Think of a summer wedding and you probably think of a marquee.

Guests lining up outside, checking out the table plan, greeting the bride and groom and the atmosphere building.

And the beauty of having a marquee wedding is that it can seat as many guests as you wish.

If you’re having a small event, then you can have a small tented style of marquee – which could be for an intimate gathering of just 20 people. Or if you’re holding a larger wedding, then large marquees could fit up to 500.

This style of seating is very adaptable and of course you can decorate a marquee exactly as you wish. Unlike a room in a hotel, a marquee is pretty much a blank canvas.

And that’s where our wedding stylists can come in and help you to make a marquee your very own. They’ll drape the interior in a style and colour that you choose. You may also want to investigate using light curtains to highlight the areas behind the top table or by the entertainment. Co-ordinate the interior drapes with your chair covers, sashes and table coverings.

Different Styles of Marquee Decor

First off, let’s look at the ever popular vintage style.  How would you incorporate this into a marquee wedding? Our advice would be to think textures, colours, and props (which are another thing our stylists will have on hand to ‘dress’ your marquee perfectly).  Chalkboards impart a vintage style – use them for your table numbers, table plans and directing guests in the way of entertainment (like a photobooth). Flowers and floral decorations should be ‘naive’ and not overdone. Think large blowsy roses, daisies – artlessly arranged together in jugs, jam jars and small posies on the table. Props could include lace tied around napkins, vintage photographs of your family …

If you want a more contemporary look to your wedding day, then consider how you could use pops of colour. Maybe use pastel shades for your chairs and table covers and match the colours with coloured lanterns on the ceiling. These look pretty on a summer afternoon and of course in the evening will come into their own, lighting up the marquee with soft shading.

You could mismatch the pastels deliberately on chair covers – maybe a pale blue chair cover tied with a lemon yellow sash – and napkins in yellow tied with a blue sash. Also think about pale pinks, lilacs and creams. Pastels are timeless and look wonderful at spring and summer weddings.

Keeping guests comfortable

One thing you will have to consider if you’re having a marquee wedding is the temperature. If you’re marrying in high summer, a marquee can feel very warm during a hot afternoon so make sure the sides can be pinned up to allow a through breeze. On the other hand, in the evening or on a wet afternoon it may feel chilly (and women don’t tend to overdress at summer weddings) so you may have to consider heating your marquee with special blow heaters. Talk to your marquee suppliers about options at the time of booking the marquee so you know you have this in place.

Of course, marquees aren’t just for weddings in summer. With appropriate heating and lighting they can also work well at autumn and even winter weddings (although maybe not in the depths of winter). Late October is probably the cut off time for having a marquee and March the earliest you could consider using one but this does depend on where you live and what the climate is likely to be (it’s probably going to be warmer in Cornwall in March than Scotland).

Don’t forget the exterior

It’s also important to decorate the entrance to your marquee – particularly if you’re thinking of having a receiving line there. How about a carpet colour-themed to your wedding decor? Range potted trees tied with coloured ribbon along the edge to add depth – or maybe troughs of seasonal flowers. There’s no rule that says you have to have one table plan either. Maybe put one outside by the receiving line so guests can check where they are sitting on the way in and then another seating plan inside. That way you won’t have any hold ups while people find their place. The receiving line is also a good place to serve drinks – and don’t forget to offer lots of soft drinks if it’s a warm day.

Remember that our stylists can help you to make your marquee personal to you – and they have a host of props at their disposal. Contact your local Ambience Venue stylist to see how they can help you and discuss your ideas.