A guest article by Wild Tipi
Most of us will have experienced the joys of an English summer festival; whether it’s on a huge scale like Glastonbury or a low-key local affair, we can all relate to lying back on the warm grass with a cool pint of something by our sides as the tunes drift over the crowds, stirring memories or awakening moods within us. Or perhaps it’s more a case of trying to stay upright in the torrential rain and mud as our friends fall about laughing at our efforts… either way, the festival vibe is something dear to many of us and evokes powerful feelings of friendship, togetherness, of finding your tribe and one heck of a party.
So how to capture that spirit for your wedding day? Festival weddings were a key trend for 2018 and look set to dominate the wish list for many brides in 2019 and beyond. Here at Wild Tipi we are very blessed to have been a part of some amazing festivals and some amazing festival inspired weddings and we wanted to share a handful of easy to implement tips on how to create the perfect festival wedding with you.
Make it about you and yours; the beauty of a festival wedding is that it can be truly tailored to exactly what you want. The laid-back feel means that you don’t need to be restricted or concerned by a more traditional day or consigned to the rules and regulations of some of the more traditional venues. Here at Wild Tipi we have our eyes firmly on the outcome of last October’s budget with a welcome inclusion to cut wedding costs with a possible shake-up on allowing couples to get married outdoors or in non-licensed venues. Great news if you have visions of saying “I do” on the beach or a wild, blustery clifftop, we can’t wait to see how this changes the way we wed wild!
The key to getting a festival wedding right is to run with what is in your heart and head; don’t get too bogged down by Instagram and wedding blogs (although this one is rather excellent…). Creating a physical mood-board with your partner is a great way to bring your personality into your celebration; allow your inner creative to run free and if it makes you smile and makes you happy, then make it happen! We loved seeing the couple’s styles show this summer; from a Poldark inspired two-day wedding (on horse-back, in full military attire) to a laid back, colourful explosion of hand-made, family fun (from dress to cake to flowers), it all worked because the couples stayed true to themselves and what they love.
Don’t stress about budgets; our tipis were the backdrop for several extended wedding celebrations, including one mega four day wedding this summer. Whilst that might make some gasp at the very thought of how that would blow the budget, bear in mind that the largest cost for many suppliers is the initial delivery, set up and take down; very often having the kit for a few extra days (particularly over a weekend when most suppliers are having some much-needed time off) doesn’t add a huge amount to the cost. Remember too, that things like flowers and decorations are often a set one-off cost regardless of whether they are being seen for one day or a whole week. Of course, there will be areas where the costs for a multi-day event will be increased, but if you stay true to what you want, then costs don’t need to spiral out of hand. Old wooden pallets painted black and used as signage or table settings? Genius! Homemade boughs of bay and eucalyptus to adorn a moon arch and your tipi poles? Bring it on! Gorgeous canvas bell tents as guest accommodation? Yes please! It’s all about embracing the festival spirit and doing what pleases you and yours.
Engage the senses; make it a festival to be remembered by taking your guests on a sensory journey. From the crunch of the gravel as they first walk towards the venue, they then catch sight of the vibrant banners dancing in the wind. Your favourite band starts to play, bringing smiles to the faces of all those who know you best and the smell of food cooking on a barbeque drifts lazily to tickle their noses and awaken their hunger… Colours, sounds, music, a roaring fire-pit to gather around and tell stories under the twinkling fairy lights… all of these little touches will help to make unforgettable memories.
Of course, a huge part of this sensory journey will be the food glorious food (and the drink). Keeping an eye on the budget might mean that compromises need to be made if your celebration is going to feed the hungry hordes over a few days or more and a clever caterer will be able to stretch your food budget to make it work harder for you. One of the key trends in food we saw this summer were sumptuous sharing platters; chunky potato wedges, glistening heirloom tomato salads and barbequed meat and veg heaped onto glorious platters which took centre stage on each table. Sharing food is a great way to form connections and to open dialogues too. Why not ditch the costly canapes in favour of a cream tea? Encourage guests to bring their own offerings for your dessert table, host a lower cost barbeque for the evening meal or contact your favourite street food seller and see if they will come and set up a van for your wedding weekend.
We loved how one couple this summer chose to make their wedding celebration a little kinder to nature by buying in palm-leaf plates and wooden cutlery (Little Cherry (www.littlecherry.co.uk do some gorgeous heart shaped ones); each plate is unique and everything was completely compostable, so there was no waste, no washing up and no expensive hire charges to worry about.
Whatever solutions you choose for your festival feasting, by losing the formality of a three-course meal, you can work out what your priorities are with food and again, do what you enjoy and what makes you smile.
Be inspired by nature; here at Wild Tipi our ethos is all about engaging with nature and immersing ourselves in its beauty. We love how this couple really drew from nature for colours and décor; by using a range of local summer wild flowers including vibrant yellow sunflowers, pink daisies and dashes of blue cornflowers, the colour palette exploded into life. They created a stunning moon arch decorated in natural foliage and flowers and echoed these colours and natural accents in the cake, the bride’s dress and of course in her own bouquet. The result was a striking, happy blast of colour which translated beautifully into the rest of the décor including the dazzling festival flags, bunting and table settings. The result was a beautiful, boho, relaxed festival vibe; seemingly thrown together, but chosen carefully to reflect and encompass the beautiful surrounds of a Cornish clifftop venue. Thank you to the wonderful Olivia Whittaker (www.oliviawhittakerphotography.co.uk) for these stunning shots; she comes highly recommended for capturing your own festival celebrations!
We’ve also loved seeing other couples reflecting nature or their surrounds in their weddings; from garlands of locally picked foliage and flowers adorning everything from the bouquet to the tipi poles, to Cornish slate table names based on festivals the couples had been to together; adding elements of nature to a festival wedding helps to keep the vibe relaxed and to create a sense of the outdoors, indoors. And did somebody mention hay bales? Bales are fantastically versatile (and gentle on the budget) and can be used to create additional zones or ‘rooms’ inside or outside of your chosen venue, provide additional, laid-back seating or serve as the perfect backdrop for a whole wedding photograph…
Whatever you choose, a festival wedding is a time for feasting, for family, for friends, for the senses to be awakened and for memories to be made. We’d love to hear about your own planning and are happy to advise on any aspect of bringing your special celebration to life.
Please contact us any time at firstname.lastname@example.org and happy planning for your wedding journey x
Venue and words – Wild Tipi
Photographer credits – Verity Westcott, Olivia Whittaker, Grant Lampard and Lucy Turnbull
See more from our favourite festival weddings with real couples on the English Wedding Blog –
Grant LampardLittle CherryLucy Turnbull PhotographyOlivia Whittaker PhotographyVerity Westcott PhotographyWild Tipi