Here's our first post of 2018, to tell you all about our first Tipi wedding of 2017. It took place on a glorious Saturday in June at Hidden Valley, Surrey. Kat & David, a totally chilled out couple, had spent the last eight months putting together the plans for their Tipi festival wedding. David was on a mission and researched and planned pretty much everything, which was a refreshing change :)
Set up started with 4 giant hats from Country Tipis. The tipis would comfortably hold Kat & David’s 180 guests, with room for a dance floor and indoor bar and chill out area. Not that Kat and David really wanted to use this space. It was an impressive backup plan in case the weather didn’t allow their ideal scenario, which was to host as much of their wedding outside as possible. It was a huge relief for us all when the weather played ball.
On the morning of the wedding, everyone was busy with final preparations; emptying all the ice and alcohol into the little booze paddling pool; pinning bags of retro crisps to a little Christmas tree for ‘Crispmas’. The inflatable pub, yes you read that right, was quickly fully inflated in front of the wooden benches in the ‘beer garden’. Paddy and Manny from Disco Wed were in construction mode, setting up their DJ shed in front of the awesome outdoor dance floor.
At pretty much the last minute, David and the lads disappeared to their hotel for a quick change and came back looking very dapper in their grey trousers and waistcoats.
Up on the hill, the seating was being set out for the ceremony, looking out over the beautiful blue skies and green fields. Cocktails and beers were prepped for guests’ arrival and guitarist James Maclean was ready to play. The pretty archway and heart sticks were set up with the help of the couple’s adorable little boy Davey.
A final check that everything was to his approval and David was ready. A bit of traffic on the M25 delayed proceedings a little, but I don’t imagine there were any complaints as guests mingled in the sunshine with their drinks. All the guests were finally in place and Kat and her girls were on their way.
They arrived in a beautiful retro baby blue VW Camper, Kat looking stunning in her dress chosen by Davey. “When I went looking for dresses, we walked into a boutique and Davey ran up to a dress and pulled on it. I took it out for a look. It was the first and only one I tried on and it was beautiful”
After the ceremony, Kat and David led the way into Hidden Valley (played in by three tunes chosen by David for Kat (“She’s so lovely by Scouting for Girls, She is Love by Oasis and The Kooks, Naïve!!) Guests, waved in by the two Air Dancers, were met at the bottom of the path by a couple of the ushers to hand out their ‘Til Death do us Part Festival’ lanyards. Some made a quick detour to the bell tent village – 23 tents from South Coast Glamping, to drop off their things, others headed straight to the paddling pool to grab a drink, or a cocktail or slushy from the bar.
Soon the smell of fish and chips was wafting around and a queue quickly formed at KK Catering’s van. The whole afternoon was totally chilled with people eating, drinking and enjoying the music and the sunshine.
At 4.30 guests were asked to make their way into the tipis for the speeches. After which Kat and David popped off to have some stunning photos with Sassy from Asassynation. Meanwhile KK were serving up evening kebabs to guests.
While they had bee gone, Sammii the face painter had been busy. David had made a wheel of fortune to decide on which design guests would have done. Luckily the wheel was kind to Kat, but not so to David…
Around 8.30 David and Kat had their first dance to a special remix of John Legend 'All of me', that David had produced. It started off acoustic and switched into Dubstep after two minutes. Paddy and Manny kept the dance floor packed and David even played a little set himself. At 11pm the music switched to a silent disco and The Goonies was screened above the shed, with our dead tree as an eerie backdrop.
We later asked David a few questions...
FF - You clearly had a vision, did it develop along the way as you came across different suppliers or did you always had a clear picture of what you wanted?
D&K We had a very 'loose' vision. We have both been to many weddings and have come to realise that as long as guests are fed, watered and have somewhere to party, you need to make sure the rest of the day reflects what YOU want as a couple. I think couples can lose sight of this and can easily be bought in to the 'pre-packaged' idea which often doesn’t offer much flexibility. Our 'Vision' was a relaxed, casual affair where people would buy into the festival vibe first, and the formalities of the wedding second.
FF - Any top tips for other couples planning this kind of wedding?
D&K Become fluent in excel.....But seriously, spreadsheets are no fun, but they are necessary. With a DMOIY (Do most of it yourself) wedding, you need to plan for everything from toilets to tampons, candles to condoms! Don't be afraid to delegate to someone like Nikki - that local knowledge and extra set of eyes on everything was invaluable.
Make sure that your suppliers are flexible - what we first started out with was totally different than our needs 4 weeks out. Ask your suppliers to provide examples of previous work, and ask their opinions before committing.
Mistakes/mishaps will happen - due to the flexible nature of the day, nobody noticed when timings were out so don’t stress and pick up another drink.
Budget permitting, make it an all day and night affair and try not to have day/night guests - we wanted everybody to experience the whole festival from midday through to midday the following day.
FF - Always the trickiest question but what are the highlights of the day for you both?
D&K For us, seeing people's faces and reactions when they walked down the path to the 'Hidden Valley' was priceless. Most people had assumed they would need to drive from the ceremony to the reception, so their faces when they walked around that corner is something we'll never forget.
The outdoor dancefloor when the sun was going down was also pretty special - 180 guests all throwing it down!!
FF - Was your day all you hoped it would be?
D&K And more......When we look back at all of the planning and hard work that went into it, we ask ourselves what would we change? Genuinely nothing - apart from making it a whole weekend event so we could make use of the leftover alcohol (which we are still drinking 9 months on).
Photos courtesy of Asassynation
Tipis - Country Tipis
Bell Tents - South Coast Glamping
Catering - KK Catering
Inflatable Pub - West Midlands Inflatables
Cake - Mother and me
DJ - Disco wed
James Maclean - Alive Network
Face Painter - Sammii @ Bunnies Face Painting
Air Dancers - Party Bounce
Celebrant - Sarah Noble
To start planning for your outdoor wedding please email firstname.lastname@example.org