Our wedding venue itself was an easy decision for us. We wanted low key, friendly and relaxed. We wanted somewhere that means something to us; somewhere we’ll look back on sentimentally for years to come. My Mum has a big garden attached to the house I grew up in. Easy decision.
What’s now proving just a little bit harder is deciding what exactly we’re going to put in it. There are many, many beautiful Pinterest images of tables set out on lawns underneath nothing but the stars and strings of fairy lights. This, however, is England, and we must be a little more realistic than that. England likes to rain. England especially likes to rain on the one day of your entire life you’d really rather it didn’t. A marquee it is then.
But what kind of marquee?
A quick browse of the Internet reveals dozens of different choices of marquees, tents and structures, all ready to become mobile wedding venues. Tipi-style tents look like good fun, and I adore the sweeping billowing curves of a Sperry sailcloth tent. Or how about a yurt? We camped in a Mongolian Yurt while we were travelling so it’d be a great reminder of our adventures. An ex military tent is a tempting option, they have lots of character and vintage charm. I temporarily fell in love with Indian style Raj tents. They seem to bring a touch of classic elegance and romance, but is that really the feel we’re going for? We’ve looked at very modern stretch tents, and some that fit together like little space age pods. Considered everything from glamorous fully furnished rented luxury marquees to second hand tents we could buy off eBay.
Once you’ve decided upon a style, the decisions still aren’t over. Do we need a catering tent? What sort of floor do we want? Solid floor, coconut matting, or nothing at all? Do we want to hire lighting with the marquee, or are we going to sort that ourselves? Yes, we’re having our first encounter with the weight of decisions that come with a do-it-yourself wedding!
Faced with so much choice, just how on earth do you go about picking one? It’s not like visiting a hotel or a country house. You can’t walk in and look around. We’re working off measurements, floor plans, photos and imagination, and it’s not easy. I want someone to erect all these tents in my garden and let me walk in and have a wander around, let me imagine how the cake table will look, where exactly Andy can put up the bar, what it will look like at the end when the dance floor is full and my shoes are kicked off in a corner.
I think though, without finalising any details at all, we’ve found the style we want. I love the idea of a vintage tent. In my head everything looks a little bit like a 1940s village fete, all bunting and flags. They fit exactly with the idea in my head when we first starting planning a garden reception. These traditional tents from LPM Bohemia are speaking to me. I love the canvas walls, the guy ropes and the scalloping. I adore how pretty the flags look fluttering on top. I can just see bunting, or fairy lights, or something else pretty hanging inside. The measurements would fit into our space, the floor plans say they’ll seat about the number of people we think we’re going to invite. They’re the perfect shape for long trestle tables, we should be able to fit in the dance floor and, we think, even a stage. Guy ropes are a little bit of a risk (no one wants Granny taking a head first tumble over an unseen rope…) but they have so much more charm than the framed tent. I really, really don’t want the marquee to look like a pop up two-man tent we picked it up at the local camping shop. Yes, I think my heart is set on a traditional vintage tent.
I guess now we just need to commit to actually booking one!
Have you ever hired a marquee? Any ideas of what we should be looking for??