Marquees can be wonderful for your wedding reception as they can be customised, be any size, have amazing lighting and be located virtually anywhere. As a wedding singer I have been lucky enough to perform in many great marquees on the grounds of wedding venues, in back gardens and on open hills overlooking beautiful views!
If you are thinking of using a marquee, here are some things to consider when you planning your day…
It is very important to know that your power supply will be adequate for everything that you need on your wedding day. There are often heating, lighting, catering and entertainment power requirements. This is likely to require a lot of AC power, and one or two power points feeding extension cables may not be able to cope! If the added power requirements on any socket exceeds 13Amps, or if there are any power spikes – fuses will blow or worse! Also, many extension cables can only operate at low currents – especially when still coiled up! Dangerous overheating of extension cables and fusebox fires are some of the possible nightmares waiting to happen. To understand all of this requires knowledge of the main electrical fusebox and fuse ratings, the ring main layout and state and age of the wiring, along with load spreading, spike allowance or prevention, equipment current loadings and more! You may need a specific generator to cope if you are far from a power source or if your power requirements exceed the supply. I would suggest that you discuss the power requirements with all parties involved and talk to a qualified electrician for guidance.
I performed recently in a marquee and 10 minutes before everything was about to start all power was lost due to overloading, and I have to say this was an awful experience for everyone involved.
When you first plan your table layout try to think about the evening celebrations. Do you need a dance floor laid out or can it be placed after the tables have been moved. If it is the latter then you would need to calculate the time needed and add it to your schedule.
Also, think about where your musicians will perform. The correct amount of space to set-up is a must – It’s rather difficult for a 5 piece band to perform well in a small corner, so it’s best to ask them how much space they would like, and how much space they need. This way you can work out the best balance for your evening. Do think about where to place your entertainment. You should try to make sure that the performing area is as flat and as hard as possible – large speakers balancing on high stands on uneven floors = trouble. You will also want to make sure that everyone is able to see the entertainment, otherwise you might as well use a recording and that’s not what live entertainment is about. – We want to engage the audience so we can all have a fabulous time!
Whether you are planning to have your wedding reception at a private residence or on a local village green – your noise will carry! If you think your entertainment is going to be quite loud it would be wise to notify the neighbours or perhaps invite them to join you. If you are using hotel grounds, they will be able to tell you about any volume restrictions and cut off times. If you don’t do this you could find that your 10pm band can only play until 11pm, or that your entertainment brings the wrong PA system, rehearses the wrong genres or simply cannot perform hard rock under 100 decibels.
Safety and Insurance
Is your marquee totally waterproof?
Does your marquee meet current fire regulations?
Is your marquee insured?
What is the marquee owners policy on accidental damage?
Do all 3rd parties carry adequate public liability insurance?
Will your marquee be setup safely and will third parties ensure they take the necessary precautions to maintain this safety? (Not trailing loose cables across public areas, not overloading power sockets, restricting access to dangerous areas/equipment, considering dangers to children etc)
In the end you want to have as little stress on your wedding day as possible, and so I hope this helps with your planning a safe and successful event in the great outdoors!
Disclaimer: These are just a few ideas for you to consider in the planning of your day. This list is in no way exhaustive nor complete and Laura will not be held responsible for any wedding nightmares!