An Outdoorsy & Rustic Tipi Wedding

Bohemian Tipi Wedding in Sussex

WWW readers Jo and Wayne tied the knot back in April with a church service followed by a tipi reception. They wanted a day which was chilled, outdoorsy and rustic.

Jo told me; “I really enjoyed WWW when I was planning.  I loved reading about the real weddings and seeing what other people had done and the links given to other suppliers. The advice given was also valuable and I definitely heeded to some of it.”

Their beautiful tipis created a warm atmosphere to their day, with gorgeous lighting, DIY flower arrangements and crafty touches that injected personality.

I adore Jo’s glamorous wedding dress, Rachel Simpson shoes and her homemade hairpiece. Meanwhile Wayne opted for a dashing grey suit with DIY peacock feather buttonhole. Ahhh i so love this wedding.

Thanks so much to the wonderful Tino & Pip Photography for sharing their images with us today.


wedding rings rachel simpson shoes groom getting ready bridal prep

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The Proposal… Wayne and I were up in Tromso seeing the Northern lights.  Amazing stuff!   We had first got together 10 years ago for 3 years, broke up, dated other people, kept in contact, met up again a festival and decided that yep, it was always the other one!  In Tromso we had just been on a hilarious husky ride that night and were up late photographing the lights.  It was -18C, we were surrounded by sleeping huskies and green flashing lights across the sky.  Beautiful…

The Vision for the Day… We had a pretty similar view for the day – relaxed, chilled and everything in between!  We wanted it to be outdoorsy, fun, rustic and not traditional just for the sake of it. We would have loved having a Christian service under an oak tree somewhere but the logistics were difficult so we decided that a church wedding would be our day.

The Planning Process… Planning a big party under a tent?  Much more work than you ever imagine!  Tents, food, generators, heating, toilets, flowers…an endless list of practicalities before you have even thought about a colour scheme. But having an awesome fiancé who shared the work and the decision making equally made the entire process much easier.  I started by searching the internet for a general spreadsheet of what people buy and budget for – and our first task was deleting all the things we thought were unnecessary – that ring pillow had to go!  We also had to rely heavily on each other as both of our families were overseas so it was up to us to plan the day. I got ideas from wedding blogs for quirky and rustic weddings and started the guest list to get an idea of the size of the day.

Budget… We really wanted to keep it to £12000, though it did end up being more. Both of us wanted a fun-filled special day but not spend the deposit for a house on a day.  We decided early on what would be a priority and what we would try to do DIY to keep costs down.  We almost didn’t have the tents as they were our one splurge but we fell in love with them at an open day. The tents were a luxury that did up our costs but we knew they would help the guests relax and therefore we would relax on the day.  It just meant that we had to work out other areas where we would have to save on costs. Food was an area where we tried to keep on budget without compromising on quality or taste. We served paella, rustic breads and salads for dinner.  People were heading back for second helpings! We also bought our own alcohol and had a Waitrose delivery on the day of canapés, delicious cheeses, fruit platters and some desserts for the evening nibbles.  Providing these saved us well over a £1000 rather than having our caterer provide everything.  It was a little more work but it was worth it and the caterer was happy to serve what we had bought. We designed our own art deco invitations with Zazzle and my brother-in-law drove me to the wedding as I didn’t care about arriving in style, although a VW Campervan might have been acceptable. Flowers were very cheap, we made our own bouquets and buttonholes and lots of other DIY touches.

The Venue… Our ceremony was held at the historical All Hallows, TIllington, a lovely church with friendly parishioners who welcomed us with open arms. We then headed off to the stunning Duncton Mill Fishery, just outside Petworth, which was the perfect spot for our kata tipis. Caroline and Martin at the fishery were both so helpful. We loved that it wasn’t a manicured garden and that it had just right feel for what we wanted. It was a very natural environment that felt open, country and away from suburbia…perfect for two Antipodeans.

