Planning A Marquee Wedding

Wedding Ceremony Gazebo with pink peonies and foliage | Essex Wedding Planner


I must confess, I do have a soft spot for marquee weddings. Not only do I adore the creative flexibility they offer, but I also love putting together a dream team of suppliers to transform a blank canvas space into a wonderful backdrop for my clients weddings.

But, as flexible as marquee weddings are, they also attract a long list of considerations & decisions, which many couples are completely unaware of when embarking on their planning journey.

As well as the additional work associated with planning a marquee wedding, many couples are also drawn into a false sense of security by believing a marquee wedding is the cheap option for their wedding day. Flexible and creative yes, but cheap is definitely not the case.

So today, I’m sharing with you important points that you may not have considered if you are in the midst of planning a marquee wedding. And for those couples who are considering a marquee wedding, after reading this article you will be fully prepared to embrace this fun and exciting project.

Practical considerations for a home marquee wedding

Many couple choose to host a marquee wedding reception as they love the idea of holding their big day within their own garden or land. Of course, this is a wonderfully personal option and whilst it appears to be the perfect solution for couples who have struggled to find a wedding venue that ticked all the boxes. In reality designing a wedding venue from scratch comes with a number of challenges and a certain level of commitment that should be considered before jumping head first into marquee planning mode, with the first being access.

Although your garden or land may be large enough to accommodate a marquee, you should first of all ensure there is suitable access for your suppliers and their vehicles.

The majority of couples are unprepared for the comings and goings in the days leading up to their wedding day and have not considered how long the marquee will be in position for. As an example, for a Saturday wedding, the majority of marquee companies will begin to build on a Thursday with the dismantle starting on the Monday. This is to allow for delivery and set up of furniture and catering equipment on the Friday and collection of such items on the Sunday or Monday morning.

In addition to the above , careful consideration should also be given to your caterers requirements. As a general rule they will need access to a catering marquee, their own vehicles and running water.

Lastly, you should also consider where you will store any post wedding waste whilst you are waiting for it to be collected, where your guests will park and whether or not you require the assistance of parking attendants and security.

Style of marquee

With a variety of styles available, it is vital you carry out a little research to ensure you choose a temporary structure that perfectly reflects the style of wedding you are planning and also allows for the interior lay out you require. For example, if you are considering hiring a traditional pole marquee and have your heart set on hiring banqueting style trestle tables, you will need to consider if the various poles positioned within the marquee will allow for your preferred seating arrangement. Similarly, if you are looking to section your marquee into multiple areas such as a lounge area, bar area and so on, you will need to ensure you choose a structure intended for this purpose, rather than a clear span marquee which offers an open plan layout.

Finer details for your marquee quotations

Once you have decided on the style of marquee you favour, you can then begin inviting marquee companies to provide you with a quotation. Be sure to furnish each company with the information listed below, remembering that key details such as guest numbers, the flooring style you require and your lighting requirements will have a huge impact on costs. Therefore, be sure to ask each marquee company to supply a quotation including the same items, which will allow you to easily compare each quotation. It’s also worth noting that you can lower costings by exchanging your floor covering from carpet to coir matting, or reducing your lighting requirements and so on.

  • A brief description of your plans for the interior of the marquee, (will you be incorporating a bar area, lounge area, space for your DJ/band etc)
  • Your guest numbers
  • The flooring option you favour, (coir matting, wood flooring or carpet)
  • The lighting package you require, (you can use a specialist production company to provide your lighting if you prefer)
  • Whether or not you require a catering marquee
  • Whether or not you require a connection tent for your mobile washroom facilities
  • Whether or not you require a walkway from your parking area to the marquee

Before accepting a marquee quotation, I strongly recommend that your chosen company carry out a full site survey. This will allow them to check important factors such as site access, the presence of underground services such as cables and pipes that may lay hidden beneath the marquee site, as well as discussing the finer details of the design of your marquee.

Bride holding her wedding bouquet with cascading silk ribbon

Additional points to consider

Once you have decided on the marquee company you would like to work with, you can then go on to consider additional factors which you will need to consider, such as whether or not your existing washroom facilities are adequate for the number of guests attending your wedding and is there a power source that can reliably supply electricity to all your suppliers. If the answer to these questions is no, you will need to hire in facilities such as mobile washrooms and a generator. In addition to these items you will also need to consider what furniture you will be hiring for use within the marquee and garden, whether or not your band or DJ will require a stage area, the style of bar area you would like to incorporate into your marquee styling, whether or not you will be using creative lighting within your garden, (which creates a wonderful ambiance once daylight begins to fade) and what lighting facilities will be positioned within your your parking area. In addition, you will also need to hire a catering marquee for your caterers and any kitchen and refrigeration equipment they require.

Finally, you should also give consideration as to whether or not you require a wedding planner to assist you with the planning of your marquee wedding. As you have seen from the above, planning a marquee wedding will require a huge amount of logistical planning, a creative eye and supplier sourcing.  All of which will require a large investment of your time. You should also consider who will oversee the set up in the days leading up to your special day, the running of your wedding day and lastly the dismantle.

I do hope the information I have shared today has either helped you with the planning of your marquee wedding, or, has assisted you in deciding whether or not a marquee wedding is for you. If however you would like to learn more, or require assistance with planning your wedding within Essex, Suffolk, Kent, Hertfordshire or Cambridgeshire, please do get in touch, it would be great to hear from you.

Photo Credits: Terri & Lori Fine Art Photography & Film

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Essex wedding planner Hayley Jayne Weddings & Events in garden

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Hayley Jayne Weddings & Events
Brentwood, Essex

01277 226785
07889 171453

About Hayley

With a keen eye for detail, organisational skills that are second to none and the love of a “to do” list it was inevitable that Hayley would become an events planner. She started her career within the legal profession and was a Personal Assistant for 14 years before training with the UKAWP to become a professional wedding and events planner and then going on to launch “Hayley Jayne Weddings & Events”.

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Hayley Jayne Weddings & Events trained with the UKAWP