Oh what a treat it is to be starting the week with a colourful DIY tipi wedding. It’s time to share WWW readers Lauren and Tom’s gorgeous celebrations, which were held on the 24th August 2019 with a ceremony at Arundel Town Hall followed by a tipi reception on land owned by Tom’s parents. Their day was relaxed, boho in style and featured all the colours you guys. It really is a feast for the eyes.
These two handmade so much of their day; they grew flowers, crocheted, folded 1000 origami paper cranes and crafted wooden signs to name just a few. There was also a plethora of multicoloured touches such as rag bunting, pom poms and ribbons, not to mention a gorgeous paper archway. There is no way that their day will fail to make you smile. I also have to shout out about all the lovely outfits, didn’t Lauren and Tom look just amazing?! Wow.
Tom and I were in Koh Phi Phi in Thailand in November 2017 when he got down on one knee at Maya Bay national park towards the end of our two week holiday. It turns out he had been carrying the ring around in his bum bag for the duration of the holiday! Tom had the ring made especially for me and it was five sizes too big. I almost lost it down a sink in a restaurant called Garlic 1992 in Phi Phi which was terrifying. It has since been resized and I absolutely adore it – a beautiful rose gold hammered band with a pear shaped solitaire diamond. We had only known each other for nine months at that point but it just felt right and as they say – when you know, you know!
We knew from the off that we wanted a relaxed wedding with lots of bright colours and with inspiration from our love of travelling. Oh, and sunflowers! Lots of sunflowers.
The Planning Process
We decided pretty quickly that it would be a very DIY wedding due to my love of crafting, and I had so many ideas that I wanted to bring to life that required lots of time. Above all, we wanted a really unique day that was personal to us. We also needed the additional time to save up, so we set a date for August 2019.
We ended up spending around £17,000, not including my dress which my parents kindly contributed. This was far more than our initial £12,000 budget! We have no regrets about this at all though, as everything was exactly how we wanted it.
We are lucky enough to live on twelve acres of beautiful land owned by Tom’s parents, and they very kindly let us hold the reception in the middle of the field, in tipis erected by the lake. We wanted somewhere separate for the ceremony so decided on Arundel Town Hall due to the stunning Atherley Chamber and the large terrace with a backdrop of Arundel Castle.
The Readings & Music
Entrance music – Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic by Sleeping At Last
Signing of the register – Only Love by Ben Howard, Cherry Wine by Hozier, and Remembering by Nick Mulvey
We walked back down the aisle as a newly married couple to Luna by Bombay Bicycle Club.
Our first dance was Everywhere by Fleetwood Mac which was performed by our band TFI Britpop who kept us dancing into the night!
The bridesmaid’s dresses from Quiz were one of the first things that were locked down in our wedding planning and we had them about eighteen months before the day! During that time, one of our bridesmaids (my sister) became pregnant and another lost a significant amount of weight, but with a dress swap and some alterations by the amazing Kathy Myles, everything worked out perfectly. The dried flower hair slides they wore were from Florence & Flowers on Etsy.
Our three beautiful nieces were our flower girls and they all had bespoke tutus made for them by Nicola at Flowers & Confetti in tulle to match the bridesmaid dresses. Rebecca, our head flower girl, also had a mini flower crown to match mine.
We hired all the groomsmen’s suits, along with our ring bearer Harry’s, from Greys and sourced our own olive green bow ties.
Your Outfits & Accessories
We met the lovely ladies from Greys Suit Hire in Worthing at a wedding fair so we decided to go with them for the suits. Tom wanted a suit that had a countryside feel to it and looked extremely handsome in his grey tweed three piece suit with brown leather accents. Tom’s bowtie and hankie were a gorgeous sage and blue liberty print.
As for the dress, I didn’t really know what I wanted before I found it at The Bride Shop in Crawley. Being only four foot ten, I was worried that all of the dresses I tried on would drown me but that wasn’t the case. I went with a pale pink, lace covered dress by Kenneth Winston. I would never have thought in a million years that I’d get married in a pink dress, but I loved it and felt amazing wearing it.
I had bought new shoes to wear, but the day before I changed my mind and chose to wear a pair I’ve had since I was eighteen! They are my most favourite, comfortable heels and I’m so glad I decided to wear them.
My jewellery was made for me as my wedding gift by my bridesmaid Dani, which was a beautiful rose gold sunflower necklace, and some rose gold hoop earrings with tiny leaves.
As part of the theme for our wedding was sunflowers, we decided to grow our own! We had lots of time to plan, so did a test run during the summer of 2018 and successfully grew about forty flowers. We ended up growing over one hundred for the wedding and they looked amazing thanks to Tom who took amazing care of them.
