Meet Katie and Mick, the owners and creators of Willow Tree Marquees. Since launching in 2016 Mick and Katie have been popping up tents for weddings and events all along the North Coast of New South Wales. Not only does Mick erect some of the best looking stretch tents in the area, he can also light up your day with creative lighting solutions in and outside of your chosen tent. Read below how this couple got into the wedding industry and how they have become one of the most sought-after tent suppliers in Northern New South Wales.
Give our readers a little bit of background on how Willow Tree began and how long you have been doing it?
We started our Willow Tree journey whilst planning our own wedding back in 2016. We noticed the lack of variety when it came to marquee choices in our area and we were wanting something a bit different from your standard white wedding marquees. We fell in love with Bedouin-style tents or stretch marquees and loved how earthy and open they looked. We used our first tent at our own wedding and have been growing ever since.
Many wedding businesses, especially in the Clarence Valley, are often people's side gigs. Do you guys do anything else outside of setting up marquees and lighting?
We sure do! Michael also owns and runs another busy business called North Coast Shade where he designs and fabricates shade sails. A lot of shade covering parks in the Clarence Valley are some of Michael's work. I (Katie) am a part-time registered nurse.
What do you love so much about being part of someone's wedding day?
We usually don’t see much of the wedding day as our marquees are usually set up and ready to go the day before the wedding. This usually makes us more excited to see our client's photos to see how their space is transformed and get a feel of that unique wedding atmosphere.
Did you always have ambitions to own your own marquee business? If not what did you see yourselves doing before you started this business?
It definitely wasn’t something we saw ourselves doing until we started planning our own wedding. Our marquee business really ties in well with Michaels shade sail business so it was the perfect fit for us.
Have you got any disaster stories from previous weddings you have done?
Touchwood we haven’t had any major disasters. We did have one very stressful summer afternoon where an absolute ripper of a storm came through whilst one of our marquees was set up nearby. We had images of the marquee being flattened, the storm was that big. Luckily we had friends (and apparently some pizza guys) at this wedding who were holding the poles down through the storm and it held up beautifully.
When you pack up a marquee and it’s wet, do you need to unpack the entire thing when you get back to base and dry it out? What is the process from before a wedding to after a wedding?
A few sunny days are great to dry out our tents. We have had to pack down in the rain before and it is a painful process laying them out till they’re dry. After they dry we pack them away in a waterproof bag.
What are the #1 mistakes brides and grooms make when it comes to their wedding day?
The biggest mistake we see is when the bride and groom don’t make any wet weather plans for their ceremony or reception. Of course, it would be nice to enjoy your wedding under the stars but we get so many people wanting to book a marquee in the week leading up to their wedding due to wet weather. This usually just causes extra stress that you don’t need leading up to your big day.
What is your most important tip for brides and grooms?
Our most important tip would be to trust your vendors. A lot of couples worry about every small detail, which is normal when you want your wedding to be perfect. Usually, though, your vendors have had years of experience and you shouldn’t ever feel the need to micromanage them. Having trust in your vendors and peace of mind on your wedding day is priceless.
We would like to thank Katie and Mick for taking the time to answer our questions. To learn more about their services check out their page here.