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  • Writer's pictureKatharine Snowden

The best marquee wedding layout guide

Updated: Apr 8

Perhaps you have a clear picture in your head of how your wedding marquee layout will look or maybe this is something that’s a bit stressful to think about. That’s totally fine. For many, their wedding day will be the biggest event they’ve ever planned. Nobody expects you to have all the answers and that is why we’re here to help.

 

The first thing to remember is that you’re in control. We’re more than happy to guide and share ideas but it’s your big day so you choose which layout works best for you. After all, flexibility is one of the biggest benefits of hiring a wedding marquee.  



What is a wedding marquee layout and why should you consider one for your big day?

Preparation is crucial when organising a marquee wedding. A marquee layout will depend on factors such as the running order of the day, style of dining, entertainment, decor and the number of guests.


How do you choose the right wedding marquee layout for your needs?

Before choosing a marquee layout, you must first consider the size of your marquee, whether there is a stage or any other structural elements that may influence the design. In some cases, it might be better to have more than one entrance. The layout will also be affected by any interconnected structures such as additional marquees, service tents and cloakrooms.


A good marquee layout ensures that all the entry and exit points are in the right place. It also allows guests to easily find the two most important facilities; the bathroom and the bar.


What are the most popular wedding marquee layouts?

For our nine and 12 metre pole and canvas wedding marquees, a popular layout choice is to have the top table in the middle of the dining area in one half of the marquee with round banquet style guest tables surrounding it. The bar, dance floor and stage can then occupy the other half of the wedding marquee. This allows all guests an excellent view of the stars of the show when seated and plenty of space for drinking and dancing.


Our ceremony marquees can have an auditorium style layout, which offers a shorter aisle, but ensures all guests an excellent view of the proceedings while creating an intimate feel. Alternatively, if your dress has a long train that demands a longer aisle or you just want to make the most of your entrance, you can choose to have theatre style seating with a longer aisle that runs down the length of the marquee.



How do you set up and decorate a marquee wedding layout for maximum impact?

Here at Peacock and Bow we encourage our clients to imagine their pole and canvas wedding marquee divided into three main areas.


  1. Reception area: Incorporating the bar and chill out area. This zone should ideally be nearest the entrance

  2. Dining area

  3. Party area

 

We then approach the wedding marquee layout design by making the following considerations.


Space

Getting the right sense of space is crucial to the impact of your wedding marquee layout design. Too little space can feel cramped and uncomfortable, whereas too much space can cause a lack of party atmosphere. We can help make sure you get the balance just right.

 



Flow

The most successful wedding marquee layouts flow well between areas avoiding bottlenecks and a lack of cohesion. Remember that wedding guests all party differently; some like to chat and mingle all night, some prop up the bar and some prefer to dance until dawn. With this in mind, having the bar and entrance at one end of the wedding marquee could cause issues if guests congregate there. We often advise having the entrance in the middle of the marquee with a bar, dance floor and staging in one half and tables and chairs in the other. 

 

Views

Think about where the best views are from your wedding marquee. Fortunately, our pole and canvas marquees have clear or rolled away walls all the way around giving you panoramic views of your surroundings. Ideally, the dining and reception areas should have the best views available.

 

Bar

Bars can be positioned at one end of the wedding marquee or towards the centre next to the dance floor, both options work well. Having the bar near the dance floor means guests can grab a quick refreshment and head straight back to the dance floor. But having the bar a little further from the dance floor can minimise the risks of spilt drinks and smashed glass on the dance floor, which could interrupt the fun times.



Initial Impact

Create an element of theatre with a beautiful oversized floral installation that instantly delights your guests as they enter your wedding marquee. Think about what the first thing you want your guests to see when they enter the marquee, is it extravagant tablescapes? A beautiful round bar with a blooming flower ring suspended above it? A breathtaking view? It’s a good idea to incorporate a bit of empty space here for people to gather in, check out the seating plan and take in the view.



Inclement Weather

It really can be like four season’s in one day here in the great British Isles. That's why we insist on creating a rainy day plan for our clients and this helps inform the wedding marquee layout. Let’s say you’re planning to have a drinks reception outside the marquee. If it rains you may need to retreat under the cover of canvas. Will guests stand on the dance floor or amongst the tables? The routes to bathrooms and from parking need thinking through, our colonnades and covered walkways can provide a solution and look fantastic. 

 

Top Table

You'll want to ensure that everyone is as close to the action as possible and that they can see the top table easily during the speeches. 


What are the benefits of using a wedding marquee layout for your big bash?

Using a wedding marquee layout ensures that guests are never too far away from the action. This allows for everyone to enjoy all aspects of the celebration and when the best man gives his speech, all of the guests can hear and laugh or groan as appropriate.


How do you go about planning a wedding marquee layout for your guests’ maximum enjoyment and comfort?

To plan a wedding marquee layout for your guests’ enjoyment and comfort level, it's a good idea to divide the space into zones, say for dining, dancing, cocktails and taking a break. The function of each zone can change throughout the event and making use of our reveal curtain can utilise the layout to create some of the most memorable moments. 


When planning your wedding marquee layout you’ll need to allocate space to the following:

 

  • Dining tables (usually round or trestle tables)

  • Top table (this can be long, round, curved or oval)

  • Bar (we offer our stunning and unique hand built oak panelled bar in round or crescent form)

  • Dance floor (our Auckland oak dance floor comes in two sizes and can be installed at the end of the marquee or in the middle)

  • Band and DJ areas (make sure everyone can enjoy the entertainment with our staging that comes in two sizes and can hold up to an eight piece band. Our crescent oak panelled bar makes a banging DJ booth)

  • Chill-out/lounge area

  • Reception area (a covered area where guests can stand and enjoy drinks but not huddle around tables. The dance floor and surrounding area can be utilised for this if you wish)

  • Space for evening guests (unless you’re expecting over 100 additional evening guests, you wont need any more room)

  • Other (photo booth, ice sculpture, desert stations etc)



Are marquee layouts good for large or small weddings or events?

Marquee layouts are essential for both large and small events. The most suitable layout  depends on the number of guests.


A good marquee layout for large events should provide guests with multiple entry points, whereas for a smaller event you may want only one or two entrances to create a cosy atmosphere or encourage mingling among guests.


What should you consider when selecting furniture and decor for your wedding marquee space?

Choosing the right furniture and decor for your wedding is key to the overall experience for you and your guests.


If you’re going for a more casual atmosphere, you may want to choose some soft seating for your chill out areas. When it comes to decorations, a pole and canvas marquee is your blank canvas. Its natural beauty suits both a ‘less is more’ or a ‘more is more' approach. Fill the vast canopy with hanging lanterns, fairy lights or festoon lights and stunning floral installations using our flower rings. We can also install any other hanging equipment, such as gripple wire, that might be needed to facilitate your creative vision.

How do you create an inviting atmosphere in a marquee wedding space?

Lighting can make a marquee feel intimate or spacious, festive or formal. It can bring out the colours and textures of your decoration and the natural materials of the marquee itself, as well as set the mood for whatever you have in store, be it a romantic first dance or an all night rave!


The right wedding marquee layout can help set the tone for your special event and create an enigmatic flow for your guests.



We’re often asked to recommend options for marquee layouts which we’re happy to do because we use specialist software that can produce 2D and 3D plans, so you can see exactly what your wedding marquee layout will be well in advance of the big day


Whether you’re planning a small or large event, we have plenty of advice to share with you. 

Feel free to get in contact with us and we will answer any questions you may have about hiring a pole and canvas marquee for your wedding.

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