Monday, 20 August 2012

Marquee Wedding Entertainment Guide

A marquee can be a spectacular setting for your wedding reception and a temporary structure has the benefit of being located anywhere you choose. As a wedding singer and DJ I have entertained in many marquees - on the grounds of wedding venues, on village greens, at farms and even in large back gardens!

When planning your own marquee wedding, particularly at a private residence, there are some important things to bear in mind when booking your wedding entertainment:

1) Access

Make sure that we have vehicular access to your marquee and a parking space for our vehicle. We have quite a lot of sound and lighting equipment that will need to be unloaded on the day. The nearer we can get our vehicle to your marquee, the quicker and more efficiently we can complete the set-up. If the distance between our vehicle and your marquee is more than 25 metres or we need to go through a property to gain access to the performance space, please notify me before you book, as more time will be needed for set-up and you will need to plan timings your day accordingly. Think also about varying weather on the day. Will we still be able to safely gain access on foot / in a vehicle in wet conditions, particularly on grass?

2) Layout

Whilst devising your table plan, think about your evening reception. Is there space for your dance floor to be assembled before you sit down for your Wedding Breakfast or will this need to be added after your meal? If you need to re-arrange tables after your meal and lay the dance floor, make sure you allow enough time for this in your schedule.

Also, think about where your DJ, singer or band will perform. They will need adequate space to set-up. My requirements are a minimum of 3m x 1.5m. Think about where to locate your entertainers. Make sure you leave adequate space between the wall of you marquee and the dance floor in which to accommodate your musicians or DJ.

3) Flooring

Your entertainers will have equipment, most probably stand-mounted speakers and lighting. For health and safety reasons it is essential that the ground in the designated area for their set-up is suitably hard and flat. The last thing you want is heavy equipment up high on a stand on unsteady ground.

4) Power

It is essential that you have an adequate power supply in your marquee on the day. If you are dealing with a marquee company, the management of electrical supply may be something that is included with your package. If not, I would highly recommend employing the services of a qualified electrician, the last thing you want is to be having music and lighting break downs throughout your evening. The electrical demands from your various suppliers on the day may be larger than you may think. Consider your internal marquee lighting, heating, your caterer's requirements (ovens, grills and hot plates) as well as your entertainment.

For my set up I require a minimums of 2 separate, standard plug points. A common mistake, especially with weddings at private residences, is simply plugging one 3 or 4 way extension into a household plug. This is not adequate for our 20+ items of equipment that need plugging in. If you are dealing with your own electrics and coming from a household supply, power needs to be sourced from multiple sockets.

As I said earlier, for such an important event, I would highly recommend employing the services of an electrician.

5) Noise & Licencing

Again, applying mainly if you are planning a wedding reception at a private residence, local village green etc. Be aware that noise from your evening reception will spread quite readily throughout the surrounding areas. Make sure to notify any neighbours, or even better, invite them along!

You do not need a licence to have music at your wedding reception as it is classed as a private event where you are not charging an entry fee, See the Performing Rights Society web site for more information

From an entertainer's perspective if all the above are in order, you can expect a trouble-free day. If you have any questions or queries feel free to contact me either by phone or e-mail.


Me entertaining in a marquee at Ardington House, Oxfordshire. April 2009.