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Guests enjoying the evening festivities at a private marquee wedding


The Pros and Cons of Private Marquee Wedding

As a wedding photographer in Suffolk, I have navigated the journey of marquee weddings through its considerable ups and downs.

Looking back on it all, these styles of weddings are like a delightful mix of magic and mayhem! They are all about adding that special touch to your wedding day, but boy, do they come with their fair share of twists and turns.

So, let’s dive in! From the enchanting moments to the nitty-gritty of managing finances and logistics, I will tell you the pros and cons of private marquee weddings.

The inside reception styling at a private marquee wedding

Private Marquee Weddings

  • The Joy of Private Marquee Weddings
  • Flexibility in Supplier Selection and Catering
  • The Financial Investment
  • Weather Dependence
  • Logistics of Building a Venue from Scratch
  • The Unique and Unforgettable Atmosphere
  • The Charm of Private Marquee Weddings

The Joy of Private Marquee Weddings

Envisioning the moment you exchange vows, not in a conventional venue, but under a beautifully adorned canopy with nature as your backdrop – it’s nothing short of enchanting. 

This kind of wedding allows you to personalise it to your vision and gives you full exclusivity. The joy of transforming an open space, perhaps a family garden, a secluded beachfront or even at a marquee wedding venue, into a space that mirrors your love story is unbeatable.

Each detail, from the fairy lights to the arrangement of the floral centrepieces, is a testament to your wedding day vision and personality.

The beauty of opting for a private marquee wedding is how it seamlessly integrates with the surrounding environment. Whether it is the gentle rustle of leaves in a woodland setting or the relaxing sound of waves on a beach, nature plays a significant role in enhancing the atmosphere.

This synergy between elegance and the natural world offers a sense of peace and intimacy that is hard to replicate in more traditional settings.

Flexibility in Supplier Selection and Catering

One of the true joys of organising a private marquee wedding is the freedom it affords in selecting suppliers and catering options.

Unlike more traditional venues, which often come with a fixed list of suppliers, a marquee event puts you in the driving seat. This makes your wedding planning journey so much more enjoyable!

Being able to handpick each supplier, ensuring they align with both your vision and budget. 

Drinks on the lawn outside at a private marquee wedding

This personal selection process is not only limited to the florists or the band but extends to the very essence of the celebration – the food. The catering at a private marquee wedding can be as unique as you wish.

If you are a food enthusiast then your wedding meal can reflect your love for diverse cuisines. Explore and choose a caterer who can offer a bespoke menu, incorporating flavours from your favourite dishes.

The result?

A culinary experience that is distinctly ‘you’, ranging from tasty canapes to hearty, gourmet main courses, all the way to a late-night snack bar that surprises and delights your guests.

This level of flexibility also encourages creativity. You may find yourself engaging in delightful conversations with suppliers, brainstorming ideas that would bring your dream wedding to life. This collaborative approach not only ensures that every aspect of your wedding is infused with personal touches but also creates a sense of partnership.

Navigating the range of options, liaising with different suppliers, and tailoring the catering to your tastes, ultimately makes your wedding day personal and satisfying to plan!

The Financial Investment

When planning your private marquee wedding, you must look at the financial investment involved.

This aspect of your wedding planning journey presents the most significant learning curve. While the allure of a personalised and exclusive event under a beautifully adorned marquee is undeniable, the associated cost of a marquee wedding can be somewhat eye-watering.

It’s a common misconception that choosing a marquee over a traditional venue might be a cost-effective alternative. However, the truth is, every little detail – from the wedding marquee hire itself to the furniture, the enchanting lighting, and even the practical necessities like generators and posh portable loos – comes with its own price tag.

There is no built-in infrastructure in a blank canvas venue, which means nearly everything has to be brought in. This not only includes the more obvious elements like tables and chairs but also extends to the behind-the-scenes essentials that ensure the day runs smoothly. 

Navigating this means carefully budgeting and planning, requiring a detailed breakdown of every expected (and unexpected) expense.

This aspect of planning a private marquee wedding, while allowing for a highly tailored experience, necessities a careful, considered approach to budgeting.

It underscores the importance of striking a balance between the dream and the reality, ensuring that the vision for your day doesn’t compromise your financial well-being.

Weather Dependence

If there is one thing you can’t control on your wedding day, it’s the weather.

This part of planning may feel like rolling a dice, hoping for favourable conditions but knowing full well that anything from a light mist to a full-on tempest could occur. 

The unpredictability can add a thrill to the preparations, but it also requires you to be adaptable and inventive. Have contingency plans in place, from arranging additional marquee walls to hiring industrial heaters, ensuring comfort for your guests no matter the forecast.

Having a Plan B (and even a Plan C) is a great idea, leading you to think creatively about every aspect of your day. From selecting a private marquee wedding provider who could swiftly adjust to weather changes, to choosing decor that wouldn’t wilt at the first sign of damp, every decision made should have the British weather in mind. 

Logistics of Building a Venue from Scratch

The logistics involved in transforming an empty canvas into a mesmerising venue are both intricate and extensive.

