Why have a marquee if you already have a barn or warehouse to convert, particularly over the wetter and windier months of the year. With our draping, flooring, lighting and furniture we can create an incredible venue in virtually any building.
We've worked with this particular company in Weymouth, Dorset for three years. Each Christmas they push the boat out a step further and challenge us to create something with more 'wow' factor than the year before. In December 2017 they needed to accommodate 250 guests with space for a large dance floor, bar and entrance areas for a 'VIP after-show' themed party. Here are the before and after photos - what a difference!
We covered a 495 square metre area with black starlight linings suspended from the existing warehouse structure (which was a challenge given the very gentle pitch of the roof). New black carpet and a mirrored dance floor covered the floor. Round tables were fitted with crushed black velvet table cloths which gave an opulent feel, particularly with gold candelabra as the centres and surrounded with gold chairs. We also draped 40m of corridor and fitted red carpet so the building felt completely different to the staff attending the party.
If you have a warehouse or barn you're thinking of using for a party or event you need 9 square metres of space for a round table of 10-12 guests. Then, provided the floor is level and there are points to suspend rigging from the ceiling or structure we're in business and can completely transform the venue for you. It won't be a large saving compared to a marquee (depending on the work involved) but it may well be the most viable option.
Woo hoo, the Oakleaf blog's back baby!! Sorry it's been so long (5 months) but there have been plenty of marquee fish to fry since I last posted. Now I can commit to posting once a week at least until the season kicks off again (which currently looks like mid March).
Marquee hire work is obviously quite seasonal so people often ask 'what do you do in the winter?' and the slightly more forthright finish sentences with comments like ‘I guess you’ve got nothing else to do this time of year’. Well, this is absolutely not the case so I’ve decided to give a complete rundown of this week for you. This is what the Oakleaves have been up to at Oakleaf HQ (no yawning!):
-Minor service on a Land rover and Transit Luton (oil change every 6,000 miles don’t you know)
-Service five marquee heaters ahead of Christmas/New Year work (thanks Rob and Ed)
-Optimise our website for better search engine results (look out competitors, we’re coming for you)
-Submit quarterly VAT return
-Install a marquee for a party near Stalbridge, Dorset and remove another near Bridgwater, Somerset
-Three furniture hire deliveries/collections in Dorset
-Keep on top of emails, enquiries and quotes (I call this ‘proper work’ as some of our guys are under the impression that bookings just appear out of thin air)
-Three site visits for 2015 bookings
-Load spreadsheets with details of our hire stock for uploading to a new IT system being implemented at the end of January (line upon line upon line upon line of data). This includes checking and counting stock in the first place; weighing it, allocating codes, descriptions, categories, sub-categories to it; loving it, holding it, nurturing it etc. It’s quite amazing that our inventory now numbers in excess of 600 stock lines!
-Keeping on top of accounts (invoicing, reconciling, paying, updating cash flow and P&L projections etc) – more ‘proper work’. Again, like bookings, it’s a common misconception that money just appears out of thin air too. I wish…
-Deleting junk mail both email and posted. Seriously, is it just me or is there more of this flying about now than ever? And I’m not talking about Viagra just to pre-empt any witty comments!
-Repair, overhaul and clean furniture and PVC (this is ongoing throughout the whole winter and spring)
So glad I’ve got this down in writing. Now when people ask me what we do in the winter I can refer them to this post with a smug grin on my face. This means you Andy!
Have a great weekend everyone.
Just picked up this blog post by photographer Helen Lisk who has written about Natalie and Mat's wedding last summer in Weymouth, Dorset. It had a summer fete theme which included morris dancers, bunting, hay bales, plenty of cider and thankfully plenty of sunshine too! Lovely couple and a lovely day. See Helen's blog here
Wedding marquee at a farm in Shroton, Blandford - June 2014
I just wanted to say thank you to you and the team at Oakleaf for the outstanding service you gave us. Nothing was too much trouble, especially considering how many times I added things as we went along! Tim and the team that put the marquee up were brilliant and it looked amazing on the day - we were both so pleased! I have attached a photo taken from the marquee - I thought you might like it as it really shows off the clear gable end and the bunting! Once again, thank you! You were brilliant from start to finish!
