Wedding Week - How To Put A Marquee Over Your Entire Garden

Deciding where to hold our wedding reception was simple. It went something like this:

Me: "Where do you want to have the reception?". Andre (looking around garden): "Can we have it here?". Me: "Cool".

I should point out at this stage that Andre and I do not live in a country manor house with a large garden - we don't even live in a largeish house with a reasonably sized garden. Nope, we live in a two-bed semi with a garden that is large for the size of the house, but certainly not wedding-sized.

And not only is our garden a modest size, but it looks like this:

Yep, there's quite a few trees, and not a whole lot of lawn.

Not one to be daunted by an impossible task, I arranged for a bunch of marquee peeps to come over and take a look. Most literally laughed and made a hasty exit. However, one dude stood in the back garden looking thoughtful, stroking his metaphorical beard. "I think we can do something with this", he mused. I promptly signed him up before he changed his mind - which was probably a good thing, because when he came round again in full summer and the trees and plants had doubled in size, he went quite pale, poor chap.

However, with the aid of a team of Polish marquee builders, and a large saw for removing a few tree branches here and there, they managed to put a 6m x 9m marquee over pretty much the entire garden, shed and all:

Pretty sweet, eh?

Liking the fact that the garden shed became a prominent design feature. I actually woke up at 5am on the morning of the wedding having remembered that I hadn't covered the window and everyone would therefore have a lovely view of our lawn mower, and sent my Mum round first thing to tape over it with some spare patterned paper left over making the wedding invitations. Fortunately we had already painted the shed in Cappuccino Candy so it co-ordinated nicely.

I hung dozens of huge Ikea lanterns from the ceiling, and strung fairy lights and handmade silk bunting everywhere:

Plus great big pouffy balls of gypsophila and green chrysanthemums provided by Lynsey from Living Flowers, our wonderful florist:

We decorated the two long tables with simple bunches of chrysanthemums tied with brown string and popped into square glass vases:

And bars of organic chocolate wrapped in ribbon:

And set out a table with glasses along one of the walls. Yep, that's our garden fence (with sweet peas growing up it) - by sheer co-incidence the marquee was ever-so-slightly wider than the garden, so we were able to put the sides just over the fence in my patient neighbour's flowerbeds:

And of course the bonus of throwing a wedding reception in your back garden rather than hiring some random castle somewhere is that you have absolute justification to be ruthless with the guest list and only invite the 40 people that you really, really like. Sneaky, eh.

Coming up tomorrow - les fleurs!