Articles Tagged with: Festival

Guest blog: 5 Things to Consider When Planning an Outdoor Wedding

In today’s blog we hand the reins over to Caroline Opacic (of Caroline Opacic Photography) who we’ve loved working with over the years and is a firm favourite on our recommend suppliers page. Over to you Caroline!

Today I’m chatting all things outdoor weddings! I’m a huge fan of outdoor weddings and tend to specialise in laid back, festival, tipi, boho or outdoor weddings. They are some of my favourite big days to shoot because they are relaxed, fun and usually set against a stunning backdrop. I adore using nature in my images, so outdoor weddings totally fit with that.

In this blog I’m going to give you my top 5 things to consider when planning your outdoor wedding – from a wedding photographer’s perspective! 


1. Ceremony location / timing

Karin & Neil walking down the aisle

If you are planning on having your ceremony outside – AMEN! I love outdoor ceremonies! It means you can say ‘I do’ in some stunning locations, and why would you not make the most of the great British summer while it’s here? However, if we are for once having an actually good summer, consider the weather during the ceremony. Will your guests be sat in the shade or potentially in a very hot sun? Will they be blinking into the sun – or could even you and your fiancé be as you say your nuptials? 

Claire & Tanya wedding ceremony civil partnership

Because English weddings tend to have ceremonies around 1-3pm, this is when the sun is going to be at its most intense in the sky. From a photographer’s point of view, this is not ideal, but there are ways you can navigate it. Have the sunlight either behind or in front of the ceremony. At least this will mean even shadows on you both. If you’re worried about relatives and friends being sat in a potentially hot sun, look for a venue with a shady area. 


2. Portrait timings

Sarah & Andy hug at Vanstone Park Wedding Venue

Touching on when the sun is at it’s peak leads into my next consideration – leaving time for your wedding portraits. The traditional time would be during the drinks reception/ canapés. The light at this time tends to still be strong but I have some tricks up my sleeve to deal with this. I normally like to have my couples mingle with prosecco and relax for a bit during the drinks reception. With about half an hour to go, I’ll then take them to do  portraits. This is great because of 2 things. One, it means you get to say hi to everyone and enjoy the party, which really is priority #1 ! Second, it means we’ll do your portraits later in the afternoon when the sun is less strong. I’ve also got a secret third reason – you’ll be nice and relaxed after some glasses of fizz! 

Couple photos between the pillars at Vanstone Park Venue

If you are planning wedding portraits, chat to your photographer about the timings of the day and where they could fit in. The end of the drinks reception is great, or even before speeches/dancing. 


3. Embracing the Golden Hour

Abi & Dave at Vanstone Park Venue during Golden hour

My dream couples all love golden hour as much as I do! This is that time just before sunset when the sun is beautifully orange and sending some insane colours across the sky. The light is perfectly soft and has a picture-perfect hue to it. While I tend to do drinks reception portraits, I also like to take my couples for a golden hour stroll. Depending on what month you have your wedding, the exact timing of this will vary. In the summer it tends to fall either just before or after your first dance. 

Bride Esmerelda enjoying the diffused light in the woods

If you are having an outdoor wedding I would seriously consider having golden hour portraits. Why waste that stunning outdoor venue and all it’s grounds! 


4. Party Games / Entertainment

Guests enjoying the bouncy castle at a wedding party

The lovely thing about outdoor weddings is they really do mean you get to soak up every last bit of sun and the outdoors. With traditional weddings, once the call has come for the wedding breakfast, it’s rare everyone will get a chance to go back outside and see the sun go down. One of my favourite things about a Country Tipis wedding is everyone sitting on the grass or cosying up around the fire-pit in front of the tipi after dinner. It makes the day feel longer and is a beautiful pause before the party kicks in properly on the dancefloor! 

Garden games at an outdoor wedding

To keep your guests entertained I would recommend some games or some sort of activity. I’ve seen couples with bouncy castles, rounders, treasure hunts, giant jenga etc. Options are endless and you don’t have to spend a lot of money either. A lot of games can be DIY or be as simple as hula hoops. As a photographer I love them as they can make for some really fun candid shots!


5. Formal or festival dining?

Canapes by Hungry Hog BBQ at Vanstone Park Venue
Canapés from Hungry Hog BBQ – a caterer I love

If you are planning an outdoor wedding, you should consider whether you want a traditional sit down wedding breakfast, or something a bit different. Because you are likely going to be required to organise your own catering, it means the possibilities are endless. I would take advantage of that! A great option I’ve seen at Vanstone Park many times is a buffet BBQ as the main meal. You could also consider hiring in food trucks, particularly for the evening buffet.

Esmerelda enjoying the pizza

I can vouch for pizza being a very popular choice, especially once a good amount of alcohol has been consumed! You should also consider whether you want guests to be sat at normal tables, or whether you have a festival feel and allow people to sit in less traditional setups eg: chill out area, hay bales, picnic benches. 

Rolling Dough Pizza Horsebox in the woods
Rolling Dough Pizza have an amazing setup, their pizzas aren’t bad either!

All photos in this blog are by Caroline Opacic Photography and may not be used elsewhere without her permission.

Thanks for writing this guest blog for us Caroline, here’s hoping that we can catch up soon! If you’d like to write a guest blog for us please send us a message.


