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10 things to consider when planning a Garden Marquee wedding

Marquee or Tipi Weddings at Home

I love a relaxed Garden wedding and if you dream of getting married in your garden at home or if you are lucky enough to have a field, then you will be thinking of a Tipi or Marquee wedding. These offer so much flexibility when planning your day and you can tailor everything to suit your needs for your Summer Marquee wedding.  There are lots of things to consider when choosing a garden wedding.  Here are some of the things you will need to consider.

Tipi in a field with wedding guests standing outside mingling

One. Location

Firstly, you will need to consider the land your marquee will be set up on. Most Tipi or Marquee companies will want to conduct a visit prior to setting up to check that the space is adequate for your requirements on the day.

They will check how level the ground is, how well drained the area is and the grass will need to be cut a couple of days before the set-up takes place.

Top Tip – think about how all your suppliers will gain access to the area. This includes the marquee company, toilets, catering, venue dressing and the bar

Marquee in a field for a wedding

Two. Style

Do you know the difference between a pole tent, frame tent or stretch tent? Well, your supplier will help you decide which one suits your requirements, considering your guest numbers, the ground type, the season and the overall look you are going for.

Three. Facilities

Find out from your suppliers what services and facilities they will need.  Power and water will be high on the list. So, make sure you have enough of both.

Oh, and don’t forget the loos! You may have an indoor toilet that guests can use but if you are having a large wedding do you really want everyone in the house and queuing for the loo.  There are many companies that supply loos for events and offer different features at various prices.

Top Tip – position the loos around the back of the marquee and out of sight.  You might want to consider extra matting as a walkway to them in case of wet weather and don’t forget to have them well-lit for night

Wedding caterers handing out canapes on a slate tray

Four. Parking

Do you have an area that can be specifically used for parking and how many cars can you accommodate?  Is access available 24/7 or will it be limited?  Your suppliers will need to be able to drive up to the marquee to unload and set up equipment.

If you are at home and using the street as parking, you may want to go to the neighbours in the area and let them know what’s happening.  An inexpensive gift might go down well too for the inconvenience.  Who doesn’t love a bottle of wine or a small box of chocolates?

Top Tip – make sure the parking area is well lit too, it will be dark when people are leaving

Marquee with tables and chairs decorated for a wedding

A garden marquee set out with wooden trestle tables for a garden wedding

Five. Styling and Furniture

This is the fun bit.  How do you want it all to look and more importantly function? Marquees and particularly Tipi’s are often one space split into three areas.

Area 1 – Dining.  This is where your wedding breakfast will take place. Think about the space and if you want round tables, long tables or a mix of both.

Area 2 – The Bar.  Are you having a bar inside your marquee or will you be having a visiting bar/horse trailer?  If the bar is to be inside, you will need to make sure there is enough space for guests to get their drinks and perhaps a seating area or extra tables close by

Area 3 – Dancing. Where the party really happens. Will you need a stage for a band or DJ or will just a dancefloor do?

Your Marquee provider will be able to help you with all of this planning, they will have seen it before and will also depend on your budget and space you have available

Bride and Groom dancing in front of their guests in a Tipi

Six. Lighting

Let there be light, and I don’t mean great big spotlights.  There are so many options when it comes to beautiful lighting.  Who can resist the twinkle of fairy lights or festoon lights swaying in the breeze?  Or how about Edison bulbs hanging from the ceiling?

Top Tip – Tipi’s can be quite dark inside even on a sunny day, your photographer will love you if you have plenty of ambient light in the darker areas.  Oh and don’t forget to light up pathways at night so guests can leave safely

Seven. Catering

Whether you are sitting down to enjoy a three-course dinner, wonderful tapas or rustic Hog Roast, you will most likely need to provide a catering area which is attached to your marquee. This is normally a smaller marquee in the form of a catering tent (your caterer will be able to advise how big this will need to be). You will also be required to provide trestle tables and lighting for here too.

What about bringing in catering trucks like street food or a Pizza van, maybe even an ice cream van.  The list of options is endless

Display of drinks inside a marquee wedding

Eight. Bar

Who will be providing the drinks and refreshments for your wedding? Will you be providing these or are you hiring a bar company to do this for you?

If you are supplying the drinks then you will need a bar area to keep everything chilled. Consider hiring someone to serve drinks to your guests.

Consider hiring a bar team that can provide all the drinks and the staff to serve your guests and collect the empties.  This could be in the form of a local pub and staff bringing supplies in or a Gin or Cocktail trailer.

HOrsetrailer converted into a mobile bar serving cocktails at a wedding

A display of drinks and glasses for a wedding

Nine. Wet Weather

Us Brits love to talk about the weather and having a backup plan for wet weather is a must.

Two female wedding guests standing by a firepit with an umbrella

Things to consider –

Umbrellas, extra matting from the car park to marquee and walkways, a gazebo covering over your mobile bar if you are having one, blankets for if it gets chilly and finally where will your drinks reception be if the rain does come down.

a four piece band playing at a tipi wedding reception

Ten. Dancing

Are you having a Band or Dj?  You will need to think about the dancefloor area as you may need a stage for the band.  The dancefloor should be firm to avoid any trip hazards and will there be enough space if there are poles holding your tipi together. How about hiring an old-fashioned Jukebox and letting people choose songs all night!

Top Tip – don’t forget that your dance floor will need to be lit too. Perhaps a glitter ball and a couple of angled spotlights will be enough for the party atmosphere on the dancefloor

WEddign guests dancing in a marquee at a wedding reception

Bride and Groom dancing outside surrounded by wedding guests

I hope these 10 tips have been helpful to make sure that nothing gets missed when planning your garden marquee wedding.

I’d love to hear all about your marquee wedding and if I can help in any way, just ask.

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Bride and Groom and wedding party having photos taken


summer flowers in little jars on trestle tables in a marquee

Relaxed Summer Garden Marquee wedding



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