Colourful & Relaxed Personal Tipi Wedding

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Oh I do so love a wedding at home, and this one was ever so special being held at Charlotte’s godparents’ house. It was the perfect setting for their brilliant tipi wedding with lots of colour and plenty of personality. Let me tell you a bit more about it. 

WWW readers Jack and Charlotte tied the knot on 15th June 2019 at the local church and guests were able to walk on to their big laid back party reception. Their colourful and relaxed reception had so many personal touches and I’m simply loving the decor they put together for the tipi. 

Our pair and their family did so much of the organising and crafting themselves, I think you’re really going to love the results! Charlotte has plenty of tips for you, especially if you’re planning a DIY wedding too, I really hope you enjoy.

Charlotte and Jack were so delighted with their choice of photographer and it’s easy to see why! Thank you so much Jessy Jones Photography for sharing these wonderful images with us.

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The Proposal

29th June 2017. We were on holiday with my (Charlotte’s) family on a small remote island called San Pietro, off the island of Sardina, Italy. It was a beautiful place so quaint and untouristy (not even the tourist information spoke English!). One evening, we had all gone out to celebrate a local festival which was going on in the town ‘the festival of Saint Peter’. The town was decorated with colourful flags and all the local Italian families were out celebrating the atmosphere was electric! After a few cocktails we all decided to go our separate ways to get some dinner as the town was too crowded for the whole family to all the get a table, so we went to the nearest pizzeria (we still have the pizza box!)! I couldn’t understand why Jack wouldn’t let me have a slice of pizza whilst walking to find somewhere to eat it.. I was getting quite hangry at this point! Unknowingly to me, Jack was trying to find the perfect spot to propose!

We eventually sat down at a quiet, dark spot by the marina. Jack started to get into deep and meaningful conversation, which is unlike him. Throughout our relationship of 8 years, we’ve always joked about how Jack can never pinpoint what he loves about me… But this time he seemed to find his words and tell me finishing it off with “on that note…would you like to spend the rest of your life with me?!”! He pulled out the ring box, I couldn’t see the ring because it was dark and probably because of the floods of tears.. But it was a definite yes! A short time after this, fireworks started appearing from boats in the sea, as part of the festival that was happening in the town.. Jack always boasts how he planned the fireworks, but it was just good timing! We spent the rest of the holiday celebrating with my family and the planning began!

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The Vision

From when my godparents first bought their impressive house five years ago which at the time was in need of some TLC, they’d always said it would be perfect place for a wedding, and it was. When we got engaged our first thought was to have it at my godparents’, in fact we hadn’t even looked or considered any other option. What made it better was that my godparents offered to host it before we had even asked! What made it even more perfect was the church next door to the house where Jack and I wanted to get married.

The vision was always for the bridal party to get ready at the house and walk to the church. Then for the guests to walk back to the reception. Drinks and canpees on the lawn/drive area where everyone would be mingling and laughing with live music playing. The lawned area that hosted the tipis was very secluded by big trees, almost like a secret garden, so when people were showed into the tipi area by the path litten by the candles and fairylights they were really wowed. I always had this vision in my head and it was exactly how I imagined it to be, and more! We never wanted a really formal wedding, but a really relaxed, almost more like a big garden party than a wedding. We wanted the inside/outside space the tipis created with hay bale seating on the lawn with fire pit and the long narrow trestle tables inside. A relaxed bbq where people could go and chose what food they wanted. Lots of people stood at the bar talking and laughing. Great live music and everyone dancing there absolute souls out! The ambience to feel electric and full of fairy lights and smiles!

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The Planning Process

When we got engaged I heard everyone talking about how a wedding was too much planning for one day and a waste of time, I could not agree less. I loved every minute and aspect of planning our wedding. As well as the wonderful memories from the wedding day, I have some lovely memories of the all planning!

I did most of the wedding planning as Jack planned the honeymoon! I would get together with my mum and sister and go through all our thoughts and ideas! It was a real team effort! We spent evenings sat with a bottle of prosecco filling confetti bags, making wine charms and writing name tags! Days that were allotted to wedding shopping mainly ended up in the pub, but obviously the wedding discussion continued here! We were very relaxed and knew eventually all the planning would fall into place (also I became a bit obsessed with to-do lists!).

We wanted to keep everything for the wedding local. The tipi company was based in Boston, mine and Jack’s hometown, the florist the next town from where Jack and I live, the ice cream trike local to mine and Jack’s village, the bar hire mine and Jack’s local pub (where we spent a night sampling and choosing the cocktails and wine for the wedding!).

