Articles Tagged with: Wedding venue

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.


What a year it has been! 2019 in Photos.

2019 has been a year to remember for us. We had such a great time providing outdoor venues, structures, furniture and bars for our amazing clients in one of our busiest years yet. Here are a few of our favourite bits, and a few comments from happy customers. Here’s to a brilliant 2019, bring on 2020, we’re ready for you!

The Rustic Wedding Show

© Lattenbury Hill Weddings

We kicked off the year with a mammoth 3 Tipi, Triple Pole Celeste and Naked Tipi set-up for the Rustic Wedding Show. This was held at Lattenbury Hill Weddings near Cambridge; a beautiful, well managed farmyard venue.


Our first curated styled shoot

© Binky Nixon

We’ve been involved in styled shoots in the past, but this year we decided that we wanted to organise one with a handpicked team of our favourite suppliers. We held it at Lodge Farm House (near Hitchin) and are so happy with the results! It was shot by the amazing Binky Nixon in our Triple Pole Celeste Marquee – full blog post including suppliers involved can be found here.

© Binky Nixon
© Binky Nixon

A real party!

© Emily Little Photography

Emily & Joyce got married in two of our Tipis at the end of September and went for the “Tipi Package” from Disco Nyts for entertainment. How cool are those lights! Captured perfectly by Emily Little Photography.

© Emily Little Photography
© Emily Little Photography

Some kind words

Sally & Steve got married at Springfield Park (close to Radlett) in 3 of our Tipis back in August, here are a few words from them: “We used Country Tipis for our party early this month. The three tipi set-up was perfect for us and looked amazing, pretty much all of our 250ish guests said so. All the Country Tipis crew were professional, polite, efficient and super-helpful, Ceri in particular worked with us right up to the last couple of days before the event to adapt our set-up and add in furniture we thought we’d be able to get from another supplier but couldn’t at the last minute. Thanks to everyone for helping us plan a fantastic day.”

© Kitty Appleby

Dani & Matt got married in our triple pole Celeste at Lodge Farm House in September this year, they commented: “It was really great working with Crystal and the team. They were so communicative and the marquee looked amazing on our wedding day. Would recommend. Thanks to the team.” Shot by Ross Willsher.

© Ross Willsher

New venue partner!

We were lucky enough to be the first people invited to put Tipis up at the exclusive Island Hall on the banks of the Great Ouse in Godmanchester. This photo is from their wedding showcase shot by Kevin Scott-Wood.

© Kevin Scott-Wood

Country Tipis & Friends Charity Bonanza

© Pike Photography

At the end of a manic summer season we decided to throw a charity party with our friends in our Tipis at Vanstone Park Venue. To try to increase the donations we ran a bar ‘stock exchange’ – changing the price of drinks every 30 minutes, above you can see the results of the stock market crash! We’re super proud to have raised over £2,000 in support of Keech Hospice Care, The Alzheimers Society, Air Ambulance & Cancer Research UK.

© Pike Photography

Rustic DJ Booth & entertainment provided by Disco Nyts, Party snaps by Pike Photography. Thanks for a great night all who helped and attended!

© Pike Photography

Recent Weddings and Events at Vanstone Park

We’ve hosted a number of great events over the last couple of years at Vanstone Park, which borders a vast woodland just outside Hitchin in Hertfordshire. It is the perfect backdrop for anyone looking for a blank canvas tipi wedding, festival or party.

© Pike Photography
© Nikki’s Moments
© Caroline Opacic
© Verman Photography
© Shoot it Momma

Country Tipis

We’re Country Tipis and since setting up our base at Vanstone Park Garden Centre, we would use the adjacent parkland to host our open days and to showcase our giant tipis. Guests would always comment on how lovely the site was and that it should be a wedding venue. Once Abi & Dave asked if they could have their wedding onsite back in 2017, Vanstone Park Weddings and Events was born! 

The Garden Centre provides mains power, an 80 space dedicated car park and a pergola entrance decorated with wisteria and jasmine to create a gorgeous welcome for guests on to the site. You can even hire plants and trees from them to decorate the tipis.

© Nikki’s Moments

All the Essentials

Now with two very successful wedding seasons under its belt, we have created an all inclusive package in collaboration with Vanstone Park which provides you with all the essentials you’ll need to get started. Such as; three giant tipis, seating for up to 120 guests (adjustable), a dance floor and a luxury toilet block to name just a few. Then you can add on any extras to tailor it to your needs. What’s more, we offer exclusive weekend hire so there is plenty of time for all you DIY-ers to create the day you want!

Vanstone Park offers you the space and panoramic setting to create your bespoke wedding day just how you want. Personalise your special day by choosing your own catering, entertainment and styling suppliers or we can recommend some to get you started. Along with your choice of decoration, colours and theme, each wedding and event here is truly one of a kind.


The Hammered Peg

We also run our bar, The Hammered Peg, for your event. Providing a full bar service with a range of drinks and cocktails to suit any taste. We can also take care of your table and welcome drinks. Serving from our rustic pallet wood bar, our experienced and friendly staff ensure your guests are welcomed and watered throughout the day.

© Pike Photography

Your tipi man will oversee the day and take care of the little extras like welcoming your suppliers onsite and lighting the gorgeous fireball, leaving you to enjoy your magical day. 

© Shoot it Momma

Vanstone Park Garden Centre

Surrounded by an array of wildlife, greenery and a miniature railway ride, Vanstone Park is not just a field. Why not make use of all the space, just like Adele & Paul in September 2018. They ventured throughout the garden centre and its grounds to get some special pictures of their day.  

© Shoot it Momma
© Shoot it Momma

Situated next to the family run Vanstone Park Garden Centre, you arrive through the main gates and follow the winding grounds passed a hidden stone palladium and little bridge home to an assortment of wildlife. Once on site and in the tipis you start to realise how tucked away Vanstone Park is and appreciate the gorgeous setting even more!  

© Shoot it Momma
© Shoot it Momma

Big thanks for our office queen Crystal for putting this blog post together, and to all of the photographers who have shared their photos with us, we’d highly recommend all of them and you can find their websites below:

Pike Photography

Shoot it Momma

Caroline Opacic Photography

Verman Photography

Nikki’s Moments Photography & Film


Want to take a look around?

Come join us on our open day on Sunday the 15th of September between 11am – 4pm! Message us to book a chat with a member of the team and discuss your ideas or simply swing by to take a look. We’ll also have some of our favourite suppliers on such as; 

Disco Nyts (DJ, entertainment & PA)

Plenty of Thyme (catering)

Hungry Hog BBQ (catering)

Fleur de Lace (styling & decor)

Lisa Lyons Bridal (bridal wear)

Pike Photography

Hobo Chic (music)


We hope to see you there but if you can’t make it, please get in touch and we can organise an alternative time for you to come by.


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