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Marquee Wedding Ideas

Gone are the days of the bog standard PVC marquee wedding. Today’s brides have a myriad of super stylish choices laid before them. Canvas marquees, bell tents, tipis (we have an excellent post full of tipi tips from World Inspired Tents here), yurts, Sperry tents and clear span frame marquees are the main contenders. Although, creative variations are always popping up (ahem). You may be considering a traditional venue with a permanent or hire marquee as part of your wedding package. Or you may be going the whole hog and planning a tent wedding on your own land or land you’ve hired. Either way, this post is LOADED with inspirational images to get those creative ideas flowing. With a marquee or tent wedding, you will truly have the perfect blank canvas. And about halfway through the post, you’ll also find a list of 5 ways to use tents, teepees or marquees on your wedding day to give you some ideas. 

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Katy & Jon

Katy and Jon’s gorgeous coastal wedding is probably going to knock your socks off, so brace yourselves. Every last detail has been carefully planned, styled and articulated perfectly, but the final result is so welcoming and beautiful. There are lots of our favourite suppliers involved, Elle at The Artful Event Co. helped to bring Katy’s vision for her wedding day to life and the gorgeous images and film from A Thing Like That and Baxter and Ted really show what a wonderful day everyone had.

Then there’s the mobile bar like no other – The Buffalo Bar, who I think should be a guest at every wedding…Katy and Jon’s welcome drinks sounded delicious and it looks so incredible perched on a coastal clifftop. This is a RMW wedding through and through so sit back, relax and enjoy this glorious wedding day.

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Different Tent Types For Your Wedding Reception

If you follow us on Instagram then you may have noticed that over the weekend we shared some images from some of our favourite tent, tipi and marquee suppliers. Having your wedding reception in one of these glorious structures is proving more and more popular as the flexibility and creativity you can unleash is unrivalled. Even more so if you’re lucky enough to bag some land on which to set up your party. (Exhaust those family and friend connections, it’s always worth a try).

So, if you’re lusting after a festival style wedding but aren’t sure where to start, here’s our guide to choosing the best tent for your wedding celebrations…

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Jo & Simon

We’ve been treated to some gorgeous bouquets this week and todays country affair set in a privately owned rustic barn is no exception. Made up of big bloomsy pink peonies, popping against the cool mint Coast bridesmaid dresses and stunning Mori Lee bridal gown.

Then there’s the barn reception full of everything we love, fairy lights, wild flowers in jars, bunting and quaint mis-match vintage china to serve the delicious afternoon tea on. And if all the sandwiches and cakes wasn’t enough, there was also a fabulous cheese tower and pork pie wedding cake to tuck into too. Mmm delicious.

Such a happy wedding, I challenge you not to smile along with this gorgeous couple as they celebrate their special day.

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Carina & Kyle

Well hello there pretty people in your stunning lace Pronovias gown, traditional tails and mis-match pastel gowns. I never seem to tire of these delicate ice-cream hues and the pure timeless elegance of sartorial attire, each time I see it, it’s always done slightly different and the personal touches added are always SO lovely.

In fact this whole wedding is just adorable from start to finish; with family & friends all chipping in to help with the creative DIY decor in the rustic marquee reception and the Bride designing the wedding stationery herself with a cheeky nod to her Harry Potter obsession. But how can I forget the fabulous ‘something blue’ Rolls Royce gifted to the Bride as a surprise by her Mum & Dad….. SO special.

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Vic & Alex

I am so in awe of all the love & dedication that has gone into this DIY rustic wedding at home. The fact that Vic loving grew her wedding flowers in her garden and then hand picked and arranged them the night before literally just blows my mind and they are utterly gorgeous too.

In fact all of the DIY decor is utterly gorgeous… the potted plants, the wooden crate table plan, the hay bale seating area, the pom poms, the bunting and how can I forget the creative guest book alternative. Plus I’m sure you’ll notice so much more, it’s one of those weddings I think you’ll need to view multiple of times to take it all in; and Pin!

I literally wish I had been there to marvel in all the beauty and soak up the relaxed homely atmosphere, plus their fireworks display and party into the early hours sounds epic!

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Larissa & John

Speeches outside! This is a genius idea, British weather permitting of course! This clever idea has literally generated some of the prettiest most relaxed bride & groom portraits I’ve seen, all cleverly captured by Anna Pumer Photography, with the picturesque countryside making a gorgeous backdrop.

