Blog, Ideas & Inspiration

When is a marquee not ‘just’ a marquee?

January 24, 2017

We talk a lot about marquees being a blank canvas on which to create a theme – often without appreciating that the concept of that blank canvas can be a challenge. What we see as a positive can also be seen as a reason to shy away from a marquee – the concern of how it can look like anything other than a very big tent with no character.

Of course, that’s where event organisers can come in so handy. Their ideas are endless – from stylish to outlandish, we never fail to be bowled over by just how different our marquees can look from one event to another. So we decided to chat to one of our event organiser partners to find out just how they go about taking a brief from concept to reality.

Oasis eventsDany Fremantle of Oasis Events explained how it’s possible to transform a marquee (or two!) into an enchanted fairy tale forest for a 21st birthday celebration. “It helped that the marquee was to be sited in the grounds of a private estate, surrounded by woods and overlooking a beautiful lake. We were able to ‘connect’ the outside environment to the marquee by using playful props to entice guests inside – from lighting effects and giant red drapes hung from the trees to a fairy tale signpost and, at the entrance of the marquee, giant wooden stumps covered in moss, ivy and flowers and studded with candles.

Oasis events“Inside, we created a feeling of ‘faded opulence’ in the reception area. The bar was dressed with hops, flowers and trailing greenery, which provided a beautiful focal point. Overhead, multi-layered drapes were hung so that the fabric tumbled to the ground and, carefully concealed lights established a magical atmosphere.

“We chose the furniture carefully, focusing on velvet upholstery and aged wood. Chalk-painted bric-a-brac, quirky side tables, rugs and gold-sprayed fruit and flowers were used in abundance. We set up intimate spaces for guests and had fun with the props, peeking out of drawers, trailing along baroque mirrors. We even dressed a few items of furniture in moss – we’d left a small area of the floorspace unboarded and they looked as if they’d quite literally grown out of the ground!

“Clear PVC wall panels gave a view onto inviting outside spaces – we set up a quirky outdoor sitting room, complete with free-standing fireplace and featuring pallet furniture trimmed with hessian and lace.

Oasis EventsAs darkness fell, the guests were called to dinner and this signalled a move from one marquee to another. Access was via an enchanted garden gate, surrounded by ivy trellis and bark, moss and flowers. The guests found themselves in a secret garden, wild and overgrown and lit by candles. No one could fail to notice the transparent panelling that gave full view of the night sky. We suspended trees and branches overhead and around the eaves, along with antlers and wreaths draped in ivy and hops and from which we could hang twine-suspended jars to hold candles.

Each table was dressed in a colour scheme of sage and gold and the table centrepieces looked stunning – bell jars that contained mini woodlands. Mosses, flowers and giant candelabra entwined with ivy and flowers, and even animal skulls, completed the look.”

What a phenomenal event! It just shows what can be done under canvas – and how much further a concept can be developed when not constrained by a formal venue’s rules.

Next time you’re planning a party or special event, think marquee and give Inside Outside a call ! We’ll help you create a unique and memorable experience for your guests.

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