Number 1 thing to do when planning your marquee wedding

While I briefly covered where the best marquee location is just before the end of 2018, there are a number of factors that should be taken into consideration as you embark on planning your marquee wedding. Whether you’re holding the marquee wedding in Sydney, Melbourne or anywhere else these factors still ring true and presents paperwork after paperwork. So much so that I felt the need to provide some advice on the first thing to do.

Pre-plan using this check list

As with all things make sure you get prepared before you hunt for the perfect location for your marquee wedding! Besides ensuring it has a great view go through these questions and note them down:

  1. The number of guests you anticipate to be at your wedding day.

  2. Date of your wedding is confirmed by the Higher Powers (of course).

  3. Consider the logistics requirements.

  4. Do you require an area for a civil ceremony service.

  5. Location characteristics that you love.

Start with these 5 questions as they are the foundations to your wedding plans. Let’s go through these a little bit more because even though they may be self explanatory, it’s always good to have a sanity check incase you miss something that isn’t so apparent! 

The number of guests you anticipate to be at your wedding day

Ok this is the second easiest point that everyone knows they need to get as you plan your wedding, and if you don’t most likely your parents or family will remind you. Except how the heck do you guestimate that crucial number that’ll determine one of the largest costs to your wedding? 

Most bride and groom would run through a list of family, cousins, spouses, friends, work mates, randoms that invited you because they had to, your parents’ village people and community of grocery, butcher, seafood market, baker and milk man. Even then you’re bound to forget someone! Let’s not to mention the people that don’t bother RSVPing or acknowledge having received your save the date to the wedding - they just rock up (or not).

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Then how does one come up with that magical number so you can negotiate with your caterer or reception venue? On this note I’ll cover a separate blog on how to negotiate the price of the reception venue. 

Back to your guest numbers. There is no real equation or science behind it. So guestimate and factor in 20% drop off along the way, but be sure to have a minimum of 2 spare tables JUST incase Uncle Bob or Dad’s favourite tackle shop rocks up on your wedding day. 

Remember though as enticing it is to invite the world because you want to declare it, or have a big Project X wedding reception; you’re not going to have enough time to see everyone and thank them individually. While you’ll be forced to try to, make sure you enjoy the reception party and food!

This point is particularly important as not every marquee structure is the same and you’d have to check whether the marquee site can accommodate for your number of guests.

Date of your wedding is confirmed by the Higher Powers

It’s logical to have this as number 1 on the list but my experience is the date changed with the availability of your most important wedding guest, family, best friends or any other important consideration. So it’s a number 2 on my list.

Some couples are lucky enough to be able to choose their own wedding date and it’ll be based on a memorable date so no one gets into trouble for forgetting. But there are those that have to adhere to a Higher Power to grace them with the wedding date. This could be your parents or a religious leader that will take your birthdates and astrology to work out the most auspicious wedding date. 

Consider the logistics requirements

With logistics I refer to travel and accommodation for your wedding guests because often you choosing to hold a marquee wedding is because you envisioned the wedding to be out of the norm, and not held within the usual wedding reception venues. With different comes these considerations as some locations are not travel or accommodation friendly.

This consideration goes hand in hand with your guest numbers because you’d have to ensure there is ample parking (hopefully free or there’ll be grumbles), is it a taxi/Uber or public transport hotspot so those of us who partake in the grog can get home safely, and then theres the question of whether there’s (cheap) accommodation around to house guests right after the partying. 

There are a handful of locations in Sydney CBD that tick all these, and then there are locations so remote you may as well add a requirement to BYO a tent/hammock/bedroll so everyone can enjoy the starry skies unabated. That’s the dream right?  

Do you require an area for a civil ceremony service

This is not a biggie because some of you will be married in a church or chapel, but for those who prefer the modern union of a civil ceremony, then consider this. Why? For the simple fact of convenience for all involved!

How often do you wait for hours after a civil ceremony or church mass before you get to boogie at the reception? Yes its great for pub crawls but it can be taxing having to wait for hours, so why not hold your civil ceremony at  the same marquee site or very close by? 

Besides the short wait, here are some great benefits:

  • It’ll save you money from having to hire your wedding limousine for a longer period.

  • No one gets lost or runs late to the reception.

  • Since you’re paying for the marquee site already, you may as well maximise the investment by double dipping!

Some great benefits if you ask me and well worth considering. 

Location characteristics that you love

This is where the fun starts! You’re in control of your wedding planning destiny now! You’ve appeased most people with the date, and indicative guest list so now to concentrate on your wants for a marquee location.

You’re not bound to the constraints of four walls so this part is my last point because it’s tremendously important to get right. Taking a stand to have the wedding YOU both want rather than going to where your parents know is safe-and-proven is a big stand and I congratulate you both for making that choice.

So what now?  There are two school of thought on finding the perfect location for your marquee wedding and it boils down to following choices:

  • Bushland or farm

  • Sea view

  • Park, garden or hills

Most couple, I dare say 99.9%, wouldn’t have a marquee wedding to have it with views of buildings, so let’s rule that out, well for those who do all power to you! 

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Other than these location choice, here are some considerations couples have asked me to look for:

  • Ensure the marquee is positioned perfectly for a sunset view.

  • Just underneath a full moon. Yes no joke.

  • On a wharf with historical views and heritage.

  • Have a ceremony location surrounded by tall pine trees.

  • Set by a river or lake.

  • Not too close to population, or city area, and street lights, so the night sky showcases it’s splendour.

  • Have Sydney Harbour view.

Nothing outlandish but they are still important considerations and make for setting the ambience and mood of the wedding reception. There are certainly more features and characteristics that can be fulfilled by the multitude of marquee locations, far more than possible to cover here, but note them down as it’ll make your searching and filtering so much easier! 

Particularly as you engage a wedding planner, such as me or any one of my industry peers, the more detail of your requirements you have the easier it is for us to locate the perfect location for your marquee wedding. 

What is next? 

Once you have that sorted, and assume you have chosen the perfect location for your marquee wedding, how do you begin to go through the paperwork and engage vendors to make it all work for your chosen location?

There’s a lot that goes into that stage and I will break down the things to do and considerations for each one of the 3 types of location mentioned above:

  • Bushland or farm

  • Sea view

  • Garden

My next blog will be very in-depth and long read because I would like to share my experiences and knowledge as much as possible, without boring you!

In the meantime here are some recent marquee weddings we’ve created in Sydney.