A Journey Through Our Process

A Journey Through Our Process

A huge congratulations on your engagement! You’re about to embark on an exciting journey as you plan your special day, and we are so excited to be a part of it. Picture yourself stepping beneath the elegant canopy of your sailcloth marquee, surrounded by loved ones, with laughter and joy filling the air. This is what awaits you, and every decision over the coming months will bring you closer to the celebration of a lifetime. We recognise that this journey may sometimes feel a little overwhelming but fear not; our team are here to guide you every step of the way. We are dedicated to making your journey smooth and enjoyable and we strive to go above and beyond to turn your dreams into a reality!

“At Original Marquees, we’re more than just a marquee hire company – we’re your partners in creating unforgettable memories and an event that is truly unique to you.”

Alex, Managing Director

Enquiry

When you first reach out to us for a quotation, we encourage an initial consultation so we can create a quotation that’s personalised to you, your specific requirements, and the vision for your big day! This consultation, whether conducted over the phone or through a Zoom call, serves as the cornerstone of our collaboration.

We treat this initial conversation as a chance for us to get to know you as a couple, for you to get to know us and our values, and to engage in open dialogue, fostering a collaborative relationship from the very beginning. We will share our expert knowledge and any useful insights with you, drawing on years of experience in the wedding industry to provide valuable guidance and advice. During our conversation, we will listen to your ideas and aspirations, and we aspire to ensure that every aspect of our delivery aligns seamlessly with your expectations.

Whether you’re unsure about the layout of the marquee, the choice of décor, or the availability of additional services, we are here to address any questions or concerns you may have. Together, we’ll explore all options, ensuring that every detail is carefully considered and thoughtfully planned. It also provides a great opportunity for us to discuss logistics and pricing, providing transparency and clarity every step of the way. Ultimately, our goal is to create an experience that exceeds your expectations, delivering not just a marquee but memories that will last a lifetime.

We understand this is the biggest day of your lives and we pride ourselves on providing excellent customer service throughout which is evident in the amazing reviews we have received from past bride and grooms. Please see our reviews here.

Marquee in Garden
Marquee in Garden
Marquee in Garden
Marquee in Garden

Site Visit

We will also undertake a site visit as the earliest opportunity. This holds significant importance in the planning process as it offers us the opportunity to gain first hand knowledge on the proposed site. By physically being there, we can better understand the layout, dimensions, and any unique features or challenges it may present. This involves understanding how the marquee and any additional structures can be best positioned to maximize space utilisation and create an optimal flow for your day.

Another critical consideration during the site visit is evaluating the ground conditions. We examine factors such as terrain, ground slope, and any potential obstacles that may impact the setup process allowing us to ensure a stable and safe setup for the marquee. Logistical considerations also come into play; we assess access points for delivery vehicles, proximity to utilities such as power sources and water, and any other logistical challenges that may need to be addressed in advance. This problem-solving approach helps minimise disruptions and ensures a smooth setup process. Furthermore, the site visit enables us to customise our services based on the site’s features and limitations whilst ensuring it suits your specific needs and preferences.

Private Parties in Sailcloth Marquees

Inital Plans

After conducting a thorough site visit, our team will begin the process of creating personalised aerial plans for your marquee setup. These plans are meticulously crafted to reflect the unique layout and specifications of your space, taking into account all of the details discussed during the site visit. The aerial plans serve as visual representations of how the marquee and any additional structures will be positioned within the venue and they provide a bird’s-eye view of the entire setup, allowing you to visualize how everything will come together on the big day.

Once the aerial plans are finalised, we will update your quotation accordingly. This ensures that the quotation accurately reflects the scope of work and the services provided from the offset, giving you full transparency and peace of mind. With the personalised aerial plans and updated quotation in hand, you can proceed with confidence, knowing that your marquee setup will be meticulously planned and executed to perfection. We are dedicated to turning your wedding dreams into reality, one detail at a time.

Booking Your Marquee

Once you’ve fallen in love with your tailored package, it’s time to secure your date. At this stage, we request a 25% deposit (50% if booking within the same year as event) to ensure the reservation of your desired marquee for the designated day. With the deposit confirmed, and the marquee availability secured, the countdown to your unforgettable day officially begins!

Peace Of Mind

Once you book with us, rest assured that we diligently secure all your chosen items well in advance, guaranteeing their availability for your special occasion. However, we understand that plans may evolve as the big day approaches. That’s why we prioritise flexibility in our services, ensuring that your marquee arrangements are adaptable as plans move forwards. While some elements may require early commitment due to high demand, we are committed to accommodating adjustments whenever feasible, up to one month before your wedding day.

This approach grants you the peace of mind that you can refine and perfect every detail, even after confirming your booking. Whether it’s tweaking the layout, adding extra items, or adjusting seating arrangements, we’re here to support your vision and ensure that what we provide reflects your evolving desires and preferences.

Planning

 

As the excitement builds, our team is here to support you every step of the way. From the initial site visit to adjusting tent layouts and discussing the all-important décor, we’ll work closely with you to ensure every detail is perfect. Our team are in the office Monday – Friday and are here to answer any questions you may have and guide you through the items we think you might want or need based on your ideas.

