top of page

5 Marquee Wedding Essentials

If you’ve embarked on the wedding planning journey, and now you’re thinking: “What do I actually need for my marquee or DIY wedding venue”? Then welcome my friend! I’m here to help with five essential, but not so obvious, things you need to hire or arrange for your wedding day.

Man playing lawn games at marquee wedding in Oxfordshire
Lucy Noble Photography

1.     A Refrigerated Trailer


The refrigerated trailer is your secret ingredient to a really successful party. Truly, it is, and the expense is more than worth it. The beauty of a wedding at home, or a DIY wedding venue, is that you can bring your own drinks in an unlimited quantity. But chilling all that drink is quite the challenge – and hopefully, like me, you have an aversion to lukewarm Champagne and wine. Enter the refrigerated trailer. Once it’s in situ, you simply load all the drink in there, and can also use it to store ice, cake and any food items too.


But I urge you to also consider the location of the refrigerated trailer! It should ideally be situated at the back of the marquee, as it is quite rightly not super attractive, but near, so that carrying the drink from trailer to tables and bar isn’t too time consuming. What you don’t want is the need to set aside staff and time to simply cart boxes of wine any great distances. You will, once more, end up with warm drink that way!


If the trailer can’t get near the marquee due to the location (steep slopes or woods, for example) then so-called chill bins – large plastic tubs – that can be filled with ice and water are required, to keep the drinks cold near the marquee (or tipi or yurt or DIY venue) once shifted from the trailer.

2.     Ice


You will need ice. So much ice! You need ice for chill bins, ice buckets or help-yourself stations, ice for cocktails, ice for mixed drinks, ice for chilling water and soft drinks… the list goes on. Estimate around 120 kg of ice for a 100 people wedding. There are some specialised ice delivery companies out there – if you’ve got an Oxfordshire wedding, then I can recommend the Oxford Ice Company – but otherwise it’s a matter of sending trustworthy people to do a supermarket sweep the evening before or early morning. The ice will keep overnight if stacked together in bags in the refrigerated trailer!

3.     Water – and Catering Tent


Your caterers will need space. Quite a lot of space, in fact. So, when calculating the space for your marquee - allow at least 24 x 9 metres for a 100 people seated meal with bar and dance floor - don't forget that you will need an extra 9 x 6 caterer tent, that normally comes off the side of the marquee. And a good level space for the generator a little distance away (to reduce the noise).


The catering tent is not always included in your original marquee quote, so look closely at what has been quoted! And some caterers stipulate a boarded floor in the catering tent, not just grass. This is, again, a higher expense.


In addition, water supply is a must! It doesn’t need to be fancy – even a garden hose will do the job! – but it needs to be drinking-safe water somewhere near the catering tent, with a way of turning said water on and off by the end point (not just at the starting point). This is for filling pots and pans, topping up water jugs, filling the chill bins, washing off items, topping up vases. Water is needed in so many instances!

Margaritas lined up on outside bar at countryside wedding in Oxfordshire

4.     Temporary Event Notice


This is needed if guests are paying for alcohol from a bar; or guests are paying for their own food (from a food truck, for example, after 11pm) but also – although murky between one council to another – if you’re playing live or recorded music after 11pm.


If you’ve bought the alcohol beforehand and you’re serving it to your guests on your own private land on the day, without the guests paying for it, then you don’t need a TEN for this.


Some councils consider weddings at home to be a private setting, as guests have not paid to be there at any point, in which case amplified music can be played after 11pm without a TEN, but the wording varies slightly from one council to another, so it’s still worth checking!


The cost is a fixed £21 and you apply online with your local council. The application needs to be received at least 10 working days before the wedding (and it’s very rare that there is an objection!).

5.     A Waste Plan


Your wedding will accumulate a surprising amount of rubbish. There will be cardboard boxes (from the drinks), food waste, general waste and lots and lots of glass. Having a plan in place beforehand will make the aftermath so much easier!


Various options include:

o   Hiring a skip. Everything gets thrown in there and collected afterwards. Super convenient, but not perhaps the most eco-friendly way to go.

o   Having large haulage tonne-bags ready, one for recycling, one for waste, one for glass, etc.

o   Using your local council. Most councils offer a ‘special event waste collection’ service (for a fee)

o   Using a private company, such as Grundon or Biffa here in Oxfordshire, to take care of the logistics


Whichever option you go for, hide the bins or skip behind the marquee, near the catering tent, so staff aren't seen hauling waste past your guests!

Bride and Groom facing each other with the sun behind them at marquee wedding in Oxfordshire

Have you thought of all of this already? Then you’re doing an amazing job! But if you want a helping hand at any point, please reach out and we can talk through the logistics together.

Karin Tindall Weddings specialises in marquee and tipi weddings, offering full wedding planning and On the Day Coordination in Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Gloucestershire, Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire.

All images above by Lucy Noble Photography


bottom of page