It’s all in the detail

Our structures and extras have a number of unique features that allow us to offer the very best product and service, staying at the top of our game. This always has been at the heart of what we were trying to achieve with Country Tipis – creating unique, successful events with the support of a dedicated, professional team. It is so important to us to continue to build on our already strong reputation in outdoor events, so we thought we’d fill you in on a few features we’re most proud of:

Neat and tidy tipi link with custom stitched blanking panels

© Emily Little Photography

We’re lucky to be one of a handful of rental companies in the south of England who are supplied by The Tipi Company. Alongside the brilliant structures they created a full range of stitched-to-fit blanking panels that mask the main Tipi canvas links whilst offering an additional layer of weatherproofing. The eaves beam and side blanking panel pictured here on the left allows you to run additional tables in the eaves, giving you more space inside.


Handmade rustic tables with chairs to match

© Emily Little Photography

When we started Country Tipis around 5 years ago we looked at the furniture options available and weren’t blown away by what was on offer. As a result we decided to make our own tables and benches from scaffold boards. These have been incredibly popular over the years, so we added some European-made folding wooden chairs to our hire range. These were stained to match our tables and complimented with grey seat pads to be kind to your bum.


We’re available right from initial enquiry right through until your event day

© Pike Photography

We appreciate how important it is to have questions answered and your worries alleviated efficiently, so we make sure we get back to you as soon as we can. We’ll always come and survey your site for suitability prior to your event day to ensure there are no surprises on the day we set-up. One of our experienced crew will be on call throughout your event day so you can relax and enjoy yourself. If you’d like someone who has a knowledge of the structure to be around on the day we offer the option of hiring a “Tipi Man” who can assist you as required.


We offer a full LED professional lighting package to create a magical atmosphere

© Country Tipis

In our Tipis we include fairy lights, customisable LED up-lighters, chandeliers and a disco ball in our base price, as we know you’ll love the ambience they create! In our Celeste we offer the same without the disco ball and chandelier. All of our lighting uses LED bulbs so draw minimal power, meaning that we can normally power a 3 Tipi / 24m Celeste set-up from a single 13a house plug.


The Hammered Peg – our own bar service

© Pike Photography

In 2017 The Hammered Peg poured their very first drink, since then we’ve kept revellers at over 50 events well watered inside our structures. We love to see you having the time of your life, and with your bar you’ll get at least one experienced member of Tipi crew to keep an eye on everything.


Woven matted flooring

Our flooring is natural coloured with black fleck which creates a neat finish throughout. It follows the contours of the ground beneath it when laid as grassy areas are seldom flat. In certain circumstances we lay it on top of plastic underlay to prevent water soaking up through it.


Handmade in the UK

© Pike Photography

We proudly support UK businesses and try to buy locally wherever we can in order to minimise our carbon footprint. The Tipi Company hand make all of our equipment up in Bolton, stitching our rugged canvas together and refining the main legs from slow grown Scandinavian spruce.


Hessian edging to hide cables and grass

© Pike Photography

We use hessian around the edge of our tipis to neaten up the Tipi, hiding electric cables and any grass that may be showing. It also serves as a draft excluder around the edge of the Tipi.


Minimal strapping on the front

© Nicki Shea Photography

Whilst some structures require a large amount of strapping on the front, ours do not need a lot. As well as looking tidier, this also allows us to minimise potential trip hazards.


Non-slip wooden dancefloor

© Emily Little Photography

Get dancing on our non-slip wooden dance-floor, creating the perfect arena for you to throw some shapes. Its modular nature means that you can choose the dimensions to suit you. In this photo you can see the Tipi package from Entertainment, PA & lighting pros Disco Nyts which includes a rustic DJ booth alongside an upgraded lighting package.


Huge thanks to all of the photographers who have contributed their photos to this blog – Pike Photography, Emily Little Photography & Nicki Shea Photography.

Feel free to fire us a message if you’d like to chat, Country Tipis x


New for 2018 ▲

Thanks!

We’ve had an such a good summer of weddings and would like to extend massive congratulations to all of the couples who have celebrated their marriage with us, along with the festival goers and the birthday partyers who have all celebrated inside our Tipis this year. Each of you helped to make 2017 our biggest and best year yet! We were also very lucky to have such a committed and dedicated crew who helped us ensure that every build was spot on, we couldn’t have done it without you Country Tipi men!

@Asassynation

Our first published shoot

Earlier in the year we collaborated with Carolione Opacic Photography on a burgundy and bohemian shoot in a Hertfordshire wildflower meadow. Last week we were so chuffed to find out it got featured on the Boho Weddings blog (check it out here)! Thanks so much to all the suppliers involved and Caroline for organising and coordinating it all so seamlessly.

©Caroline Opacic Photography

©Caroline Opacic Photography

What’s next?

As for 2018 we’ve decided to branch out slightly (no pun intended!) and we’ve bought a beautiful wooden pole Celeste Marquee ready for next year. We’ll be able to offer it in 3 lengths: 12m, 18m or 24m (12m width) and it will be priced from £2100 to £3900 including flooring, festoon lighting & LED uplighters. This round ended marquee provides an open and practical space that is perfectly suited to those wanting an outdoor wedding in an interesting yet traditional structure. The main poles are over 7m tall and they support a vast sail-cloth like roof which is firmly tension strapped to the ground. If you’d like any further information about hiring our Celeste Marquee please get in touch. 

Tip Top Venues – Newton Longville

We’re also super excited to announce that we’ve got a collaboration starting next year at one of our favourite venues. This beautiful lakeside spot at Tip Top Venues is ours for the summer: nestled in sprawling farmland in Buckinghamshire close to Milton Keynes. It is one of the first venues we built our tipis at, so it’ll always have a special place in our hearts. We’ll have two of our tipis up throughout 2018 with the option to add another if required.

We’re always on the lookout for individuals and companies to collaborate with, so if you feel like you would be a good fit with us at Country Tipis please do get in touch 🙂


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