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Budget

When we had the vision of tipi’s at godparents’ we thought this would be a relatively cheaper option and we would be able to keep costs to a minimum. However, we hadn’t taken into consideration that we would have to organise everything else; toilet hire, bin hire, glass and cutlery hire, the day and evening food, the bar, the DJ, the wine for the tables etc…however I have to admit I loved this as it gave us more freedom to have exactly what we wanted and could go searching for the best prices.

We were very lucky that we didn’t have to pay for the land for the tipis to be on. Although the tipis were more expensive than your average marquee hire, I have to say they were worth every penny, especially all the hard work it took the team to put the tipis up in the good old British weather! They really were worth their money and I can see why they are the price they are with all the love and care that goes into them and the magical ambience they create!

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The Venue

The venue was my godparents’ house, The Priory, Frieston, Lincolnshire. From when they first bought it, they have spent lots of love and care getting it to the magnificent house it is today. To get to it you have to enter the long gravel drive way to be greeted by the big stunning georgian House. It’s hard to think it’s not a wedding venue and that a family actually live in there! The beautiful gardens with all its little nooks and crannys, hidden courtyards, and they even have donkeys and goats in the field next to the garden!

The vision was always to have a marquee on their lawned garden and I fell in love with the idea of tipis. It seemed to be fate that as we were shopping around for marquees, Wild At Heart Tipis happened to start following me on Instagram, and I knew it was a sign we just had to have them!!! Fran and her team were brilliant and the tipis came fully equipped with tables, chairs, dancefloor, fairy lights, hay bale seating, hessian mat flooring. I was concerned as I had only ever seen a single tipi up and as we had three tipis with 115 guests to fit in I was worried it there would be enough room, but there was ample room!

As well as the tipi business Fran runs a catering business so we got the tipi and BBQ catering as a package. Everything else from the decoration to the wine, the favours and the timings of the day we had full freedom on!

We were lucky enough to have Claire who is the landlady of our local pub hosting our bar on our wedding day! Claire acted as a wedding organiser and ensured everything ran smoothly throughout the day, as well as making delicious cocktails!

The toilets, we had portable toilets! We firstly were looking at posh portacabin toilets but for the price they were, we would rather spend it on something else for the wedding! We found Bates Environmental Toilet Hire who hired portable toilets specifically for weddings. They were nice and clean and fit for purpose!

I was at first worried about what people would think about having portable toilets at a wedding, but then I got in the mindset of those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter! Saying this, I heard no qualms about the loos and the morning after they were still clean! The only problem we had with them was that my new sister-in-law dropped her new iPhone down them!

We didn’t like the idea of a formal sit down meal for the wedding. We had a variety of delicious canapés and macarons at our drinks reception to fill a bit of a hole. We then had the bbq cooked outside in the carport and people were shown up table by table to chose what they wanted. For pudding, we had an ice cream trike that served ice cream made locally. The ice cream went down a storm.. And I couldn’t resist having a go on! In the evening we had a hog roast (at Jack’s request!).

On the Friday before the wedding friends and family came along all day to help us decorate and get this place looking just how we imagined! Even though I expected this bit to be quite stressful, it wasn’t as everyone just got stuck in! It was so much fun everyone joining in and again memories to be treasured!

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Your Outfits & Accessories

My wedding dress was the first one I saw at a wedding fair and the first one I tried on. I just fell in love with it! It wasn’t like anything I had expected to go for, I loved that it was simple and classy yet I felt like a fairytale princess when I had it on! The lace top wasn’t panelled and I liked that it was just my skin, (although I don’t think you could tell!). I loved the lowered back and all the tiny buttons.  I feel what really made my wedding dress special was my floor length veil, beautifully embroidered at the bottom which framed my dress perfectly. I hope to pass this down to my children one day! Both dress and veil from The Bridal Lounge, Scredington, Lincolnshire. Wedding dress designer, Stella York.

My wedding shoes were the one thing I had a splurge on! Although I knew no one would probably see them, I’ve never had a fabulous pair of shoes and I normally live in my ugly nursing shoes and wanted to feel a bit more special on my wedding day! I found a company online Charlotte Mills. They were handmade Italian Leather with a crushed pearl effect along with other lovely details. They had stamped on the sole of the shoe “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a six pence in her shoe” and it did actually have a six pence in the shoe! They were so comfortable and I danced the night away in them!

Something old: my sister handmade my garter out of my mums old wedding dress
Something new: dress
Something borrowed: I was supposed to borrow my mum’s favourite bracelet, but on the day we forgot to bring it so we’ll just skip that bit!
Something blue: my underwear
Jewellery from Ivory & Co.

