Tuesday, 28 September 2010

grace under fire?*

Remember I was a little stressed a few weeks ago?


I know you care really!

Well there has been a little stress, which I am trying to overcome and not be all bridezilla about. However I am failing.

Yes, there has been stress with my venue.

How to put this.....


So part of my venue has burnt down. Although these aren't actually photographs of our venue, they are of a house fire at my parent's house almost 10 years ago. (Now that was a traumatic day). I even joked on our wedding website that it would be good if our venue didn't burn down before November. Stupid anna.

So here's the down low. I realise it is not a disaster but it is certainly not ideal!

1. We have "lost" the main hall where we would have had dinner and dancing - this sucks. The room had beautiful high ceilings, a little stage and was generally almost perfect.
2. We may now have to have dinner and dancing in the ceremony room - yes this is ok, but it means not having the one long table I really want and we may have to have round tables (I really do not like round tables - I blame my childhood or something equally as innocuous!)
3. Have the room for all three "parts" means that the decor may have to stay the same through out and I can't really change the mood as the night progresses. Yeah that does make me sound a little precious!
4. The dancing may have to be less raucous as the space is smaller. Sad face.

There are three possibilities.

1. Have everything in the same room - which is what we have been thinking, no stress but not the wedding I have envisaged. 
2. The owners have a second property which they can bus us too - 30 mins away and not as nice.
3. A marquee - in November in the north of England. (Which they would in part pay for, in theory at least)

Option 1 was my original choice until I saw this super rad post from Savoir Wedding.  I shall admit now I usually hate marquees. Yet this opening my rather narrow eyes. Then Bean confessed, this very eve, that he was thinking this might be the solution but had not mentioned his interest due to my fear and loathing of the aforementioned blank room!

So why do I fear the tent? I guess I have been to one too many bad marquees.  I hate the suffocating feeling, the sweat dripping down the walls, the uneven floors which hurt ankles and generally the heat. Yeah, I have been in some terrible marquees!

So pray tell me clever ones, can a marquee be good in November? Is it a viable option? At least it won't be hot?! I need to talk logistics with the venue. Although I am not impressed by their communication thus far but that's just another issue.

How does one go about creating prettiness from a shell? I am not the most crafty as I found out this past weekend after spending 13 hours on Saturday and a just a little less on Sunday making things.** Although we do still have a fair few ideas.

Are we crazy for even considering a marquee? I want my guests to dance all night long, be comfortable and those who don't want to dance have somewhere else to relax but to be close by. What can we achieve with limited funds but time and enthusiasm?

Help me!!!!

*anna which I think means grace, yeah I am awesomely clever and funny!
** You shall see!


  1. Oh no! I would also be stressed!

    Sending you positive wishes but I have no experience of marquees in a cold climate :(

  2. ack! i also didn't like the thought of round tables but got them and wanted an actual walk down the isle and not walk down the dinning room and up the stairs. i tripped up on my dress a bit but i don't think anyone noticed! in the end i didn't give a flying...

    if you go for a marquee i will hope and hope for good weather for you. i've been super surprised by this english weather.

  3. Oh my goodness Anna! That is drama! I don't think anyone should be allowed to call you a bridezilla if your venue partially burns down!

    This is the mantra I try to follow for wedding planning: I may not have the wedding I want, but I will have the wedding I need.

    I think those words might be quite appropriate in your case. I'm inclined to suggest sticking with your current location. Yes, it might not be as much space as you imagined, but it might be very romantic and cozy to do everything in the same room. Lots of candles for the dinner section that are removed later. Could some tables be moved/removed during the dancing portion? Maybe turn on some over head paper lanterns or other type of different lighting to change the mood (colored lights on the walls?).

    The big tents are big blank slates, and unless you are willing to shell out the big bucks for pros, decorating them yourself is a lot of work — planning, purchasing, installing.

  4. My cousin had her reception in a marquee in February in the highlands of Scotland, we were all a bit drunk and there was a heater somewhere and it was wonderful. A marquee at night is also a very very different thing from a marquee during the day, there can be magical lighting things done. Magical, I tell you!