We will contact you for a catch up zoom call around 3 months prior to the day to go over everything we have discussed; we will update invoices and plans and go through any last minute questions. We can also help liaise with any of your suppliers, for example advising the florist on the dimensions of the flower rings or providing service trestles for your caterers. Our collaborative approach ensures that the planning process is smooth and enjoyable!

The Final Confirmation

As your wedding day draws near, we’ll finalise all the details and ensure everything is ready. We’ll send you a friendly reminder once the final balance is due and we will be here to answer any questions. Our goal is to alleviate any last-minute stress or concerns, allowing you to relax and enjoy every moment of the run up to your big day, knowing that everything is in the hands of professionals who truly care about making your dreams a reality. Your wedding is our priority, and we’re committed to making sure every detail exceeds your expectations.

The Weekend Is Finally Here!!!

As the weekend approaches, the excitement builds! All the planning is about to come to fruition on your much-awaited wedding day. On the day of setup, our team will arrive bright and early and will be working hard throughout the day setting up the marquee, transforming the space into your vision. Sit back, relax, and let us handle the details while you enjoy the moment.

Upon completion, we’ll take the time to walk through the site with you, carefully reviewing every detail to ensure nothing has been overlooked. Your happiness and satisfaction are paramount to us, and we want to ensure that you feel confident and delighted with the final outcome.

Our commitment doesn’t end when we leave the site – we’re always available to address any further questions or concerns you may have, we are just a phone call away and we will leave you with an extensive handover pack and our out of hours contact details, should you require them.

Your satisfaction is our top priority, and we’re dedicated to providing you with an outstanding experience. We hope you have an incredible day, and we can’t wait to hear all about it!

 

Feedback & Referrals 

As the weekend approaches, the excitement builds! All the planning is about to come to fruition on your much-awaited wedding day. On the day of setup, our team will arrive bright and early and will be working hard throughout the day setting up the marquee, transforming the space into your vision. Sit back, relax, and let us handle the details while you enjoy the moment.

Upon completion, we’ll take the time to walk through the site with you, carefully reviewing every detail to ensure nothing has been overlooked. Your happiness and satisfaction are paramount to us, and we want to ensure that you feel confident and delighted with the final outcome.

Our commitment doesn’t end when we leave the site – we’re always available to address any further questions or concerns you may have, we are just a phone call away and we will leave you with an extensive handover pack and our out of hours contact details, should you require them.

Your satisfaction is our top priority, and we’re dedicated to providing you with an outstanding experience. We hope you have an incredible day, and we can’t wait to hear all about it!

What Happens On Build Day

What Happens On Build Day

What Happens on Build Day?

Just as Alexander Graham Bell once wisely said, ‘Preparation is the key to success,’ and this couldn’t ring truer than when it comes preparing for the arrival of our exquisite marquees. We take huge pride, in both our work and your celebration, we like to think we don’t just supply you with a marquee but enjoy the journey with you. Entrusting your wedding to us, means sharing the burden of, what can sometimes be, a stressful planning process. Our team is made of experienced professionals who meticulously check every aspect down to the finer detail. Zoom and phone calls, site visits, personalised aerial site plans; are all just snapshots of the planning journey we will take you on but to ensure a seamless build and perfect conditions for your marquee.

Preparations for Perfection

One of the first elements to the planning process with Original Marquees, is a site visit, a chance for us to ensure the area planned for the marquee is suitable, clear and level. We’ll look at any potential obstacles, either for delivery or the marquee site, as well as any potential safety issues; overhead cables, underground pipes and propose solutions for how to overcome them. Following this, we will produce a personalised aerial site plan to help you and your planner, caterers and suppliers plan for the big day.

Marquee Entrance with flowers
Marquee in Garden

The Perfect Site

Before the build day there are a few things we ask; that any discussed obstacles are removed and the access routes are clear, eliminating any potential delays or problems. As part of our commitment to detail and your satisfaction, we also ask that there be no fires in the vicinity for at least two months prior to the setup. This allows ample time for the lush grass to regenerate, creating a picturesque backdrop for your special day.

Cutting the Grass

And finally, one seemingly small, yet crucial, request: please trim the grass on the site short and gather the cuttings. This seemingly simple act holds substantial importance, as it contributes to an elevated overall experience. A neatly trimmed grass surface not only ensures a smooth and level foundation for the marquee floor which will follow the contours of the ground, but also enhances the aesthetics, providing an impeccable backdrop for those cherished photographs. Trust us, this minor preparation can make a world of difference in the final presentation of your magical space.

Original Marquees provided an incredible marquee and stretch tent for our wedding. They came highly recommended, and we were thrilled with the service all the way through – from initial consultation and site visit, through to set up and clear down. Harry and the team were also able to provide lots of useful advice and ideas on layout/ set up.

LM, Bride, 2023

On Arrival

 On the much-anticipated delivery day, our dedicated team will arrive on site soon after 8am, ready to weave the magic of Original Marquees into your event space. Ideally, we’d love to have you, a parent, or a planner on-site for our arrival. Your presence ensures the final site position is spot-on, and it gives us the chance to discuss the intricacies of the build process. In the event that you can’t be there, worry not – we’ll position the marquee according to the thoroughly crafted   pre-discussed plan.

The King Poles

The first stage in erecting your marquee is the erection of the king poles. Dependant on the size of the marquee chosen, will depend on how many king poles we need to position. The wooden, hand varnished, king poles are the main structure in the sailcloth marquee, the central peaks of our ‘floating canopy.’ Our expert team starts by strategically placing stakes around the marquee’s perimeter, laying the groundwork for the ropes that will later secure the king poles firmly to the ground. Then, up go the king poles, and connecting signature flying festoon lights, to an upright position.

