One of my favourite wedding styles to photograph, is a garden marquee wedding. It’s quite literally a blank canvas for stylish and creative couples. It’s also a great opportunity to stamp your character on your wedding day. I’ve photographed many marquee weddings, now! One of my favourites would have to be when Sarah and Hans went to town with the lighting for their marquee. Black fabric ceiling (yes, black…stay with me here) dotted with white fairy lights and a disco ball looked amazingly effective.
So, let’s start with garden marquee wedding lighting.
The most popular choice is to go for strings of fairy lights across the “ceiling”. In the daytime, there’s usually plenty of light from outside. For the evening, fairy lights generate enough light for your guests to eat, drink and be merry. This lighting also looks effective when continued on to the dance floor. Make sure you ask your photographer if they’re comfortable with night photography. A little bit of flash to create halos of light can spark a bit of photography magic!
Also keep in mind that your ceiling lighting doesn’t have to be fairy lights embedded into the fabric ceiling. You can have mini Chinese hanging lanterns, as well as larger hanging lanterns for “spot lighting” certain areas of your marquee. Choose alternative colours to cream or white for a more dramatic effect. Blue is very effective, but avoid too much purple and green so you don’t have crazy skin colours in your photos.
Fancy going to town with your lighting? Opt for a black fabric across the ceiling, then hit it with loads of spotlights, up-lights, and a disco ball! This wedding also dropped in a tiny amount of smoke from a smoke machine, creating beams of light across the room. Remember to check whether smoke machines are allowed with your marquee company!
Preferred Wedding Marquee Lighting Companies
Peak Tipis – Marquee and tipi lighting in Derbyshire, and throughout the UK and Europe (with AMAZING tipis and resources)
The Hanging Lantern Company – Wedding marquee hanging lanterns and lighting
Whether you’ve opted to use a marquee on a hired wedding farm venue, or you’re celebrating at home for a garden marquee wedding, it’s going to look beautiful regardless. There’s just something amazing about knowing you’re going to party and chill for the rest of your wedding day, in a familiar environment.
Understandably, you may be wondering if it’s even possible to fit a garden marquee wedding, or any kind of wedding, into the garden. It’s only ever as big as you want it to be! I’ve photographed weddings where the marquee has contained up to 150 guests, with ample room. You can also consider an additional gazebo, if you want to move things like the bar or rest area, out of the way.
Don’t forget to decorate the outside, too. There’s plenty that can be done outside, with a little imagination. See the next section for decorating the inside!
Preferred Wedding Planner
Matthew Oliver Weddings – UK Wedding Planner in Bath, serving the UK, Europe and beyond (and he’s really lovely, too!)
This can be one of the best bits, or one of the worst bits. And it can mostly depend on how creative and imaginative you want to be! There are many options for styling the inside of your marquee, but it’s definitely worth asking for help from wedding planners. Those in the know about event styling will be a great resource, too.
You can keep it completely simple and elegant, with minimal styling.
Or you can go to town with the styling. Find a company who specialise in selling and supplying styling props and the like. I’m a massive (and I do mean MASSIVE) fan of Home Barn, who recently decorated a rustic garden marquee wedding in Yorkshire. They did an incredible job, working with the requirements of the bride.
Preferred Wedding Marquee Stylists and Decorative Suppliers
Home Barn – vintage & interiors shop in Little Marlow, Buckinghamshire (these girls are brilliant.)
Ava Event Styling – styling and floral design company based in the West Midlands
Made by Wood and Wood – Bespoke furniture and stationery for personal, beautiful events
There’s a WORLD of people to choose from for wedding catering. So how do you choose? Narrow it down by considering your options, needs, and desires. Do you need gluten free food? Any vegetarian options? Will they send waiters/waitresses out to your guests? Maximum number of guests? Will they travel? How much space will they need? Do they provide crockery and cutlery? DO they have an alcohol license?
I’ve spent time building up good relationships with wedding caterers. It’s important for me because we need to nail our timing as a team. We can deliver on time, doing our job for you. For example, I ask that I am fed at the same time as you and not left until last. Why? Well your photographer needs to photograph your speeches, which often happen immediately after you have eaten. You don’t want to be waiting on them to finish eating. Or even worse, a photographer who hasn’t been fed at all for the day, and passes out during your speeches! (I’ve seen this happen. It’s really not good…). So it’s important to build a good relationship with your caterer, and be reassured by their professional service. Remember – they will be in direct contact with your guests on the day…
But more than anything, choose the foods you like. Yes, I know that sounds blindingly obvious. But honestly, I’ve never understood why couples worry about the food so much, when they should be choosing foods they know they will love and adore. Choose old favourites. Choose something new. Choose something tried and tested. Choose something recommended. If you can see/taste samples from your wedding catering company beforehand, even better. And if you’re really stuck for who to choose? Ask your photographer. I’ve worked with many, and definitely have a handful of favourites. And if they’re serving anything bacon related, it’s a YES from me. 😉
Preferred Catering Companies
The Best of Taste – Wedding Catering in Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire
Friends For Dinner – Wedding Catering in York, Leeds, Harrogate, Yorkshire (incredibly friendly and accommodating)
Gideon Hitchin Catering – Wedding Catering in Dorset
The Red Olive Catering Company – Amazing wedding catering company in Derbyshire (super tasty, super lovely)
If you need any more info, do click on the links above. Alternatively, contact me for first perspective on a garden marquee wedding, or hiring for a farm marquee wedding.