1. LIGHTING

Most tipi and marquee structures will come with a standard lighting package which beautifully lights the interior of the structure. BUT there are a couple of other areas you will need to light so factor these in to your budget from the outset.

Firstly, you will need to light the way from the marquee or tipi to the car park and to light the car park if it is not already lit. This is especially the case where you are using fields etc with uneven ground. Recently, at an event which was quite spaced out we decided to use matting to line the route to the car park, coupled with uplighters in the car park. This was a much more cost effective option and also didn’t mean we were using so much light that it ruined the evening ambience.

Secondly, I always recommend putting an uplighter in front of the toilets. Also, think about your suppliers and who will be packing up their vans in the dark. Almost always, your caterer and mobile bar will need an uplighter behind their service tent or van so that they can pack up in the evening.

2. KEEP COOL

When I am acting as an on the day co-ordinator I meet with my clients at least 6 weeks beforehand and hands down the most common thing people have forgotten is a refrigerated trailer. They are not expensive and they make your life sooooo much easier – just get one. Picture 100 bottles of wine plus champagne. Now picture your fridge or your mum’s fridge (which trust me will be full of all the food you/she has bought in to keep the wedding party fed in the lead up to the wedding). You cannot get all of that wine in there and whilst you may be able to get the first set which go out on the tables that doesn’t guarantee you can cool the next load as quickly as your guests can drinks it. Just get one… and thank me later!

3. THOSE ALL IMPORTANT SHOTS

This applies possibly more to marquees but discuss with your photographer the lighting in the marquee when you do your table plan and decide where the speeches will take place (especially if you have clear panels in your marquee). You want amazing pictures so you need to be placed in the best light so your photographer can get them and not anywhere with glare or awkward lighting.

4. TIMINGS

The timings are everything in an outdoor wedding. Ring every supplier and double check how long they will need to set up and make sure they are set up well ahead of your guests arriving. You should absolutely expect people to set up ahead of the wedding beginning. That especially goes for the band who should be set up and sound checked long before your reception drinks.

5. BACK UP PLAN

Always have a back up plan for the weather. If it pours with rain, where are you going to have your reception drinks – most likely in the marquee. Make sure there is space in the marquee for people to stand. Often this is on the dance floor in bad weather. You also need to plan your timings so that if your reception drinks end up in the marquee that does not affect anything that you had scheduled to be being set up in the marquee at that time.

6. POWER!

Anyone who needs power at your wedding or event should be telling you how much power they need. That is not how many sockets but how much they intend to pull of that power. You then need to add all of these amounts up and take them to your generator supplier and they will tell you what size of generator you need. Always have a back up option if the power fails. If you are using your house electricity try and get people to plug into separate circuits and remember that you lose power for every metre of cable so if you are far away from the house a generator is usually a safer option.

7. TAKE OUT THE TRASH

When you are booking a bar or caterer or really anyone who is going to have waste at your event MAKE SURE you check that they will take away all the rubbish with them on the night. You do not want to spend your first day as newlyweds going forwards and backwards to the tip with bags of rubbish. At an event recently where my bar left their rubbish I filled an entire trailer with rubbish bags and disposed of it for my client so do not underestimate the amount of rubbish 100 people having a great time can make!