Larissa & John are the cutest couple and I adore their attire. John wears the most dapper traditional morning suit & Larissa’s bespoke gown with lace cape sleeves and low back is stunning! Her lovely Bridesmaids look pretty in pink too!

The surrounding fields and rustic decor in the marquee is also immense. I’m loving the flowers in bottles lining the aisle and plant centre pieces, and those confetti bombs going off on the dance floor look AMAZING! It’s indisputably a blast of a wedding filled with lots of pretty!

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Not The Royal Wedding…

So, we are loving the Royal Wedding. Thats a given. But although a match made in heaven (Royal Wedding meets Wedding Blog) it’s also somewhat of an ironic relationship… after all Kate is hardly going to be doing it her way, is she?

Not so todays bride! The antithesis of the Royal wedding, totally irreverant, relaxed, casual and her-day-her-way, Polly (and Josh!) are just as much of an inspiration. And a welcome break from the Regal anticipation, ready for some full on flag waving tomorrow. Bring it on.

But first, meet Polly, and her seriously laugh-a-minute, crazy write up!

A Magical Garden Party

We were married on Saturday July 25th 2009 in Granny Pixie’s garden….The ceremony was held on the drive outside Cedar Court, our family home where my mom & her 3 brothers grew up and I spent all of my childhood playing amazing games of hide & seek, building dens and 20 for sunday lunch was all part of ‘the norm’!! It was a scruffy old house, all dusty with a funny smell…. the most magical home in the world!!

As soon as I phoned Pixie to tell her Josh (who I call ‘tree boy’ because he is a tree surgeon and climbs tress all day!) and me (Polly) .. (Josh’s mum and dad call us ‘Posh and Jolly’ its a good spoonerisum, full of irony!) Anyway… what was I saying.?! oh yeah, telling granny we were getting hitched…. she said “well of course you are, and it will be here” Infact when I first took Josh to walk around the fields of this precious loving land, in our early ‘dating days’ he said, quite out of the blue “you’ll get married here.” In my fariy tale la la world I thought then. “we’ll get married here”!!

The Deed itself

Well we actually did the official marriage bit on the Wednesday 22nd in Lichfield registery office. I wore a ‘hand me down’ Aunty Pauline’s vintage sequined pearl white ‘dream girls’ dress. So that cost only £50.00 to be re lined and have the back cut out and a massive slit put in!! (she was slimmer than me when she was 21! (40 years ago) so the alterations were to allow me to breath…

The magical garden party dress I found in Kendals, Manchester. It was on the Sale Rail in ‘ANOUSHKA G’ and cost £80.00. I wasn’t sure what I wanted really but it needed to be fairy tale like and I love flowers and butterflies and sparkle… My best friend Flippy saw it and called me over, I knew it was the dress I was going to buy!
Prior to this, me and my sister-in-law has tried a few on, I LOVED Jenny Packham designs and had wedding dress envy when my friend floated down the isle in ‘PAPILLION’. I booked an appointment at the Jenny Packham boutique and me and fabuolus Andrew Stephen Lavin went to try some on….. A perfik full grey sequence dress I fell in love with… just too too too too too too expensive! This was a wedding built on fresh air and love, not ridiculous spending and so I let the idea of ‘designer’ go… the ‘trying on’ experience was all I really needed!

Vintage Fever

When we went engagement ring shopping in York we found this amazing Jewellers called ‘Cavendish Jewelers’ They specialise in vintage and 2nd hand pieces. I noticed a pair of Art Deco diamond and rose quartz earings in the window… sooooooo pretty! anyway I was quickly told thats not what we’d come for and so I turned my attention to the rings… I had the moment when I put on an Emerald and Diamond Art Deco ring and my eyes filled with tears… I left the shop and Josh appeared 10 minutes later in a full sweat having buckled under the presure of the purchase and inserted his pin number incorrectly 3 times!! After frantic phone calls and a beer or 2, I had my fairy tale ring. On our wedding night of the 22nd, Josh produced the earings I’d seen in the window… so spoilt, so happy fresh air and love and a lot of tears… needless to say, I wore then to our garden party wedding on Saturday along with my great grandma ‘Lady T’s’ emerald and diamond necklace! I had worn it to my mom’s wedding in 1981. The morning of my fairy tale day, I woke up to find it next to me, on the pillow with a letter from mom…. it was an effortless choice of accessories, Love mostly! With a load of fresh flowers to twine it all together in my curly hair!

