If you’re hosting your wedding in the spring or summer, you probably want to take advantage of the nice weather and have your celebration in the great outdoors. That’s where a marquee wedding venue comes in handy. It’ll give you access to the sun, warm breeze and trees and give you shade and cover when you need it. To help you out, we’ve rounded up all the planning essentials to help you plan an epic and stress-free open-air event.
Here’s everything you need to know about marquee wedding venues.
Types of tents
Unless you’ve hosted a massive outdoor soiree, you’re probably pretty new to the world of marquees. From the oh-so popular frame tent to more unique styles, like clear tops, stretch tents, yurts and tipis, there’s no shortage of options to choose from. If you need a rundown of their differences, we’ve laid it all out for you right here. Keep in mind that certain styles are better suited for smaller events, potential rain and other factors, so do your research!
The last thing you want is for your marquee wedding venue to be too small to fit all of your friends and family, so don’t start looking at tents until you’ve finalized your guest list. Keep in mind you’ll also need space for your food set up, tables, DJ booth or band and dancefloor, so you may want to map everything out with our wedding table planner before you commit to anything.
Once you’ve figured out just how big your tent needs to be, you can sort out where it will go. You’ll want to find a spot with level ground that’s kept in pretty good shape (i.e. mowed lawn). Small bumps and dips can be fixed with the right flooring, so you don’t have to stress about those.
Speaking of flooring... If you’re cool with hiking around the grass in heels, go ahead and skip the flooring, but most couples like to put down a base layer so that guests can easily and comfortably walk around inside the marquee tent. Canvas, carpet and wood are all solid options and will make the outdoors feel a bit more like the indoors. P.S. most marquee hires include flooring in their rental packages, so you won’t have to search it out on your own.
Obviously, marquee wedding venues don’t come equipped with bathrooms. If you’re hosting your wedding in the middle of the countryside or on the lawn of a venue that doesn’t allow building access for guests, you’ll need to rent portable toilets.
Food and drink
Serving cold dishes exclusively? Your catering company shouldn’t have a problem. However, if they need ovens, hot plates, access to water, and space for prep, you’ll need to work with them to find room in your tent. Some venues allow caterers to use their lawn and kitchen facilities, giving them all the supplies and space they need without the extra cost, but if you’re hosting your event in the middle of a field or forest, you may need to set up a second tent exclusively for catering. Pro tip: Food trucks and portable drinks stations are great options for this type of event.
You may also need to book a generator so that your DJ, catering company and decor suppliers can actually do their jobs. Seriously, you don’t want your fairy lights and music to die out halfway through your reception because you overdid it with the electronics. A generator will also come in handy if you need fans or heating lamps, which are essential.
So far as spaces are concerned, marquee wedding venues are the most bare bones. You’ll have a blank canvas to work with, which is great but you’ll need to have a vision. Spend some time sorting out your wedding theme and everything you’ll need to achieve aesthetic greatness, like floral arrangements, table decor and more.
If you’re hosting your wedding in the middle of nowhere, you’ll also need to sort out parking for your guests. If there’s a significant amount of space between where they can park and the marquee tent, you’ll want to light their way with lamps or lanterns and maybe even lay down a runner or offer shuttle rides to and from your event space (key if you’re hosting older folks or guests with accessibility issues).