We had 3 kata tipis from Beautiful World Tents.  We fell in love with them on an open day and knew they would give the relaxed, informal feel that we wanted, and the fact they were from Norway where we got engaged was a bonus. They provided long tables, benches, lounge area and a fire.  Quirky, different and relaxed – just we wanted. As the venue began as a blank canvas, we had to arrange all facilities, but the staff at Beautiful World Tents, and Duncton Mill provided lots of help and in the end all the providers were very professional and efficient and meant everything arrived on time and without any fuss.

The Dress + Accessories… The dress was found and altered 3 weeks before the day. Yes, just a little crazy… It was an Essense of Australia D827 dress bought on sale on impulse (or should I say panic!) at All that Glitters in Wimbledon.   I wanted a slightly 1920s feel so I made my own hairpiece, after trying many that didn’t go with the dress which also kept things in budget. The earrings were art deco style long danglies from Debenhams.  My shoes were a splurge from Rachel Simpson shoes, the lovely art deco Carmen shoes.

Finding the Dress… Finding the dress was not an enjoyable experience, if I’m honest.  I didn’t want the typical dress at all and the more dresses I tried on the more similar they became. Most of the dresses felt like silly costumes! I loved the Jenny Packham and Claire Pettibone style, but when I tried on a few styles of each, they all looked like very expensive nighties on me and lacked the structure I needed.  Unfortunately my H-bombs made many dresses hang on me like tents and it was difficult finding underwear that gave me the scaffolding I needed under such light, unstructured dresses.  Back in Australia on holiday I found a second-hand dress by Mariana Hardwick called Carmina, and felt I could do my own variation of another Australian designer, the amazing Gwendolynne. Stunning, unique beaded dresses. So with the dress and some lovely art deco beaded material to make a cowl back and some floppy sleeves I headed back to the UK to have it adjusted and made.  Unfortunately they couldn’t do the adjustment to the dress I wanted and the dress was still too thin to wear appropriate underwear.  I basically couldn’t find anything that fit that you couldn’t see under the dress.   To cut a long story short, I just couldn’t make peace with the dress; I felt unsupported, too low and on the  Sunday 3 weeks before the wedding, when my bridesmaid couldn’t do it up over yet a different basque, I just thought  “Nope – I am not comfortable in this dress!”  So that day very I found another dress on sale. I knew I could add my sleeves and cowl back.  It was the Essence of Australia dress, to which I added the beading, the back, the hip sash and the art deco details that I wanted from the original dress. The skirt was still too full and princess for me so I had that taken in so it was a straighter more art deco style.  It was almost the same as the original dress, just more structured and I felt so much more comfortable in it.  It wasn’t one of the amazing dresses of Gwendolynne but it was me and I knew I wouldn’t feel silly in a big silly dress walking down the aisle.  It felt glamorous without being over the top and I could just focus on having a fun day without feeling self-conscious.  Which I did!

Groom’s Attire…  Wayne looked gorgeous in a grey Red Herring suit and peacock feather buttonholes we made.

The Readings + Music… We had a combination of religious and secular during the ceremony. I walked down the aisle to ‘Hoppipolla’  by Icelandic band Sigur Ros and we walked out to Powderfinger’s ‘ Burn Your Name.’

We had two bible readings that we felt focussed on God’s love rather than marriage itself.  Colossians 3:12-17  and  Ephesians 3:14-21.  We also had a passage from ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and had Edward Monkton’s ‘A Lovely Love Story’ during the signing, which got a giggle from the guests.

Beautiful Bridesmaids… I had five gorgeous bridesmaids and a flowergirl.  My sister, Bronwyn, my two teenage nieces, Isabel and Chloe and two of my favourite people, Jo and Sue.  Wayne’s niece, Zoé, also joined me down the aisle in a lovely ivory dress and carrying a slate with ‘Here comes the bride’ on it.  She was great! As my family were in Australia and the five were all different heights and colourings, I decided I liked the idea of individual dresses in one colour.  I really wasn’t too bothered about colour so I figured that blue would do – everyone looks good in blue-and they did!  They now all have dresses and shoes which suited them and ones they really will wear again!

The Flowers… My beautiful bouquet was won in a competition Flower Innovations – score!  I asked for a hand-picked look with a couple of peacock feathers to match the buttonholes and they did a great job.