I brought my shoes before the dress… full multi coloured glitter sparkle from Nine West. They weren’t expensive – about £50.00. I loved them, but was never intending to skip around the fields in heels! So after walking up the drive to meet my man, strutting in the sunshine all sparkles and smiles, to Areatha Franklin. I then changed into a pair of gold HAVIANA flip flops and danced and skipped till I dropped!

Hair Heaven

On Wednesday Flippy did my hair and make up. She is like this sunshine of creative magic and she heated up the rollers, painted my face and I felt like a Hollywood screen goddess!! Glam but not over made up. On the Saturday for the garden party Shabaz ‘Shabba’ Hussain ‘The Fabulous’, the best creative hair magician this side of the Mississippi!! One of my bestest friends and dream weaver….curled and pinned my locks with fresh flowers and dazzle. Flippy and my very glamorous cousins painted my face…. I was a fairy princess, Titania from Midsummer nights dream. The look was soft, easy, pretty but not try hard or heavy. I didn’t want to look ‘different’ and so ‘coiffered’ I would be uncomfortable and Josh would be like ‘what have you done with Polly?!’ Infact he made me promise I wouldn’t do that!! I trusted my friends!! (I’d had the hen doo, they’d done their worst, so no more pay back was in the wings waiting!!)

Wild Flowers

Wild flowers, meadow flowers, any flowers that were at the flower market at 5am on the Friday! Me, Lala, Flippy and Chalky went on a mission and spent £70.00. this made my bouquet, 3 bridesmaids bouquets, loads of button holes and fillied tea pots and coffee pots to the brim with flowers….

Chalky made the bouquets and button holes! She is clever! And Pops and Joe filled the tea pots and coffee pots for the tables and made the most beautiful centre piece at the head of the top table! Pop’s and Joe are just so special. It was the two of them that ‘saw’ my fairy tale and from the very beginning built it with us!

We had a planting day in May, all the family gathered at Granny Pixies and planted sweet peas, those that couldn’t make it planted pots at home and brought them to the garden on the Friday!! It was brilliant fun. Everyone loved being involved. Pixie called it the ‘Armarda’! I was also given a load of silk flowers that my girlies twisted and weaved around a chandelier fitting and hung on of the trees!

The bridesmaids brought their dresses themselves!! I said a purple, lilac, mauve-ish pallet… but be comfortable and make sure it’s something you’ll wear again! I don’t think you can dress people in something totally out of character and expect them to feel relaxed and happy… especially when they have such individual style… it worked, they are all stunning so I knew it would!!!

We Heart pictures

There is only one! HECTOR MORA!!! Hector and Charlie together (We Heart Pictures) are just mind blowingly brilliant at capturing love, at seeing magic… We had no idea what we ‘wanted’ other than nothing formal!! I honestly cannot tell you how utterly brilliant they are. I have never seen wedding photo’s like it. You see for yourself! My friend had them do her wedding after seeing our album!

Queen of Cupcakes

My friend Babbit, queen of cup cakes made us a 2 giant cup cakes for tree boy & polly pocket and a hundred or more little ones!! They all got eaten, the kids were all sugar loved up! But the fairy tale castle cake was a total and complete surprise! I had no idea until I saw it on the wedding day! Momma Brown had kept the whole idea a secret. It was a triple layer fruit cake that she decorated with turrets!

This was a wedding built on love and friendship… my friends from uni are very talented and Tim played the guita and bobin the double bass and my cousin with a voice like velvet sang Sister Sledge ‘I’m thinkin of you’ as part of the ceremony! I cried… it was goose bumply beautiful!!

Blooming Bunting!

Bunting…. over a thousand metres of it! Made lovingly by me and Flip in the kitchen!! My Mom and Momma Brown posted us triangles and between us we pinking sheered and stitched what felt like miles and miles of it!! It went all around the top terrace, the marquee and the fields… it looked ace!