  5. oh dear. i am so sorry anna. how stressful. i hope it works out. i say go with the one room - just might be the more efficient solution. i assume it will pretty chilly in England in November - if you did do the marquee, maybe get a sense of renting out heat lamps and a dance floor.
    good luck!

  6. Oh my dear that is crazy! It looks like you were in the same boat I was in when we switched venues with months to go.

    I originally had a wedding idea on a vineyard (so somewhat marquee) and we planned on renting everything. Lanterns and color go such a long way. It will be more work but could be fun and how cool if you still spend an entire weekend with loved ones.

  7. Oh you poor chicken :(

    There are some blooming marvellous-looking marquee companies out there though if money isn't an object, like http://www.oasistents.co.uk/

    Or more conventional ones with twinkly roof? http://www.marldonmarquees.co.uk - what I like about that site is the "marquee builder" tool.
    Not that I can personally recommend any one company tbh, that's just five minutes of googling. With your event being in November I bet you'd be able to negotiate a great price.

    Otherwise, I wouldn't worry about being in the same room for the day - you'll have the ceremony (sniff), then presumably head elsewhere for photos while magical brownies dress the room for the meal and light a bazillion candles, and after that as Ms Bunny suggests deprive some guests of their tables to make make for the dancing. It'll be fab! If anything it's quite nice to squish them in a bit more, nice and friendly :D

  8. Oh no! I would be super panicked if this had happened to my venue. I agree with others that Marquees can be wonderful with clever lighting. I would try to choose the least stress option, the aim of the day is enjoyment after all!

  9. Oh dear oh dear oh dear.

    But Anna - space is what you need. Marquees can be heated - and as Hannah says, marquees at night are beautiful.

    Lighting, heaters and you're good. If it's a sunny day, even if it's cold, it'll be warm inside a marquee.

  10. Sending you a little email today my love. Don't panic we'll have this all sorted and your wedding will be as splendrous and wonderful as you hoped for xx

  11. Oh Anna, how upsetting! You are putting a brave face on - well done! There are nice Marquee companies out there which are so much better than the plain inside of a tent.

    The nice people at Crescent Moon do beautiful things www.crescent-moon.co.uk/home.htm

    The trendy folk of Papakata can help you get all cosy www.papakata.co.uk/

    The spangly people at Wedding Venue Lighting can work wonders if you stay in the same room http://www.wedding-venue-lighting.co.uk/lighting.htm

    Or could you switch your ceremony to somewhere else and then travel to the main venue for the rest of the proceedings?

    Good luck xx

  12. did u tell you the story of our venue? they cancelled 3 months before the wedding do to renovations over running. i surprisingly didnt get that stressed i think cos i felt, deep down that the origianl venue wasnt 'the one'. id rushed into booking it, scared that i was running out of time and that i couldnt plan anything else until the venue was sorted. them cancelling was the best thing that happened.

    you dont seem to be thrilled with any of the options at this venue so if i was you, id see if i could get the deposit back and find somewhere completely new. you can do it in 2 months believe me! think outside the box - bars and resturants are much cheaper to hire than youd expect, cool halls, things like that. i can ask some of my planner friends for some recommendations if you want me too. where does it have to be and what date?

    email me if you need to.

    Seriously, i bet this will be the best thing ever for your wedding. you'll find somewhere even better! (we did!!) plus cos its last minute you might be able to cut a deal...sweeeet!

  13. I have precisely nothing useful to say in the way of advice but I do sympathise - what rotten luck. But you know, whatever you do it will still be a wonderful day.

  14. anna, so sorry to hear about your venue! i think a marquee could be nice in november! best of luck!

  15. Oh anna! Bird, this really is rubbish, and I am so sorry! I wonder if it would be worth having a look for another venue all together where you can be cosy inside and still have the option of room changes in the day as you originally wanted.

    I understand what some of the ladies her are saying about how wonderful marquees an be, but like you, i have never really been keen on them (for various of my own reasons), and based on what you said in your post here, would you have ever have considered one unless you were forced into this situation? Unless you do see a marquee you really like - make that LOVE, i would try to avoid, as that was your original feeling. The other more practical issue is that potentially it could rack up costs if you need to do a lot to make it look lovely.

