Are you thinking of having a tipi wedding but wondering where to start? Well you are in the right place, as you read on you'll find out the most helpful tips when planning a tipi wedding - from lighting to guest lists to food and more! Tipi weddings really are magical and all of the planning is definitely worth it, just ensure you are prepared and everything will run smoothly.
Tip 1 - Finding the right venue A lot of venues in the UK are set up for tipi weddings and often work with a specific tipi supplier that they know are reliable and know the space they are working with. I would really recommend using a venue that has had tipi weddings before, as they will be able to help and advise with things such as where to place the tipi, how many tipis will fit in a certain space, where all the electricity and water points are and they can also give you any hints and tips from previous tipi weddings they have held. We had our tipi wedding at High Barn, Edenhall in the Lake District, and our tipi supplier was Special Event Tipis, who I really could not recommend enough. They were so helpful throughout the whole process, from first speaking to them at their open day through to them setting the tipis up, the team were so friendly and professional and nothing was ever too much trouble for them.
Tip 2 - Nail down your guest list The great thing about having a tipi wedding is you get to choose your own furniture and layout within the tipis. You can choose from round tables to trestle tables, long benches to wooden chairs - the choice is totally yours. Depending on your number of guests and the furniture you would like, this will then help you plan your layout. Tipi companies are very good at giving you suggested layouts and what works best with the number of guests you have. Once you have your final number of guests, this will then help you decide how many tipis you need and plan your interior layout. Some couples decide to have one tipi set out for eating, then another for dancing, and perhaps another one as a cosy chill-out space. I would recommend getting an idea of guest numbers early on, so you can then plan all of the interior details as this really is the fun part!
Tip 3 - Budget, budget, budget The one thing you never hear the end of when planning a wedding! I would ideally set a budget at the beginning of wedding planning, as things can quickly get out of hand, and it allows you to spend on the areas that are more important to you. With tipi weddings, a lot of the interior decorations are an additional cost, which allows you to pick and choose what you would like to suit your theme. Tipi companies are great at recommending what decorations go well inside their tipis, and often have a range to choose from. Items including fairy lights, dance carnival signs and lanterns can all be added inside your tipi to create a cosy, magical vibe. And don't forget the fire-pits for cosying up and toasting marshmallows on later in the evening!
Tip 4 - Do not stress about the weather I can now sit back and easily say this after my wedding day. But I was one of those brides that did stress about the weather, even though every single person around me told me to stop checking the weather three times a day! We had rain on our wedding day, and some may say this is good luck, but for us it made us appreciate the tipis even more. If it does rain, then honestly do not worry as you have a beautiful tipi to keep all your guests warm and dry and it also gets more people on the dance floor later! We had our wedding in the Lake District, so rain was pretty inevitable! It's the one thing you can't control, so just come to terms with what will be, will be! As long as you are prepared for all weather (get some umbrellas just in case) then all will be fine!
Tip 5 - Choosing the right caterer If you plan your tipi wedding at a venue that perhaps doesn't have a kitchen set-up, then I would highly recommend choosing a caterer that either specialises in outdoor weddings and can manage with cooking on gas. Or alternatively opt for a street-food option which is a bit more relaxed and informal. I've always loved the idea of a cool pizza or Mexican street-food van serving food at a wedding as it adds to the laid-back, festival vibe. Tipi companies can also add on a catering tent to your tipi structure, so if you are bringing in your own caterer, they will have space to set up, cook and serve directly into your tipi. We used a Yorkshire catering company called Bears Pantry who specialise in outdoor catering and feasting tables, as we wanted something informal but we still liked the idea of everyone sitting round a table. They served a mix of BBQ foods and salads that were placed in the middle of the table for guests to help themselves. They then set out the most amazing grazing station for the evening which guests absolutely loved!
Tip 6 - Choosing your lighting for inside your tipi There are lot's of options for lighting your tipi, and the tipi companies are great at advising what looks best and creates the perfect ambience. They have options including fairy lights, festoon lights and up-lighters. For something with a bit more drama you can always choose hanging chandeliers or a mirror ball and spinner which creates the most magical lighting reflection on the sides of the tipi. These are perfect for hanging above your dance floor to create the wow factor and make your first dance look incredible! We chose this Edison bulb chandelier from Special Event Tipis, and got Roseberry Floral to decorate it with greenery, it looked stunning above our dance floor!
Tip 7 - Create a floor plan The most useful thing we had when setting up our space the day before was our pre-planned floor plan for the whole venue. The tipi company were great at laying out the tables and putting the dance floor in place, but for the extra items we had which included whisky barrels, benches, crates, Chesterfield sofas, the bar and guest book table it was so helpful that we had planned where these were going to be situated. It made the day before totally stress-free as we knew what was going where. We'd visited our venue three times before our wedding day, so we had a clear idea of space and what would work well in what areas. There was lot's of outdoor space, as well as the tipis so we added extra seating and hay bales, along with decorative items such as a vintage bike filled with wild-flowers from Greenwheat, milk churns filled with flowers and a polaroid photo wall. It really helps to get a feel for the space before the day and have everything clearly planned, as this will save so much time setting up.
Tip 8 - Choosing your theme and decor This is the fun part as it allows you to personalise your wedding day and reflect your personality as a couple. We wanted our wedding to feel quite rustic as it was mainly outdoors and surrounded by mountains and woodland, so this theme worked perfectly. We used a hire company called Wilde & Romantic who were amazing at supplying us with items including brass candlesticks, a vintage bike, chalkboards, French crates, blankets and slate signs with 'Best Day Ever' and 'Welcome to our love story' written on by the talented calligraphy artist Jill Liley. We were so lucky to have found Wilde & Romantic as we had a vision for what we wanted, but buying all of the individual items would have cost us a fortune. It worked out perfectly being able hire these items as they arranged delivery and collection too, and they all made our wedding more memorable. We also printed out a collection of polaroid photos and strung these up with mini pegs across one of the walls in the barn. They included photos of family and friends as we wanted everyone to feel loved and it created a real talking point amongst the guests.
Tip 9 - Designing your wedding stationery Choosing your stationery is important as this is the first impression your guests get of your wedding. This pop-up tipi save the date is a fun way for your guests to get excited and give them the initial details for your big day. Customise your save the date with your own personal details and portraits. These tipi's come flat and allow your guests to easily build these into an upstanding tipi structure. Then for your invites you can either choose a colourful tipi style invitation, a rustic bohemian style invitation or a fun wedfestival ticket style invite with a tear-off RSVP. All of these designs are fully personalised and colours can be changed to suit your style. Remember to choose stationery that reflects your wedding theme and don't forget those extra details on the day including table plans, menus, name cards, and bar signs!
Tip 10 - Relax and enjoy yourself! It's easy to get carried away on your wedding day and start running round to see if everyone is having a good time, and all the decor you organised is in the right place. The best piece of advice I can give to you is just to take your time talking to people, really take it all in and enjoy your time as newlyweds, because before you know it the day is over.
Tipis really are magical and I couldn't recommend them enough for a memorable and truly unique wedding. Just ensure you have everything planned and I promise you will have the best day of your life!
To inspire you a bit more about how amazing tipis are, here's our wedding video up at High Barn Edenhall, The Lake District. Featuring the beautiful Special Event Tipis.
Credit for photography: