A Few Handy Hints
Always have contingency plans in case of inclement weather, for example do not rely on being able to have drinks reception outside - there needs to be sufficient space within the marquee (unless you are having drinks reception within a building attached to the marquee before entering the marquee to dine/dance) for all of your guests.
Winter Weddings are becoming more and more popular: marquees are now easily adaptable to cope with the wet and cold to provide comfortable environments for guests. Discuss relevant applications with the marquee company at the early stages to avoid costly surprises down the line. Complete Events will advise if any Winter 'extras' are required.
Try and bring decisions forward as far as possible so that your first choice suppliers are not already booked up. As mentioned on the Checklist page, marquee suppliers often have bookings for events more than a year or two away, and in particular the busy Summer months (June, July and September) as well as December are always busy, making late bookings for key weekends difficult.
In particular, make sure the big (namely the busiest and/or the most important to you) items are the first booked - the Church, the Marquee, the Caterers, Photographer etc
Involve the Experts / Your Suppliers in decisions
As far as possible involve your suppliers in the decision making process by communicating your ideas, and listening to theirs. They know their service and products intimately, and are very likely to highlight problems you may not have considered - obviously the key is to see these problems early on to avoid last minute and avoidable emergency measures.
Number of Guests
Try and 'firm up' on the numbers of guests at an early stage. This is often difficult, but it will enable you to notify your caterer and other suppliers accordingly, and make it possible for you to work out seating plans in advance. Naturally from a marquee perspective, correct numbers allows for spatial decisions to be made, enabling costs to be accurate from an early stage.
Wedding Day Schedule
Make sure that you have a guideline schedule of the Big Day, and that it has been communicated to your key suppliers so that they have a rough timetable to work from. Although the activities on the day inevitably fall behind the schedule, it is very helpful for photographers, caterers, bands etc to know the 'sequence' of the day.
A suppliers meeting two or three weeks before the Day is an ideal opportunity to clarify this sort of detail.
Make sure that you have enough space for all the items you need to fit inside the marquee: dining tables & chairs, dance floor, stage, bars, buffet tables, cake table, present table, wet weather reception etc etc. In particular make sure that the busy points in the marquee, especially the bar and buffet, have good space around them, avoiding bottle-necks and/or knocking into guests seated at their tables.
Remember you will need space for people to move about in comfort during the night.
Also bare in mind extra guests coming in the evening. Sometimes a handful of dining tables can be removed to create extra space in the evening, but this is not always convenient or desirable.
Is there enough parking space available? Do you need to employ someone to make sure guests park tidily to maximise the space available to you, and also to ensure that everyone can get out at the end!
What provision for security needs to be made?
- Before the event - the marquee and its contents?
- During the event - on the door if in a public place or if the event is susceptible to gate-crashers? The car park and its contents? Your house - if everyone is in the marquee this can also be susceptible.