    I am not saying "MARQUEES ARE BAD!!!" but if they were not your cup of tea before, unless you see something to truly change your feelings on them, why not see if you can get a bargain last minute venue which is nice inside already so wont need as much to make it pretty (and warm).

    Otherwise maybe your original venue could be workable - changing the lighting , adding candles etc could be a way to make it look different?? I went to a wedding recently where the ceremony, dinner and party were all in the same room. there was a lovely bar area however for people to break out into in between, and i have to be honest, i hardly gave a thought to it on the day, as the different set up of chairs/tables etc made it look different straight away

    Best of luck, whatever you decide - it has to be right for you.

  16. this is a tough one, anna. i can tell you that all these other options all sound good to me, and even if it wasn't what you originally had in mind, i can't imagine that this wedding won't be fantastic! but speaking from someone who had a marquee wedding, i absolutely loved it. then again, i was kind of obsessed with tents and most people i know don't get married in a tent, so that made me want it even more. i think it can be absolutely beautiful, but you should get a heated tent and one where the sides come down just in case the weather doesn't cooperate. is that possible?

  17. Hi Anna

    My friend just had her wedding party in a bank canvas sort of room and we helped her to decorate.

    We made paper chains by buying A4 paper, in her two theme colours, in bulk, putting a line of double sided tape down the long side, cutting into strips with one of those big paper cutter things (I have one in my office so did it during my lunch hour), cutting out stars and hearts with special hole punches, then sitting in front of the TV across a few nights and linking them all together.

    It was pretty cheap, and once we'd made the strips putting them together was dead easy. We kept the punched out shapes to sprinkle as a sort of confetti across the tables. I was a bit dubious about how they would look in the room but once we'd put them all up they transformed the space completely and looked lovely.

    I'm sorry you had such an epic venue disaster! If you do go for the marquee, or end up in a room less aesthetically pleasing than you'd hoped then paper chains could help.

    Good luck.

    Fran xx

  18. That is such bad news.

    I would say listen to your gut. If none of the options seem right to you have a look at other venues, see what else you can get and then make a decision. Your venue won't be going anywhere, so just don't rush into a decision.

    Sending you lots of positive thoughts


  19. Oh, what rotten luck! The marquee could be lovely, but it will add some costs (unless the venue is willing to foot the bill for enough lighting, heating and the dance floor as well as the marquee).

    Sorry. I am not much help. I suppose it is too late to find an alternate venue?

  20. This is sad sad news! But its sometimes the unexpected changes that make the wedding more special!

  21. I'm so sorry! I think Sarah's idea of negotiating with the venue to cover the additional costs of having a marquee is a great plan. Also I think your attitude is quite admirable given the givens!

  22. oh dear! a burned venue?! I love that you call it a marquee first off, so much more glamorous than tent. We're using one, February in northern california will most likely be rainy. But with the proper decorative eye they can truly be transformed. People won't even realize where they are. It can go from suffocating to cozy. And yes, you should definitely negogiate the price. Your venue would probably be grateful to receive at least some money instead of refunding you AND worrying about paying for repairs.

  23. OMG Anna that's not good, I'm also getting married in November and would be having a hissy fit if this happened, gah!!

    But I'm using the one space for everything, its a room but its just blank white so probably quite marquee like and my two pence worth is:

    1) Stick to the single room, can they do a two long tables side by side instead of the round ones? Or are the long ones a victim of the fire? And throw fairy lights at it, it'll look magical!

    2) If you go for the marquee I think again throwing fairy lights and fabric/ribbon curtains at it would make it look beautiful and cosy. Ebay is great for bulk buy ribbon and would make those ribbon curtains affordable I think.

    Good luck x

  24. why oh why did you not tell us earlier?! You are part of a community and shouldn't be struggling alone.
    Don't worry about the cold arrange heaters for during the meal and spread them out and by the evening everyone will be up dancing and therefore plenty warm enough!


So, I really love all the sweet and/or informative comments that you lovelies leave. Yet if you feel the need to be unnecessarily rude or offensive I will delete your comment and not feel bad about it. So just be constructive alright! Hugs to all you wondrous others.


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