No matter the size and scope, every event requires careful planning to make sure it runs smoothly. From micro weddings with only 50 guests through to corporate conferences with 1000+, there are so many aspects of event planning that can go wrong. If you’re a seasoned planner, you’ll likely have checklists and measures in place to make sure every item is dealt with fully. However – and much like many of our clients here at Carron Marquees – if this is your first event, knowing how much time to leave to plan can feel like a needle in a haystack. In this guide, we’ve spoken to our event planning experts to help you decide when to start.

The Importance Of Time When Planning An Event

It’s not hard to recognise that planning any type of event is going to take time. Making sure that every person knows where they should be, all lighting has been properly programmed and refreshments are all booked in requires intricate organisation. Leave too little time and you’ll likely struggle to find the right suppliers or find it difficult for your event to stay at the forefront of people’s minds. On the flip side, start planning too early on and you may find suppliers aren’t taking bookings or people are unable to commit so far in advance.

Time is of the essence when planning and you need to make sure every minute is used wisely. When you first sit down to start thinking about your event, it pays to make a list of all the essential aspects. Do this in a group so you have multiple heads working together at one time. In doing so, you’re likely to make sure all aspects are noted and there is less chance of something being missed off.

For example, you may need to consider:

  • Researching, viewing and booking the event space/location
  • Researching, viewing and booking entertainment
  • Sending out invitations or making guests aware of the event in some manner – save the date cards are increasingly popular
  • Organising caterers which could include taste testing and trial runs
  • Organising investors or sponsors to help fund the event
  • Interviewing and hiring for event staff to assist on the day
  • Planning and sourcing the decorations
  • Promoting the event (if public) through marketing

Each of these points needs to be delved into in detail. And, doing so will take a designated amount of time too.

Let’s look at common events, specifically, those hosted in marquees, and how long you should leave for planning them.



Most people who organise a wedding are doing so for the very first time. Knowing how long in advance to research and plan each stage can take a lot of stress off your shoulders – especially if you’re doing so without the support of a professional wedding planner.

Here are our suggested time frames on how long and when to book different aspects of your wedding day:

Time To Plan A Wedding: 12-18 months

Booking A Wedding Venue: 12 months in advance

Booking A Wedding Caterer: 12 months in advance – (if not booked with your venue)

Booking Entertainment: 7-10 months in advance

Book A Wedding Cake: 6 months in advance

Sending Out Save The Date Cards: 6-8 months in advance

Sending Out Wedding Invitations: 4-6 months in advance

Buying The Wedding Dress/Suits: 9 months in advance

Buying Wedding Decorations: 9-10 months in advance

Wedding venues, especially the popular ones, can get booked up years in advance. So, keep this in mind when planning. This is also one of the reasons that we love marquee weddings. Finding beautiful and picturesque land that you can erect a marquee on is normally much easier than booking a fixed venue. And you have greater flexibility when it comes to styling a marquee with no restrictions on capability.

Corporate Conference

Conferences have long been a brilliant way for getting across key messages to your employees and driving up brand loyalty. For many businesses, they are an annual or bi-annual occurrence and something that the whole team looks forward to. As well as creating the message you want to get across or the campaign you need to market, it pays to ensure you leave enough time to plan the event itself. Here are our suggested time frames:

Time To Plan A Corporate Conference: 8-12 months

Sending Out Conference Invites: 8-10 weeks in advance

Hiring A Bar/Catering Company: 6-months in advance

Planning Lighting/Audio Etc: 3-4 months in advance

Birthday Party

Marquees are a brilliant option for larger-scale birthday’s – think of the ones that celebrate a milestone such as 21 or 50. But, unlike a gathering in your home or a bowling party, they require much more planning to make sure all aspects are covered.

Time To Plan A Birthday Party (Marquee): 2-4 months

Booking An Event Venue: 2-4 months (may differ during busier times)

Book Party Entertainment: 2-4 months in advance

Researching And Arranging Entertainment: 2 months in advance

Sending Out Party Invitations: 1 month in advance

Book A Birthday Cake: 4-6 weeks in advance

Booking A Caterer Or Organising Refreshments: 1-2 months in advance

The time frames we have provided above are an estimation and recommendation from our team. If you are looking at hiring a popular entertainer, have specific dietary needs for your catering or need to host the event in a specific location, you will need to consider the popularity.

If you are concerned about ensuring all of these points are checked off your list, you should consider working with a professional event planner. Or, enlist the support of a team that can help you at different stages of your celebration. For example, our team at Carron Marquees have over 40 years of experience providing luxury marquees for hire. During this time, we have also supported soon-to-be-wed couples, growing businesses and birthdays in planning celebrations that tick every single box.

If you have any questions about when is the right time to book your marquee or want to speak to one of our specialists about the options we provide, please do get in contact with us here today.