The Canvas

Moving seamlessly to the following stage, we carefully lace together the sailcloth canvas sections, that will form the exquisite canopy that graces the pinnacle of our marquee – the distinctive and graceful swooping roof lines that define the iconic Wills Marquee. These canvas sections connect to the central ring on the king pole but prior to pulling into its designated position, we introduce the wooden wall poles. Mirroring the process with the king pole, these wall poles are secured to the surrounding ground stakes by guide ropes, ensuring a safe secure structure. Once all the poles are in place and secured, the sailcloth canvas top can be raised into position and the canvas walls hung and laced in position. This step holds a special charm for us, as it’s when the marquee truly comes to life.

Infrastructure

After the main structure has been built, we begin the interior set-up – flooring, lighting, bars etc, all the details that can transform your big day into a truly extraordinary experience. It’s our goal to have the marquee structure up and the floor down by early afternoon, with additional elements like furniture, loos, and generators arriving mid-afternoon, completing late afternoon. We purposefully refrain from offering precise timings, adapting to the unique requirements of your special day, maintaining our commitment to attention to detail to deliver a flawless experience.

The Hand Over

Set-up day isn’t just about constructing a structure; it’s about laying the foundation for a day that will be etched in your memory forever. Our journey doesn’t end with the last stake in the ground; it continues as we eagerly await the moment you step into the transformed space, where dreams become reality. Crucially, we urge you to be on-site late afternoon (exact time to be confirmed on the morning with our team) for the pivotal handover. This is when we guide you through turning the generator on and off, the art of opening doors and walls, and lifting and lowering flower rings. While our aim is to complete everything on the day, if needed, or should the job be bigger than average, we’ll happily return the next day, ensuring your absolute satisfaction with the setup.

The De-Rig

On take down day we typically return between 8 and 10 am on the prearranged day, so it’s imperative to have a cleaning process in place, some suppliers may return earlier to remove furniture, staging etc. So, it’s important that any remnants of the celebration have been removed – crockery, bottles, decorations – either the morning after the wedding day or on the last day of use. This ensures a smooth start to dismantling the tent upon our arrival. Whilst we are committed to ensure we leave the site as we found it, we aren’t responsible for the event waste itself so it’s worth having a plan in place for how this will be dealt with either via your caterer/bar or handling it yourself.

Take Down

Disassembling the marquee is a swift process once the interiors have been cleared. After unfastening the canvas walls and lowering the marquee’s top structure, we proceed to remove the wall poles, king poles, and their accompanying guide ropes. Our team works efficiently to dismantle the structure, and once packed away, we take special care to leave no trace behind. Our commitment to cleanliness extends to meticulously clearing any generated waste from the site, ensuring that the area is restored to its original condition. This careful approach not only streamlines the takedown process but also underscores our dedication to leaving the venue as pristine as we found it.

At Original Marquees, we believe in providing not just a marquee but an experience, and your meticulous preparations contribute to making that experience truly magical. Let’s create unforgettable moments together! We are very proud of our 5* service and our testimonials will provide you with reassurance on our reliability and the quality of our service. See here for a recent selection of reviews.

Why Choose a Sailcloth Marquee

Why Choose a Sailcloth Marquee

Why Choose Sailcloth

We understand the critical role a marquee plays in the grand tapestry of your big day. The choice of a marquee significantly influences the ambiance of the wedding. It’s not just a shelter; it’s a space that allows couples to showcase their unique personalities and style. While some may question the necessity of investing in a top-tier marquee for a structure that is ostensibly temporary, reserved for just a single day. As dedicated professionals in the wedding industry, we have cultivated insights that dispel such reservations, after all weddings are expensive and this is your big day, so we know you will want to do it right. Therefore, choosing Original Marquees offers a distinct advantage over other alternatives and here’s why….

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It’s important to choose a marquee that reflects your style and luckily our stunning Sailcloths cater to all styles…

 

Personalisation & Quality

With personalised lighting, flooring, and furniture, a sailcloth marquee allows for creative freedom in designing the perfect atmosphere for your big day. Whether that be a rustic bohemiam feel to a luxury elegant feel, it is important to choose a marquee that reflects your style and luckily our stunning sailcloths cater to all styles. Remember it is much easier to decorate an already beautiful space that is offered by our sailcloth marquees, than trying to spruce up a space which is already not in keeping with your vision.

Our marquees are easily customisable, with fairy lights, to festoons. Chandeliers to lanterns, couples can set the mood they desire for their special day. Our Sailcloths are made of individual pieces of canvas, compared to the sperry alternative of one giant piece, allowing couples to customise the size of their marquee to accommodate their guest list comfortably. It also means depending on availability, couples can change the size of their marquee, by adding more sections to offer a chill out area, or remove sections if their guest list reduces, to give a cozier feel.

The attention to detail is also evident in the inclusion of the smaller details, such as our flying festoons, providing a charming mimic that adds a unique and magical touch to your event. Customisable flags and finials further enhance the personalisation options, making each marquee a bespoke creation tailored to your specific preferences. We also use ropes instead of ratchets, offering a more authentic and traditional approach.