It demands a well-thought-out strategy, a keen eye for detail, and a sense of purpose. 

One of the first tasks is ensuring the availability of power and adequate lighting, which is fundamental to setting the right vibe and ensuring the comfort of your guests as the evening draws in at your private marquee wedding.

This should be followed closely by waste management solutions, which, although not the most glamorous aspect, is crucial to maintaining the pristine nature of your chosen marquee wedding location. 

Accessibility and parking are other key considerations, requiring you to think creatively about how to best utilise the space available without disrupting the natural beauty of the setting.

Coordinating the arrival and setup of each element brings its own set of challenges. From the marquee itself to the furnishings and the myriad of suppliers arriving at different times, maintaining a clear line of communication is vital.

This not only ensures that everything is assembled correctly but also that the overall vision for the day is realised without a hitch.

Personalised wedding sign with the couples initials at a private marquee wedding

The Unique and Unforgettable Atmosphere

Creating the atmosphere for a private marquee wedding is, without a doubt, one of the most exhilarating aspects of the entire planning process.

The thought of every element, from the lighting casting a soft glow over the space to the carefully chosen music serenading you and your guests into the evening, is a reflection of your personalities and your journey together is incredibly fulfilling.

This bespoke setting is not just about aesthetics; it is about crafting an environment where every laugh, every dance move, and every shared glance feels magnified. 

The joy of witnessing your vision come to life, of seeing the delighted expressions as friends and family explore the wonderland you had envisioned, is such a lovely experience. 

The peace of nature, combined with the personal touches sprinkled throughout your private marquee wedding, fosters a warm, convivial atmosphere that invites everyone to connect on a deeper level.

Guests enjoying the evening festivities at a private marquee wedding

Will You Be Opting for a Marquee Wedding?

Now you know the pros and cons of private marquee weddings you can decide whether this style of wedding suits your wedding day vision.

As a documentary wedding photographer there is nothing I love more than couples creating the day that suits their vision, needs, style and personality. I capture the true nature of a couples love story. So, get in touch with me to discuss your photography! 

Couples portraits at a wedding venue in Suffolk


My Top 7 Wedding Venues in Suffolk

Are you planning your dream wedding in Suffolk and searching for the perfect venue?

Suffolk is home to some of the most stunning and picturesque wedding venues in the country, and as a Suffolk wedding photographer, I have narrowed down my top picks for you!

From the rustic charm of Bruisyard Estate to the stylish Hengrave Hall, there are wedding locations in Suffolk for every couple’s taste and style. These venues offer breathtaking backdrops, impeccable service, and a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. So why wait?

Say ‘I Do’ at one of my top 7 wedding venues in Suffolk.

7 Wedding Venues in Suffolk

  • Bruisyard Estate
  • Granary Estates
  • Butley Priory
  • Easton Grange
  • Glemham Hall
  • Henham Barn
  • Hengrave Hall

Bruisyard Estate

Bruisyard Estate is a wedding venue in Suffolk offering a versatile setting for weddings of all sizes and styles.

The Medieval Hall and Banqueting Hall, with their soaring ceilings and historic beams, can accommodate up to 140 guests for your ceremony and sit-down meal, expanding to 200 for evening celebrations.

These spaces are bathed in natural light and offer a blank canvas to tailor your wedding theme to how you envision it.

For those dreaming of a smaller, more intimate gathering, Bruisyard Hall opens its elegant dining room for up to 28 guests, providing a cosy yet sophisticated atmosphere.

Bruisyard Hall is more than just a venue; it’s a home away from home. With 14 appointed rooms catering for up to 28 overnight guests, it offers a blend of luxury and comfort, making your stay as memorable as your wedding day.

Family suites, accessible rooms, and a stunning bridal suite are available, ensuring every need is met.

They have a dedicated Event Manager who will work closely with you to personalise your day, from the ceremony set against the backdrop of the Suffolk countryside to the bespoke dining experience crafted by their expert catering team.

At this wedding venue in Suffolk, your wedding is an experience tailor-made to you.

Granary Estates

In the picturesque village of Woodditton on the Suffolk/Cambridgeshire border, Granary Estates offers a breathtaking setting for your wedding day, combining history with modernity.

The estate boasts two original barns, beautifully linked by an open glass walkway, leading to a private courtyard, a lovely spot for your guests to enjoy reception drinks under the sun.

At this wedding venue in Suffolk, they provide a truly intimate setting for your ceremony, with the Flint Barn accommodating up to 88 guests, and the Granary Barn up to 180 guests. Both barns are available throughout the year, guaranteeing exclusivity and peace.

Imagine saying your vows against the backdrop of flint walls, original timber beams, and sweeping views of the surrounding cornfields.

They have a selection of award-winning caterers, each offering a bespoke and flexible dining experience to suit your taste. They have a dedicated Event Management Team who will be with you every step of the way.

Butley Priory

Butley Priory, nestled in the relaxed surrounds of Woodbridge, is a wedding venue in Suffolk that offers a country-chic backdrop for weddings that blend tradition with modern style.