Flowers were always going to be the budget option. My bridesmaids made the bridesmaids bouquets the night before.  Gypsophila wrapped in lace. Cheap, cheerful, simple and very pretty. They went perfectly with the relaxed rustic feel of the day.  We also added some gypsophila to the pews and a lady at the church did a lovely flower arrangement for £50. The flowers at the reception cost £100.  We bought many mixed, cheap bouquets from a local supermarket the day before and they looked absolutely gorgeous in the mixed bottles on the tables.

The Cake…  We had home-made brownies made by our dear friend, Jean, as a wedding present.  They went down a storm – delicious!

Your Photographer…  We had the amazing talent of duo Tino and Pip, aka Martin and Penny. They are the ultimate professionals, amazing photographers and just great people to be around.  Our friends have since commented on how lovely they were and they just blended in taking awesome shots. Our time alone with them was relaxed and fun and they got stunning photos of us without it cutting into the day and our time with our family and friends. It gave us an opportunity to just chill together and enjoy the feeling of being married!

We just love the shots they took and can’t recommend them highly enough.  Capturing amazing memories in a natural way, fun way.  We simply love them!  They took some of my favourite ever shots of my family and I keep coming back to them again and again. They continue to bring back the emotions of the day and the way we feel for each other. My friends and family have also been so impressed with their work.  There is simply not a single photo we don’t love.  They are each artistically gorgeous moments in time. We can’t thank Penny and Martin enough for the incredible way they captured our day.  Awesome, awesome stuff!  They are great people with an eye for original style and fun.  We are so thrilled that they were a part of our day and a part of our memories.

The Details + Decor… Wayne and I spent many months scouring car boot sales, charity shops and Ebay for bottles, vases, tea lights, candle holders and lanterns.  A lot of our decor was free or travel souvenirs! We had any shape, size and colour, including tiny antique ink bottles.  The tipis already look so amazing that we knew we didn’t have to go mad with decorations but we did hang multi-coloured Chinese lanterns, just to add more colour. Our favourite decor item was probably the pianola rolls that were our table runners, complete with lyrics which proved popular. The variety of flowers in the vases and bottles looked rustic and informal.

The jukebox was great fun and our guests enjoyed choosing their own songs and dancing the night away!  We didn’t have a first dance but the jukebox got Wayne up later in the evening – pretty good for someone who doesn’t dance!

The Honeymoon… We had 6 days in a gorgeous mountain village in Crete… a much needed break.

Memorable Moments… We loved the entire day!   After the nerves of the ceremony wore off I was simply up for a party, so when Wayne told me there was a problem with the speakers, it really didn’t matter. Wayne’s memorable moment was when he first saw me at the…after being 25 minutes late – woops!  I found the ceremony quite an emotional experience.  It’s all very real! We really enjoyed our time alone on the little island in lake.  It was just us, looking over the tents and our guests, away from it all.  It really is only about the two of you. Our best man did a fantastic speech with a custom designed tattoo for Wayne – brilliant stuff! We were the very last to leave.  We didn’t want the day to end and standing alone with the torches flickering under an incredible night sky next to the tents was really special. It was great to look back on a day we had planned on our own and feel like we’d done a great job.

Advice for Other Couples… Don’t sweat the small stuff! I know you want to, but on the day you really won’t care about colour matching or things that sparkle.  You will just be so happy you’re with everyone you love!  Spend some alone time with each other. You will value the time.  Relax and simply have fun! If you’re on a budget check out second-hand bridal websites. There are quite a few and you can grab a bargain.  Also really decide what’s important, we wanted flowers but not enough to spend a fortune, so with the rustic bottles, and a colourful flower in each, the cost stayed very low and the tables looked gorgeous.

Credit Where Credit is Due…

Photographers  –

Kata tipi –

Venue –

Dress –

Jukebox   –

Bouquet –

Flowers – Sainsburys

Paella –

Invitations –

Shoes –

Hair and make-up –

Loos – Loo’s for do’s

Power – Sparks Power



Fabulous. And i so love that WWW was a help to Jo and Wayne. Thanks so much to Jo and Wayne for sharing their beautiful wedding with us today XOXO Lou

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