The fun of marquee weddings is the ability to plan every detail from scratch, allowing your personalities to shine through. Here are our top ten tips for planning a marquee wedding.
Set a budget - Often it's hard to know how much things really cost until we start planning, but knowing how much we have available to spend is a really important first step. For marquee weddings we find it helpful to break down the overall budget in to the expenditure relating to your "wedding reception", and within that headings of all the components of a marquee reception broken down in to 'fixed costs' to set up the marquee, and 'variable costs' that depend on your guest numbers.
Draft a guest list - Are you looking for a small intimate wedding with your very closest family and friends, or a larger celebration? Putting together a guest list is an important early stage in wedding planning to know how many people you'd like to invite, and to guide you in making all the decisions that follow.
Envisage your day - We recommend you brainstorm, scribble, chat, discuss and think about all the things that are important to you in your wedding day. It's a great help in prioritising expenditure, and also to guide you when choosing suppliers to match your style and budget.
Speak to marquee companies to obtain a quote - Your choice of marquee type and suppliers is a key decision when planning a marquee wedding. Generally speaking a marquee company will deliver the marquee, teepee or yurt, together with linings, flooring, carpet / matting, lighting, power sockets, heating and often a generator / portable toilet too.
Choose a caterer you can work with - Pick up the phone to outside catering companies, who usually have a range of menu selections available straightaway as a starting point. Then we recommend that you discuss, tailor, taste and refine until you're entirely happy. Caterers are a key part of a marquee wedding, they usually provide everything from table cloths, crockery, cutlery, glassware, catering ovens and tent (to be discussed with individual caterers), through to staffing, coordination and of course the all important food and drink. Planning your marquee layout is really important, making sure that the catering tent is as close to the marquee as possible for the delivery of hot food.
Revisit your budget & prioritise expenditure - Once you're decided upon your preferred marquee and caterer, it's a good time to revisit your budget and prioritise expenditure. What other aspects do you need to organise? From decor, flowers and invitations to music, cakes, photographers, transport, logistics and coordination.
Choose your suppliers carefully and ask for recommendations - As we research different suppliers, we often find it's a small world. Many suppliers in the wedding industry know others who they have worked with and recommend. As you're deciding what suppliers you need, we recommend speaking to others for recommendations to help you to realise the day that you dream of.
Come rain or shine? - When you're deciding upon a date for your wedding weeks or months in advance, it's impossible to know what the weather will be like on the day. Often it's only a few days before when we're avidly following the weather forecast, only to find it surprises us at the last minute! So we recommend planning to have enough cover in the marquee, whatever the weather - to know that you and your guests will have a wonderful time celebrating even if there's a shower of rain, and if it's hot and sunny that there's outside seating and shade too.
Planning the logistics and the week before - Inevitably there are some pre-wedding tasks that can only be carried out in the week and days beforehand and even on the day itself. Thinking through how the day will run, and understanding from all your suppliers when things will happen, is really important in the run up to your wedding.
Handover - You've lived and breathed every detail of your wedding in the weeks beforehand, and as your big day approaches it becomes important to start handing over responsibilities to others. A good friend, lead caterer, the venue, a wedding planner or team of all four can help to make sure that all the details and logistics that are in your minds are in someone else's too. So you are free to enjoy and delight in the day you make your marriage vows and celebrate together as husband and wife.