The decision to manufacture these marquees in Britain with Wills Marquees emphasizes a dedication to quality and craftsmanship. The ability to hang decorations and easily install lighting is facilitated by the thoughtful inclusion of rigging, ensuring that your chosen marquee becomes a canvas for your creativity. The lighting and ambiance inside our sailcloth marquees can be controlled to create a romantic and intimate setting with various lighting options and dimmable switches, this can also be altered through the day to reflect the mood, from romantic during the day, to a party vibe late into the evening.

While budget considerations are undeniably important, we can’t emphasize enough, the importance of the long-term impact of investing in a high-quality marquee. A well-crafted sailcloth marquee not only withstands the elements but also adds a touch of elegance and charm to the celebration. We distinguish ourselves through the deliberate choice of using cotton canvas over the cheaper poly-cotton plastic canvas. Ensuring quality, a touch of classic charm and originality that surpasses common alternatives, cotton canvas is also preferred due to its natural, breathable properties. Making it an excellent choice as this natural material allows air to circulate, creating a comfortable atmosphere within the marquee, which is especially crucial for events during the summer months.

Furthermore, cotton canvas possesses a unique ability to age gracefully, developing an elegant patina over time that complements the luxurious setting of our marquees. Couples who prioritise quality are rewarded with a magical and memorable atmosphere that enhances the joy of their special day and looking at our testimonials you will see why your guests will notice the difference. Many of our testimonials reflect on comments from their guests saying how beautiful the marquee was, the incredible quality of the canvas and the high-end finish to all elements inside and out. 

Marquee Over Venue…

 

Our marquees offer the space to create a more intimate atmosphere compared to a large, impersonal venue. Choosing the best marquee size for you allows you to make sure you have enough space for all elements of your day whilst offering a close-knit feeling, fostering a sense of warmth and connection among guests. We will put your marquee in the location of your choice, we don’t charge corkage or for extending the festivities into the early hours and we help you with the planning process right from the start, so you can still benefit from our expertise, guidance and reassurance.

You will also have a designated separate space for all your wedding activities, making it easier for vendors, planners, and coordinators to organise the days logistics. Think a designated space for dining, dancing, the all-important bar and perhaps a chill out area instead of trying to fit everything into a small space which results in pauses during the day, where all guests need to leave the space for it to be turned around by your suppliers. This contributes to smoother coordination and execution of the wedding day and a much nicer flow for you and your guests.

 

Location….

 

Our marquees allow couples that have always envisioned an outdoor wedding, to choose a location that holds sentimental value to them whilst offering breathtaking views whilst reassuring that you have shelter and a beautiful setting to get married. This will create a unique and memorable experience for both the couple and their guests and as marquee weddings offer location flexibility, you can make the most of incredible views and perhaps host the big day somewhere special to you. Whether that be on a family property, in a neighbouring field, on the shores of a lake or on the grounds of a stately home, your marquee will allow you to host your festivities in your dream location.

Your marquee will provide the backdrop to the entire day, so again the quality and style plays a huge role in enhancing the views rather than obscuring or deflecting from them. Depending on the location you choose and the logistics it encompasses, choosing a marquee wedding can often be a cost-effective alternative to booking a traditional venue.

 

This cost saving can then be redirected towards other aspects of your wedding planning, such as entertainment, catering, or planning your dream honeymoon. Your family and friends can also be as involved as you like when decorating too, and involving close relatives in the wedding preparations can add a sentimental and familial touch to your celebration.

 

Another huge bonus is the opportunity for extendable celebration hours. There is no curfew in your marquee, which means no need to worry about the party ending too soon or unexpected fees for wanting to extend the evening beyond the average midnight finish. Our marquees also have the advantage of being access friendly for any guests that require wheelchair access, so no one will be excluded from any area element of the day.

 

Weather Proof

 

It is also a well-known fact that particularly in the United Kingdom, the weather can be a little unpredictable. The marquee you choose should provide shelter from the rain, wind, excessive sun and should ensure the wedding can proceed smoothly regardless of the weather conditions. So knowing your marquee is well crafted, made from durable materials and can withstand all the elements will ensure you can enjoy your day regardless of the weather.

Our marquees offer protection against the elements to ensure your day runs smoothly and your guests are comfortable. For example, the addition of a valance around the perimeter of the tent distinguishes these sailcloth marquees from others, showcasing a commitment to craftsmanship and design that goes beyond the ordinary which also provides a practical benefit of protection against run off, ensuring your marquee will withstand all the elements.

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Choosing Original Marquees offers a distinct advantage over other alternatives and here’s why…..

 

Why Sailcloth Compared To Other Types Of Marquees? 

The choice between sailcloth marquees and other types of marquees or tipis for weddings ultimately depends on personal preferences, the wedding theme, and specific requirements. Both options have their own unique characteristics and appeal but there are some reasons why some people might prefer sailcloth marquees over tipis for weddings:

Sailcloth marquees are often associated with a polished and professional appearance. They have a classic and elegant timeless look compared to alternatives that come and go with ever changing fashion tastes. Our cotton canvas is a light cream fabric and we offer see through walls to allow natural light to filter through during the day and creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. Compared to tipis, our marquees offer a much lighter and brighter space that equally feels cosy at night with a soft, romantic ambiance when lit from within.