This estate, celebrated for its serene and joyous atmosphere, serves as the perfect setting for a memorable beginning to your life together.

With the capability to host civil ceremonies and bespoke weddings, the estate’s Great Hall stands as a testament to style, featuring grand ceilings and pristine white accents, adaptable to any theme from glamorous to romantic.

Accommodating up to 100 guests for the ceremony and 80 for the reception.

The estate’s lawns offer a picturesque setting for outdoor weddings, with the option of a tent or wedding marquee to dine and dance under the stars.

To ease the wedding planning process, Butley Priory provides the services of a dedicated wedding coordinator, ensuring every detail is carefully organised, from helipad access to preparing changing rooms for the wedding party.

Overnight stays are no afterthought, with The Priory, The Cottage, and The Farmhouse offering restful retreats for up to 41 guests, allowing you and your loved ones to unwind in comfort without the need for travel.

Easton Grange

In the Suffolk countryside, Easton Grange offers an incredible setting for your wedding day.

This exclusive-use, luxury barn wedding venue, once a bustling working farm, has been meticulously transformed to host both intimate gatherings and bigger celebrations for up to 250 guests.

Its gorgeous location, near the village of Easton and easily accessible from Ipswich, boasts stunning grounds that meander around the River Deben, providing a serene backdrop.

This wedding venue in Suffolk prides itself on its blend of two adjoining barns – the Ceremony Barn, where you can exchange your vows in a beautifully lit, purpose-built space, and the Reception Barn, perfect for evening festivities with its expansive doors opening onto a sunlit terrace and lush lawns.

The venue’s commitment to an exclusive and intimate atmosphere ensures that you and your guests can revel in the day’s celebrations without interruption.

Further enhancing the experience, Easton Grange offers exceptional on-site accommodation, including a bridal suite in the Bakehouse and additional charming rooms for guests within the listed Farmhouse.

With a dedicated event manager to assist you from planning to execution, Easton Grange guarantees a bespoke wedding day.

Glemham Hall

Glemham Hall, an Elizabethan mansion, stands proudly amidst the Suffolk countryside, enveloped by over 3000 acres of grounds.

Originally built in 1560, this red-brick marvel captivates with its historical style and offers a truly magnificent setting for weddings. The venue is celebrated not only for its architectural beauty but also for the breathtaking gardens that surround it.

Couples are invited to wander through the manicured expanses at this wedding venue in Suffolk, discovering the peace of the yew tree avenue, the romance of the walled rose garden, and the charm of the Herbaceous Garden.

The latter is a haven for art enthusiasts, featuring an intriguing collection of sculptures by a local artist, alongside a glasshouse and a Mediterranean dry garden.

Whether you dream of an outdoor celebration on the grass tennis court or a more intimate gathering beside the flowers, Glemham Hall provides a versatile canvas for your day.

These views and lush settings promise stunning documentary-style wedding photography, capturing moments of love and celebration against a backdrop of timeless beauty.

Henham Barn

Henham Barns is a wedding venue in Suffolk nestled within a picturesque landscape.

This venue, steeped in history and surrounded by the countryside, provides a relaxing and private setting for couples. Henham Barns has been sympathetically restored to retain its original character while incorporating modern luxuries, making it an ideal choice for those desiring a wedding that marries the old with the new.

The main barn, with its exposed beams and high ceilings, is the perfect canvas for your celebration, accommodating both grand feasts and more intimate receptions.

The large outdoor spaces at Henham Barns invite you to hold your ceremony under the open sky, set against the backdrop of fields and woodlands.

Couples can also benefit from the bespoke service offered by the dedicated team at this wedding venue in Suffolk, who are committed to bringing your dream wedding to life.

Hengrave Hall

Hengrave Hall, a Grade 1 listed Tudor mansion nestled in the Suffolk countryside, offers an exclusive and romantic setting for your wedding day.

With 350 acres of grounds, it encapsulates the essence of historical elegance and luxury. 

The adjacent St John Lateran church provides an option for traditional ceremonies, whilst the gorgeous lake setting is perfect for outdoor vows against nature.

This wedding venue in Suffolks ground floor rooms present a variety of licensed spaces for civil ceremonies, catering to both intimate and bigger celebrations of up to 150 guests.

The West Terrace, fringed with fragrant David Austin Roses and lavender, presents an idyllic spot for summer drinks receptions, enhanced by garden games for entertainment. 

Hengrave Hall’s partnership with Milsom Catering ensures a culinary experience as memorable as the setting, with bespoke planning and execution.

The morning of the wedding sees couples pampered in luxurious preparation rooms, including the private Queen Elizabeth Suite and a gentlemen’s retreat equipped with leisure facilities.

With 21 bedrooms, the celebration can extend into a breakfast gathering the following day.

Ready to Plan Your Suffolk Wedding? 

Now you know my top 7 wedding venues in Suffolk. You can go away and decide which space will create the wedding day you envision with your loved one. They all offer something unique and help to tell your love story for those timeless wedding photos.

Get in touch with me to enquire about your wedding photography in Suffolk – I am a documentary wedding photographer and would love to hear about your wedding plans!


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