Marquee Weddings – Practical advice and ideas

At Jocasta’s we tick all these boxes!!

Planning and Liaison & Wedding Suppliers

Generally with this type of wedding you are going to have hire absolutely everything from marquee to plates to toilets. That is a lot of suppliers to handle and liaise with. Be sure to note all of their details. You want to know their comings and goings. No point arranging for the caterers to arrive if the marquee is not set up in time.

Be clear on exactly what you are hiring and the service you are getting. For example, do not assume because you hire a mobile bar that they will do everything to do with serving collecting and supplying glasses! Yes I know that sounds strange but depending on what you pay for they may not. I did my on the day service for a wedding last year where the caterers were paid only to supply and serve food. The bar guys brought the glasses but were not paid to pour wine on the tables or to prepare toasts or to place the wine on the tables in the first place and more importantly collect dirty glasses.

The caterers had nothing to do with drinks and assumed the bar was taking care of them and the couple supplied their own wine for the tables that the bar had nothing to do with. Each company would need to employ extra staff for these tasks. It was a marquee wedding at home and the couple thought someone would just do this! It’s not their fault we all assume things and sometimes the companies assume because you haven’t asked them someone else is doing that task. Good job they had me to sort out the problem. It was just a miscommunication issue. Doesn’t sound huge but you imagine speeches and no glasses charged with a toast drink, or no wine on the tables to start with and think of the huge mess of empty glasses after the meal. Your evening guests arrive and the place looks like the holocaust. I have to say the companies involved were brilliant and went the extra mile.

Getting married in a field is adventurous and much more relaxed but there is still much to think about. Get help from your bridal team or enlist the help of someone like me to help in the run up. Delegate them tasks during the day to relieve you from the worry.

chair signs for rustic theme

Practical Details – Toilets, electricity and land!

Putting up a marquee or tipi is no small task. Of course the team involved will be expert and it will be up in a heartbeat. But be sure your location is suitable. A sloping field full of rocks is not that useful, be sure to have a large flat area. The company who are hiring you the tipi, marquee, yurt etc should really visit if possible before to recce the site. This may not always be possible if you are using a supplier from out of your area.

Work out how your guests and suppliers approach the area and where they can park. If they are pitching tents where will that be and what facilities are close by. Toilets and showers to be specific. Hiring toilets is fine, ensure you hire enough and that they are set up properly. Bring extra loo rolls, hand soap and towels. Sorry to state the obvious but you do need to think everything through.

Electricity supply is key. Great to have a rocking band but if the power is not sufficient for their kit you are a bit stick. Ask them what they need. If you have to hire generators, ensure you have instructions on how to turn them on and off. Also how many hours they last for.

cake from want that weddingsummer berries

The Weather!

Well we do live in the UK where the weather can be blistering one minute and the heavens open the next. Proper preparation is key right from the start of your wedding planning. Then you know you have dealt with this issue and it won’t dog you later.

Wellies and umbrellas are the way to go to battle with the elements. You can source the most fab bright coloured wellingtons that will really perk up the day if it rains. Umbrellas’s of course for you and your guests. Make sure for the wedding party you choose large golf type ones. That way your hair and makeup will be protected.


I have to say I coordinated a Tipi wedding last summer when it rained a months supply in one day! Yes it was a challenge but being prepared helps you cope so much better. Guests for these type of outdoor weddings usually understand and just go with the flow. Over the last three years I can honestly say if it has rained during the day the key is not to get soaked and move from one area to another as drily as you can. I have to say that I don’t think I have worked on any wedding where at some point during the day if it has rained it stopped long enough to skip outside to get a breather and our photos. With this type of wedding your timings are much more relaxed so you can go with the flow.

Also try and ensure that the path that leads to your marquee, or tipi etc has some kind of boarding. That way your and guests are kept off the wet muddy field. Using carpet is generally a no no, it gets sodden and super muddy. If you hire a marquee ensure they discuss what they can hire you to build you a path. Obviously it’s not always possible but do the best you can.

A-wedding-at-Marsh-Farm-002 Greg TAllamy

Building a wedding tunnel from one area to another is a good idea. Use gazebo’s erected in a line, the sides maybe open but you will have something to keep the rain off. They are cheap from garden centres, and if you are lucky you can plan ahead and get them in the sales. Give yourself time to put them up a couple of days before. Leave nothing to chance.

Check with suppliers if they are bringing gazebos to set up under.

Time to set up

If you doing everything then give yourself time! Plan two or three days for setting up of the marquee and decorating. You may have spent the last year making and planning the most fabulous personal details but please realise that someone has to set all this up. Putting up bunting, gazebo’s etc is time consuming. Arrange for your bridesmaids and ushers to help you. Many hands make light work. If you know this is not possible again call on someone for help. Many planners will set up and decorate your venue as well as coordinate the day or just one or the other.

decor with bottles wedding chick

Style Tips and Ideas

  • Keep things simple! A relaxed vibe is key for this style of wedding
  • Use hay bales for seating with plenty of colourful rugs and cushions.
  • Use flowers to bring the outdoors in. If your parents have a penchant for growing them grow your own!
  • Collect old bottles, jam jars and old vases and jugs to use a centrepieces.
  • Dress them with twine, use luggage labels, sprigs of herbs look fab with place names. Rosemary and lavender are my favourite.
  • Serve BBQ food or hog roast than three course meals.
  • Have your guests bring homemade cakes for a dessert table. Victoria sponge filled with cream and fruit it a great alternative to the traditional wedding cake.
  • Cheese cakes with homemade chutneys go down a treat. Decorate with figs and berries.
  • Use bunting and balloons for decor.
  • Fill milk pails with flowers, use old teapots, make wooden signs to let everyone know whats going on.
  • Garden games such as croquet, giant boules, jenga etc.
  • A fun photo booth with props. This can just be an instant polaroid against a homemade backdrop of a lovely material stretched up to form a curtain style backdrop.
  • Bonfires or fire pits for the evening are fab. Of course be sure to keep safe.
  • Have a chill out area with seating and heating.
  • Plan on a whole weekends celebrating.
  • For a treat hire a yurt which is a glamorous tent for your first night! ( A blog to come later!)
  • Do what you want, when you want with who you want!
  • Lanterns and candles placed everywhere will look fab at night and create a fab atmosphere.