Whilst the world is full of uncertainty, we have the honour of restarting our Real Wedding Blog feature, and we couldn’t be happier! Sharing these real weddings with you not only gives us a chance to live through the fun of our lovely couples big day’s but also gives you the chance to see how hosting your own outdoor tipi wedding really works. With lots of hints and tips from the couples themselves and obviously lots of gorgeous photos, they really are invaluable if you are planning your own outdoor wedding.
So here we go, we are kick starting with this week’s real wedding of Francesca & Mat. They celebrated back in September in three giant hat tipis and had the extra bonus of being able to celebrate in their parent’s back garden!
Francesca and Mat talk us through their special day here, alongside beautiful photos taken by the amazing Ben Pollard Photography.
“We can honestly say it was well and truly the best day of our lives! Having it at a family home, surrounded by all our friends and family made it all so special. It gave us the flexibility to do what we wanted and we could add our own unique touch. We wouldn’t have had it any other way! From start to finish we loved every single minute & couldn’t stop smiling all day long!”
What made you decide on an outdoor / tipi wedding?
We were fortunate enough to have space available in Francesca’s parents garden. As a child Francesca had always wanted to get married in the garden, it was always a bit of an on going joke – until we got engaged and my dad said “I thought you were getting married in the garden?” so that was that decided!
We had always thought a marquee would be the only option for this, but we had seen some pictures of tipi weddings through our friends and really liked the look and feel of them. It was a week after we got engaged that Sami Tipi were holding an open event so we took the opportunity to go and have a look – after that we fell in love with them! We loved how cosy they felt and how each set up could be completely different and unique, we liked that we could decide the interior and make them our own.
What did everybody wear?
We went for what you could say “traditional” wedding wear – being outside didn’t stop us! Mat wore a suit along with the groom’s party & Francesca wore a dress (with a quite long train & full length veil!).
As our wedding was late September and the garden looked all autumnal with orange leaves, we decided our colour scheme would be burgundy. So the groom’s party had burgundy ties and the bridesmaids had full length burgundy dresses.
Tell us about your wedding ceremony.
Our wedding ceremony took place in a church about 100m down the road from Francesca’s parents. For us, it worked out perfectly, Mat got ready at a pub with rooms a mile down the road & Francesca and the bridesmaids got ready at her parents’ house. This meant when it came to the ceremony, the bridal party all walked down to the church together (luckily the rain held off!). It was great to be able to get there so quickly with no fuss and some brilliant pictures to capture the moment.
The church service was about 45 minutes long and then after it finished we managed to get our confetti shot coming out of the church – it meant blocking the road for a bit but there were no complaints!
What was so great about getting married so close was that us and all our guests walked back to the house & tipis. It was so great to be able to walk back with everyone, up the drive and through the arch of lights my dad had made. For the year of planning our wedding, it was all we had imagined. We had been very particular about the walk to the tipis – we wanted to walk through two trees with bunting on and on the day it looked great!
We got a great photo of us as a newly married couple under our “Mr & Mrs Voyce” bunting with the tipis in the background – it’s one of our favourites from the day!
How would you describe you theme / styling?
We went for a “rustic woodland” theme – we didn’t want to add too much as the tipis themselves looked fantastic all lit up. However, we did add lots of extra lights outside along with some bunting. Inside, we went very simple with some pictures and simple place settings – a lot of twine & some flowers!
For flowers – we really had no idea where to start! It was through a friend that recommended the Flower Plant in Sileby. We met with Kat to discuss the wedding venue & colour theme and she was so good at advising what flowers were best at the time of year, what would last and what colours would work. We went a couple of times with different ideas and images and eventually decided on a bouquet for Francesca which was white and green with tinges of burgundy to match the colour scheme, the bridesmaids had simple white & green bouquets and the buttonholes and corsages all tied with the same flowers. They looked great on the day and we were so glad we took the time to think about how they’d look all together. As a memoir – we pressed from flowers & confetti from the day & have put them in a photo frame!
How did you feed your guests?
We chose Thomas the Caterer for our food during the day. We had met him during an event that Sami Tipi held and got to try his food then (which was delicious!) We had also heard brilliant reviews through family friends. Knowing he had worked with Sami Tipi for such a long time made us feel really at ease – we knew that whatever challenges there could be, the team would know how to deal with them.
After initial conversations with Thomas on our menu choices, we knew we’d made the right decision. The food we chose was completely up to us, meaning we could choose what we loved. We decided on 4 asian style canapés, an italian mezze grazing board to start, pork belly with baby roast potatoes & seasonal veg for main finished with a trio of chocolate desserts!
Our go to food after we’ve been out or on a hangover would be pizza, so for us evening food was an easy choice! We looked at lots of different local pizza options but Biddulph’s Pizzeria was by far the best. We had also seen him at an open event held by Sami Tipi. The options of pizza toppings were great and tasted amazing. So many people commented on how it was the best pizza they’d had (I think some guests even had 2!). Jay & his team had also worked with Sami Tipi before so set themselves up (in torrential rain) and got on with serving brilliant food all evening.
To top it off – we had to have a sweet stand of some kind – we both have a really sweet tooth! So Francesca’s dad had built a doughnut wall, cookie stand, pic ‘n’ mix stand all in one. The sweets and cookies we bought ourselves, however, we got the doughnuts from Doughnotts and they were great!
How did you choose your photographer?
Our photographer was fantastic! We had seen Ben Pollard recommended in Sami Tipi’s guide book and took a look at his website & Instagram account. We really wanted natural photos that weren’t staged to capture the day exactly as it was and Ben did just that! He didn’t mind travelling between both of us getting ready and got some great photos of Mat waiting at the church as well as the bridal party walking to the church. We were worried that because we weren’t in a proper “venue” aka a back garden, that there wasn’t the location to get any good couple photos. However, Ben did some amazing photos just in the garden and in the evening when the rain came he captured it all, making it look so magical. We couldn’t recommend him enough.
When speaking to Ben, we asked for his recommendation on videographer and he suggest Lara Elliott who he’d worked with before. Lara was so lovely and her and Ben were brilliant together on the day. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to film in the church, but Lara still recorded the audio from the church and built in stills into the video. The result was brilliant and are so glad we paid to get a video – it’s the best way to relive the day.
What are your top tips for planning a tipi wedding?
- Deciding on your tables – whether you want round or straight as this can change how many tipis you have.
- The set up of the tipis – we loved the idea of a “dancing tipi” this worked brilliantly on the day.
- Thinking about where everything would go – we initially wanted all the extras in the tipis but when it came down to it, it wasn’t needed and took up unnecessary space.
- Don’t worry about managing everyone – on the day, the suppliers all know how to manage outdoor weddings and sort everything out.
- Don’t worry about the weather – we had horrendous rain in the evening and it didn’t matter! We even got some great photos in the rain.
- Do think about power supplies & toilet location!