Jack knew wanted a slim fit, tweed/country look for his wedding suit. He wanted something quite casual and laid back. We didn’t really have a colour scheme so I was happy for him to chose whatever he felt was right!

We went with a navy blue fitted lightweight tweed suit from the designer Gibson, London. He had a brown checked waistcoat with a gorgeous green paisley silky back and brown button details, with brown brogues to match. He chose a rust orange knitted tie and pocket square to go with it. I picked some orange flowers in my bouquet to tie it in rather than having the bridesmaids matching. Oh he did look handsome! We brought the suits from Gere shop at Lincoln.

For Jack’s wedding present, I bought him a gold pocket watch to wear in his waistcoat on the wedding day. I thought this could be our first family heirloom! I decided to get it engraved with the wedding date (as we always joke how whenever I get a present for Jack he always sells it, this way he couldn’t!).

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The Readings & Music

-Blessing for a Marriage by James Dillet Freeman

-Corinthians chapter 13

Hymns: keep me travelling, Lord of the dance, Shine Jesus Shine. I loved these hymns because they’re a bit upbeat and reminded us of our primary school days!

Church singer: Elvis Presley, Can’t help falling in love with you. The Goo Goo Dolls, Iris.

We had a ukulele band at our drinks reception. One of the members approached Jack as he was working as a volunteer in the hospital and asked Jack if he would like the band to play at the wedding! They just asked for a donation in order to play at the wedding which they gave us choice where we wanted the donations to go. We chose the Lung Cancer charity and Woodlands Trust charity in memory of my late cherished granny who we lost a few months before the wedding. The vision was that they would walk me and jack round from the wedding, but because of the weather this was unable to happen. They kept guests entertained whilst we had a family photographs taken.

We had a band at our wedding Crossfire who we had heard a pub once and loved! We loved that they didn’t play the usual run of the mill Mr. Brightside and Sex on Fire but still a mixture of Indie to pop music to get everyone up and dancing! When we were speaking to a close family member about wanting this band for our wedding how we didn’t know if we would be able to get them because of their popularity, he announced the lead singer was one of his good mates and managed to get them booked for us! Fate!

First dance song. Jack and I couldn’t think of anything worse than standing swaying looking into each others eyes awkwardly for three minutes. So we decided to jazz it up a bit! We asked a friend to mash a few versions of a songs together, starting slow and ending up with everyone dancing with us on the dance floor! The first song was Lucy Mason: You’ve got the love remixed into Florence + the Machine’s You’ve got the love. This isn’t mine and Jack’s ‘song’ per se, but just felt it was a bit more fun and would get the dance floor filled ready for the band and the party to start. Meaning we could keep mine and Jack’s song which is actually ‘Your song’ by Ellie Goulding special with no memories of an awkward first dance!

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Beauty

I don’t normally wear a lot of makeup, so wanted to keep it very natural with my wedding makeup. I found Alluring Makeup, based in Lincoln. Fran used air brush technique foundation which was fab because you couldn’t even feel you was wearing any. I did my own mascara as I’m a bit picky about that!

Mine and my bridesmaids’ hair was done by a close friend who did the hair as our wedding gift. It was lovely having people around me on the morning I knew and loved! Although we had a trial before the wedding, we changed it completely on the wedding day! We kept it loose and relaxed updo/down-do!

Myself, my sister and mum have always been very close. When we was younger we always used to call ourselves the three ladybirds so decided to have a novelty ladybird painted onto our nails for the wedding. Again a small touch no one would’ve noticed, but special to the three of us.

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Your Photographer

I don’t think we could’ve found a better photographer than Jessy. She was so unobtrusive and just felt like a friend we had invited to the wedding, she was just busy snapping away all day! Jack and I weren’t sure about going off for half an hour having couple shots with fear of missing out on everything else that was going on! But she quickly grabbed us for 10 minutes and I can safely say we’ve got one for the mantlepiece!

She made it so light hearted and fun even when we were being a bit awkward! Most of my favourite pictures are all of the off guard ones of everyone enjoying themselves and getting caught up in the moment, these are the ones I will treasure the most as a picture certainly does tell a thousand words!

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The Flowers

The flowers! Where do I even begin! I love flowers at a wedding and decided not to scrimp! We’re both quite outdoorsy and love the natural, wild flowers/country Garden!

We met with our gorgeous florist Michelle, the brief was colourful and that they were! I found some old milk churns from eBay and borrowed a neighbour’s watering cans and Michelle filled them to brim with blooms! I gave the florist a budget and asked her to buy in bulk and fill whatever she could!

We used the flowers in the church and got the best men to bring them over to the tipis to reuse them! We asked friends to collect jars/bottles and decorated the trestle tables with long lines of beautiful blooms! The day after the wedding I gave close friends and family a bunch of flowers so they may carry on being enjoyed!

