Planning a Teepee or Marquee Wedding
Teepee and marquee weddings are becoming more and more popular. They’re my favourite type of wedding for all sorts of reasons:
· I love that you are literally creating your wedding venue from scratch.
· They look so stylish and give you the freedom to design your perfect day.
· They’re so versatile – no venue number limits here.
· No patterned carpets and wallpaper!!
As an experienced planner, I thrive on the additional, logistical challenge they bring.
But planning this type of wedding without a wedding planner in your life isn’t for the feint hearted. There’s no denying there is a lot more to organise and more to consider.
I’ve been chatting recently with Laura from Bar Events. We’ve teamed together in this blog to bring you the lowdown on organising a teepee wedding if you’re going it alone.
Bar Events provide beautiful, giant teepees which can be linked together to create the perfect size structure for your wedding. They can also provide bar hire and staff.
Whilst we refer in this article to teepee weddings, the majority of the advice will also apply to a marquee wedding. So don’t stop reading if your heart is set on a marquee wedding – you’ll still find this useful.
One of the first things to get in place is the venue for your teepee. I asked Laura about the key things that you need for this:
‘You may have a private garden or field in mind for your venue from the get go. That’s great, and means you’re off to a very good start.
However, more often than not, couples come to us with their hearts set on a teepee wedding but they haven’t yet found a venue. We’re more than happy to help with your search. We have some great recommendations and a real variety of options in terms of facilities and location.
Wedding planners also offer a venue search service. If you’re struggling to find the time to research and visit venues then why not let them do it on your behalf. They’ll come back with a short list for you to view! (great advice here from Laura!!)”
You can see some of my favourite Yorkshire venues where you can have a teepee set up here.
What Does The Venue Need to Have?
“In terms of essentials for a teepee venue – you need a relatively flat, well drained piece of land.
We can literally bring everything else to site – power, toilets, lighting, glamping accommodation and of course your venue. What can be created on a blank canvas field blows our minds regularly 🙂
We offer all our clients a no obligation site visit where we meet at your chosen venue to check access, space etc. We also chat through where best to position your teepee. Not only in terms of practicality but also to ensure a nice level set up and to make the most of any amazing views. “
On top of this I would advise you to consider:
Is there good access to the site for suppliers and their vehicles? A teepee or marquee doesn’t get folded up like a camping tent and thrown in the back of the car!! It’s going to be delivered on the back of a lorry so make sure it’ll be able to fit on the roads/driveway etc.
Suppliers Coming and Going. Before and after the actual event you’re going to be generating quite a lot of traffic to and from the site. There are plenty of items to be delivered and set up before the wedding and obviously, they need to be taken away again afterwards. So if your venue is a private garden or field, then make sure the owner of the garden is onboard with all this traffic.
Do you have enough toilets? Now if your venue is the garden, then you’re not going to have sufficient toilets for 100 plus guests. And do you really want guests trailing though the house all day anyway? So hiring portaloos is likely to be a must – there are some really great ones out there too – they don’t have to be like festival toilets!!
What about power? You’re going to need sufficient power for the lighting, heating, caterers, DJ, Band, etc etc. Most homes can’t deal with this extra load and a field is highly unlikely to have a power supply, so you will need a generator. As Laura says, they can help you with this but it’s crucial that you include this on your list of requirements.
Car Parking If many of your guests are likely to drive, then consider where they’re all going to park. Can you allocate certain areas for them to use and who will tell them where to go? And don’t forget you’ll also need parking for your suppliers – ideally out of sight so all their vans are hidden from your guests.
Is there enough accommodation nearby for your guests? Where can waste be disposed of (and who will be responsible for this?) Do you need security on site overnight?
Will your neighbours complain about noise? Is there a fresh water supply? How will you keep food and drinks chilled?
I told you there was a lot to think about didn’t I!? You need to try to think of absolutely everything that a ‘traditional’ venue already has in place and work out how you achieve these. It’s all doable but you will need to commit the time to the planning and prep.
The Teepee Itself
Once you’re decided on a teepee wedding and have your venue in place, then you need to work out how big a teepee you need.
Bar Events can help you with this:
“1) How many guests would you like to seat for a meal and on what style of furniture, e.g. round or long tables?
