How to Plan a Marquee Wedding

July 15, 2020

Wedding Planning Tips

Marquee weddings are something that we hold a particular soft spot for at Rachel Dalton Weddings. It’s an option that many of my couples go for, and I’ve had the pleasure of planning countless weddings in marquees over the years.

Marquee weddings are great for a multitude of reasons. They give you unparalleled freedom and flexibility meaning that you can, quite literally, build your dream wedding venue. They also have an undeniable charm and endless options when it comes to the design and styling possibilities for your day.

Don’t be fooled though – marquee weddings involve a lot of work. There’s often a lot more logistics and suppliers to consider with a marquee wedding. Therefore, it is important that you’re aware of exactly how to plan a marquee wedding.

With that being said, a marquee is a truly beautiful and utterly charming choice of wedding venue. So, if you’re considering hosting a marquee celebration for your own big day, here are a few of my top tips!

Decide on a location

One of the biggest upsides of having a marquee wedding is that you can hold your big day pretty much anywhere you like. Of course, there are many logistical practicalities to consider however, when it comes to location, you can choose almost anywhere.

There are many wedding venues that will allow you to erect a marquee within their grounds. This way, you can use the venue itself for your ceremony, accommodation OR simply as a beautiful backdrop to your marquee. With this option, you’ll often receive the added bonus of having a venue team on site.

Many of my couples choose to hold a marquee wedding at their family home. Of course, using private gardens or land gives you total flexibility for your wedding. However, do consider that this can be a lot more logistically demanding, particularly if you’ve never hosted an event there before. If you are getting married at a family home, I highly recommend having a wedding planner on board from the get-go to offer their expertise throughout the process. Which brings me onto my next point…

Hire a wedding planner

Naturally, I’m always a champion of having a wedding planner on board for your big day. However, this is even more important if you are having a marquee wedding.

With marquee weddings, you are literally building your own wedding venue – and there is so much more to consider. From the power to the parking to the toilets (yes, really!) and everything in between. Not to mention, having a planner on board to co-ordinate your wedding day itself is essential if you are holding your wedding at a family home.

Having the experience and knowledge of a wedding planner will save you so much valuable time. It will also stop you from making any costly mistakes. Call me biased, but enlisting the support of a wedding planner is one of the most worthwhile investments you can make for your marquee wedding.

Set a realistic budget

One of the most common misconceptions about marquee weddings is that they’re the ‘cheaper’ option. In fact, given the many moving parts involved in a marquee wedding, they can often be more costly than using a venue.

With so much to consider for a marquee wedding, it’s important to break down every part of your day and set a realistic budget for each element. It’s also common to have contingency plans in place for marquee weddings to cover all weather eventualities. Make sure that you allow allocations for this in your budget!

Your wedding planner will be able to support you in putting together a budget breakdown, as well as monitoring your overall spend to ensure that you maximise the potential of your wedding budget.

Find a reputable marquee company

Like all of your wedding suppliers, it’s important that you find a marquee company that is trustworthy, reputable and responsive.

Ask friends and family for recommendations or look for reviews and testimonials from other couples. If you are using a wedding planner, they will be able to recommend reputable companies to provide your marquee.

In addition to finding a trustworthy marquee company, it’s also important to check what types of tents they supply. There are so many options when it comes to marquee styles – from frame marquees, traditional pole tents, glass orangeries, Sperry tents, tipis and yurts. Take some time to research different types of marquees and choose a style that suits the overall vibe of your day.

Design & Style your Marquee

Now that you’ve chosen the style of your marquee, it’s time to start designing! Get inspired for the styling elements that you’re most drawn to and establish the overall feel for your day. Pinterest is a great place to start, but the inspiration for your day can come from anywhere – from artwork to home interiors to architecture.

The first thing to consider is the layout of your marquee. How will your day flow? Where will you place your dance floor? Is there a chill out area for guests to break off into? Work with your planner and/or marquee supplier to determine a layout that is not only aesthetically beautiful, but functional too.

Secondly, establish the design and decor elements of your day. Florals, furniture, lighting, tableware… the list goes on! Let yourself be inspired by the possibilities but be prepared to make compromises if your marquee design doesn’t allow certain things.

Run through all of the logistics

As I’ve mentioned before, there are a lot of logistics to consider with any marquee weddings. Have a detailed schedule in place from the day your marquee build starts (usually a week before your wedding) until everything is collected or de-rigged after the big day. There’ll be many suppliers to juggle and communicate with. Therefore, having one master schedule that everybody can refer to is a must.

Again, having a wedding planner on board for this stage will be invaluable. They’ll be a reliable port of call for all of your suppliers, will oversee the entire build and ensure your wedding day runs seamlessly. All that’s left for you to do is relax and enjoy the festivities!

Get in touch to enquire about my marquee wedding planning services. It would be a pleasure to help you create your perfect day!

Cover image by Emma Ryan Photography

Black & White Photo of a Wedding Marquee