My beautiful bouquet. There was something different to see in it every time I looked at it! So colourful and wild, natural and the smell was amazing! I loved my bouquet and loved it so much I couldn’t bear to leave it behind when we went on our honeymoon the day after! So it travelled round Europe in our camper van with us, well it got to Switzerland until it got a bit wilted!

I loved my bridesmaids bouquets as every one was unique to them, Rose, Poppy & Hayley-Jasmine. Rose had a rose, Poppy had a poppy seed head, and Hayley-Jasmine had a vine of jasmine cut from my mums garden. All of these elements nestled inside the wild flowers! Again a small detail that was personal to us all.

One of Jack’s only requests was for me to have flowers in my hair, so I did! A half crown of dainty flowers.

Jack’s buttonhole was in keeping with the country theme with thistles and daisys, and a sprigg of rosemary because the smell reminds us of holidays to Greece.

Flowers were from Rosedale House, Horncastle.

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Bridesmaids

I decided to have my sister and two younger cousins as my bridesmaids. I wanted to keep it more family as if I had starting asking friends it would’ve gotten too complicated! I am very close to my sister and my cousins are like the little sisters I never had, so I couldn’t imagine anyone else by my side!! I also had two younger flower girls.

With the different ages, I found it difficult to find any dresses that suited all three as I wanted to keep the younger ones, young! All the dresses I found were too mature! So I decided to have them made by the lady who altered my wedding dress. I always knew I wanted tulle skirts and lace tops to keep it relaxed and something they would all feel special in. I went for sky blue because its my absolute favourite colour and thought it would go well against the colourful flowers! As my sister was the maid of honour, I decided to have her skirt made differently, with a gradual hemline, and the younger ones had a satin ribbon around the waistband.

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Groomsmen

Jack couldn’t choose between two of his really good friends so the decision was made to have two best men! He had both his brothers and dad for the ushers.

They had the same suits and shoes, except blue waistcoats instead of brown so that Jack would stand out more.

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The Cake

When we started looking I couldn’t believe how expensive some wedding cakes were! £800 on wedding cake we probably wouldn’t get a slice of?! So we asked a family friend to do us a good old Viccy sponge! Everyone loves a Viccy sponge! And jazzed it up with a few flowers and fruit!

It was a worry the whole thing would melt and collapse on a summer’s day in a tipi, one good thing about the chilly June day was the cake survived! Jack being the chocoholic he is just wanted a big bar of chocolate instead of a wedding cake, so I got him a big bar of Cadbury for our wedding table instead! I found a log cake stand from eBay and cake decoration from Esty.

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The Details & Décor

The details and decor were the bits I loved about planning the wedding and what made it more personal to us! With our wedding everyone had their part to play and again lovely memories were made from it!

My sister for her wedding gift to us made over 200 metres of bunting from all colourful materials and prints! It absolutely brought the whole tipi to life and I loved it even more that it was made my my sister as that made it extra special! .

My dad is very arty farty being a graphic designer so I roped him in too! I got him writing all our signage and he really is very talented so it came out better than I could’ve ever wished for! My dad designed and printed all the invites and order of service and we had a day together designing them and decorating them!! Lovely memories.

My mum made my wedding favours of ‘rumtoft’ a rum and fruit liqueur perfect added to processo or on icecream! She had it brewing for 12months before the wedding. We had a rumtoft and prosecco tasting night a few weeks before the wedding and put them in their jars! My dad made the labels.

I bought the confetti from Kay’s Confetti Creations on Facebook. We bagged it in organza bags and gave it to people with their order of service. I loved it because it was eco friendy, colourful and it smelt amazing!

Our table names were some of the favourite places Jack and I have visited. I wrote a few different memories on the table about that place alongside some pictures whilst we were there. I hand wrote the table names on blackboard card and placed it on a mini easel.

We decided not to have a conventional guest book and instead had a polaroid guest book. We never liked the idea of someone scrawling a small message on a page and the rest of it being blank, I knew it was something we probably would never pick up to look at. Jack and I have always said “pictures are memories” and we wanted to capture people having fun and being a bit silly. I love it we could see everyone having fun and captured all the memories me and jack weren’t there to see. I provided brown kraft tags so people could write a message and peg it to a chicken wire frame we had. I plan to put all the pictures in a frame.. At some point!

Flip flops, blankets and umbrellas! I thought I would get a load of white umbrellas to warn off bad rain omens and that we wouldn’t need them, but it’s a good job I did get them! I found second hand signs from eBay “To have and to hold incase you get cold”, “A little treat for your dancing feet”, “Come rain or shine”.