Due to their neutral light colour, they also offer the flexibility to suit any colour scheme during the day and also perhaps even change the colour theme in the evening, by casing light onto the canvas or using draping to bring a splash of colour to your marquee. Our sailcloth marquees have high ceilings and an open layout, creating a spacious and airy atmosphere. This can be appealing for couples who want to avoid a more enclosed feeling and desire a sense of openness in their wedding venue.

They also reduce the greenhouse effect that you can perhaps experience in some of the clear span glass marquee alternatives. The last thing you need in the run up to your wedding is worrying about bad weather AND the sun shining. You want to hope the sun comes out on your big day, you don’t want to worry it might mean your marquee becomes too hot or blinding with glare from the sun.

The Real Wedding of Harry & Charlotte

The Real Wedding of Harry & Charlotte

Hi guys,

My name is Harry, I am the Creative Director at Original Marquees. I started working for OM in 2019 and have never looked back.  My wife Charlotte is a Film Location Manager and together we live in West Oxfordshire with our one year old boy Rhodie.

Today I am going to look back at our story and detail how our event came together with the help of our incredible suppliers.

If you have any questions please feel free to email me directly at Harry@originalmarquees.co.uk 

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ENGAGEMENT STORY

Charlotte and I met in north Cornwall in our early teens. Our families are competitive sailors, so holidays by the sea or on the water have always been a key element.

We spent many summers together as friends, but after fifteen years apart, fate brought us back together. I had just come back from three years living in Germany, and Charlotte asked me for some travel advice. We met for a coffee, and our story continued.

Four years on, we have just climbed Brea Hill, our favourite place to go for a quick walk with the best views over the Camel Estuary. I saw my opportunity and while Charlotte was admiring the view, I pulled out the ring, dropped to one knee and waited for her to turn. She said YES!

The engagement ring was a hexagonal-shaped sapphire and diamond ring,

Designed and made by Gee Woods.

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LOCATION – PART 1

e always dreamed of getting married in Cornwall, as this is where our story began all those years ago. With Charlotte working as a Movie Locations Manager, naturally, a huge focus of our wedding planning was on location. Finding a unique place for our wedding was her top priority.

Charlotte had a very clear vision of a marquee wedding in the garden and a ceremony with views over the Camel Estuary. Before we were engaged, I knew Charlotte’s dream was for a Cornish wedding.

However, when planning our wedding ceremony and reception, we had a location predicament. With Original Marquees being based in Oxfordshire, we weren’t sure how we could make a wedding in Cornwall work logistically. After lots of discussion, we made the decision to do a bit of both. We would marry in Cornwall with an intimate ceremony then invite all our friends to a larger more relaxed party back in Oxfordshire.

Photography: Isabella White Studio

We really wanted our first of wedding day to be a simple, low-stress day with a focus on family. And so we opted for an intimate wedding ceremony with family and close friends at St. Michael’s Church in Rock, Cornwall. After the ceremony, we took a trip out to the dunes, where we got engaged. It was the perfect place for some of our wedding photos to be taken. Our wedding reception then took place at the beautiful Trevera Cottage, overlooking the Camel Estuary, where we stayed all week.

LOCATION – PART 2

One month later we are back at home for our Cornwall-inspired wedding party at Cornbury Park in the Cotswolds. Cornbury Park had created a brand new space, ‘Rangers Lawn’, a beautiful meadow that had not yet been properly used for weddings. With weddings in mind the estate had levelled out a pitch, perfect for our 12x27m sailcloth marquees.

Close to home and importantly our marquee base, Cornbury was our opportunity to throw a larger event where we could utilise some of our beautiful sailcloth marquees and involve our ‘Little Black Book’ of local suppliers.

Photography: Kat Gillespie

Charlotte and Harry’s beautiful celebration was the essence of early summer joy. From the group song sung during the ceremony, the music filled walk down to the marquee, confetti canons, whimsical table settings and  brightly colored cocktails, joy was the center of their day. As their photographer my job was to capture this joy: their joy as well as that of their guests (including little ones collecting flowers and running freely in a field as the sun set spectacularly – I think their day makes the case for why children are such a delight to include on a wedding day). At every wedding I photograph I’m looking for unfolding moments and beautiful light, and Charlotte and Harry’s day was filled with these. I would advise couples who are looking for their photographer to look thoroughly through the photographers website to make sure your styles are aligned; and equally importantly, schedule a call to make sure your personalities mesh well. Picking a photographer you feel aligned with is important because the way they capture the day will impact how you remember it decades later.

Kat Gillespie

Photographer

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THEME

Trying to come up with a theme for your wedding can be very challenging. We were lucky that our Cornwall celebration kind of rolled over into the main party. Our aim was to create a relaxed ‘beach party’ atmosphere with a focus of delicious food and great music throughout.

The wedding took take place in a wild flower meadow packed with yellow buttercups as far as the eye could see. We decided to take inspiration from our surroundings and bring yellow into our colour palette in a big way. (see Decor)

With the help of our favourite florist, Millie Richardson, we developed the wider colour palette around yellow with bright greens, yellow, and peach tones.

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MARQUEE

Working at Original Marquees, naturally my main focus was on the marquee, ceremony and reception layout, and the design of the interior. Having seen hundreds of marquee weddings in the past, I knew I wanted to mix things up and try to create something new and exciting for our own special day.

