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.
It can be very hard choosing bands and DJs for your event and listening to sample tracks on websites is no real substitute for the live experience. I like to check out YouTube so you can see how they get the crowd going (although the sound quality isn't great) but it gives you a better indication of suitability. We get asked to recommend bands and DJs all the time so here is a quick run down of our favourites (all of which we've experienced live):
Jackson 3 - http://www.jackson3.co.uk/Jackson_3.html
Headland - https://myspace.com/headlandmusic (email email@example.com)
Area 52 - http://area52theband.moonfruit.com
Hattie Jacques' Playlist - http://www.thehatties.com
Jess Upton and the Guilty Pleasures - http://www.jessupton.com
Funkty Dumpty - http://www.funktydumpty.com
Funkify - http://www.funkify.co.uk
Streetbeat Disco (Gary Carter) - http://www.streetbeatdisco.co.uk
Lee Santana - 01202 881063
Pegasus Discos - http://www.pegasusdisco.co.uk
All of these cover Dorset, Somerset, Devon, Wiltshire and Hampshire and are happy to perform in marquees for weddings, parties and all other events. Please mention us if you get in touch with them. Thanks for reading
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
We use a professional CAD programme to create our 2D and 3D marquee plans but you may want to play around with options yourself in order to get a sense of space. Our friends at County Marquees in London have a great online planning tool which can be found here. If you want to hire a marquee in the South West please choose Oakleaf Marquees but if you need one in London or the Home Counties we can recommend County (we have no intention of expanding anywhere near the congestion charging zone......or the M25 for that matter!).
Chances are if you're having a marquee you'll need some form of entertainment such as a DJ or band. If so, you should check these guys out: The Jackson 3. We get asked to recommend bands a lot and I'm quite particular about music (music graduate and former function band player myself blah, blah, blah; brag, brag, brag) and these guys are the cat's pyjamas. I heard them at the Milton Abbey School Leavers' Ball at the weekend where they laid down a seriously funky groove (they also played in a wedding marquee of ours the weekend before and got rave reviews). Book soon to avoid massive disappointment!
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!
With Lorton House not doing weddings anymore (boo hoo) we've been looking for a new favourite venue in the Weymouth area. We're due to provide a wedding marquee at Westbrook House in Upwey this weekend having been there a few times already so I'm pleased to announce that Westbrook is now our favourite marquee venue in the Weymouth area! It's a private house but there is accommodation available on site too and the setting is exquisite with a lovely lake, gardens and house providing an ideal backdrop to any marquee. Bookings are handled by the lovely Oonagh (The English Event Company and The English Florist) - click here for the contact page of her website.
Please like me on Facebook or retweet on Twitter!! I know some of you are probably groaning at the sight of another blog post, but I committed to posting once a day for a couple of weeks and that's exactly what I'm going to do (you had the weekend off to recover).
Forgive the shameful Facebook or Twitter mention above, but since the first post I've noticed less 'likes' and retweets. This could be because I've been posting around midnight, or perhaps my posts are rubbish, or maybe people are afraid to 'like' in case they think it makes them look like a social media stalker.......or could it be that if you 'like' the first post you think it absolves you from any future likings and retweetings? Come on people, where's the love? Thank you Mandy for being my most committed 'liker' to date!
Other than on this blog it seems, there is a huge amount that can be learnt by reading blogs and stories of other brides and grooms that have used marquees. And not just marquee pearls of wisdom - there's shoes, dresses, cakes, photographers, table centres and all the other good stuff that makes brides go weak at the knees!
Being involved in weddings is one of the most satisfying jobs a person can have. Viewing our many testimonials and pictures brings a nostalgic smile to the face, and another thing I like doing when in need of a self-indulgent pick-me-up is browsing the many blogs Oakleaf is mentioned on. Here I've put together a selection that I think are not only lovely, but interesting and helpful too. Enjoy!
-First up, Laura and Peter's pretty vintage wedding near Beaminster:
The English Wedding Blog
-Then onto Nikki and Sven's wedding by the sea in Studland:
Lisa Dawn Photography
-And Lizzie and Duncan's wedding by the sea in West Bexington:
-Sarah and Adrian's 'fun and quirky' wedding in Sherborne:
-Naomi and Ally who did it their way (with a Chinese twist) in Symondsbury:
Beauty by Emily Faith
-Kat and Rich's sunshine, socks and spotty shoes English country wedding at Chettle House:
-Becka and Chris's intimate garden wedding with only 9 guests in Morden:
-Mary and Steve's vintage themed wedding in Broadmayne:
Hope you find some useful ideas and inspiration on these blogs.
Finally, some words of advice from one of our brides mentioned above (Adele): "It’s never too early to book the suppliers for your wedding, the sooner you start the process the better to make sure you get the right people on board without compromising, we wouldn’t have changed the people we worked with for the world." And that's what makes weddings so satisfying.
Thanks for reading, liking and retweeting!
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.)