Guide to Planning A Marquee Wedding in the UK.
Updated: May 15
Marquees are brilliant. I absolutely love them, they are incredibly versatile, durable and elegant structures and with the range of structure types available there really is something for everyone. Lots of wedding planners I know, thoroughly enjoy planning these kind of weddings too. For me, each one is incredibly different as there is so much personalisation to be had with them, you can create as much as you wish there are hardly any limitations design wise; no bright red carpets to consider or clashing wallpapers to work with! Usually, a marquee is built to spec, you can literally design the whole fitting of the marquee inclusive of lighting, flooring & layout. This is not to be sniffed at, you would not typically have the same options within a venue; food, drink, entertainment – all exactly as you would like.
However, planning a marquee wedding in comparison to planning a wedding in a permanent venue such as a country estate house, barn or otherwise is more complex and requires more knowledge and planning to execute properly. Many couples choose to use a wedding planner if they are dreaming of a marquee wedding for this very reason. But, if you are just getting started with planning your marquee wedding, these are my top considerations to make, that you may not need to think of with your venue based wedding.
The first thing I would advise to consider is the design of your wedding as a whole. Perhaps you are wanting a sleek look so perhaps a traditional or clearspan marquee would work best for you. If you are wanting a boho vibe or a woodland wedding, a tipi may be more your style and if you are wanting a pretty, vintage country feel wedding, a cotton canvas or petal pole structure would be best suited to your overall design.
Next up is the specification of your intended land for your marquee. The land ideally needs to be flat and free from pebbled areas or rocky terrains. This will ensure the smoothest, flattest finish and is especially important to coconut or coir matted flooring marquees.
Access is also an important consideration to be made. Marquees are hefty structures and it is great if your marquee company are able to get relatively near to site for your build.
Do also think about your wedding ceremony; if you are planning an outdoor ceremony, consider the location of these and think about a plan B in case of wet weather to allow this to go ahead. Perhaps you could consider a less covered structure such as china hat marquee to ensure your ceremony can go ahead outdoors, no matter the weather.
Toilets; having sufficient loo’s are a boring element to think of during wedding planning but vital. Dissimilar to a party or music event, a wedding is longer in length so you need to make sure your guests are adequately cared for. Portable loos needn’t be singular and green neither! There are a wide range of portable toilets available, some rather modern and attractive.
Power; Unlike fixed venues, your marquee is likely to need a generator to power your lighting, music, caterers, bar and entertainment. You need to work out, the size of the generator needed, comparatively to your power needs. It may also be advisable to have a back-up generator in place too.
Think about a Green Room. If you are expecting a number of suppliers on site for a more than a few hours at a time, or suppliers who may require changing areas such as a band or entertainers a temporary green room would be advisable. This means you can keep this area, separate to your overall marquee area.
Catering Tents; Similarly to your green room, depending on your caterers you may need to consider a catering tent for their prep and plating area. Some caterers will happily provide their own catering tents so it’s always worth checking out.
Water; if your marquee site does not have a free flowing supply of clean, safe drinking water you may need to hire in a source of this.
Do also think about the lighting for your marquee wedding, in an open field it is unlikely to be lit for safety at the end of the evening for example. Consider festoons for examples to light the way for your guests.
Security & Car Parking. Consider the safety of your marquee site both pre, during and post event and the car parking arrangements for guests arriving and departing to your wedding.
Informing your neighbours will also go a long way, especially if you are planning your marquee wedding at home. It won’t be just the wedding itself which will impose a little disruption, but the rig and derig too with suppliers coming and going so best to have the neighbours on side!
And finally, after all of that planning, do consider a wedding planners expertise to ensure the smooth running of your wedding day – if your toying on this front, this blog will help you with some of those expectations.
If you would like to discuss your marquee wedding further, do get in touch and we can chat more.
Image Credit; Joanne Jacobs Photography