2) How many additional guests would you like to invite in the evening?
3) What items would you like space for inside your teepee, such as a dance floor, bar area, chill out area, fire pit, band?
4) Would you be willing to have a set up where some furniture would need moving following your meal? (to make space for dancing for example)
All these factors determine the set up you’re likely to need and how many teepees we would suggest connecting together. We’re always incredibly realistic in terms of what space works well. So you’re not too cramped and equally not rattling around in a space that’s too big for your guest numbers. Once we have a feel for all of the above we create a bespoke floor plan and quote for all our clients.
The beauty of our teepees is that possibilities are endless and no two events are ever the same. Like the sound of a wedding venue that’s completely tailored to YOU? Then teepees are definitely for you!”
Now you all know that I’m always banging on about budgets so why would today be any different!?
I see a lot of couples who are disappointed because they thought that having a teepee wedding would be cheap. But when they get the full quotes, they realise that this isn’t the case.
You will save some money in certain areas – you won’t be restricted on your choice of caterer for example. If you have a garden big enough then you’re not paying for the venue or land hire.
However, there are additional items that you will need to consider such as generators, toilets, chiller trailers etc that would be included at a hotel venue for example. So never assume it will be cheaper. You need to get detailed quotes to be able to compare the cost with a more traditional venue.
Laura says: “We’re happy to talk you through all the practical items you night need to consider for your outdoor wedding. Plus we have some great contacts within the industry so always happy to point you in the right direction for reliable and fairly priced suppliers.
If you opt to use a wedding planner you obviously have their support too when it comes to covering all bases and making sure you don’t miss any details that come as standard at a fixed venue.”
To say the British weather can be unpredictable would be a bit of an understatement wouldn’t it!
I asked Laura how they deal with the extremes that seem to be more and more common these days.
“Our authentic Nordic teepees are made to withstand the toughest weather conditions. Our advice for your day would be to make sure you have a contingency plan just in case you don’t get the sunny day you hope for.”
We always keep an eye on the weather in the lead up to your big day. We can add items such as doors, heaters, fire pits, additional walkways to your set up right up until the last minute.
The space inside a teepee is surprisingly easy to heat so should the weather take a turn for the worst you and your guests will be nice and cosy inside.
Similarly (and the challenge everyone would MUCH rather have) if your wedding day is a scorcher, we can raise most, or even all of the sides of your teepee to allow a nice breeze to flow through the space.”
I’d also suggest thinking about footwear. If it’s been raining in the run up to your wedding it may be muddy and strappy sandals don’t work very well in the mud. You might need to have your wellies to hand! And make sure your guests know about the type of venue they’re coming to as well.
The Main Event
Now this is where the planning & managing skills are really needed.
In the days up to your wedding your teepee will be getting set up. There’s likely to be a number of suppliers who will want to come in ahead of the wedding day to deliver items and begin the set up of your wedding venue.
So you need someone around to manage this, direct them to the right place and deal with any questions or issues that they might have.
On the actual day, it’s going to be a hive of activity with all the last minute prep and deliveries. With the high number of suppliers you have, there are always last minute questions, issues and decisions to be made.
Again you need someone who can oversee all this as well as ensuring everything is running to time and helping to direct and manage your guests.
I can’t stress enough how big a job this is. When wedding planners manage a marquee wedding, they will have at least one assistant with them to help to run the day. It’s a brave planner who does a marquee wedding on her own!
So if you’re not having a planner you need to seriously consider who will undertake this role for you. You won’t have time to do this and it’s unfair to expect any of your guests to do it.
Is It Worth It?
I don’t know anyone who has regretted having a teepee or marquee wedding. But there are plenty who underestimated the work involved and therefore found it challenging.
You’re going to have many more decisions to make and suppliers to choose but the reward is so worth it. You’re creating your own unique wedding venue and designing it to suit your needs.
Having a professional planner to support you with this process can be invaluable. But I totally understand that this isn’t the solution for everyone so I hope this article has helped you if you’re going it alone.
If you do want more info about getting professional help, you can see more here. And I’m always happy to meet you to discuss your needs and how I might be able to help you. And if you want to know more about Bar Events and their fabulous services, you can see more here.