With our new levelled pitch at Rangers Lawn measuring 28x28m, we knew we could fit our 12x27m marquee suitable for 100-150 guests with additional space for service structures. In our case the parameters of the site would dictate our guest numbers and we would use this as our starting point.

Typically, in one of our three pole marquees you would have dining around the first pole, bar around the second pole and dancing around the third pole. We opted to change this up as you can see below. 

Looking at this from left to right. We designed our interior to have a small Virginia’s Vintage Lounge set within the rounded end. With guest numbers 120+ your dining tables would likely use up this area.

Dining area – We chose to keep it simple with four banquet style rows consisting of twenty 3x6ft Trestle Tables and Panama Dining Chairs from Virginias Vintage. *If you plan to have sharing plates, bud vases, candles etc on the table then go with a 3ft wide Trestle Table.

Dance Floor – We opted for a stage and dance floor in the middle between the two King Poles as this had good symmetry and would be the first things guests see when they enter.  The stage backdrop was custom made to resemble a sunset, with custom lighting that would come alive when the band played. You can see how this turned out below.

The main piece of advice that we give our clients when it comes to layout is to keep your bar close to your dance floor. This should keep everyone together and the dance floor busy.

Bar & Back-Bar –  We positioned the bar in the right hand round end which worked well with plenty of free space before the dance floor. We used OM’s 6m Long Bar which has a white washed front and dark zinc top. For the Back-Bar design we built a 3m wide backdrop decorated with cornicing,  Pooky wall lights and floral wall art made by Lenka. (Press Art) Below this as a work station we used our newly made Bull Bar with reclaimed bar front from The Bull in Charlbury.

The great thing about sailcloth marquees is that the structure looks beautiful before you add anything else to it. You have a ‘blank canvas’ literally to style any way you like.

For our sailcloth marquee wedding, our vision was to have the marquee walls off or rolled up, creating a ‘floating canopy’ look. We were very lucky, as our wedding was at the end of May, and the weather on our special day was perfect—not a cloud in the sky but not sweltering. Such perfect conditions allowed us to open up the front of the marquee to the beautiful views down the valley.

Our wedding reception marquee was hidden from the ceremony. As proceedings finished, our wedding guests followed us and the band down the hill eventually revealing our reception marquee. It was the perfect surprise.

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DECOR

To elevate the floating look of the marquee interior, we brought in one of our favourite new suppliers, Mia Sylvia, who specialises in fine art drapery. Mia’s beautiful linen dressed the front of the marquee, gathering around each wall pole and swooping up into the canopy. The drapery not only broke up the expansive space above but simply looked elegant with floral arrangements by Millie Richardson. We completed the space with white festoon lighting to maintain a clean look with a focus on the florals.

Our favourite décor element was an installation collaboratively created by Millie (florals) and me (frame). Together we created two giant kiss-shaped frames bursting with limonium, these were suspended between the king poles and weaved between Mia’s drapery. We especially loved the subtle mauve colouring and the light, fluffy effect of the Limonium.

Building a venue in a field we knew we would need to create some comfy areas to sit throughout the day.  To add a bit of style we collaborated with Virginias Vintage who have a incredible range of furniture to hire.

We paired their Amalfi sofa sets with fringed parasols and large pots of Daisys.

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FLORAL DESIGN

The floral design for both of our wedding parties was light and delicate to mimic coastal flowers and the sand dunes where we were originally engaged.

The flowers in the church of our intimate wedding in Cornwall were arranged by a lovely group of local ladies organised by Jaye Guest.

Our Oxfordshire wedding florals were done by Millie Richardson, the queen of beautifully delicate meadow flowers. Millie encouraged us to be a bit more daring with the colours. I am so glad she did, as we loved the pops of colour in the wedding table flowers.

Even though we originally opted for tall table flowers, we worked with Millie to ensure you could still see through them to chat with your opposite guests. The table flowers were stunning. A mix of ceramic and glass Bud Vases from RVH Hire lined the tables and were perfectly filled with Millie’s signature meadow-style florals.

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CATERING

Our wedding catering was handled by our friends Ian and Hayley from CRU Events. Having worked with Ian for many years at Camp Kerala in Glastonbury, I knew what he loved to cook and that his food was packed with flavour and character.

On the menu:

STARTER:
Rare Fillet Of Beef With Bufala & Green Tomato Salsa
Burrata With Asparagus, Pea Shoots, & Wild Garlic Oil (V)
Selection Of Lebanese Flatbreads, Rosemary Focaccia, & Artisanal Sourdough, Green Goddess Hummus, Beetroot, Dill, & Zhoug Labneh; Burnt Aubergine & Saffron Dip
Whipped, barrel-aged feta

SHARING FEAST:
Charred 18-Hour Green Harissa Lamb, Fermented Chilli Sauce, Spiced Greengage Relish, & Tahini Yoghurt
Berbere Spiced Whole Roast Wild Salmon, Mint & Mulberry Molasses Relish
Pit Roasted Red Kuri Squash, And Hispi Cabbage With Urfa Chilli & Fennel Spiked Oil (V/Ve)

DESSERT STATION:
An array of sweet and savoury treats

Wedding Cake – My wonderful mother lovingly made us a meringue tower which she practiced a few times before perfecting it. It was such a fun alternative and the photos are hilarious.

