A Wedding Bar Challenge

“You’re a designer John, can you design us a big bar to link two marquees at the wedding?”

I’ve been designing temporary structures for exhibitions for over 30 years but there has always been a budget that would at least cover the cost of the materials and labour. Having said I would ‘give it some thought’, I started the usual process of elimination, to try to come up with a solution that answered the brief.

I dug pretty deep into my past experience but every idea I had, would have cost far too much for the one-day event. Then suddenly, I thought I had come up with an idea that had never been used before – I’d make the whole structure out of pallets that could be picked up for nothing at farms around the area.

After 30 years in the business, you’d think I’d have known that most things have been done before, in one form or another and this idea looked like it was going to be no exception.

When I researched standard pallet details on the internet, what came up was evidence that just about everything you could make pallets out of, had been made but I didn’t find a bar counter, which left me some work to do.

I then got lucky – The winner of the ‘Arable Farmer of the Year 2011’ award, Colin McGregor, came to my rescue. Not only did he give me detailed information on the different construction of European and UK pallets, he gave me a choice of hundreds of pallets that he had in stock at his amazing farm estate and even delivered them to the workshop where it was built.

The pallets were bolted together in sections, so that the bar could be transported, a simple MDF top was added and then the whole thing was painted.

The irregular shaped 4.5 metre by 2.5 metre bar was completed for the lowest budget imaginable and the bride and groom were thrilled with the result. Apparently, far more free drinks were served over the counter than at a normal ‘trestle table and cloth bar’, so the bride’s father wants a word with me to ask me to stay out of it in the future.