Archive for the ‘wedding marquees’ Category

Stacks of chairs in marquees

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

There is one wedding marquee we did that sticks out for several reasons. It was the largest wedding we were doing that year and a lot of work had gone on beforehand – many many site visits and alterations but it did promise to be quite a special marquee.

Having been on site most of the week on Thursday afternoon we were just about there, just the chairs to carry in and some outdoor lighting to set up. Caterers usually set up on a Friday but in this instance they were there on the Thursday afternoon too to get a head start, I guess it was also their biggest wedding of the year.

Some caterers prefer you the marquee hire company to lay out all of the chairs. Others prefer the chairs left in piles by each table to make laying the table quicker and easier. This caterer was one such that preferred piles of chairs for them to put out later.

The banqueting chairs (of a very particular colour with certain shade of seat pad that had been changed many times!) were carried in in piles of 10 and left by each table.

I was on the phone outside when all of a sudden I heard “NOOO!!…CRASH!…CRASH! CRASH!…”

I ran in to find carnage, a pile of chairs had toppled over on to a table that also then set another couple of chairs over like dominoes. Fortunately no one was hurt except a load of broken glasses, chairs and crockery. The caterer was very practical and in an hour everything was resolved, I have my suspicions that if it had been one of our lads rather than one of theirs that had knocked the chairs over it might not have been dealt with quite so calmly.

We were very lucky but there’s lessons to be learned from this:

  • Never leave chairs in tall piles, they are simply too unstable. Leave them in maximum 5’s for plastic chairs or 3’s for banqueting chairs.
  • Check with the caterer if they want you to lay out the chairs or not. If you can’t speak to the caterer then lay the chairs out as standard.
  • Try and avoid other suppliers working in the marquee before you’re finished. If you aim to have wedding marquees finished by the Thursday evening then they have all day Friday to set up.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

How big a marquee do I need?

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

Asking how big a marquee is required is one of your main jobs as a marquee supplier. Often the size of the garden will dictate the size of marquee but you still need to know how much space everything takes up to then plan suitable numbers.

Here’s how most marquee hire companies work out the space required in a marquee:

Round table seating up to 10 (usually 5ft or 5ft6in tables): Allow 3x3m -this includes space for walking between tables so for example a 6x12m area can fit eight 3x3m boxes so can fit eight round tables with space to walk between. Saying that it is more comfortable leaving one out to stagger the tables like this example.

Tradition long top table (usually three 6ft trestle tables but oval tables are similar): Allow 3x6m

Buffet (again usually three 6ft trestles): Allow 3x6m

Bar: Allow 3x3m for small functions, 3x6m in larger ones

DJ: 3x3m is usually fine

Band: 3x6m for a small band, larger bands you have to ask them (though be careful as they often want to take over half the marquee)

Dance Floor: A blog post in itself which will be written soon

Catering area: 3x6m or 6x4m for small functions, 6x6m for medium (80+ guests), 6x8m+ for larger functions (160+)

When planning layouts you also want to consider where people walk in to the marquee -ideally you don’t want guests walking straight in to a table so you may have to leave a gap. For marquees that are a bit tight consider having the entrance near the bar or dance floor to give some space.

Often you are asked to put marquees up over features like bushes, flower beds, small trees, water features or even swimming pools. This really adds character to a marquee so in my eyes should be encourages though as the marquee supplier it does make life a little harder and you should point out that it is not useable area. Often customers will need a larger marquee to allow for incorporating these features.

When planning the marquee remember which direction guests will be arriving from – you want it to look impressive. Windows make the marquee look more inviting – you don’t want guests believe that they are walking in to the back of the marquee. Also keep in mind access to the toilets, this may require an additional exit in the marquee.

Experiment with layouts using our interactive marquee planner, it allows you to drag furniture in to a marquee to experiment with capacities and layouts.

Thanks for reading.

Spencer

Planning a greeting drinks area

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Part of your job when supplying a marquee is to help plan the event as a whole. Remember it’s in your interest for the event to go well and smoothly as that is likely to generate future bookings and expand your business in the best way – by word of mouth recommendations.

Once you’ve established where the marquee is going for most events you also have to plan somewhere to have drinks on arrival. Here are some ideas/thoughts/suggestions on that:

  • Have a wet and dry plan. In the summer invariably this will be drinks outside nearby in the sunshine or inside the marquee if it’s raining
  • If you’re running a path of matting/carpet to the marquee then don’t run it straight through the drinks area. Either have it run to one side or have it running to the drinks area then a separate piece from there to the marquee. It’s a difficult one to explain but if you have a path running through the drinks area it will effectively cut the party in two – no one will stand on the path. Have the path leading up to a table serving drinks (perhaps under a Pagoda?) then another piece by the marquee
  • Whether it’s benches, some spare chairs, hay bales or a selection of outdoor furniture allow for some form of seating. The elderly and lazy will always want to sit somewhere and if you don’t supply it they will start carrying furniture out of the marquee
  • Outdoor furniture should be exactly that – suitable to be left out in the rain. People aren’t going to be worried about your furniture if the heavens open.
  • In a large garden/field always keep the outdoor furniture in one area, this keeps the party in one place and preserves the atmosphere
  • If drinks are to be supplied from a bar in the marquee try to plan it so it can be accessed from outside without guests having to go in to the main marquee. This is easily done, just have a zipped or removable wall by the bar and tell them to have one table facing outside and another facing inside (for the evening). If people have to go inside the marquee then they will sit inside the marquee and you end up with guests everywhere when the catering staff are still setting up -or worse still on seeing some guests sitting down people may think everyone needs to go through to the marquee and spoil timings for everyone!
  • If you’re concerned about where guests will go for drinks in the event of rain think about erecting a roof only marquee or use one of our gable pieces to create a porch on the front of one of your existing marquees

