Wedding tipis offer a truly special space for your big day. Unlike more traditional venues, tipis are unique and quirky, providing lots of opportunity to let your imagination run wild. To help with planning your tipi wedding, award-winning venue stylist Kirsten Butler, also known as The Little Wedding Helper, shares her Top Tips on styling a wedding tipi…
What are the benefits of having your wedding in a tipi?
I would say the main benefit is being able to design your own space and venue! It really can be having a blank canvas that you can add features too, make as big as you want or as intimate as you want. Wherever the land is that you are having the tipi on, you can design the inside and outside areas that you and your guests enjoy and experience. From seating areas to fire pits to festoon lighting to chill out tents – the possibilities are endless!
What do couples need to bear in mind when having a tipi?
Space! Where will the tipis be erected? Is there enough land for the number of tipi hats you need for the number of guests you have? There will be lots of advice & guidance from the tipi company as to what configurations you can have with the space available as you need to think about access to the tipis, where will the toilets go and the catering tents. It can be a little like a puzzle figuring it all out but it’s not something you need to do on your own! I love styling with outdoor props like signage, drinks stations, seating areas and lighting so your guests experience your wedding vibe before they even get inside the tipis.
What would be your styling tips for each season?
I think it’s safe to say that you can never predict the weather at any time of the year in the UK but these are my top tips for styling a tipi for the seasons:
Spring: Flowers come into their own at this time of year so think of adding colourful bursts of flowers to not only your tables but around the edges of the tipi structure and into the roof spaces. Hanging stems of flowers on coloured ribbons is a great way of adding detail above as well as adding scent and textures. Pots of flowers look so pretty either side of the entrance to a tipi and these can be from your garden or planted by friends and family. Floral fabric runners on long tables add lots of colour with bottles of blooms dotted all along. Colourful paper lanterns or pom poms can also add a real punch of colour to the inside and outside of the tipi which can be made on bought online. Think fresh, colourful and fun!
Summer: The days are getting longer and the weather means that we can hopefully enjoy the outside a little more than before. Flowers can still make a colourful statement to the tipis with hanging floral garlands from the roof struts or hanging bottles of flowers and ribbons. You can really bring a festival vibe to your celebrations with macramé hangings, vintage rugs and lots of rustic furniture. After dinner, create outdoor areas where guests relax and chill in before hitting the dancefloor. Drinks stations or outside food trucks can be a great treat for guests but don’t forget that basket of blankets for when the sun does go down and you want to stay chatting around the fire pits late into the evening.
Autumn: The clocks go back and we tend to want to get cosier during this season. Flowers are changing with the season and using foliage is a great way of bringing nature inside. Foliage hoops hanging from the ceiling, beams wrapped with greenery and flowers as well as hanging light installations. As the days get shorter, adding lighting to the inside and outside of the structures is important to create that cosy feel. Think lanterns, votives, festoon lighting as well as garden flares to pathways and outside seating areas. Wooden long tables and chairs are a great choice with candlelight and sharing platters.
Winter: So, the weather might be getting cooler but with the fire pits lit you can ensure that you and your guests will be warm and toasty. Lighting is still important as it is getting darker earlier so think about the light on your tables as well as the lighting around the tipi. Glass vases with pillar candles, dinner candles in brass candlesticks or just lots and lots of tealight votives add a magical feel to your tables. Fairy lights look so pretty wrapped around the beams as well as festoon lighting around the entrance and along pathways to and from the tipi. Fill those bowls full of marshmallows for toasting and create that hygge vibe.
What is currently on trend?
As a stylist, I don’t tend to particularly follow trends. There will be design elements that are popular due to big social events like the Royal wedding where lots of greenery was used and had a very natural feel to it. Using rose gold or copper elements has also been popular for interiors as well as weddings. When working with a couple on the look and feel of their celebration, I want to incorporate them, their personalities and their favourite things into their wedding so it reflects them and not something copied from Pinterest or is ‘on trend’. This is where I have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest as it can be overwhelming for many couples and also unrealistic. Use it for inspiration but try and put your own twist on the design. A stylist can help with this and advise on what can look great and, alternatively, what won’t look so good!
What are the options for the floor plan and seating inside a tipi?
Personally, I love a long table to style and there are many different options for placing these in a tipi depending on the size you have chosen and flow of the day’s events. The tipi team will be experts in guiding you through this and providing different configurations. Round tables also work well but need to be slightly away from the sloping sides of a tipi. I love how many different options there are for seating too – from long benches, traditional chivari chairs, crossback wooden chairs or fold up village fete style chairs. Don’t forget your dancefloor which can be in the middle with seating around the sides or more towards one side of the tipi. With fire pits that can be added inside too, you can have lots of fun designing a space that is bespoke to your needs and guests.
The Little Wedding Helper provides venue styling for couples who love beautiful details, creative touches and one amazing day! Kirsten is based in Bristol but available to travel all over the UK. To find out more visit www.littleweddinghelper.co.uk or Follow on Instagram or Facebook.
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