It may not be for everyone but personally, we LOVE a tipi wedding. The Sunshine Coast offers the perfect scenery and weather for it and from a stylist perspective - it gives us the perfect blank canvas to work from. *Insert shivers of excitement*
More importantly, from a bride and groom perspective, you can lick and stick your own personal stamp on a tipi wedding, ensuring your guests have THE BEST DAY EVER. Whether your style is bohemian, rustic, elegant, vintage or modern chic, a tipi can be styled to not only reflect who you are, but also create a warm and relaxed atmosphere that’s perfect for bringing everyone together (even the crazy ones) - while simultaneously adding that KAPOW factor to your wedding day.
However, we feel it’s our job to point this out... As with everything in life, with the added ‘wow’ comes a whole lot of added work. Unlike traditional venues where banqueting managers deal with all the issues and tricky logistics (like what is the shortest path to the bar??) with a tipi wedding...you’re on your own! Ummm, no thank you.
Which is why we seriously suggest getting yourself an experienced planner to assist with the planning or at least project management of your wedding day. A planner, teamed up with an epic stylist can decorate the venue, take delivery of items, manage the day itself, packdown after the event - and everything between that! Leaving you to relax and enjoy your day - ‘coz that’s what it’s all about!
And seriously, with the right amount of help, the benefits of a tipi wedding far outweigh the added work. Apart from the unrivalled gorgeousness of it, there are so many fun factors that you, your wedding planner and your stylist can plan for. Design, feel, location, lighting, floral installations… the list goes on. In fact we’ve even made a little list here for you - look at that!
Photo: published on The BridesTree
Everything you need to know when planning your epic Tipi Wedding:
1. The Feel
There are so many different vibes you can create with a tipi wedding! Embrace those chilled festival feelings; make it a casual, relaxed and fun cocktail sort of event; rustic meets country vibes; glam it up with contemporary meets bohemian. There are loads of possibilities. It all comes down to your vision and what atmosphere you want to create.
And of course there are other elements to consider, such as your wedding vision, budget, location….hold on, Deja vu. Didn’t we dedicate an entire blog on this? Oh yes we did! And here it is: What's your wedding style. Along with our featured Wedding Styling Checklist! #bonus
2. The Design
Once you know what you want the “feel” of your wedding to be, then you can get to the nitty gritty design details of how you’re going to set up your wedding tipi. There are a number of different elements you’ll need to consider (see Wedding Styling Checklist) but the best part is that a tipi is fully adaptive to different styles and you can be soooo creative with it. As we mentioned it’s a blank canvas!
Ok, so you want a few basic ideas when it comes to designing a tipi wedding?
Lighting is king. It creates an ambience, allows for beautiful video and photography and it’s practical too. You can use festoon lights across the tipi interior to build up enough light into the event and fairy lights look super pretty wrapped around the tipi brim and top to highlight the structure. Oh and lots of candles to set the mood!
You can be so creative here. And don’t forget to light up pathways to key areas at night, like the exits and car parks. Pretty and practical!
Use the ceiling
One of the greatest design features of a tipi is all the height you have to play with.Embrace the frames and use them to hang lights, chandeliers, elegant
hanging crystals or lanterns.
Chat to your stylist about what the best way is to highlight this beautiful feature, in line with the rest of your styling. It really adds that extra kapow we were talking about!
Nooks and chillout areas
It can be so much fun creating little nooks and chill out areas for your guests. It'll give them a place to relax, chat and also have the occasional break from all the dancing they’ll be doing.
Whether you’re using the space within the tipi or keeping it totally alfresco by using all that glorious outdoor space - you can really let your imagination run wild. You could create an intimate whiskey bar, an alfresco bar area or even a fun area for the kids to play or get minded.
You could also make a feature area such as a photo backdrop, purely using some magical lighting. There’s also the option of a dancefloor under the stars (dreamy!) a firepit, a comfy spot to enjoy pre-dinner drinks. The possibilities are endless!
4. Using an event planner
With a tipi wedding, you’ll probably have a larger number of suppliers to deal with than a regular venue wedding, so you want to make sure your team is up to scratch! Vendors that know and have worked with each other before are an even bigger advantage. They’ll know each other’s work style and will be able to sort out the logistics between themselves when it comes to setting up - saving you time and stress.
So this is another reason why we highly recommend a wedding planner. Planners can recommend and generally work with the best suppliers over and over again. They fully get all the logistics and they know how to manage a high number of vendors.
5. Food and Drink
When it comes to food and drink at your tipi wedding, food (and bar) trucks are perfect. They’re not only logistically perfect (and look suuuper cool)
but they also help create that relaxed yet elegant vibe while providing an abundance of food, cold beers and cocktails. And don’t go thinking they’re
all hotdogs and pies. We have some exceptional gourmet food vans here on the Sunshine Coast and they offer a great range of foodie options to suit
And if food trucks aren’t your vibe, then you can also organise a catering team for a sit down dinner. This will create a more formal feel to your
meal time and gives you some creative scope on making your sit-down dining areas look epic and fine-food worthy!
6. The practicals
As we’ve mentioned, there are a lot of logistics to consider when planning and styling a tipi wedding. Toilets, generators, flooring, access, parking, bins… the list goes on! We’re going to say toilets are probably the most important - obvious reasons. With a large number of guests attending, you’ll want to make sure you find a reliable supplier. Same with power - a blackout mid-wedding would not be ideal!
Parking also takes a bit of consideration. Remember your guests will be leaving at night so they’ll
need to see where they’re going and won’t want to walk too far. You’ll want to consider things like lighting the path, creating a solid walkway
in case of rain and maybe including some signage so they can work out where they’re going at the end of the night! You might even want to consider
a shuttle system if the parking area is too far and logistically challenging.
In terms of access, you’ll want to consider that delivery vehicles have enough space to turn around when they’re dropping and picking up. This is especially
important for suppliers such as mobile toilets and generators. And if access is narrow and deliveries have to be scheduled in, make sure suppliers
know the relevant time slot they can deliver and explain any difficulties with the access available.
Photo: Luke Middlemiss Photography published on The BridesTree
If we’re honest, a tipi wedding is probably going to cost as much, if not more, than a traditional venue due to the fact that you need to hire everything
from the floor to the ceiling right through to cutlery and crockery. This said, it can still be done on a budget without making too many sacrifices.
Money-saving ideas include finding a space that has a level compacted surface so you don’t need a floor or even having a cocktail style function instead
of a seated wedding, which eliminates a large amount of hire equipment.
It’s a great idea to talk to your wedding planner and stylist about your budget and how you can still achieve your dream tipi wedding within the budget you feel comfortable with.
And there we have it. Plenty of ideas and tips to get you going. It is a LOT of information and really only touches the tip of the iceberg when it
comes to planning an event this big (or even small.)
If you’d like to get some more info on our Wedding Planning and Styling Services you can download our free Wedding Info Pack. And in the meantime remember to check out our free wedding styling checklist!
We’d love to chat more about planning your dream wedding on the Sunshine Coast. If you are ready to chat - get in touch.