DIY Tipi Wedding: Ask the Experts at Totally TIpi

DIY Tipi Wedding: Ask the Experts at Totally TIpi


Happy Friday y'all!

I'm totally stoked to say that this afternoon Laura Drury, co-founder of (the UH-MAZING) Totally Tipi, is gracing the pages of Festival Brides with her top tips on DIY-ing a wedding.

It's totally worth mentioning at this point that Totally Tipi will be showcasing their tipis styled to the nines with their unique furniture (which is a little different to other tipi companies!) at their upcoming event so make sure to check it out!

So if you're new to this scenario, or you've been hesitantly contemplating the idea for a while, Laura's experienced advice is sure to sway you!

So without any further ado, listen up and learn!

Rebelling against the fixed catering choices of some hotels or high cost of bar prices at certain stately homes, the very personal, DIY wedding has become a popular choice over recent years.

The floodgates of your imagination are opened and the way is paved to give you the day you want, exactly how you want it.

Perhaps it's no coincidence then, that giant tipi structures have become a real hit for wedding parties, as have smaller 'niche' businesses surviving the recession, to help you to fulfil your vision.

However, there are an ever-increasing amount of details and inspiration out there; not to mention what might seem like daunting logistical issues to contend with and it's something that has put people off in the past.

If you're up for taking it on yourself - you can easily pull it off. Just consider a few important factors and be prepared! I'm here to give you guys some top tips for a totally smooth event, so let's crack on, shall we?

You'll need to start with planning how many teepees you need. Think not only about your total guest numbers and how many of those guests you'd like to seat, but what else you would like to house in the space.

Consider your entertainment, whether it's a live band or a DJ; these can need varying amounts of space. Things such as a bar structure or traditional top table all need to be planned into the space to ensure it meets with your vision and fits comfortably.

We work up a bespoke floor plan for all of our brides and grooms. The flow of people is very important - how people will go to the bar; the path they will take to the toilet, for instance. Always air on the side of caution; that all guests have to be inside at once and make sure your supplier has good experience of the guest numbers they are suggesting within your given space.

When comparing quotations don't just compare the total figure. Often, quotations aren't like-for-like. Double check that it is comprehensive and is there isn't anything else you're likely to need on top of it, such as insurance. Ask questions such as: 'What condition is your equipment in?' 'How do you see my event working based on your quotation?

Don't just consider a list of items on an email, get a 'feel' for the company and remember that 'cheapest' doesn't always mean 'best'. You're not just paying for a list of things, but investing in trust that you will receive the best service ultimately leading up to your wedding day.

At Totally Tipi, every quote we do is unique to the requirements of the couple, having thought about the space and their plans. In our experience, 'packages' don't work for teepees as everyone's vision is unique and it's important to us to work with them to achieve this. Although we can advise a guide price, we would be doing someone a disservice by simply giving a standard quotation without knowing their desires.

"Out of all the companies I sent enquiry emails to, Totally Tipi were the only ones to actually call me and ask what I wanted and then built a quote around that as opposed to sending back a standard response. This personal service continued throughout." - Richard Moeller, who married Trudie in winter 2013.

There are some great venue finding resources out there and options for venues that can host a tipi wedding vary: from a back garden or open field, to a cricket club or the grounds of a breathtaking stately home.

Once you've found the site, your tipi or marquee supplier should always conduct a site visit to measure up, assess its suitability and check with the site owner about the characteristics of the land at the time of year you're planning.

Aside from our open days at Totally Tipi, site visits can be the first time we'll put a face to an email address or voice on the end of the phone. Whilst we love building that 'virtual' rapport, there's nothing better than a face to face chat when we can really get to know you and vice versa.

We also advise on what services are needed and where they would go, such as generators for power and luxury toilet trailers. It's an exciting time because we are visualising a couple's event on their event space; not just a plan on a piece of paper.

Here at Totally Tipi, we have a sturdy catering marquee that we discreetly join to the teepees from which anything from a cold platter to a Michelin star quality 3-course meal can be served.

We advise that you choose your caterer carefully though. Working out of a kitchen on location requires a certain expertise and skill, so it's definitely worth bearing that in mind.

Peak season tends to run from April until the end of October when it's hoped the weather isn't too inclement but as we all know, England can produce a very wet summer as in 2012 or a wonderfully dry 2013.

There are the temperature benefits of summertime, but winter can be a magical time of year too. Diesel-powered heaters blow hot air into the structure to keep you warm and toasty, backed up by a real-flame log fire inside the tipi emitting warmth, glow, a comforting atmosphere and a popular place to congregate. Both are a consideration for summer weddings too, as temperatures outside can plummet when the sun has gone down.

In any case, assume the worst: that it's going to be wet and rainy, then whatever happens that's 'better' than that is a bonus! If it's a super hot day, teepees can be air vented at the top and sides raised to help with air flow.

The day is here and most of the work is done, but you've both planned this special day for months (years, even), you're looking dazzling and relishing every moment; the last thing you want to be doing is looking at your watch to check the schedule is on time, lighting candles or popping another log on the fire. Do give consideration to the practicalities of the big day and its smooth running.

Lots of our couples reflect that they wish they'd hired a professional to run the day. Offers of help may fly in from well-meaning friends and family, but someone who is emotionally involved in your wedding doesn't have the same objective overview as a professional does.

There are some great people who offer an on-the-day co-ordination service that doesn't cost the earth and can be so valuable to ensure you both relax and enjoy your time.

Totally Tipu also offers a Man On Site service for anyone who would like a tipi expert present at their event for extra peace of mind.

The main thing to remember is that nobody's day is 100% perfect; that's what makes a wedding so memorable. Enjoy the planning, get the best team of companies for you behind you, enlist in some help on the day and the rest will come naturally, rain or shine!

What an incredible resource! Thanks so much to Laura and Totally Tipi for their sound and thorough advice, if that doesn't convince you a DIY wedding is a good idea, I don't know what will...

...Except maybe this BEAUTIFUL new video they've created!

A Totally Tipi Wedding from Totally Tipi on Vimeo.

Peace + Love,

Clare X

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