Where do I begin? Planning your wedding marquee reception
If you don't know where to start and the tick list seems too long, don't worry we've got you covered.
The process of organising an event can seem daunting (especially a wedding), but like any problem, once you break it down it becomes much more manageable.
Here are some points to consider when starting out:
- Choose a Date
- Choose a location
- Number of day guests
- Number of evening guests
- Additional services
Choosing a date.
It's the first thing friends and family will ask, 'when's the wedding?'.
Not only is it nice to have an answer for loved-ones, but very little can be arranged until the date is decided.
Start with the season, this can set the wedding personality.
A light & fresh spring wedding with the new-season flowers.
A care-free summer wedding drinking cocktails in the sun.
How about a warm & cosy autumn wedding with soft lighting and mulled cider.
Or perhaps a crisp winter wedding with all the shine a sparkle of the holiday season.
Venues tend to be get booked up early - sometimes years in advance. If you have a dream venue in mind, or a preferred marquee supplier, contact them early on to see which dates are available.
Also think about what you'll do if your preferred date isn't available, is there a second date you would like?
Finding that location.
Have a dream venue in mind, or perhaps a view you'd like, that's a great start. There are still a few things that are worth considering though, to make that dream a reality.
The size of the site/venue.
Don't underestimate the space needed to entertain all of your guests, space to eat, space to mingle, space to dance.
There should be enough room for your bar and catering services to work, including 'back-stage' preparations and stores.
Is there room for the utilities? Power & toilets - not too far away, but not too close either.
Is it easy to find?
Will your day and evening guests be able to find the reception? If it's not easy to find, you may have to place signs from the main road to the marquee/venue, and a google map location could be sent out to your guests.
Access for vehicles and guests
You may want to think about having a dedicated access just for your guests and their vehicles, and another just for the equipment and services. This will ensure that the main entrance is left unused until the day of the wedding: reducing the risk of the ground being affected with extra traffic and potential weather conditions.
Distance to services, main road or church
This is important as you want to try and minimise distance for people to travel from the ceremony as well as having good access to main roads and travel links.
How much access will you have to the site/venue, will you have time before to decorate, and equally as important time afterwards to remove the decorations, clean up, and find lost phones.
How late can you use the space, are there noise restrictions, when does the bar have to close?
The next step, is to think about the number of guests you want to invite. This is split into two categories: day/dinner guests, and evening guests.
The number of day guests is usually the number of seated guests at the wedding breakfast and often, the close friends and family members invited to attend the ceremony. These are the privileged few who get to spend the entire day with you.
This amount can affect the budget the most - more dinner guests, more meals, more furniture, larger venue.
It's difficult to know the precise number of evening guests expected, many don't rsvp and will just turn up. But it's important to have a ball-park figure, your marquee supplier will need to allow room for them, the bar will need to know how much supplies to bring, and if there is an evening buffet, canopies, or hog-roast the catering company will want to know too.
Lastly, are there any special requirements or services that you might need.
These could include:
- Do any of your guests have mobility issues?
- Do you need special permissions from land owners, or nearby residents?
- Will emergency services be able to access the site if needed?
- Will the site need any preparation prior to the event? Leave enough time for the ground to recover before the event.
- Do any of your suppliers or services have special requirements, clean water supply, extra power etc?
These points only cover some of the decisions which are to be made. But hopefully once you have answers to these first few questions, you will start to feel a little less pressure, and be able to relax and enjoy the experience.