marquee issues finding a tent

Image courtesy of World Inspired Tents

Today I wanted to talk to you again a little bit more about my own wedding planning journey.

SO much has happened since we found and booked our venue. I wanted to get as much as possible done before we moved house and started our renovation project in Torquay so we’ve got loads booked already … venue, cake, entertainment, flowers, food and catering .. I’ve even got my wedding ring! And, although I know I’ve been incredibly lucky to be in the position where I’m in the wedding industry and already know lots of the suppliers I want to use, everything so far has been really easy. Ant and I have been totally on the same page with what we want for the wedding, we’ve come up with lots of cool ideas which we think our guests are going to love and booking suppliers having made those decisions has been really simple.

With one exception!

We want a tent or two! And when I say tent I’m not really talking about a full on Marquee … and this has been the issue.

Ant and I knew from the start that we didn’t want a full on Marquee wedding or a wedding in a field. Despite the fact that we met at a festival we decided years ago – before the thought of getting engaged had even crossed his mind – that if we were ever to get married it wouldn’t be in a tent! We once exhibited at a wedding fair which, although amazing was a total washout because the tent flooded and we were ankle deep in water. It put us off the idea for life! I have to say now to those of you going for a Marquee / Tipi wedding this was an extremely rare occurrence! The tent had been pitched on ground it was advised was not suitable so as long as you take your suppliers advice this shouldn’t happen. Still it put us off.

I also, from experience of working in the industry, know that although pitching a tent in the middle of a field sounds like the cheapest option ever that once you’ve factored in the hire of the ground, the marquee hire, generators, furniture, portaloos, outside caterers etc. etc. it can actually be one of the most expensive ways of getting married!

So, I digress, that wasn’t our bag – and our lovely venue was all sorted and perfect! So why did we need a tent!? Well there is a lovely area for our evening reception at our venue but we were worried that it wasn’t quite big enough for evening guests to ‘mill around’ in if the weather was miserable and raining outside. We wanted there to be an area to ‘escape’ to for guests who wanted to get away from the music or just stand around and chat. So we wanted to provide some sort of ‘cover’ outside on the terrace area for this to happen. Cue the search for a small tent or canopy!

This was the one area of our wedding so far where I really didn’t know a huge amount of suppliers and didn’t really have any knowledge of what was involved. So I felt I was pretty much starting from scratch like most brides. We knew we didn’t want something plasticy looking and also wanted something that was in keeping with the style of our venue and the feel of our wedding – so a lot of ‘standard’ marquee companies were out. Plus most of them didn’t have anything near small enough for our requirements. Finding something small just seemed impossible! And when I did find something small it still seemed to cost a fortune! We’d allocated £600 – £700 max for this as we really didn’t want to spend a silly amount of money on something which was essentially only there just in case it rained. I’m all for having a wet weather plan but I didn’t want it to double our budget!

The other issue I encountered … and I have to say this really saddens me as someone who works in the wedding industry … was a really annoying lack of interest or amazingly slow lack of response from many of the marquee suppliers I encountered. After several annoying weeks I even ended up starting emails with ” I know this is probably not going to interest you and is an enquiry for a really small tent but … ” as I just felt from many of the responses I’d had that people really just weren’t interested in helping me. I have to qualify there were also a few companies who got back to me immediately and were very helpful but just didn’t have anything suitable – but I was very disheartened that so many companies either didn’t get back to me at all or took at least a week to respond to my enquiry.

Fortunately about 2 months into my search I ended up on a photo shoot at Darts Farm near Exeter with the amazing Blue Fizz Events team and in the stunning tipis from World Inspired Tents. I had completely discounted contacting them before as I just knew Tipis were the wrong look for our wedding and way way too big. However, as I discovered on the photo shoot, they actually have some smaller canopies which they use for catering and bbq areas and would be absolutely perfect! Layla and Tara couldn’t have been more helpful and the two canopies we’ve hired are totally within our budget as well! Honestly the relief at having this sorted was amazing!

I’m now totally relaxed as we’ve really got all the main elements for our wedding booked and can concentrate on doing all the silly fun bits for the wedding once we’ve done some renovations on the house.