Everyone has their dream venue – for some it’s that beautiful country house with a sweeping driveway, others it’s an intimate private house and for others still a marquee is the only way forward. You can put it (pretty much) where you like, have the backdrop you love and have it as big or as small as you need.
If you go the marquee route there are some things you need to think about so here’s our big Marquee Check List to help you plan your perfect day in a giant tent!
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♥ Water! Does your pitch come with a running water supply? Ask the person you’re hiring your pitch from if there’s a ready water supply, is it drinking water and can you use it as much as you like. If not, you’ll need to provide bottled water, and ask your caterer if they are able to supply their own water.
♥ Parking – as most marquees go on grass, that means most cars will too! But what happens when it pours with rain and that grassy area gets a bit boggy? Find out what contingencies the site has for inclement (British!) weather. And consider someone to help park the cars to keep things tidy.
♥ Power. You’ll need a generator. Usually your marquee contractor will arrange this for you but be aware that if anything goes wrong with it on the day it’s the generator people you’ll need to contact. Consider a back-up generator – it adds cost but does provide peace of mind. At a recent marquee wedding the generator was overloaded and cut out causing a delay with the cooking. Thankfully Mr Wedmother and one of the catering team were pretty handy with electrics and managed to rig up the back-up so we were running off the two for the rest of the day. But not everyone has that knowledge (unless you’ve booked your Fairy Wedmother of course, then Mr Wedmother comes as standard!) so be prepared to call and always keep your guests informed. They won’t mind a delay if they know what’s going on, but keep them in the dark and they’ll start to get antsy!
♥ Food. Research your catering options. You can go full service, hog roast, BBQ – whatever you and your budget want to be honest. But whatever you choose make sure you have the space your caterer will require, discuss with them what they’ll need in the way of tables and power. Your caterer should provide everything from crockery, cutlery and glasses to a serving team, but go through the list thoroughly and see if there’s anything they don’t provide.
♥ Drink! We recommend hiring a chiller van. This is good for keeping all of the drinks cold and will also be of benefit to your caterer for cold food. Places like Majestic Wines often provide wine on ‘sale or return’ (and you can hire your glasses from them if your caterer doesn’t provide them) and will deliver too. And if you run low on the day they’ll top you up if you call them early enough! Look out for deals in your local supermarkets – often cheaper than some cash and carry places – and don’t forget ice and slices of lime/lemon for those G&Ts! No need to go overboard with options – we recommend Red and White wine, fizzy (obviously!), a gin, a rum, coke, lemonade, beer, lager and cider. That should cover you!
♥ Cleaning up. Check if your marquee site provides a hoover and broom, and if not see if the supplier will. If neither do you’ll need to think about having something there to tidy up after set up and once you do the turn around from day to night. Especially if you have guests of the young variety – not everything makes it to their mouth!
♥ Toilets – and not the bad ones! Again your marquee contractor will likely have a chemical toilet supplier, and can provide an additional tent just for the loos. You might need to add hand towels and soap. PITFALL….chemical toilets can get a little smelly in the heat. Have a conversation with your supplier about how to keep the whiff at bay. They can be very small so consider having a single unit as a disabled friendly loo for those who might not be able to get up the few steps or struggle with the space (they can be very tiny cubicles!). You also have to consider the size of your dress! Where possible we recommend visiting the loos to check them out so you know what you’re getting, and what else you might need.
♥ Noise. For the most part noise is not an issue when you have a marquee but you do need to talk about this with whoever you hire the land from. If it’s remotely close to a residential area there may still be a noise cutoff time. Be kind and adhere to this. It’s easy to think you can keep going as you’re outside and there’s no beds upstairs, but the locals need to be in your mind too. And if too many people ignore the cutoff for noise then the land could lose it’s licence and it’s ruined for everyone else. Be thoughtful.
♥ Security. Some land owners will provide security for you (but you will have to pay) and if they don’t you should certainly consider it. Especially if you are setting up the night before! But you will need security the night of the wedding. Even if you plan to empty out the marquee of everything you are still liable for anything that might happen to the marquee itself.
♥ Which brings us to Insurance! Wedding insurance is not always high on the agenda but you will need separate insurance for your marquee, the stuff inside it and the potential harm for your guests. At a standard venue their Public Liability will cover accidents but that’s not the case with a marquee. Make sure you check out your insurance options.
A marquee can be the perfect solution when you can’t find the perfect venue and we hope that the tips we’ve shared will help to make your day perfect too! ♥