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COCKTAILS, WINE & OTHER DRINKS

On arrival for our Ceremony we offered guests a non-alcoholic drink. (Cucumber water or a Rhubard Cordial) Following the ceremony and down at the reception we offered our guests Champagne by Rene Prevot. We also offered a Aperol Spritz, beers and other soft drinks.

Our wedding toast was a vintage port from 1987. A gift from my parents.

Later in the evening we offered a trio of cocktails – Dark & Stormy, Gin & Tonic, 

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MUSIC

Music is a huge part of your wedding day, and we spent a large proportion of our budget on music because that was important to us. We felt that good music managed by professionals would leave us feeling relaxed knowing that element was taken care of.

We employed the help of Eight Ray Music, who had a number of bands to choose from. After our initial band fell through we settled on CASA, a latin styled show band who fitted the vibe and sounded great.

Music ran throughout our day with two members of the band playing Charlotte down the isle. Following on they played and lead us to the reception, where they were joined by other members for a roaming set.
After dinner the band played their main set which towards the end of the night would blend into a DJ set with Larry Powell.

The band was incredible and we would highly recommend them to anyone.

Our first dance was to “Silly Love Songs” by Wings.

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WEDDING PLANNERS

Weddings involve a huge amount of planning and teamwork. If you have the budget I would highly recommend hiring the assistance of a wedding planner. Their wealth of experience and know-how will ensure that everything goes smoothly and that you and your partner can sit back, relax and enjoy the experience.

Working in the industry I took on the role of planner and together with my partner we worked through all of the stages. It took time and a lot of patience but we did it and we are now married.


We could not have done it however without the help of our On-The-Day Coordinator, Faye Hughes. Faye who is also a celebrant, helped us to pull everything together on the day and also helped us to create a well structured and fun ceremony.

Thank you Faye.

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STATIONARY

I think wedding stationary is often overlooked but done right it can be used to tell your story and can bring your theme together. With a background in design I was able to work closely with an illustrator to bring our stationary elements to life. 

 Illustrations by Jo Faulkner. 

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BRIDAL FASHION

Charlotte wore a J.Andreatta wedding dress and shoes from L.K.Bennett.

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GROOMS FASHION

For my wedding day, I was wearing a sand cotton linen suit and a white Oxford shirt from Sirplus, with a silk tie from Pal Zileri. My wedding shoes were Loake tan loafers.

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TRANSPORT

For our first intimate wedding ceremony, we were very kindly given a ride in a classic Jaguar XK150 by a local couple, which Charlotte was driven to and from the church in.

Charlotte arrived at the second wedding ceremony in Jamiroquai’s 1967 Bentley S1. Again, the wedding transport was very kindly offered to us by a very kind local.

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STAND OUT MOMENTS

We chose to do a second ceremony because we wanted to do something special in front of our nearest and dearest. Walking down the aisle a second time gave us the opportunity to orchestrate a more relaxed and informal wedding ceremony, which we felt was more of us.

We had an open-air wedding ceremony, which we were so lucky to have considering the weather we have had this summer.

A really special moment was Charlotte arriving in the Bentley and then walking down the open-air aisle in front of all our friends and family members.

Post-ceremony, we were led by the band with all our guests down to the marquee reception, which was hidden from view. A nice surprise for everyone.

Our wedding band, CASA from Eight Ray Music Band, were incredible. They were a Latin-style party band, which none of our guests had experienced before. To finish, they had the whole crowd around us dancing together, the perfect crescendo to end their performance.

We had a secret karaoke booth that we unveiled later in the night. Young and old, we found them all in the karaoke booth at the end of the night.

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ADVICE TO FUTURE COUPLES

Our top tip would be to take time during the day to step away for a moment. Reflect on what has happened.

If you can afford a wedding planner, they will elevate your event enormously. If your budget doesn’t quite go that far, then at least hire an On The Day Coordinator. They will make sure you have covered all bases and take away so much of the stress leading up to the big day.

Hire a great photographer. After years together, you can relive the day over and over through your photos.

Have a bad weather plan. In case of rain, we had a 10m x 15m stretch tent available to cover the wedding ceremony.

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SUPPLIERS

Photography & Videography: Kat Gillespie , Isabella White Studio

Celebrant: Faye The Celebrant

Venue: Cornbury Park Estate

Marquee: Original Marquees

Catering: Cru Events

Stationery: Jo Faulkner Illustrations

Wedding Gift List: The Wedding Present Company

Bridal Fashion: J Andreatta Wedding Dress, LK Bennett Wedding Shoes

Groom’s Fashion: Sand Cotton Linen Suit & White Oxford Shirt from SIRPLUS, with a silk tie from Pal ZileriLoake Tan Loafers.

