Dora & John’s Story
This week we’re diving head first back into real weddings with the gorgeous wedding of Dora and John. They celebrated in three giant hat tipis at Bawdon Lodge Farm back in August.
With Dora having experience in events, they did a lot of the organising and decorating the tipis themselves. From making mini tipi menus and table decorations, to creating sunflower balls and flower garlands. They put so much hard work into making their day just as they imagined. And boy did it pay off! There was so much colour and pretty detail it was like they brought summer and sunshine into the tipis!
Hannah Hall Photography did an amazing job of capturing their day, so sit back and enjoy…
What made you decide on an outdoor tipi wedding?
We’d looked at a few hotels but found that none of these offered us the flexibility we were really after. We wanted the ability to add our own personal touches and choose our own caterers etc.
We both knew we wanted something a little different to the norm but weren’t sure exactly what that would look like – until we stumbled across images of the Tipi’s online. They were so simple yet so beautiful! We both fell in love with them straight away and knew that this was what we had been looking for.
We did a little more research and went to an open day at Bawdon Lodge Farm – a venue about 40 mins from us where Sami Tipi was showcasing their tipis. When we met Jodie, Craig and the team at Bawdon, we knew that we just had to book them all!
What did you both wear?
John knew all along that he didn’t want to wear something ‘off-the-rack’. So after doing a lot of research, he ordered himself, his son Ben and my dad bespoke three-piece suits from a local tailor.
I have never really been what you describe as a ‘girly-girl’ and I originally thought I’d like a jumpsuit or similar. My bridesmaid persuaded me to try on some more traditional dresses just to make sure it wasn’t what I wanted. I made an appointment at The Wedding Room in Nottingham. Mary (the owner) suggested that I try a few different types – again, just to rule out any styles I definitely didn’t like – and I’m so glad she did!
I tried on a Stella York dress which was absolutely not what I thought I would go for, but as soon as I had it on I knew it was perfect!
Where did your ceremony take place?
Thankfully the weather was beautiful (if not a little windy) for the first part of our day. Our ceremony was held outside of the Tipi, under a beautiful oak tree. Jo from My Perfect Ceremony led it, using words that she had worked with us both to put together so that it was really different and personal to us. We both chose/wrote our own vows.
We had booked a live band to play us up and down the aisle and had a reading from John’s sister who had flown over from Australia for the wedding. My dad walked me up the aisle, but that was probably really the only ‘traditional’ part of the whole day.
How did you feed your guests?
We hired Thomas The Caterer to sort most of our food requirements. We knew that we didn’t want a traditional wedding breakfast, and really had in mind a hog roast. Other than that, we had no particular specifications and left Thomas to devise the menu for us. He did us proud, with a sharing-style meal of slow-roasted pulled pork with crackling, crusty bread and amazing salads. Everybody served themselves at their tables which we felt was a really nice way to break the ice with some guests who didn’t know each other.
The evening food was posh fish and chips with cheese and biscuits served later on. We had also hired a crepe van.
How would you describe your theme / styling?
Our theme was yellow and blue, with sunflowers being the main feature. My mum designed all our wedding stationery and a friend of mine helped me to style the venue, also sewing our table runners.
We did it all ourselves – from painting jam jars for tealights, making mini tipi menus, stencilling pallets for the order of the day, putting together artificial flower garlands and sunflower balls to hang from the lighting etc etc. John made the favours which were mini jars of homemade marmalade, and we decorated them with tiny paper sunflowers, ribbon and name tags and used them as place names.
To keep their guests entertained during the downtime between ceremony and sit down meal, Dora and John hired Flambé Circus. Along with a few other outdoor games, like ring toss and giant jenga, Flambé set up an outdoor circus workshop. From plate spinning and stilts to so many bubbles, it was perfect at keeping the kids happy… both big and small!!
What are your top tips for planning a tipi wedding?
Top Tip 1
I used to work in events, so I really enjoyed getting hands-on with the styling and booking suppliers etc. But it was such a godsend to have Lynn and Richard at Bawdon Lodge Farm coordinating everything on site. Their experience of planning and holding events at their farm meant that I could relax on the day, knowing that everything would happen as planned, and any problems would be sorted out without us even knowing about it!
Top Tip 2
My top tip would be to make sure that you are not the sole person responsible for coordinating the day. Even if you think you will be able to do it all yourself! Make sure you have another pair of hands standing by that will take control of the day itself.
You’ll both be far too worried/emotional/nervous/excited and caught up in the moment to take control of the running of the day. You will be able to relax and enjoy the day much more knowing that someone else is sorting out any issues that may arise.
Tipis | Sami Tipi
Venue | Bawdon Lodge Farm
Photographer | Hannah Hall Photography
Catering | Thomas The Caterer
Celebrant | My Perfect Ceremony
Cake | Ruby Lous Cake Company
Band | Dammit Jack
Circus Entertainment | Flambé Circus
Wedding Dress | The Wedding Room Nottingham