top of page
  • Writer's pictureKatharine Snowden

Top 7 outdoor marquee wedding catering tips from the experts

When it comes to outdoor weddings, catering can take on a whole new set of challenges. But, if you pull it off, it's all worth it because the atmosphere it creates is simply unbeatable. An outdoor setting for your wedding catering provides a bespoke, intimate and memorable experience. Even, or perhaps that should be especially, if mother nature throws a curveball. As long you have done your prep, and we don't just mean peeling the veg, your dream wedding can become reality.

But seriously, more preparations? From the cake to the entertainment, the transport to the lookbook...we get it, you're literally up to your eyes in to do lists. That's why we contacted three of the best caterers in the business who we've had the pleasure of working alongside at some spectacular marquee events and weddings. They gave us seven of their top tips for planning outdoor wedding catering that will give you a head-start to creating your perfect day.

1. Plan for the worst weather when organising your outdoor marquee wedding catering

It doesn't matter what time of year you get married, the one thing you can rely on is that you can't predict the weather, nope not on this fair isle anyway! We always help our couples to put a wet weather plan in place. When it comes to the food and drink, that looks like ensuring there's enough space in the marquee to bring the canapé reception under cover and making sure the food can be transported from kitchen to cakehole without getting soggy in the rain or blown away across the fields. Our service tents and colonnades are the perfect solution.

Becky of Becky Griemink Catering, who create unique menus from country wedding canapés and eats receptions to traditional seated wedding breakfasts, agrees that service tents are a must;

"Having a service tent adjoining the guest’s marquee, which can be designed to meet our catering requirements, allows a free flowing direct access only a short, covered step away from the marquee."

Maz Rimmel, from the ever professional and unflappable Carte Blanche Catering offered this helpful tip;

"Avoid your caterer laying tables the day before as this will result in damp, limp linen and insects. You will get a much fresher and crisper look if your tables are laid on the day."

Lucy Wilson of the delectable Berkshire based caterers Goose and Berry told us;

"Your wet weather plan doesn’t always have to be a Plan B, you can make this an extension of Plan A by including an additional area of your covered marquee to be dedicated to soft seating, you can also set up some stationary food tables here too."

Wedding guests laugh and chat together outside a Peacock and Bow pole and canvas marquee.

2. Plan the best wedding catering menu for the ultimate outdoor dining experience

When it comes to the menu, keep in mind the weather and the surroundings. Choosing delicate or highly temperature-sensitive dishes could end up in disappointment. Ask your caterer about the best options for your location and get them to recommend dishes that will provide the best dining experience for you and your guests. BBQ-style menus are great for outdoor events because the food can be prepared and served fresh off the grill.

Goose and Berry's Lucy told us;

"Summer is the season of marquees and alfresco dining, which opens up unlimited opportunities for creativity! One style of dining we love and have seen grow ever more popular over the past years is having food stations or grazing tables on your big day. Food stations allow you to incorporate your favourite foods and cuisines into the day in a much less formal setting. From your antipasti to seafood stations and everything in between, the possibilities are endless and so is the aesthetic!"

A salmon dish served at a wedding in a Peacock and Bow pole and canvas marquee

3. Make space for elbow room

'If you' re opting for long tables make sure they are at least three feet wide, especially if you're planning on having dishes on the tables for guests to share', say Maz from Carte Blanche Catering.

4. Consider the environmental impact of catering for an outdoor marquee wedding

More than ever, couples and guests alike are mindful of the environmental impact of events like outdoor weddings. When planning your outdoor catering, consider ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Using a tableware rental service and cloth napkins and providing clearly marked recycling stations are great ways to ensure sustainability. Think about food waste as well by donating any untouched leftovers to a local food bank or composting where possible. These small steps toward making your outdoor wedding catering more sustainable can have a big impact.

Lucy shared these thoughts on how you can make sure your marquee wedding catering is sustainable;

"Seasonality and sustainability are becoming a huge part of wedding planning so why not continue to celebrate all that is seasonal within your wedding month? Choose a caterer whose ethos is built around this and the wedding food world is your oyster. From fresh, summer salads to warming roasts for winter, there is no doubt seasonal food tastes even better."

Becky also prioritises sustainability in her approach to catering; 

"We design the menu to complement your personal preferences and ideas, while working with the seasons and with the highest quality locally sourced produce."

5. Ensure proper lighting for evening events

Once the sun goes down, proper lighting can transform your marquee into a warm and inviting space, but when it comes to catering for a marquee wedding its crucial for safety.

There are many creative and functional lighting options available for outdoor events; fairy lights, lanterns and candles create a magical atmosphere while also lighting up paths and food areas. Ensuring any food stations are well-lit means guests can see the choices clearly.

A long table dressed with taper candles and tall candelabras inside a Peacock and Bow pole and canvas wedding marquee

6. Don’t forget about beverages

In hot weather, offer plenty of hydrating drinks options. As well as the fizz, offer water, iced tea, and lemonade. When the sun goes down and things are on the cooler side, you might want to offer hot drinks like coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. Lucy shared these ideas;

"Champagne is traditional and your guests will savour a glass upon arrival to your wedding reception but this doesn’t mean to say you can’t ’spice’ your drinks reception up and add in a cocktail to compliment your food stations perfectly. If you’re having a live pasta station, then you have got to have negroni - a match made in food heaven! Don’t miss this as an opportunity to unleash your creativity...and your household items. Old wheelbarrow? Looks like a great beer bucket to us!"

refreshing cocktails are served at an outdoor marquee wedding.

7. Have your table plan and name cards ready

Remember, preparation is key. Maz let us in on these pro tips;

"Providing the caterer with an accurate table plan with special diets marked will speed up service!"

She also advises having table names arranged in order ready for the caterer.

Create lasting memories with an outdoor marquee wedding

Catering for an outdoor wedding or event takes detailed planning and a flexible approach. By taking the weather into account and ensuring proper food storage and preparation facilities, you and your caterer are laying the groundwork for a wonderful experience.

The success of outdoor marquee wedding catering relies not only on great food but also on great service. A good caterer will have well-trained and courteous staff who can make your guests feel valued and cared for, taking their overall experience to the next level.

A wedding planner adds the finishing touches to the long tables inside a Peacock and Bow pole and canvas marquee

The key is in the details and a well-planned, well-executed catering experience can create lasting memories for you and your guests.

When you hire a Peacock and Bow pole and canvas marquee for your wedding or special event, we work closely with you and your caterer to ensure all needs are met and you and your guests are fed and watered in style throughout your special day. As Becky Griemink says;

"Special memories are made and your personalised bespoke dream wedding can come true. We work closely with Peacock and Bow so all our client’s requests and ideas can be achieved"

Contact us today to see if we're available for your luxury marquee wedding.

Huge thanks to our food experts and rock star caterers:


bottom of page