Dear Tim, Ed, Julie and the team,
Just wanted to write and thank you so much for the beautiful marquee you conjured up for our wedding. It was everything we had hoped for - and more! - and played a large part in an unforgettable day. It fitted beautifully into a, thankfully sunny(!), Somerset garden wedding during the afternoon and then transformed itself in the evening to suit the dancing and music...with the outside tree lighting adding to the atmosphere. We had a number of guests who have been to quite a few social events held in marquees in their time and the view was that this was the best marquee they had seen - thought you might like to hear that!
The week leading up to the wedding was not without its challenges, to put it mildly, and I don't think your team will forget the rain and mud that meant problems getting kit and trailers into the nearby field....not to mention the flooding in the garden under the wooden floor! Ed and his team did everything they could to make sure the marquee was ready, working three long days, much of it under lights as they continued into the night. Every problem was dealt with and their 'can-do' attitude went a long way to keeping us calm that week. Their professionalism continued as the marquee was dismantled with the promise that we 'would not know the marquee had been there' being fulfilled totally ...try as we might, we have not found one tie or fastener...nor any of those little sparkly diamonds that had been scattered all over the tables!
Your team as a whole worked incredibly well together, from Julie in the office answering my initial constant stream of questions with much patience and all the different members of the team erecting the marquee, overseen superbly by Ed, through to the coordination of outside agencies such as loo hire and emergency field matting. Being able to trust our chosen suppliers when drawing together all the strings of the wedding that week was something we greatly appreciated and made such a difference to our family's enjoyment of the wedding day itself.
So thank you for doing such a superb job...and for helping to make some very lovely memories for us all.
(PS Have no problem if you wish to use this as a testimonial for future clients. If we have some suitable pictures come through in the coming weeks I'll send them on in case you would like to use any of them.)
The Manor Hotel in West Bexington near Bridport is a venue we visit regularly. It's very popular for weddings because of the amazing sea views it enjoys over Chesil Beach (just 300 metres away), the fine 16th century building with lovely bedrooms, cosy fires and an equally warm welcome. The weather that awaited our installation was anything but cosy and warm.
Installation took place on Thursday 13th February. Strong gale force winds and heavy rain had been forecast for the following day all week (a recurring and tiresome feature of Autumn/Winter 2013/14). We therefore took preventative measures: pinning the legs with multiple stakes, four one-ton water weights, plenty of ratchet straps for guy ropes, an intricate network of gutters and infills connecting the marquee to the hotel building (courtesy of Ed 'Screwfix' Hunter) and nerves of steel. A wooden boarded floor was laid which raised the carpet a couple of inches off the floor thereby allowing water to pass underneath and not saturate the carpet. Two powerful thermostat controlled marquee heaters were provided with a third on standby. The inside looked lovely with paper lanterns, uplights, panoramic windows making the most of the view, bunting, pristine white chair covers and pink/blue sashes from 5 Star Celebrations and parquet dance floor.
Sure enough, the following day the weather was horrific as predicted. Roads were closed due to flooding, West Bay was more or less shut down and lorries blown off the road, but Team Oakleaf still got a crew on site to hold nervous hands through the weather misery. Being just 300 metres from the sea, it's fair to say the marquee took its fair share of buffeting, particularly overnight when it reached 80mph. But the marquee held strong even though two large trees within a few hundred yards were brought crashing to earth. On the way home, struggling to find a route through the battered countryside, the Oakleaf van met a ram in the road that decided to pick a fight with the front of the trusty Transit. Thankfully, neither were damaged and our behorned friend moved away into the night.
Once the storm passed in the early hours of Saturday morning, the weather rapidly improved and the couple were able to have the wedding they dreamed of with sunny spells and virtually no wind, all within a cosy, inviting and frankly miraculous Oakleaf marquee.