I absolutely love a Tipi Weddings. Not only are they simply stunning, they offer so much variety, flexibility and can be fully customised. This is perfect for Festival themed Weddings, Relaxed Affairs and the Free-spirited Couple. Of course this is the perfect match for imaginative and informal catering - The Grazing Table.
So you have fallen for the idea of a Tipi Wedding, but what is the next step?...
Let me share with you some expert insight on the key things to consider when planning a Tipi Wedding...
1. Budget - The costs involved
There is a perception that Tipis and Tents are a less expensive option to that of a venue. Do remember you have to bring everything in from power, toilets, catering, bar, decor, furniture etc. As a very approximate idea, allow £1,800 per Tipi and it will give you an idea of how much you will be spending for everything (tipis, furniture, generators, power distribution, lighting, bar structures etc).
2. Location - Choosing your venue
You can have Tipis anywhere that you have the footprint for them. There are so many options and often Tipi companies can give you some guidance. Fields and lawns are perfect, (they can be constructed on a solid surface but not all Tipi companies will be able to do this as it involves additional equipment and knowledge to be able to erect them on a hard surface). The land doesn’t need to be perfectly flat - just remember that the flattest part of your land is best for the dance floor and that your tables may not be completely level - a waterproof membrane with matting on top is all that separates you from the land and all its undulations and your tables!
3. Tipi Company - Choosing your Tipi Provider
There are numerous Tipi companies out there. It is a question of who is local to you, their pricing and the quality of their Tipis and offering. It is very wise to obtain more than one quote but make sure you are quoting exactly like for like. When comparing like for like, remember if one quote is drastically cheaper than others, there is a reason for it and the cheapest may not always be the best option later down the line!
4. Wedding Planner - Do we need a Wedding Planner?
A Wedding Planner is a necessity for a Tipi wedding, but make sure you choose one who has experience of working not only with Tipis but with outdoor weddings. We are outdoor wedding specialists and have been working with Tipis since their arrival! A planner who is used to working with Tipis will be able to give you invaluable advise on the best shape to use, the set up, how long the build will take and what you need to do on what days. Never underestimate how long it takes to decorate and set up your Tipis. It is great to have your wedding party involved but it needs to be led by someone with experience.
Look for a planner who will be there during set up and can oversee where your generators are positioned, where your fridge trailer is going, how long your walkway needs to be, where the cake should be set up - there are reasons behind all of these for where and how they are placed! On the wedding day, the last thing you need to be is stressing about whether your cake has arrived, or your bar or your caterers. If there is a problem, who is going to make the phone calls to find solutions?! You really don't want to be sat on your wedding day, trying to find a solution because a supplier has not arrived (it does happen!).
Don’t forget planners stay until the end of the night and make sure all guests have safely left and valuables removed from site before turning the generator off and leaving the site in the hands of security!
5. Guest Numbers - How many guests are we having?
Your guest numbers are limitless! As long as you have the land available for the footprint of the Tipis, you can join Tipis together to create a space big enough for your requirements - we’ve had 9 before! How many guests you can fit in each Tipi (giant hat) is dependent on if you have round or trestle tables and if you have rounds, what size they are (5ft, 5ft 6” or 6ft tables). As a very approximate guide you can fit around 65-70 guests in each Tipi. Remember that you will need a Tipi for your dance floor/band/DJ and space for a bar / chill out area (if you’re having a bar inside the Tipis)
6. Decor and Furniture
There are no rules when it comes to Tipi styling. You can go formal dining with round tables and linen or rustic with wooden trestles, or have a little of both by having wooden trestles with chairs instead of benches (benches look great but make sure if you have elderly guests that they have chairs as benches can be difficult for some guests to sit down on).
Winter Wedding. If you are styling your Tipis in the winter, make sure to add faux furs to the benches and a fire pit for toasting marshmallows or go or the bio-fuel options (no acrid smoke inside) and create a warming environment that guests can gather around.
Height. Make use of the height by hanging florals or ‘installations’ above the dance floor and in the dining tipis or above the bar - we love a rose gold or gold glitter ball in a Tipi and uplit floral installations like huge gyp clouds. Make sure you create a ‘chill out’ space too for guests in the evening - this can be in a smaller Tipi with comfy seating and a fire pit with lots of faux fur and blankets to keep the evening chill at bay.
7. Food - Feeding your guests
Tipis lend themselves to informal dining and gatherings. Sharing boards and Grazing Tables are great alternatives to the formal sit down meal and also look great on rustic wooden trestles. Always make sure that you leave enough space in the tipis for your waiting staff to be able to easily fit between all the tables! Grazing tables and Dessert scapes look great styled in Tipis and make for great guest interaction. In the evening’s food trucks are also a great idea or if you are having to turn around your Tipis between dining and the dancing. Having a food truck serving dessert, tea/coffee or a horse box style of bar outside will help to draw guests out of the Tipis so that tables can be easily moved.
Lighting is essential in your Tipis as by the nature of the colour of the canopy they are quite dark inside. Lots of fairy lighting looks pretty but make good use of uplighting and downlighting of any features such as hanging florals and create a nightclub atmosphere in the tipi with your dance floor where dark is good! Think about what your Tipis will look like at night in photos. There is nothing better than seeing festoon toppers across the top of the tipis and the warm colourful glow from lighting inside against a dark sky.
9. Weather and Time of the year
Tipis are fantastic structures and can be used all year around and for any weather. Just make sure you make the right plans for the time of year you are having your wedding.
10. Heating - Keeping your guests warm (even in Summer!)
Heating is essential if you are having Tipis due to their open structure. During the daytime, with everyone seated for dining the Tipis hold their temperature but it can get chilly in the evening especially for older guests even in the peak summer months. In winter, if your tipi offers a closed structure with window walls and doors then it doesn’t take long for the tipis to warm up and create a lovely intimate, cosy atmosphere. The heating is super quick to heat up the Tipis and is often controlled by a thermostat so you can control how warm you make it!
This is only a brief overview and there are many things to consider as every Wedding is unique.
If you would like some help, more expert advice and tips for your Tipi
get in touch and will be happy to assist you with references!