Top tips on planning a marquee wedding or party.
Marquee wedding and parties are becoming more and more popular due to the fact that clients are able to host their events at the own homes and have more freedom to have their wedding or party their way without typical venue rules. However planning a marquee event is a lot more work as you need to start from scratch! Nothing is organised or prepared for you like it would be with a typical events venue. In this post I am going to share with you my top tips for planning your marquee event and certain things you need to think about before deciding if it is the right decision for you.
Choosing your marquee.
There are many different types and options when it comes to marquees that you can choose from to host your event. From traditional style, framed, clear span, tented or tipis. You can also choose where to have windows and doors and if you want to incorporate any of your garden features in the marquee. Make sure you speak to your provider when you have a site visit about what they think would be the best option for the land it will be on and then discuss the different design features you can incorporate. It is also worth thinking about how you want the marquee to be set out for your event as this can effect the shape, for example will you want round or long tables and also think about your flooring, ideally the ground will be flat with carpet on top to provide a solid surface for a dancefloor, bar, caterers etc.
When hiring a marquee there are also some other suppliers you need to get on board to make sure that the space acts as a suitable venue before you can start thinking about decor.
Toilets are a must, if you are happy to let guests use the toilet in the house this will save you some money but remember that this would be in constant use and you would probably need to have someone nearby to act as an attendant and make sure toilet roll, soap and towels are replenished. The other option is to hire in mobile toilets, and I don’t mean those horrible portaloos you see at festivals. There are lots of toilet hire for events companies that have set up now and they offer ‘luxury’ toilet blocks which work really well for marquee events. You are also able to set up ladies and gents so not everyone is queuing for one toilet!
Your going to need power flowing through to the marquee so make sure that you speak to all your suppliers – caterers, entertainment, bar etc to find out how much power they need and then speak to your generator supplier to make sure that you provide the right amount of power for all suppliers so that they can provide their service efficiently.
Skips are a good option especially for all the waste that will be coming from the caterers. This can be hidden around the back of the marquee so it is not seen by guests but it is certainly something to think about.
Your caterers will need a catering annex (basically a kitchen marquee) so that they can cook, prep and serve your food. Again speak to your catering team to see how large they would need this to be and any other requirements that the annex needs to have so that you can relay this to your marquee supplier.
When inviting your guests over for a party make sure you think about parking! You don’t want to be blocking up roads and causing traffic jams! Are you friendly with your neighbours? Can you borrow their land? Is there a field you can use (not in the winter though!) Make sure you have a good plan for any guests that would want to drive to the party.
Lighting is a MUST. Both inside and outside the marquee. You can hire a separate lighting company to look after this or ask your marquee supplier what they can provide for you. Practical lighting, coloured uplighters and don’t forget lighting up path ways, exits and the car park. Also if you have any areas outside the marquee where guests would be gathering for a period of time such as a BBQ station make sure this is also lit up.
With items such as generators and lighting make sure that you have someone on site who can lay these cables safety and run the cables to the required locations for you. It can be worth having an engineer on site for your event If you have lots of suppliers using the generator just in case the power trips or the generator cuts out.
Marquee weddings are 9 times out of 10 in the summer as the ground is hard, guests can go in and out of the marquee an enjoy the weather. However by having a marque it doesn’t mean the weather will be 25 degrees and sunny! If you have any ideas for the space outside of the marquee like a drinks reception for example make sure there is a backup plan if it does rain. One fab idea is to split the marquee in two and have a lounge space and then the dance/dinner space separated by a curtain so that there is a big reveal when it comes to the drink’s reception finishing. Speak to your marquee supplier to see if this would be possible for your event.
Other things to think about.
Are the neighbours invited? If not make them aware that you have an event and maybe invite them over for a drink. The last thing you want to do start turning up the music and they were completely unaware and it leaves them with a bad taste in their mouth and a noisy evening.
I would always suggest seriously thinking about hiring a planner for a marquee event (not just because I am one!) but these events take a lot of work as you are starting from scratch so would suggest delegating the planning or hiring an on the day coordinator so you can enjoy the day. Whilst venues have event manages to deal with issues or problems that may arise, a marquee wedding or party doesn’t have this. With a planner on board they can deal with all the suppliers, decorate the venue, check the final touches and if anything does happen it will be dealt with in a professional manner.
Make sure to think about the access to the marquee for your suppliers. Don’t set up your marquee at the back of your garden and then wonder how suppliers will get vehicles in to set up. Make sure you think about vehicle movement for those suppliers who are not staying for the duration of the event and just dropping off. This is especially true of toilets and generators. These suppliers will have big vehicles that will need to be moved. So this can be managed make sure suppliers have timeslots that they can drop off/collect items in.
Your suppliers will want to park their cars close to the marquee but be out of sight so make sure there is plenty of space behind the scenes for the caterer, planner, entertainment etc to park up. If suppliers need a space to get changed or use as a green room is there a space in the house they can do this or would you need to build an external space off of the main marquee? This is something to check especially if you are hiring a live band as they would more than likely need this kind of space.
Security is important, especially if the marquee is being set up on land that no one lives on. A marquee build usually takes place 3-4 days before the event so if it is unattended land it is worth seriously considering hiring a security guard. During the event is there a room in the house that can be locked that suppliers and guests can use to store valuable items or gifts? If so give the key to your planner or a trusted friend or member of your bridal party to look after.
Make sure you speak to your caterers about what their specific requirements are and make sure that they have access to fresh running water, this can just be an extendable hose. Also make sure that it is made clear to the caterers that all rubbish needs to be taken off site at the end of the night, and disposed of, this includes any water that has been left in kettles or urns. This is very important!
When speaking to your suppliers put together a schedule of when each supplier is arriving and what they are delivering and for after the event as a collection schedule. This is something I provide to my clients so they know what is due and when. To get a marquee fully built and decorated it can take 3-4 days so make sure you allow enough time and make sure it is in a logical order – you can’t get furniture set up if the floor of the marquee hasn’t been laid!
I hope this blog post helps you with your planning for your marquee wedding or party. If you have any questions or would like some help in your planning, send me an email and I will be more than happy to help!