We really wanted to provide a sweet bar to fill a gap if people got peckish in between food. I looked online and to hire a sweet cart was close to £250. So I decided to do it myself! I used our current bathroom storage ladder, gave it a revamp and borrowed a load of my mums cooking jars. I went to a Bookers store and bought all colourful tasty treats to fill them with. The whole thing cost me about £50 and it went down a sweet treat!

We lined the garden path with hundreds of small tea light holders I had borrowed from a friend and hung fairy lights in the trees. It really was magical when it got dark, so cheap and effective! I also borrowed big hurricane vases and filled them with big church candles. I friend had collected lots of wine bottles, which she bought light up corks from the internet for, that was really effective too.

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The Honeymoon

As I write this, we are still currently on our four week honeymoon travelling around Europe in our camper van!

As I was busy planning the wedding, Jack’s domain was planning the honeymoon and I must say, the boy’s done good! We are lucky enough to own a VW  t5 transporter campervan which we’ve named “Willy Wagon” and even luckier to get 4 weeks off work!

We set off the Monday after the wedding, just married bunting and tin cans and all and started our little mini adventure exploring Europe. So far we’ve been to France, Switerzland, Italy, Slovenia, Austria, Germany and still have the Netherlands and Belgium left to explore! We haven’t booked anywhere and love the freedom that gives us to pitch at a nice campsite or wild camp in forests! We never would be the couple to lay on a white sanded beach for two weeks, we love getting outside and exploring new places and eating new food! We’ve seen and done some amazing things and we both feel very lucky as we’ve wouldn’t have been able to do this amazing trip if it wasn’t for the gifts of euros people gave us for our wedding presents. We always said four weeks in the back of a camper van together would be the test of the marriage and so far so good!!! Haha

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Memorable Moments

The whole day was full of little memorable moments! Obviously walking the aisle and saying our vows! We loved seeing everyone all suited and booted and looking fabulous all for our special day. The vicar being the last man standing at the end of the night after he had gotten through his fair share of ale at the bar and dancing along to ABBA!

I loved the morning getting ready and giving the bridal party their personal gifts. That was emotional!

I loved seeing my dad In the morning and listen to him be all gushy and acting like a proud dad.

There were moments of the wedding that no one would’ve noticed, but meant a lot to me and jack. Such as knowing how much everyone had contributed and helped to ensure our perfect day.

One memorable moment for me is that one of my ex patients rang the church bells for us, Ken Brockway a man I helped nurse quite literally “back to life” whilst in my care on the intensive care unit at Lincoln county hospital. I spent a lot of time with him and became close to his family during his gruelling painstaking stay in hospital. After he made a recovery, he contacted the ward and asked to ring the bells at mine and Jack’s  wedding! He had remembered even in his comatose state me saying I was getting married! He said he wanted to give something back to me and he really did! Knowing he was in the bell tower as the bells chimed brought me  goosebumps, and being able to see and speak to him looking so well was really special to me and I guess what makes the job all worth it!

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Advice For Other Couples

Remember a wedding day is just the start of the marriage. Enjoy every second, because I know everyone says it but it really does go too fast! You cannot plan everything and don’t worry about things going wrong, because something will that you didn’t plan for. With us the band didn’t have a long enough extension cable, so the vicar went back to his house to get one!

Also don’t worry about the weather! Everyone was chilly in our tipi in June (the height of summer!!), but everyone just got up and danced and used the blankets provided so it was fine. eBay is your best friend, get things second hand where you can. Get plenty of photos and ask someone to video the important bits. Invite only the people you want to see on your day (be selfish!) and just remember everyone who is there loves you!!

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Credit Where Credit Is Due

Photographer
Jessy Jones Photography

Venue
My amazing godparents Mel & Mike

Tipi
Wild At heart Tipis

Catering
Chocolate Fairy & Dunmore’s 

Bar
The George and Dragon Bar

Portable Toilets
Bates Environmental toilet hire

Ice cream Trike
Dean, from Dennetts Ice Cream

Wedding Dress and Veil
The Bridal Lounge

Groom and Groomsmen Suits
Gere

Shoes
Charlotte Mills

Wedding Jewellery
Ivory and Co

Hair
Giovanna Marshall

Make Up
Alluring Makeup

Bridesmaid Dresses
Petit Versailles

Church Singer
Courtney

Ukelele Band
Boston Ukulele Group (BUGS) 

Evening Band
Crossfire

Florist
Michelle at Rosedale House

Wow! What a brilliant day and so many personal touches! Thank you Charlotte and Jack for sharing everything with WWW. Rachel x

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