all fully briefed on the contingency plan and they know who will be the key person activating it!
Your Wedding Day Timings
If you are having a marquee wedding the chances are you have more flexibility with your wedding day timings than if you were celebrating at a bricks and mortar wedding venue however, there are three important things to bear in mind with a Spring wedding:
- Think about the sunset. Most photographers will be able to help you with this important milestone in your day but just before sunset is what is known as “The Golden Hour.” This is a time when the light is simply sublime and is perfect for some romantic couple shots in the countryside. If this is something you want to make the most of then make sure you bear this in mind with your timings, ie don’t have dinner served at this point or have speeches during this time so you and your new spouse can disappear off without fear of disrupting proceedings.
- The weather in the Spring is not necessarily warm! So as well as contingency planning your timings do consider your guests’ comfort. Don’t plan you day with lots of standing around outside, if you are having your drinks reception outside make sure this is fairly short as even with outside heaters/firepits not everyone will be warm and complaining guests will definitely take the shine off your special day. Limit the number of group shots you are having outside, if there is an inside (or covered) option for them then plan them to be there but consider the timings for moving guests to this spot to minimise the amount of lost time during your day and to make it as slick and efficient as possible.
- Most wedding day schedules you find online as examples will be based on Summer weddings, where the pace is quite relaxed to make the most of the warm summer evenings and to prevent too much rushing around in the peak temperatures of the afternoon. My word of caution here is to only use these as a guide. The pace for a Spring wedding will need to be slightly more precise for two reasons, firstly for your guests, so they are not subjected to too much cold for prolonged periods of time and secondly, for your catering team who are most likely to be preparing hot food for your guests so precise timings will be more important so that they can serve their menu at the optimum time.
The Pretty Bits…
So, on top of all the more logistical and boring considerations I have mentioned above, there are obviously seasonal influences on your wedding design which are equally important to your wedding day and your guests’ experience. Seasonal flowers are a great way of harnessing the Spring season and are also more cost effective than using hot-housed or flown in flowers. Making your wedding breakfast menu reflective of what is readily available and at its best in Spring is also a brilliant way of making the most of the Spring season. You may also want to think about your choice of menu from the point of view of the sort of food that would be popular with your guests at this time of year, for example light salads and BBQ food are more summery styles of food. Image Megan Duffield Photography.
I know there seems like an awful lot to think about with a Spring wedding but there are equally the same amount of considerations for a Summer wedding which I will cover in another post in due course. If you are feeling a little daunted by it all then do pop across to to my Facebook group Plan it Like a Pro, where you can ask me your question. Alternatively, I hold a limited number of Inspiration Sessions each month which can cover any topic you are worrying about so we can go into more depth and detail and together we can formulate a plan of action for you using my experience and expertise.