The most fun part of planning a wedding is, of course, deciding who to invite. This will happen in several stages: First, you’ll choose your friends. Then, your fiance will choose his. Then your respective mums will add to both lists the ‘must invite’ family members and perhaps some of their friends. Then Dad will look at the list, sweat profusely, and demand in a strangled voice that you cut it down, probably by half! (Watch ‘Father of the Bride’ and you’ll see exactly what I mean.)
The point is, you have to think of your budget. Dream weddings are all very well but we all have our limit and no matter how much you’re tempted not to be, you must be sensible. Work out an amount you can afford, assume everyone will cost at least £30.00 to feed, then write your list accordingly. Don’t feel obliged to invite someone you haven’t seen for 15 years. Ask yourself if you’d spend £30.00 on them on any other day. If the answer’s no, leave them off. They’ll get over it.
NB: The great thing about a marquee is that you can adjust the size at the last minute. Most marquee companies won’t mind altering your order if you suddenly find 50 of your guests have decided not to come.
This is where a site visit (see Step 2) is advisable. Telling your marquee company that you intend to seat 100 is fine until they turn up to erect the equipment the week of your wedding and discover the site isn’t anywhere near big enough. Ask for a site visit – they are usually free of charge. It will give you a chance to discuss your ideas and for the company representative to tell you what’s possible.
And book site visits from several different companies too, if you like. That way you’ll be able to see who seems the most knowledgeable, the most organised, the most friendly. Most importantly, find out who’s offering the best deal. If your favourite company sends you a more expensive quote than the others, don’t just give in. Ask him if he’ll match your cheapest offer – the majority of the time, he will!
One of the glaringly obvious differences between a marquee and a venue such as a hotel is that, generally, the hotel is in solid form the day you go to view it. When you opt for a marquee, unless there happens to be one in situ on the site of your choosing, it’s hard to imagine how it will look on the day. Don’t Panic! This is where your marquee company can help you. Not only will the more established companies have a bountiful portfolio of pictures to give you ideas, many will have access to an Event CAD programme, with which to create your virtual marquee plan. (see picture above left and above right.)
This offers you a bird’s eye view of everything you wish to include: dance floors, tables, chairs, catering marquees if needed. The 2D images are great to show you how much space you’ll have and how best to position your tables etc. The 3D images give the whole thing substance and can include your colour schemes, carpeting, linings, even lights if you wish. Hard part done…
So that’s it. You have your site. You have your invitation list. You have your floor plan. Now all you have to do is decide what furniture you want. Oh! and the style of flooring you need, the sort of linings you like, your flowers, your colour scheme….. OK, so maybe there are more tough decisions to come but the good news is, the boring stuff is over, now it’s time to get creative!!!!
NEXT WEEK: INTERIORS, STEP 1