We couldn’t just rely on our sunflowers though and wanted lots of bright, happy colours so we had a real mixture; dahlias, snapdragons, stocks, lisianthus… all sorts! The flowers in the jam jars and around the tipis were a combination of wholesale flowers, our sunflowers, and plenty from my grandad’s garden which he had grown for us. There was a big group of us flower arranging the day before, which was lovely.
My bouquet, the bridesmaids’ bouquets, the flower crowns and all of the buttonholes and corsages were done by Fleurs in Horhsam.
To save some money we did all of this ourselves. I’m not usually much of a make up person, so two of my bridesmaids and I had a day out in Brighton where we went into Mac to stock up on supplies and get some guidance on how to do make-up for the day. My bridesmaid Dani did my hair and I had the most amazing flower crown made for me by Fleurs.
The search for a photographer was something we found quite challenging as we were looking for someone with a really natural style, and then we came across Fiona Kelly. Her photos are amazing and it was such a joy to have her around on the day. She captured so many beautiful moments and we will treasure the photos forever.
The Details & Décor
Where do I even begin! This wedding was all about the details, and Pinterest was our best friend. We came across a beautiful paper crane mobile and Tom decided he would recreate it to hang from the centre of one of the tipi hats. One thousand paper cranes later, and it looked incredible.
I had learnt to crochet with my mum a few months before our engagement so I decided I would make the placemats by crocheting fifty six multicoloured mandalas, which guests could then take home with them as favours. My mum also crocheted plenty of blankets for when it got chilly in the evening which we hung from wooden ladders donated to us from Tom’s nana. My mum also made the amazing thirty foot banner that ran along the front of the tipi, with a bit of help from my dad, my sister and me.
For the centrepieces, we went to a local timber yard and picked some tree trunks for wood slices. We had everyone we knew collecting glass jars for the flowers and I then drew unique patterns on each using glass pens to make them look quirky. As we had gotten engaged in Thailand, we named each of our tables with places we had been in Thailand along with a photo of us in that place. The centrepieces were finished with a few paper cranes, some copper wire fairy lights and some fern leaves foraged by our bridesmaids. Each guest then had a personalised shortbread biscuit as their place setting, which I made the week before.
We added some colour to the chairs by hanging multicoloured ribbons from the backs. Something so simple but it looked so effective. Our top table and the bar also had colour in the form of a pom pom garland made by my sister. My mum and sister also used the pom poms to make some dream catchers which we hung from one of the trees.
One of the most visually impactful elements was our colourful paper archway, which was a last minute addition! Tom’s parents kindly let us borrow their giant metal flower archway, and the day before the wedding our bridesmaids Dani and Becca went to town covering it, and it framed the walkway to our tipis.
To help guests find their way, we made signs out of scrap pieces of wood which I painted and wrote on, and they ended up looking really effective. We had an outside seating area with lots of makeshift tables made from pallets we had been collecting and seats in the form of hay bales.
Other details included a glitter station, Mexican paper flags hanging across the top of the tipi and a ladder displaying the wedding photos of each of our closest family members. We also had an amazing photo booth in the evening which was a lot of fun!
Food wise we had an incredible sharing style Thai Feast for our sit-down meal and a help-yourself dessert table with desserts made by me and Tom. In the evening we had a vintage Citroen taco van!
We spent two weeks travelling around Bali. It was pure bliss! We then had a couple of nights in Kuala Lumpur on the way home.
We wanted an interesting cake that reflected our interests and personalities and came across Mia Tambini who makes stunning cakes! We went to a consultation at Mia’s house and we told her about ourselves and the ideas behind our day. She then came back to us with the design for the cake we ended up with! As Tom and I are both indecisive Libras, we went with a different flavour for each tier. Citrus drizzle with passionfruit buttercream, toffee with salted caramel buttercream, and chocolate with chilli and lime buttercream. It was delicious.
There are so many, but one of the most special was when we were travelling back home after the ceremony and we stopped for some photos, when Tom presented me with a necklace that had my new initials on. It was made even more special because the necklace was also made by my bridesmaid Dani, and Fiona the photographer was there to capture everything.
The speeches were truly memorable, and my dad presented us with an enormous canvas photo collage of the two of us which I can’t wait to hang up.
A final one is when one of our evening guests tried to steal a bottle of wine from the bar, even though it was a free bar!
Advice For Other Couples
Enjoy the planning process! I am so sad that I no longer get to plan such an amazing event and we truly had so much fun doing it. Also, know when to ask for help if you are feeling frazzled.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Beautiful World Tents
Bouquets Buttonholes & Flower Crowns
The Flower Monger
Greys Suit Hire
Dani Lane Jewellery
So vibrant and fun, what a gorgeous day.
Lauren and Tom, thank you so very much for sharing your brilliant wedding story with us xo Lou