Your essential guide to organising a rustic tipi celebration. Words: Ellie Softley
Firstly, consider your guest list and how much space you will need. Do you want the whole wedding day in the Tipi or is it solely a reception space? Your supplier will be able to recommend a whole host of layouts for your projected numbers, or they can tell you what is feasible and realistic within your budget so you can decide whether the guest list can be trimmed.
For a start, insurance will be added to your booking as the Tipi company will need to protect their products. Most companies will take care of contracting in and coordinating additional suppliers, such as provision of a generator, heating and fuel, distribution of power supply and of course, portable toilets. Expect these to add an extra £1,000 (minimum) to your booking. Adding on a catering tent will also add another cost.
Will you want hay bales, event flags, a disco ball, or a Moroccan lantern lit walkway? Perhaps a chill-out lounge area or an add-on mini Tipi? What about a bar? Most Tipi companies have a range of optional accessories and can recommend Tipi ‘dressers’ to create the look you’ve envisaged.
This is really important, not only within the Tipis themselves, but on the site surrounding it. If you’re pitching up your wedding in the middle of nowhere with incredible daytime views you’ll also need to think of the practicalities when the sun goes down.
Floors and doors
When it’s glorious sunshine, it’s wonderful to have Tipis with sides up. If however, you get a stint of dreadful weather leading up the your wedding it might be worth considering spending a bit of extra dollar on solid floors and doors. Anyone erecting a temporary structure should always conduct an initial site visit, where they can measure up, assess suitability and check with the owner about the land characteristics. They should also be keeping a close eye on weather forecasts, and be liaising with you should any last minute changes be appropriate.
Do your research
Most tipi companies hold open days, and/or attend wedding fairs, so you can see the quality and style of their tipis for yourself. Always get a couple of quotes and meet the suppliers face-to-face so you can have confidence in who and what you’re booking and in the level of service they provide.
Food and drink
The beauty of a Tipi wedding is that you often aren’t tied into multiple suppliers. Make sure you choose a caterer who is confident and experienced in catering for your numbers, and who have the necessary infrastructure to deliver what you want. If there will be sale of alcohol at your wedding this must be licenced; a temporary event notice should be applied for with the local council for this. If you hire in a professional bar, they will be experienced in the relevant licences required for Tipi weddings on privately-owned land.
Much like marquees, peak season for Tipis tends to run from April to October (with lots of sunshine dances leading up to your event from all involved parties!). Unless it’s a scorcher, I’d recommend budgeting for the hire of a heater. If you don’t need it: bonus, if you do, you’ve got it covered.
If you’re worried about managing your Tipi wedding, hire in a professional to coordinate the day. You can get someone from the Tipi company itself to stick around for a daily fee, or if it’s a privately owned venue, there may be an on-site professional on hand to help.
Most of all, have an awesome time getting creative. There are loads of ideas online for Tipi weddings and it’s a real opportunity to put your own stamp on your day. Tipis are very versatile and flexible as an event space and stylists and florists absolutely love to work with them.
Ellie Softley is a freelance independent events coordinator with a range of props to hire for rustic and vintage-inspired weddings. If you are interested in having a Tipi/Yurt/Marquee event at Ashton Hall Farm, in Sale, Cheshire please contact her for more information at [email protected]