Top tips for planning a tipi wedding

  • BUDGET – As with everything in life, weddings cost money! And as much as none of us like talking about money, it is important to get it out of the way at the beginning as so much of your big day decisions will rely on how much you want to spend.  Work out your budget and try very hard to stick to it.  Make your suppliers aware of your budget, you will be surprised as to how many will try very hard to work with you on this.


  • GUESTS – It may seem a weird place to start but the amount of guests that you would like to attend your wedding has a large impact on a lot of your decisions – at the start it will dictate the amount of tipis you will need, and moving forward you will need numbers when you start looking at quotes for food and drink etc.  It does not have to be the final list, or the exact numbers, but sitting down together and jotting down a list of guests is an important starting point.  You need to agree on what family members, long lost aunts or friends that your partner might not have met are making the cut.  Work on between 10 – 20% of the people you invite not being able to make it, but don’t assume until they have responded – we all love a wedding!


  • WISH LIST – Compile a list of all the things you want at your wedding, take inspiration from all the weddings that you have been to and dream up your ideal day. Examples of things that you need to think about are furniture, dance floor, band space, bar, cake display, lighting, fire pits, walkway.  Once you have this list you can start approaching suppliers to start getting your bespoke quotes.


  • THE SITE – Once you’ve decided you are going for a tipi wedding and have an idea of numbers you need to decide where you are going to have the wedding! If you are lucky enough to have space at home, a family members or friends then that is brilliant – you just need to make sure there is enough space for the amount of tipis you would like as well as decent access for the supplier to get the vehicles into unload.  Most suppliers should offer a free site visit to check the site and discuss anything that may need seeing to such as trimming back low hanging trees and rolling the ground to ensure the footing is OK for the flooring.

If you would love a tipi wedding but don’t have an area of land there are plenty of venues that you can hire with the space to put the tipis on.  Some venues that we work closely with and can              recommend are:

  • East Mersea Hall
  • Marks Hall Estate
  • Sandyfields
  • The Farm Café
  • Battersea Park
  • Barnston Lodge
  • Highfield, Bradwell-On-Sea
  • A secret location in Great Totham, set within the countryside surrounded by grass meadows and woodland.

And if none of these are to your taste then don’t be afraid to ask family members or friends who might have the space, the worse that they can say is no!  Your local council might also be able to        help and don’t forget our good old friend google who could come up with some other ideas!


  • FUNCTIONALITY – Once you have found your dream location the next step is looking at how the day will function, and what external amenities you will need to hire in; Generators, toilets, refrigeration and catering facilities are all things to think about and budget for, if the venue doesn’t have them.


  • CATERING – Time to think about the food! Of all the reasons to have a tipi wedding, one of the best ones is the total freedom of being able to choose exactly what sort of catering you would like. There are no set menus or A and B choices, you can approach any caterer serving any type of food you want, and then serve it however you like: buffet style, silver service or even allocating someone on each table to carve and serve!  The catering world is literally your oyster.

Make sure you get a variety of quotes so that you can compare what you can get for your budget.  Once you have decided on which caterer you should be able to have a taste test meeting so                you know what you are getting!  At this meeting you need to find out what the caterers need you to supply in order for them to cater in a tipi ie catering tent, power, tables etc.  Most caterers will provide their own ovens etc but worth checking this is all in the quote they have provided.  And don’t forget the crockery, cutlery and glass ware.


  • THE BAR – So, you have the food, now for the drink. Decisions to make are whether you are going to cover the cost of all the drinks yourselves, providing wine at the table and then a pay bar or have a full pay bar.  If you are providing all of the drink then don’t feel that you have to provide a fully stocked bar, no one expects that.

Speak to your tipi supplier about what bars they can supply or if they can recommend an outside bar company.  Also check with your catering company, if they are providing the waiting staff,            what they are happy to serve drink wise.  Oh, and don’t forget the soft drinks!


  • LIGHTING THE WAY – An important thing to think about is how the location will look after dark. There won’t be any lighting if your location is remote, so think about how you and your guests will see to get to the toilets and back to car etc.  Ask your tipi supplier for what they can offer lighting wise – uplighters and festoon lighting are good options for walkways and under trees.  Other options are bamboo fire torches which look amazing all lit at night (don’t forget to assign someone the job of lighting them!) or candles in lanterns.


  • MUSIC – Time to think about how you are going to party the night away, do you want a band or a DJ? Remember, with your own tipi location there are no time restrictions to adhere to…  Think about your first dance and how you would like the music to sound.  Once you decide on the music, make sure you discuss with your tipi supplier what they can supply for this – staging and power wise!


  • AND FINALLY… ENJOY IT – Remember this is yours and your partners big day. Everyone can have their ideas but fundamentally, you are the two that need to make the final decisions and have it exactly how you would like it to be.  We also know it can be hard work and overwhelming organising your own wedding, so when people offer to help or you can delegate parts of it, then do.  Take all the help that is offered to you.  And most importantly,  enjoy it – you are planning a day that will give you a lifetime of memories.  And when you finally make it to the day, stand back and take it all in!