Gemma and Kara’s gorgeous DIY tipi wedding is just brimming with excellent decor ideas and great advice on the practicalities of coordinating a wedding like this. Spoiler alert – all hands on deck and get onsite at your venue as soon as you possibly can 🙂
Tipi weddings always have a lovely laid back vibe, and Gemma and Kara added to this with sharing board style grazing platters, tonnes of foliage and twinkly fairy lights everywhere.
The images come from Elena Popa, who you’ll find on our recommended supplier directory, The List. I love how Elena has made the most of the soft light at dusk and captured some dreamy couple portraits for this gorgeous pair.
Kara the Bride: We were going for a relaxed outdoor wedding vibe. From creating our own retrographic invitations, salvaging wood and making our wedding bower, to lugging over hay bales for our fire pit seating. If you are planning on putting a lot of personal touches which require preparation or building make sure you check that the venue will allow you to get on site before the big day and we were lucky that Tip Top venues let us do that. We managed to set up the site with plenty of hands to help decorate the Tipis and ceremony area with homemade shepherd hooks and vases, hanging homemade wreathes, large candelabras and the wedding bower itself all beautifully decorated with the bountiful flowers we got from the wholesalers. We prepped the bar with all the spirits and wines that we had got on a booze run across the channel to Calais wine store – amazing for bulk buying wine and they thow in the Eurotunnel ticket too.
We started the day separately to get ready with our close friends and family. I went to the hairdresers with my mum and maid of honour where we all got our hair done together. The other bride Gem was getting pampered at the Doubletree Hotel by her friend Hannah and maid of honour Roxy. We had our excellent ushers (who where our brothers) on site for greeting all of our friends whilst we managed to show up one at a time, mine in vintage cars with my dad, maid of honour Chelsey and my best man (who is also our dog) Foster! Whilst waiting at the end of the aisle with our master of ceremony and friend Dani, Gem’s VW Vintage campervan showed up whilst my best dog in his hand made suit tried to get to us 🙂
One of the big worries with two brides is the dresses, we both needed to find our pefect dress to make sure they complimented each other without telling one another what we were looking for! One top tip is to make sure that there is one or two people that go on both brides dress shopping trips (but not too many people as everyone has a different opinions), it also helps to go to the same shop and pick the same colour white.
After the ceremony the VW campervan took us for a private photoshoot with our very talented photographer Elena Popa whilst the campervan had ice cold champagne for us. Despite all the love overflowing from friends and family throughout the day and evening getting some time with my new wife was one of my most favourite moments.
As we came back we greeted all of our friends with our bartender dazzling with his cocktail skills and headed into the tipi with the sides up to look over the lakes and sit down to our amazing feasting tables who pulled out all the stops. No ‘chicken or fish’ options here – just long wooden tables with smiling faces grazing on breads, cheeses, seafood, cured meats and much more, all set out exquisitely in between decorations provided by Amazing Graze and our own candelabras and nik-naks trailing the table as well as large flower wreathes we had created and hung over the tables themselves. We decided that most people discard favours so we ordered hand carved place names from Etsy, it was great and everyone kept them and had lots of pictures of people using them in their own homes!
As evening drew in the candlelight and festoon lighting lit up the evening with our brought in firepit and marshmallows setting it all off. Music got in to full swing with our DJ, the VW campervan transformed itself in to a photo booth that all our friends and family loved! Along with boules, ring toss and other lawn games to break up all the catch ups!
As sunset drew in it was an opportunity for another wander with our photographer who throughout the day had been almost invisible apart from getting my unruly family to get in line which is a job in itself! We are so glad we had such a great photographer as the photos are so important. They are one of the only things you can keep and saver to remeber the day and its details which were perfectly captured by Elena Popa.
Gem and I both loved our dresses, but as evening came we swapped them for our dancing clothes to party the night away. And as silly it sounds all of the little things you could never think of made it go seamlessly, we had Chelsey as an amazing maid of honour with all the contact numbers and order of the day. We had great toilets (which is important for an outdoor wedding!) friendly security to keep everybody safe, extra beer brought in in the evening and fans in the tipi to keep it all cool.
It was the best day for us, whatever your wedding just make it your own because at the end of it you will look back and love every second with all the uniqueness of your love. And if anything does go wrong then smile because it will only make a great story.