Because we we’re in Pixie’s garden and the Marquee went up on the Thursday we had access when we wanted and no short time scale to get it all done! Don’t get me wrong, it was a hard grafting sweat shop but we did it and enjoyed it!
I guess because I had a ‘vision’ of how I wanted the day to feel… the process of building it was dreamy… It wasn’t stressful (although to be fair my mom is pretty organised and dotted the I’s and crossed the T’s with stuff I might have forgotten about!) like table clothes and helpers!!

The marquee company gave us 240 old seat pads…. and I hoarded any fabric I could… borrowed a few staple guns, set up a sweat shop in my lounge and covered every single one in colourful, crazy fabric!! they looked like tubes of refressers when we were getting them to the tent! Everyone helped.. even at school ( I teach Art & Photography) the lovely ladies on reception were bringing my in bags of material! I have to say the seats looks stunning! The idea was that after tea and scones, you could take your seat pad into the field to sit on while you ate your picnic!

The ‘High Tea’ was set out in the marquee and was the only ‘formal’ bit of the day. All the tables 4 rows of tressels we’re laid up with mish mash china that my mom, dad & joe and I had been buying up from charity shops and car boot sales for the 6 months prior to the wedding! The Norm and Hat had car booted coffee pots and tea pots and the babbit lent us her hord of cake stands too!!

A Booming Dance Floor

For the evening we had a band… about a 9 piece band we’d seen at a friends wedding and had danced all night on a booming dance floor. They travelled up from Bristol ……. They were awesome… really fun. We wanted live music for the main part. After they had finished around midnight we had a mate DJ Mike spin his 7” records… when he had beer breaks someone else produced bag of records and so it was open decks really!

Another of my best friends Jo ‘The Norm’ and Jon ‘The Hat’ who own a pub in Salford ‘The Kings Arms’ (which is THE most ecclectic fusion of proper beer, busking, knitting, art and theatre you could ever put in one building) built a bar, but up lights and video projects all over the garden and in the trees and marquee… it was a visual sensation… Ken even played the video of the ceremony onto the ceiling of the tent!! Bloody brilliant!

Family Favours and DIY

On the Friday we asked family and close friend to come and help build up the wedding! They did!! we had people laying tables, putting up dressing tents, and ting up bunting. Josh spent the day hanging in the trees hanging lanterns I got my students to help me make at the end of term!! All in all the wedding was a festival…. soooo much fun! Built on love and friendship.

As a result we have now set up a shabby chic wedding hire kit.. we have 300 tea cups, saucers and side plates… 100 tea pots cake stands and miles of bunting….. if any one wants to share the love email me at pollyflower10@hotmail.com!!

Top tip…. have a picnic – saves £1000.00’s of pounds, mingling aound a field was so much fun, people playing badminton and football and frisbee… and enjoy the adventure. It’s the best party you’ll ever go to!

Photographers – We Heart Pictures

Dress – Anoushka G

Shoes – Nine West

Earrings – Cavendish Jewellers, York

Shabby Chic Wedding Hire – (The bride) pollyflower10@hotmail.com

Breath of Fresh air anyone? This is like a tropical breeze…

And a totally inspired reminder that if Royal simply isn’t you… then there’s still a perfect wedding to be crafted.

After all, Regal and Royal or Magical Garden Fairytale, they’re all about the L.O.V.E.

Yours Truly,


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Exactly How I like It… Part 2

Well, if part 1 was all about the dress, then part 2 is most definitely about the photography. Caroline Alexander has created some of the most stunning portraits I have seen is a really really long time, swings and garden bliss, in completely perfect light.

Enjoy folks…

Location, Location, Location

Matt grew up in Cirencester and although Cirencester Parish Church is incredible it was a bit too big for our needs. We decided to choose St Kenelms Church in Sapperton as we spend a lot of time visiting the village and often stay for holidays when we can, plus Matt’s parent’s were married in the neighbouring village. St Kenelm’s Church is a beautiful little church and was a perfect size for our guests.

We chose The Crown Inn at Frampton Mansell for three reasons:
The delicious food, the fabulous views and the amazing staff!

Gorgeous Photography

Our photographer was Caroline Alexander. We are so glad we managed to find such a talented photographer!

I love the wayCaroline managed to capture every emotion of the day in her photos and most of the time I didn’t even know she was there!

We are so pleased with the photos she has produced.

