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Tide's top tips: How to plan a marquee wedding

Just some very useful tips to help you plan the the marquee wedding you have always dreamed of!

You may have booked a venue with beautiful, landscaped gardens, a family home with large open outdoor spaces or even rented a field with panoramic views of the sea or rolling hills. I think one of the most attractive factors of holding your wedding in a marquee is allowing the outdoor spaces to play a huge part in your wedding day. You will be spoilt with choice when it comes to choosing the right marquee for you. A whimsical, bohemian woodland setting may be complimented with a tipi set up glittering with festoon lights or a clifftop setting with open side views created by a canvas stretch tent. Marquees have become a popular setting for Spring/Summer weddings due to their adaptability to each individual location.

Not only do I love working at marquee weddings, I love attending them. They reflect the couple’s style and personality, leaving you wholehearted from a day full of fun and laughter! So, for any of you love birds out there planning your own marquee wedding, here are a few top tips that I’ve picked up along the way.

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed or you just don’t know where to start, I hope my little feature of marquee wisdom can help you create the wedding you have been dreaming of!

Tip #1 - Choosing the right marquee:

You’ve picked your marquee location, it’s now time to pick the marquee but where to start. Whether it’s a field or a venue they should have a recommended shortlist of marquee companies. This is going to be super useful at this stage as these companies have earned a spot on this list by working at the location before and by being great to work with.

You also need to take in functional influences into your decision making. This will include factors like your guestlist numbers, marquee location (for example clifftop could be a little windy so find a marquee company that can work with this), what you require on site (for example a field may not have electric so a company who supplies a generator will be extremely helpful) and finally the aesthetic look of the marquee – which you may have already decided on.

Tip #2 - Get yourself a planner or an On the Day Coordinator (especially if the venue/location doesn’t supply one!):

Are you just starting your wedding planning journey or maybe you’ve got things under control, booked your wedding suppliers but wondering how it is all going to come together as you get closer to the date. If you already have a Wedding Coordinator with the venue, then skip to the next tip. You already have this one sorted! For those of you who don’t have this included a Wedding Planner or On the Day Coordinator is a definite must when it comes to planning a marquee wedding. You will have a professional best friend on hand to help you with each stage with the reassurance that everything will come together as planned on the day. If you want to find out more about these services, follow this link. Or read my last post on ‘The benefits of hiring a Wedding Planner’.

"Everyone wants to create something that’s utterly unique." – Jennifer Zabinski

Tip #3 - Plan ahead when it comes to setting up:

I think this is my most useful tip on this feature. Always plan ahead! When planning a marquee wedding you have just a few more wedding suppliers to liaise with than your average wedding planning couple. Those functional details (I’m talking toilets and kitchens) we take for granted won’t always come with the location. So not only do you have to book the florist, photographer, cake, you’ll have to book the caterers, catering essentials, waste disposal, bar, and waiting staff. I would advise putting together a supplier schedule. This is a different schedule to your order of the day, as this covers the schedule for the wedding day. The supplier schedule covers the week leading up to the wedding day including each supplier’ drop off and set up times. This will help you to visualise how it will all come together and how much time you need for each stage. When hiring a Wedding Planner or Coordinator, this would be something they would put together for you, liaising with your suppliers in the lead up and on the wedding day.

Tip #4 - Have a wet weather plan:

We know good weather is what we’re all wishing for, however, this is the UK and unfortunately, we cannot rely on our Summer to provide us with sunshine. Hopefully you won’t need to look at this but have a wet weather plan (and send this to all suppliers) just in case!

Tip #5 - Cover the essentials:

I’ve touched a little bit on this above. Unlike a purpose-built wedding venue, which includes most of the essentials, it will be down to you or your suppliers to supply these. The essentials cover anything from toilets to an oven, to a PA system or a dance floor or waiting staff to clear up helpers. Remember you will be surrounded by professionals who do this weekly, so once you have a fair idea of what the wedding is going to look like, set some time aside to speak through these with them. I promise they will highlight anything they require from you. When booking a supplier, I cannot stress how important it is to read the small print to identify what they will or will not provide on the day. Keep in regular contact with your suppliers, updating them of any changes made to the day. Organise a final meeting around 8 weeks before the wedding to make sure you have everything covered.

Tip #6 - Keep your guests hydrated:

It’s that simple. Most location will have a water source of some kind on site. Make sure you ask the question and that all suppliers know where to source this on the day. Here’s to 25 degrees and sunny all day. Keep that water dispenser full and your guests hydrated!

Tip #7 - Adding those little extras:

One thing I LOVE about marquee weddings is that the possibilities are endless. You can really create those WOW factor moments. You will need to check the do’s and don’t for the location you have booked, but using the outdoor spaces comes with its perks! Ice cream van, acoustic set at sunset or a knee’s up around the fire pit! There is plentiful fun to be had!

If reading this has helped you answer even just one of your marquee planning questions, it was my absolute pleasure. If you are getting married this Summer, I hope you are enjoying every single moment so far. The months of planning are nearly over and I promise it will be worth it!

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