Over the last five or so years hog roasts have become extremely popular for evening fodder at marquee weddings. Now don't get me wrong, I love a good hog roast as my waist measurement will testify. The question is: have hog roasts been done too much and become a bit passé and, if so, what are the alternatives?
The first thing to say is that there are hog roasts and hog roasts, and I hope your event experiences the latter! Thankfully we can recommend Else Family Butchers of Stalbridge, Dorset Porkers of Dorchester and Oaktop Hog Roast of Tiverton. If you're a hog roaster and reading this thinking 'I've served him a hog roast before and he guzzled it down like a glutton' then I'm sorry, email your details and I'll add you to this list!
Here are the alternatives I've seen and enjoyed:
Lamb roast: a bit more expensive but delicious and less common than pork (I once saw a cow roast at a large wedding and the machine was enormous, I think there are only two in the country and this particular machine came from Wales!). Again, Else Family Butchers can do this for you (link above).
Pizza: this is becoming popular and I'm not talking about sending an usher out to Pizza Hut or Dominos, I'm talking about amazing stone-baked pizza made in a proper oven right outside your marquee! My main man from Pizzarova is highly recommended as he serves from an oven on the back of a Land Rover. There's also Dorset-based Jalopy Pizza which uses an old Peugeot van. But my personal favourite is The Wood Fired Piadizza - in my opinion the best pizza I've had; bar none.
Crepes: I love a good crêpe and there's a guy from Brittany based in Bristol who is god of la bonne crêpe, so much so that he started La Bonne Crêpe. Crêpes aren't just sweet they can be savoury too: ham and cheese, Somerset brie and chilli jam, now we're talking!
Bacon and sausage baps: is anything better than quality bacon or sausages in fluffy baps with all the sauces to go with them? I had these at my wedding - amazing! Your caterer could supply these.
Cheese selection: augmented with artisan breads and cured meats you have an evening buffet fit for royalty. Again, your caterer could supply this.
I'd really like to see a Mexican option with some tasty burritos or chimichangas but I'll have to wait as I haven't seen those on the wedding circuit yet!
A difficult question, a bit like being asked which one of my parents I like most! I don't have a favourite - all have their own charm.
Tipis are increasingly popular because one of the priorities with weddings is the desire to do something different and original. Many of us have been to a wedding in a white marquee whether it be a pole or frame structure whereas a wedding in a tipi is a new experience for most. However, all our marquee styles allow customers to bring them to life in their own way - there is virtually no restriction on decorations. We've installed wallpapered walls, water features, topiary, different carpet colours, Moroccan linings and lanterns, coloured drapes and so much more over the years. That's one of the key reasons people choose a marquee wedding.
Tipis can be a bit more cosy by virtue of the fact that there's less roof space (due to the conical design) and you can have real fires inside thanks to the flaps at the top that allow smoke out. You don't get one big space with tipis as you do with marquees because they are smaller (10.3m diameter) structures joined together, so depending on layout the event can feel slightly divided. Having said that, I'm sure we've all been to rocking house parties where several rooms are involved, some with music playing, others for chilling out, the kitchen for drink and snack selection, which never seemed to affect the atmosphere negatively at the time.
What I really like about tipis is the timbers we use which are de-barked spruce from the freezing forests of Scandinavia and all 80+ years old. Furthermore, tipis have been used by humans for 4000+ years and I love that sense of sitting in a piece of history. Traditional white pole marquees are very English and suitable for quintessential country wedding experiences and clearspan frame marquees are extremely flexible in terms of layout and interior fixtures and fittings - both attributes I like.
Tipis are darker inside due to the canvas used, so if you're after an event space that's light and airy then perhaps a tipi isn't the best choice. Also, you don't get the many window options as you do with a conventional marquee - if you want to look out at a view the sides need to be raised which is great in summer but not ideal if it's raining and windy.
Whichever structure you choose for your event, you can rest assured that you will get the best standard from us and we'll happily meet with you to introduce our range and listen to your ideas. Oakleaf Marquees are renowned throughout Dorset, Somerset and across the South West for the hire of marquees and tipis. A quality service, premium product and approachable pricing.