The Tipi Rises

Giant hat tipis in a wood lit up at night for a wedding

The Tipi has risen over the past few years to be one of the most popular choices for a pop-up wedding venue, but just what goes into a tipi wedding set up and is it the right choice for you?

versatility

The true beauty of a tipi wedding (aside from the awe-inspiring beauty!) is the versatility that it offers in terms of location, space and styling. Giant Hat tipis can be configured in numerous ways and linked easily to midi-tipis (the smaller sister tipi; perfect for a chill-out area or the band etc) and to your catering tent to allow for the interior set up you need. One Giant Hat is typically suitable for around 50-70 seated guests, but there is no limit to how many can be connected together, so the sky is your limit in terms of numbers and layout.  

A tipi wedding also opens up endless possibilities in how you shape your day; from the interior décor and styling, to the possibility of a late night party (venue dependant!), or perhaps turning it into a week-long festival… we can be on hand to help with the planning and on the day running of your wedding too and we absolutely love getting hands on with a couple to make every detail just perfect. 

logistics

A single Giant Hat tipi requires a 10.3m ground area and as long as the pegs can be fixed into the terrain, they can be put up virtually anywhere (and taken down with little trace); as a result, Wild Tipi’s have graced the (listed) lawns of Dartington Hall and been perched high up on the Cornish cliffs with the Atlantic waves crashing far below.  We’ve hosted a four-day festival wedding in three, rolling green fields and have been tucked away for a magical woodland wedding too. Whilst Wild Tipi has a number of fixed venues across Cornwall and the South West who we work with if you need a starting point, we are also more than happy to travel and come to your dream location too. . 

Eco-friendly

The Tipi also ticks the eco-friendly box; all Wild Tipis are made from sustainably sourced, UK pine poles which are kinder to the environment and wherever possible, we endeavour to repair our canvases rather than replace them.  

Of course, we have to talk about the magic of a tipi wedding; here at Wild Tipi, we aim to awaken the senses; immersing our guests in nature and creating a truly memorable day.  We never tire of the first time a couple comes to view a tipi set up; there are usually gasps of joy as they gaze up in childlike wonder, high into the tipi canopy. This is typically followed by squeals of delight at the fairy lights adorning the poles, the glitter ball’s reflections dancing off the canvas, whilst the other exclaims, “blimey, how heavy are these poles?”.  And as the guests first arrive at the venue; their shoes crunching on the gravel, smoke drifting up from the fire-pit through the tipi crown, a tipi makes a truly stunning first impression, forms an immediate talking point and creates lasting memories too.  

Practicalities

So what about the practicalities of a tipi?  The set up of a tipi can take longer than a traditional marquee and as each pole weighs a massive 50 kilos, we typically need a team of 6 working for two days to get a three tipi configuration complete.  You will also need to factor in the cost of hiring the venue too; in Cornwall, a farmer may charge anywhere between £500 to £2000 for the use of their field, but this can vary depending on location. Most tipis come with lighting and flooring, but you might want to opt for sumptuous extras like hardwood flooring or solid wood doors.  You will also need to think about access, water, toilets, power and heating, but you shouldn’t be left in the dark about this; a good supplier will be able to support and guide you as to your requirements and ensure you stick within your budget too.

The Weather

As with any wedding, it’s a good idea to have a Plan B in mind should the weather turn. A tipi is actually a remarkably weather-proof structure; cool in the summer and snug in the winter. The sides of the tipi can be lifted or taken down depending on the sun, views, rain and wind and can withstand storms up to certain wind load (they are remarkably aerodynamic despite their size but you will need to check the wind speed and loading with the supplier you choose). We always advise that you take out wedding insurance; the most important thing is to keep you and your guests safe and sound, to always ensure you have a back-up plan and the one thing no marquee or tipi supplier can control is the weather!

Is a tipi wedding for you?

So, with all of this in mind, is a tipi wedding right for you?  Yes, if you dream of a relaxed and informal day, have a dream location in mind, or perhaps desire a high-end wedding but you still love to feel the grass between your toes and you don’t mind chucking wellies on if the heavens open.  If you like to dream a little wild and want a venue that is definitely not ‘off-the peg,’ then a tipi might just be the perfect place to start. 

Thanks to Sam and Anna at Wild Tipi for their contribution.