Recently we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary (yes, you’re right I really am far too young to have been married so long, thank you ). We debated for ages over what to do to celebrate, and eventually decided on a small garden party, on a grand scale, on as small a budget as we could manage.
We posted a few pictures online, and have had numerous messages asking how we got the look, and how much things like trees for the marquee cost. SO I thought we’d share a few details…
We started by asking a local marquee company if we could actually fit a marquee in our not-very-big garden. He came, he measured – and assured us that yes, edge-to-edge we absolutely could.
So a marquee was a go.
There was no way I was spending *my* party catering for 36 people, so our one big extravagance was to hire caterers.
Best. Decision. Ever.
We simply had to point at the suggested menus and say ‘yes, yes, no, yes” and that was it – no more thought or effort required.
The marquee company also offer lots of extras. To make things easy (and also because, after a lot of research, their prices were comparable with everyone else) we ended up hiring trestle tables, chairs and table linens.
The party was on a Saturday, and on the Thursday the marquee went up; this picture was actually taken just before it was dismantled, but this is how we began, with an utterly clean canvas;
You can see at the end there the stack of folding wooden chairs, and the folded trestle tables.
And so, the set up began.
We had decided on two runs of three tables end-to-end, and obviously the theme was to be silver. We wanted simple – and lots and lots of fairy lights. The night before we had a quick trial run, to see if the 2,000 lights we’d bought were going to be enough…
Seemed like we should be okay; our living room is 30′ long, and this was just one of the 1,000 lights set (interconnecting sets of 100 LEDs each). Spot the teen rather enjoying his personal fairyland…
So the first job in the marquee was to string the lights in the roof. We went very low-tech here; me on a stepladder, with some garden twine. We started at one end pole, and string from the outer edge into the central beam, then back out to the outer edge in a zig-zag all the way along, using a thousand lights on one side, finishing with a long string along the middle. Almost like we planned it… Second side was a duplicate zig-zag, and then we just had to wait for nightfall to see if they looked okay and more importantly if they gave enough light to eat by!
Next job – the decorating…
- Our Marquee was from Ernest G Hart here in Dorset, and the basic 30′ x 40′ marquee hire was under £500. We added the carpet matting and windows to that.
Trestle tables were under £6 each, Chairs were under £2 each, white damask tablecloths were £8 and damask napkins 75p each.
- Caterers – Hungry Mule Catering. Basic cost was three courses for £37.50 per person. And the food was a-ma-zing.
- Our fairy lights were from Lights4Fun; we selected ‘warm white’ LED Connectable lights, at just over £11.50 a set.