When considering the numerous elements involved in planning a wedding, it’s fair to say that none rank higher than the venue. Budget, location, guest numbers, time of year, style and suitability all have to be pored over with great scrutiny to avoid making a mistake.
One of the biggest questions couples will face regarding the aforementioned, is whether to hold their wedding reception in a marquee or to hire a venue.
There is a wide-range of venue options across the UK offering a myriad of styles to suit almost any taste. There are the grand, old stately homes many of which have been modernised inside and out and can therefore offer that classic, traditional, grandiose glamour whilst ensuring guests are comfortably protected from the elements; be it too hot or too cold outside. Other venues offer a more contemporary experience such as luxury hotels; modern in design, equipped with facilitates for staying guests and potentially perfect for couples wanting a more metropolitan wedding. There is the option of private members club (assuming you know a member or are a member yourself!) which represent a degree of exclusivity and intimacy.
One thing, however you cannot do with a venue is move it!
Marquee weddings on the other hand allow for more flexibility in terms of both location and design. Assuming the land is available and in a suitable area, i.e. not next to neighbours that may be disturbed, then pitching up a marquee is achievable. Plus, advances in design mean that configurations and styles are almost limitless and guest numbers should not be a problem; this, in contrast to loving a particular venue but finding it is too small to accommodate the wedding party.
Both a wedding venue and marquee will require dressing. Venues are usually embellished to create the right ambience in the room, often implementing a lighting design to make the most of the interior of the building. Creating the right ambience in a marquee is equally important, however, other factors come into play. Because you are starting with virtually a blank canvass, every aspect of the eventual setting needs to brought in, set-up and managed; tables, chairs, staging, all lighting, crockery and cutlery, toilets, heating and, depending on the location, a generator, to name a few. All of these bring with them more choices and therefore, more decisions.
Another factor worth considering is the time of year. Whilst no-one can be entirely sure what the Great British weather has in-store for us from one month to the next, one can certainly mitigate against potential climate catastrophes. Holding marquee weddings in December is probably not a good idea, unless you are going to invest heavily in heating equipment, erect the marquee on high ground with good irrigation/soak-away and have a number of covered walkways to keep guests from the elements at all times.
The same consideration should be made when choosing a venue. If you are visiting potential venues in, say June when the sun is shining and doors are open to the gardens but are getting married in November, does the venue offer enough comfortable indoor space for guests? Will it feel claustrophobic with less natural light coming in and no outdoor space? Would it be better to embrace the nature of the season and opt for a purposely cosy venue?
If you find it hard to visualise these, best to visit each venue around the same time of year as your own wedding to avoid the aforementioned issues.
The reception venue for your wedding, be it a hotel, stately home or marquee will usually be the single largest expense in your budget; it’s worth planning well in advance and taking as much time as you need before deciding.
My Full Plan service includes venue sourcing and all elements necessary for staging marquee weddings.