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Whilst the weather outside may be frightful and the nation is wrapping up warm and sending off their Christmas lists to Santa, many of the brides-to-be amongst us are thinking ahead and staying focussed on their spring summer 2017 nuptials. As a marquee is a perennially popular choice for both ceremony and reception, here are our proven pointers to ensure your guests are still talking about your big day for years to come.
1. Dress the ceiling
Adorning the ceiling of your marquee with swathes of fresh foliage branches visually lowers the ceiling and creates an intimate, magical woodland atmosphere. In the image below we used birch poles in leaf, secured overhead to the marquee structure and added twinkling candle lanterns hung on pretty ribbons to maximise the romantic ambience. Nets of twinkling fairy lights stretched between the ceiling beams are another excellent way of achieving this effect.
2. Floral chandeliers
Suspending decadent wreaths of blowsy blooms will make the ceiling feel lower and create conversation-worthy focal points in your marquee. They work well on their own or with the addition of twinkling tea lights in glass holders suspended from the body of the chandelier.
3. Focal points and bold features
Zoning your space with focal points and bold features can be both practical and dramatic. Define the entrance with grand arrangements to make a statement entrance, or why not line the aisle with chair backs, lanterns and rose petals. Potted semi-mature trees or ‘flower walls’ can help separate zones used for reception and ceremony.
At the wedding shown here we created an exquisite rose bower from scented David Austin garden roses under which the bride and groom were wed. As the bower was too beautiful not to reuse later on in the day, we switched it up with a floral cake table so the bride and groom could invite their guests back under it’s headily scented boughs for cake-cutting and a candlelit champagne toast at dusk.
4. Add height to your tables
Tall table centrepieces such as candelabra or slim vases will help to fill the space and promote that all important intimate atmosphere without interfering with your guests dinner conversations. To add an extra dimension and a decadent feel, surround the base of the centrepiece with votive candles and small posies in beakers.
5. Don’t skimp on details
As a marquee is a totally blank canvas, small details can really help transform them from a big white tent into an intimate, romantic space for your wedding celebration. Spending a little extra time and money sourcing the most beautiful chairs, linens and floor coverings you can afford will make all the difference. Decorative details like lanterns and chair backs will all add to the decadent, romantic feel of the day.
6. Don’t underestimate the importance of the right lighting
Fairy lights, flood lighting, uplighters, spot lighting and chandeliers can be used to accentuate features, distract from eyesores or even to define zones within your marquee. Your marquee company or wedding planner will be able to advise you on the best lighting for your space and your desired atmosphere.
Candles, candles and more candles. Candlelight imparts a sense of romance and intimacy like nothing else can. For outdoor evening parties we often use a mix of real candles inside protective lanterns and hurricane lamps alongside battery powered candles in candelabra to ensure our tables twinkle on into the night.
7. Turn up the heat
Don’t forget how unreliable the Great British climate can be. Even in the height of summer, outdoor spaces can feel somewhat chilly after sundown. The last thing that ladies in summer dresses or delicate evening wear want to feel is cold – it will really dampen the atmosphere of your evening reception. I advise that even during the warmest months you have a back-up plan in place – do hire in some marquee-appropriate heaters to ensure the comfort of your guests until carriages are called.
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