Family Florals

Matt’s Mum bought all the flowers for the church from the flower market in Bristol. She chose lots of white flowers, including Hydrangeas, gladioli, roses, gypsophila, michaelmass daisies and chrysanthemums. They were all white and added an extra touch of class to our beautiful church.

Our button holes were from Oops a Daisy in Cirencester

A True Tower of Cupcakes

Our cup cakes were made by Readymade Catering in Cirencester. The little sugar roses on the top were made by www.thesugarbox.co.uk We bought a seven tiered mirror cup cake stand from Ebay which complimented the mirror plates on the tables. Neither of us really like wedding cake so we opted for something a bit different. We had plain sponge cup cakes with ivory icing and a delicate pink rosebud on the top in gold cup cases.

We initially thought seven tiers may have been a bit over the top but I definitely think it added to the wow factor!

We kept the decoration simple with one crystal vase of ivory and pink roses on a table by the front entrance along with the table plan. We placed the vase on a mirror plate and put some large pearls around it. I wanted to create an old dressing table feel. I made the table plan using a large vintage looking photo frame and added some pearls and diamantes (bought from hobby craft) to the plan for some extra detailing.

Glorious Gold

We hired a marquee which was absolutely beautiful. We chose Ivory Linings, gold swags and chandeliers. We bought gold tablecloths from ebay which added to the glamour.

I carried the dressing table feel through to the dinner tables which I decorated with glass gold fish bowls on mirror plates surrounded with pearls and large vintage buttons. I used pink and ivory Mulberry paper roses in the bowls and finished them off with some pearls and diamantes in the centre of some of the roses. I also added some onion grass to add a bit of extra colour.

For my table numbers I used all different photo frames that I bought from TK Maxx and put pictures of Jean Harlow, Ann Sheridan etc in them looking elegant and glamorous. I printed the table numbers onto each of them and then draped them with some tiny pearls and feathers.

Favour Fantastic

I made my favours using lace I bought from ebay. I filled the pouches with chocolate éclairs and tied them with gold ribbon for the men and pink ribbon for the women which I bought from Hobbycraft. I added extra detailing by adding vintage brooches buttons, feathers and old pieces of jewellery which I bought from ebay. Every favour was different and personal to each guest.

The menus for the guests took so long to make as there was so much detailing on them. I used Ivory Pinstripe paper from Hobbycraft and gold card for the backing from Staples. We printed the name of the guest on the top of each one so that we wouldn’t have to use separate name cards, which I felt worked really well. We printed a picture of a cameo on each one and I finished them off with gold ribbon and pearls for the men and pink ribbon, lace and pearls for the women. Each one took me about half an hour to get right but they were so beautiful it was worth it.

Advice from a bride

Don’t feel that you have to do everything traditionally just because you are having a traditional wedding. We had a traditional church wedding yet I didn’t have a veil or a bouquet because that just wasn’t me. We didn’t have a receiving line or a top table, instead we sat in the middle of everybody on a table with our brothers and sisters. We wanted our wedding to be as informal and relaxed as possible and felt we achieved this.

Also I would say, it doesn’t matter how much your budget is, attention to detail is key. I made all my favours for about twenty pounds but it took me hours adding the little extra detailing, the little pearls in the centre of the roses, sewing the beautiful vintage buttons etc. The same applied with the invitations and menus.

You don’t need years to plan a wedding. We planned ours in less than six months. Instead of spending hours and hours on things I just went with my instinct. You can spend so much time planning everything but sometimes it doesn’t matter how well prepared you are. I went to see the marquee a few days before the wedding and I wasn’t happy with the chairs so I ended up ordering chair covers three days before! Two weeks before the wedding the cake maker dropped out! Four days before the wedding the singer dropped out! It was a nightmare! We had to find a new person to do the cakes and a new singer all in a couple of days, but we managed it so it shows you don’t need years and years to plan!

Photography – Caroline Alexander

Venue – The Crown Inn, Frampton Mansell, Gloucestershire.

Buttonholes – Oops a Daisy

Cupcakes – Readymade Catering

Sugar Roses – www.thesugarbox.co.uk

We often have ‘wanting to run about in a corn field’ days… but who’s with me on the swing or in that gorgeous dreamy garden?

Votes below please 😉

Yours Truly,