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Marquee Decorations on a Budget FIND OUT MORE

29 Oct 2013
reference: – Anna Brech for Stylist Magazine 29.10.2013

Cheap, cheerful and full of creativity – Anna Brech can’t wait to delve into the wonderful world of marquee decorations (and never mind she hasn’t confirmed her ceremony venue yet)

Whenever I have a deadline looming (pretty much daily) I start rummaging through the manky collection of shoes gathering dust under my desk or find myself sorting out our office herbal tea stash with sudden and unexpected enthusiasm.

The same procrastination technique applies to weddings too, I’ve found. I may still have to book caterers, firm up the band, find a dress and confirm our wedding ceremony venue – but already my mind has jumped ahead to that all-crucial topic of marquee decorations. Because really, you can’t start these things too early.

What I LOVE about this area is that unlike everything else related to weddings, it doesn’t have to cost too much. You don’t have to drop £800 on bespoke candle lanterns and tree lighting when you can get the same thing from Ikea for £2 a go. And let’s face it, half these things will end up trashed by the end of the night anyway.

The other thing I love is that it involves a fair amount of creativity or HANDMADE CRAFTING. There’s a reason why the top floor of Paperchase is a favourite haunt of mine. I’d happily spend hours wandering an art shop thinking how to attach LED lighting to cardboard lettering or picking out patterned origami paper for no obvious reason. And what I lack in talent, I more than make up for in enthusiasm.

The thing is with decoration; you don’t really need to overthink it. Don’t spend money with other peoples’ concepts and designs. Instead eBay, Ikea and Etsy are your friends and the rest you can make up as you go along. You want a vintage-style wedding sign embossed with shells and cream-coloured bunting? You go for it. Here are some decorative bits that have caught my eye so far, all under £20:

Table decorations and centrepieces

I’m a big fan of the whole wild flowers in glass bottles thing, although I realise there’s a fine line between it looking all beautiful and rustic and a few dead-looking sweetpeas in glasses here and there. Etsy do a lovely line in vintage-style cobalt blue or green bottles, which would look great filled with white freesias and purple iris flowers. The same goes for the Ikea vases, which you can snap up for just 69p each. The paper flowers are a nice touch to scatter over marquee trestle tables and water bottles bring a welcome dash of colour to proceedings.

Hanging lanterns and paper craft

Ah, hanging lanterns. You can’t get enough of them in a marquee wedding. If you want to go low-key, opt for white or cream but I like the idea of mixing in bolder colours and patterns. These collapsible Chinese lanterns are cheap and brilliant and you can mix them up with a stream of larger, one-colour lanterns and even a parasol here and there. Perfect.

Outdoor lighting and candles

There are no end of options for jazzing up the outside of your marquee, and they don’t need to be of a £300-a-go creative light installation variety. Start off with coloured jam jars – fill them with tea lights and hang from trees or line the path to the marquee with them. Then you can throw in a few actual lanterns (about the fifth time I’ve mentioned that word in this piece) as embellishment. Speaking of which, I think these paper bag lanterns (below) are right on the money. At just £2.75, they’re cheap and low-maintenance; bung them on a shelf amid a halo of fairy lights.

Now back to that wedding ceremony…

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