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Tip for weddings

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

If you supply wedding marquees then it’s useful to have a few wedding tips to pass on. They aren’t going to win you any jobs (as you’re probably already there with the marquee by this stage) but it does help to project a professional appearance and reassure the customer that you know what you’re talking about (which can then lead to recommendations for future jobs)

The best tip that I passed on was for emotional bride/grooms who struggle to look in to each others eyes without bursting in to tears/laughter. Just tell them to focus on a point on the wall slightly to one side of their other half, as far as everyone else in the church can see they’re still looking in to each others eyes but it makes a world of difference to their emotions.

Weddings are emotional occasions that can make people nervous and slightly unpredictable (just ask my mate who in his words at the alter is married ‘in dogs holy law’!) so any advice you can give to help is usually well received.

As you may have noticed the design of our website has changed recently, there’s still work to do on it but if you find anything wrong or that could do with improving please let me know. There will be a new event planning advice section where I will be writing articles and case studies on particular aspects of planning an event, for experienced marquee hirers it will just seem common sense but for anyone new hopefully there will be some interesting reading there.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Can you have a marquee wedding on a budget?

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Just about every job is a compromise between what your client wants and what their budget is.

So is it possible to have a marquee wedding on a budget?

Yes absolutely but there’s things you need to make your customer aware of.  The main way for them to save money is to have an unlined marquee so your customers are likely to want to do a lot of decorating of the marquee before the day. You should also point out that decorations should be cleared before you come to take the marquee down – people are very happy decorating a marquee but not so keen un-decorating it!

Another alternative is to save space by having seating on the dance floor. Typically this would be the top table as everyone on it should be off socialising for the evening (ever seen an occupied top table late on at a wedding?)

A marquee can fit more people in standing than seated. A popular option is to limit the numbers of guests for the meal with more guests arriving for the evening. At the end of the meal all of the tables are cleared, the seats are moved to the edge of the marquee and this gives the added capacity needed for the evening.

No doubt there are many more money-saving ideas but these are the most popular I came across in the marquee hire industry.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Something to think of when buying a marquee

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

That listing I linked to on eBay was for one of our marquees bought in March with accessories for £1,684 and used once for a wedding. It sold for £1,600. Find me something else wedding-related that holds it’s value that well after using it!

For some reason the last few weeks have gone crazy with requests from people with other makes of marquees wanting spare parts. I’m not sure what it is, whether it’s just the time of year for people to be planning their summer parties or whether there’s just been some unexpected bad weather somewhere but I’d say we’ve had an 800% increase than this time last month.

How does this affect you? Well generally parts of different marquees aren’t compatible with one another so if you have an accident with your marquee you’ve got to go back to the original supplier. But a lot of the requests we have are for other suppliers marquees who clearly state on their website that spares are readily available, which is confusing. I thought everyone was like us who send spares out immediately as the time you need a replacement is invariably when you need the marquee.

Now I’m not trying to criticise all of our competitors, I get on well with most and the reason for that is mutual respect and knowledge that we each offer a good service. But there are some out there who say one thing and do another. What I suggest is if you’re thinking of buying a marquee (whoever it’s from and whatever style it is) you phone them up anonymously saying you’ve got a 2 or 3 year old marquee already and need some spare parts for it, just see what reaction you get and keep that in mind when finding a supplier.

All of this and indeed our philosophy on spare parts comes from my own experience. Years ago I was really in the mire for one weekend and approached our usual supplier only to be hit by a brick wall. It was made very clear that they weren’t going to help me or go out of their way at all. So I approached another supplier we rarely used who bent over backwards to help even meeting us out of hours so we could get the job done. Who do you think we went back to in the future? Years of growth later and we were one of his best customers and I never forgot him helping us out that one nightmare weekend.

I’m not saying we’re the only marquee supplier who offers a good after sales service but just put a supplier to the test before buying. That way you can have more confidence if anything should go wrong in the future.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Flowers in marquees

Monday, February 28th, 2011

This is only really relevant for people who supply wedding marquees.

When you’re meeting a potential customer it’s always good to come across as knowledgeable about other parts of their event not just the marquee even if it’s something the relevant supplier (caterer, florist etc) should cover anyway. It shows that you care about the success of the event as a whole and not just the marquee which is something that always goes down well.

One such thing is flower centre pieces for tables. These are important as they’re one of the first things people see when they walk in to the marquee and people spend a lot of time sat at the tables staring at them.

Essentially they come down to one of two options, they need to be positioned either above or below eye height (for someone sat at the table). So either a display sat on the table or a display on top of a thin stemmed stand. Anything in between loses a lot of social atmosphere around a table.

It’s not essential information as you probably don’t supply flowers but it’s useful to show how knowledgeable you are about wedding marquees.

Thanks for reading.

Spencer