Bridesmaids & Flower Girls: Maid of Honour Dress from Seren LondonMint Velvet Broderie Anglaise Flower Girl Dresses, Louise Misha shirt Laure de Sagazan necktie

Floral Design: Millie Richardson with help from Zephirine FlowersAlexa Montgomery , Libby Francis FlowersI Think That You Are MagicAlice Vine Floral Design

Drapery: MiaSylvia

Band: CASA via Eight Ray Music

DJ: Larry Powell

Wall Art (Back Bar) : Press Art

Vintage furniture hire: Virginia’s Vintage Hire

Furniture hire: Hospitality Services

Linen Hire: Casa Di Gaia

Wall Linings: Oasis Events

Vase and prop hire: Rob Van Helden Floral Design

Table lamps: Pooky

Crockery and Cutlery: Chipping Norton Event Hire

Champagne: Champagne René Prévot

Sound and lighting production: That Event Company

Staging: EPS Oxford

Fridge trailer hire: Fridgerate

Generator hire: Grean Power Rentals

Luxury Loo hire: Fortis Hire

2023 Highlights

2023 Highlights

2023 Highlights

Well, another amazing year passes by in a flash – we have so many great memories to remember. A year that can be seen as ‘beyond covid’, with no postponements to deliver, felt very special. We have learnt so much over the last 3 years – both about our small business, but also the wider wedding industry. We’re super proud to come out as a stable business, but also of how each of our team have committed to improving literally everything possible, to ensure we stand out.

On team, our amazing full-time team, now 6, have been outstanding – both in the office and the field.

Being a relatively small team, means we all have to turn our hand to a variety of tasks – which keeps life interesting, but also can add to the daily challenges.

In January we welcomed Carla to the team. Working closely with Eleanor, Carla manages our bookings with all suppliers, and our clients in the run up to their events – this has transformed OM, increased our efficiency, removed all grey areas, and improved the experience, both for OM and our clients. Eleanor has consistently been in the driving seat, managing both new and existing business, keeping the ops team up to date and just generally 5 Star.

Operationally, 2023 saw us deliver considerably less events vs 2022 – and this was a conscious decision – giving us more time on each event, a smaller seasonal workforce, and less vehicles required. We will do less again in 2024, determined to get the balance right, and ensure we continue to exceed the expectations on every job.

Alistair & Dave led the small army of seasonal workers throughout the season, ensuring everyone kept moving, in the same direction – with a smile on their faces.

Original Marquees provided an incredible marquee and stretch tent for our wedding. They came highly recommended and we were thrilled with the service all the way through – from initial consultation and site visit, through to set up and clear down. Harry and the team were also able to provide lots of useful advice and ideas on layout/ set up.

LM, Bride, 2023

80 percent of our work is ‘Weddings’ – which we love. We still (500+ events later) feel honoured to work with our clients on their special event.

The feeling never changes, offering us so much satisfaction – long may it last! This helped by working so closely with our brides, grooms and planners to be different (original), not being afraid to ask and not stopping until everything is absolutely perfect.

Aside from weddings, we delivered several private parties – 18th, 40th and 60th Birthdays – wedding anniversaries – all very special occasions with the same attention to the details and desire to impress.

We also delivered a variety of corporate events. This saw our first visit to Ditchley Park for the annual lecture for 500 guests – we were at Henley Regatta at the Leander Club, the most historic, prestigious and successful rowing club in the world! Our final event for our Southern team was Cornbury House Horse Trials – a modern take on eventing, where they hosted 900+ entries for showjumping and cross-country formats. We supplied marquees for the public bar, the owners, The Pelican hospitality, and primarily shade – in what was an incredibly hot week!

It is always an absolute pleasure working with The Original Marquee team, who consistently ensure that the planning process and the build itself is precise, efficient & enjoyable. They always go above and beyond for our couples, offering customer service that is the perfect combination of professional and fun.

Jane Riddell, Planned for Perfection

On which, the weather!! A massive part of our job, and sadly one that we cannot control. 2023 was certainly an interesting one! Early April was torrential, but was followed by 14 weeks of sunshine, with very little rain. Then, as soon as the kids broke up for the summer, the rain made an appearance almost every week, until the end of August. Whilst it did make planning (outdoor ceremonies & drinks receptions) a little complicated – we managed to keep everyone covered throughout. The feedback we received, was that wet weddings make for the best parties!

Throughout the season, we have had the pleasure of working with some of, if not the best suppliers on the circuit – which keeps us progressing, and ensuring we never get complacent! This includes wedding planners: Tebbey & CoAttabara, ByChenai, Planned for Perfection, Pocket Full of Dreams & Kerry Poulter

Also regularly working with a range of caterers , we understand ‘needs’, enhancing the experience for both the suppliers, and clients. These include Karen Rhodes Catering, Doggart & Squash, Ross & Ross, Foray, Quince and Clover, Yorkshire Party Company and Sojo Kitchen. All of whom can be seen on our suppliers pages for the north and the south.

Around 40% of our work takes place at ‘wedding venues’ – for which we are also very lucky. Be it in the north, or the south, we (along with many others) think these are some of the very best venues in not only the UK, but also the world!

2024

Going into the new year – we have lots to look forward to. Many great events to plan and deliver up and down the country, linking up with great suppliers, at amazing places for our amazing clients. We can’t wait to get started!

We have recently moved into a new premises in Oxfordshire, which has a very swanky office, in which we’re hoping to host guests for coffee and cakes in the new year – so, if you’d like to come and say hi, let us know we’d love to see you!

Whilst we’re not adding or making big changes to our stock for 2024, we will be offering the new Wills Portico – an amazing focal point for your entrance, or to bridge the gap between marquees. Wills are also in the final stages of developing an amazing new structure – 18m wide, and up to 50m long – this really will be the best structure available for large events.

Finally, this being the first, we will be publishing a series of journals, real events, and suppliers interviews throughout the year, so keep an eye on your inbox throughout the year.

We wish everyone the very best wishes for the year ahead

Real Wedding - Harry & Charlotte

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