Planning a marquee wedding at home

by Owen Relfe

One of the things we love about our job is getting to visit some incredible locations to site our sailcloth marquees and tipis. The Southwest is brimming with breath-taking scenery and we’re so lucky to work with some incredible wedding venues that make the most spectacular back-drop to your day.

But what if you have somewhere else in mind? Somewhere tucked away that most people aren’t able to visit. Somewhere with secret views out over your favourite beach, or mile after mile of rolling countryside? Or maybe, the view isn’t anything special to most people, but to you it is scared ground that holds all your childhood memories. We’re talking about private homes. About half of our couples choose to host their wedding in the grounds of their own home or a family home. If that isn’t an ode to personalising your big day, we don’t know what is!

Here we take a look at the sorts of things you should consider if you’re thinking about getting married at home and you’d like to site a marquee or sailcloth for your celebrations.

Is the space big enough?

How much space you require is dependent on the size of the marquee you require. Generally, our tipis are 12m x 20m or 13m x 30m. The sailcloth tents are 10m x 28m, 14m x 26m and 18m x 24m and for both, we’ll also need space for the anchor straps. Remember you will also need room to site toilets and maybe a catering tent while still leaving enough room for access and to move around the site. If you’re unsure, the best thing to do is to give us a call with a rough idea of the size and layout of the space (and access) and we can give you an idea of what will fit. We’ll also very happily come and do a site visit to advise you which structure will work best in your space.

Access and Lighting

For a home wedding you will need all your suppliers to come to you, and they will need access to bring trucks and vans, sometimes with trailers right up to the area where the wedding will take place. As well as being able to physically site the marquee, catering tent/van and toilets, think about the access points and whether this also going to be used as guest access. Ideally you’ll want to plan different foot access for guests just in case you get wet weather and the vehicles leave a bit of a boggy mess getting in and out.

You may also need to consider hiring exterior lighting too – especially if guests will need to walk a little way to get to parking, transport and toilets. You don’t want Aunt Mildred taking a tumble or finding lost guests wandering around the garden!

Parking and Transport

You’ll need to think about how your guests will arrive. Even if you think you have enough space for everyone to park, will they all be able to leave as and when they want to or is it a bit cramped? (Think about using stakes and rope to mark out spaces). If there isn’t room, let guests know where they can park nearby and how far it is from the wedding, or, suggest a nearby meeting point and consider putting on transport for them or suggesting they share taxis.

Power and Toilets

Oh yes – it’s all the exciting stuff, but vital! You’ll need to think about a source of power for lighting, music, catering and heating (if required). We don’t recommend using your house supply as it generally won’t be strong enough. Hiring a generator is the best thing to do to ensure you have a reliable source of power – you don’t want to serve warm fizz or end up with the music to your first dance cutting out! When it comes to toilets we’d always recommend hiring a luxury toilet trailer. It’s much easier than having your guests trail through your family home (even if you do have multiple bathrooms). Also, we’ll be blatantly honest here – please don’t opt for bog standard portaloos. They may seem cheap but they aren’t practical for brides, wedding guests or children plus they are really ugly even if you do manage to tuck them away around a corner.

No-Go Zones

When you’re planning the wedding, chat to whoever’s home it is from the outset to agree the boundaries of where you’re all happy for wedding guests to roam. You may decide that the house is totally out of bounds, or, you might designate one or too rooms for elderly guests or those with babies who may need somewhere a bit quieter during the day. Equally, some prefer to use their house as an extension of the wedding marquee, especially if you have several reception rooms and want places of sentiment to play a part in your day. If not (and most couples don’t), it’s not a bad idea to either keep the house locked or rope it off (you can make this look pretty using flowers and jute rope).


If you have neighbours nearby then you should consider them, mainly from the noise element. Either invite them along or write them a letter to let them know about your wedding and what time it will be going on until.

The Clean Up

Thinking about the day-after the big day is important here. You don’t want to suddenly find that aging parents are left to single-handedly mastermind a major clean-up operation. You’ll need to be able to empty the marquee or tipi so we can come and take it down on the agreed day (usually the day after your wedding). This will mean all decorations and rubbish are removed. Talk to whoever is supplying your catering and bar to ask what they will take away with them (empty bottles, crockery, cutlery and glasses and check whether they need to be washed first).

Chat To Us

Planning a home wedding can feel a bit daunting but that’s where we can help. It really is our area of expertise and with over half our couples choosing to do just this, we know exactly what is needed to ensure it goes off without a hitch. We love chatting all things ‘wedding’ so please either give us a call or drop us a line and we’ll happily walk you through the steps.

Phone 01929 505005 Email

Take Care

The Coastal Tents Team xxxx